Bonus 2018 Costume Writeup: Velvet Crowe

What they're from Tales of Berseria (Video Game)
Variation Default
Created January/February 2016
Debuted Version 1.0 - February 11, 2016 (Thursday night of Katsucon)
Version 2.0 - May 27, 2017 (Saturday of Fanimecon)
Also worn
Otakon 2016, New York ComicCon 2016, Colossalcon 2017
Groups You're always going to see me with Trimeriad Cosplay (Niho as Eizen & Tomoyo as Laphicet), and Fractali has been joining us as Rokurou as well. Otherwise, I'll be anyone's Velvet. I'll be your Velvet. I'll be my own Velvet,
Wig Arda Wig: Delilah in Onyx (CL-078)
Two Long Wefts in the same color
One Short Weft in the same color

Batting: leftover black cotton fabric

Velvet's base wig was constructed with the very first-ordered Arda Silky Delilah in Onyx. I know this because I waited until the website launched Silky, and had technical issues with that one color in particular, so I tweeted them and they fixed the issue for me. It was, however, the first series of the Silky, so I wonder how the new Silky line behaves.

Since writing this, I've redone Velvet's wig, and my write-up for that is here.
Special Makeup Starting around Version 2.0, I started using white eyeliner at the waterline under the irises of my eyes to achieve a look similar to Velvet's "sanpaku." Meaning "three whites," it's a term to describe eyes that naturally have the sclera showing below the iris. I learned somewhere that Velvet's eyes were intentionally made that way to represent the tragic end she'd meet, that her journey was doomed and she wouldn't get to be happy. Because I resent what the franchise did with her in the end of her own game in order to serve the same-universe, later-timeline Zestiria, I never forget this detail. Bamco intended for her to never have a chance, and shame on them for not understanding the implications they gave for survivors of trauma.
Props Velvet's daemon arm was revealed about a week and a half/two weeks before the debut of Version 1.0. I was already working myself into the ground to finish the rest of the project, but I knew I needed to add this detail, although I didn't know why at the time. A lot of people ask me how I made it. I made a base of chicken wire, covered it with masking tape, covered the masking tape with papier mache, then sprayed everything with black plastidip followed by red spraypaint. There's a handle inside made of two wires that I can use for a little bit of mobility, but I'll admit that over time the structure has weakened, although the wire remained a great way to keep it lightweight and I'd do it the same way next time.
Patterns I regret not jotting down the one I borrowed from Niho, but it's the same one she used to make Richter's coat. She helped me modify the collar as well. The shirt, shorts, and leggings were a total build, as was all of the armor.

What went wrong:
Overall, when I made Version 1.0, we had very limited and varying references for Velvet. The reference I had of the back of her jacket was taken from a tiny, grainy gameplay screenshot, for example, and the arm had only just been revealed. I didn't have much in the way of the back of her outfit at all.

The top: I couldn't figure out a way to get floating cleavage, and that shows. Also, the back is wildly inaccurate due to the fact that we had no references to understand that it wasn't TWO straps, but FIVE that held the back together. Whelp.

The shorts: I had epoxied the belt with foam pieces onto the shorts the first time. Do not do this if you want to be able to wash the ass out of your costume.

The back of the jacket: Didn't have a reference, botched most of it.

The wig: The first time I wore Version 1.0, the wig wasn't voluminous enough at the shoulders, so I just looked like I had slicked-back hair. Then I modified it to have a pillow-like spread, but the braid part isn't convincing or prominent. At NYCC 2016, I actually lost a chunk of hair due to improperly securing the heavy wig. It's still growing back.

The belts: The three belts on my right leg used to be held up with sock glue. So here's the thing about that. It melted during the hottest Otakon on record and I was left limping without a way to keep them up. Also, the natural shape of my thighs is unfortunate. I can never seem to wear thigh highs or thigh accessories of any kind without either having the circulation cut off, or having them fall down constantly. The other thing that went wrong was the belt made of beads. I had first put that on some clear elastic, which snapped at the con before I even went down to the lobby.

The shoes: I didn't put very much work into the boot covers, and instead of attaching the armor to the shoes, I made separate pieces that actually bruised my ankles to wear, as I hadn't figured out how to make armor properly.

What I kept from Version 1.0:
I kept the worbla arm guard and knee guard as well as the base jacket, although I ripped out the applique and changed the belts all around for that. I kept the shorts exactly as they were. I kept all the belts, but I gave them bias tape edges and made more where I'd missed them the first time.

What I changed for Version 2.0:
Total remake of the top, centered on getting floating underboob cleavage. Yep, that's right. That was the ONLY thing I cared about. I won't reveal all my secrets unless you're personally planning to cosplay Velvet and wanted to get it right, but an upside-down plunge underwire and stretch fabric was where I started. Total remake of the shoes with funding from Harv, starting with a base pair of chunky-heel boots that I cut to size, then barge cemented armor pieces made of spandex-covered foam to snaps that can be easily unsnapped for travel. Remade the jacket applique with Niho's help. Remade the leggings as individual sleeves rather than starting from tights, with the best accuracy my non-shoujo legs can provide. Added clear elastic straps to the three thigh belts that kept falling down, which helps. Removed the epoxied parts of the shorts and made the attachment via snaps. Snaps and hooks are my new best friends.

What I'd still like to change:
I'd really, really like to make a new wig now that I know what doesn't work. I'd like to try for a more defined braid a la Rapunzel, but that looks delicate and allows for me to move my head. And I want more bang volume. If I had time... I'd also like to make the daemon arm more accurate and add detachable blades to my boots and arm guard.

Would I wear it again?

I want to straight-up be buried in this costume. So, yes.

Why I chose this character:

From the first moment I looked at her, I knew she'd be very important to me. I'm glad I trusted my instincts.

Any other anecdotes?:

This costume literally relies on the underwear for the leggings and thigh belts to stay on. It's a special kind that both fits under the shorts and has a detachable hook part so I can loop the pieces around. One time more recently than I'd like to admit, I forgot to pack these special underwear. Now I understand why Velvet was so full of rage. (My best joke.)

Photos by me.

Check out Velvet's galleries: Version 1.0 & Version 2.0 | Return to the Costume Writeups Home Page