When Once Isn’t Enough


It’s that time of year again when DragonCon prep takes over all my spare time. Despite the lack of posts on this subject, I’ve been busy working on a couple of costumes. This year, I’m making two Mulan costumes. Yes, two.

It’s not that I have a particular affinity for the Mulan character (although she IS the most awesome Disney Princess). Last fall, when the Mulan character showed up on Once Upon a Time, she had this gorgeous quilted leather armor with lots of metal details, and I just knew I had to make that costume.


Then, a few weeks ago, my friends and I decided on doing post-apocalyptic Disney Princesses as a group costume. So, of course, Mulan was the obvious choice for me.

The post-apocalyptic costume is about 95% done. Of all the Disney Princesses, I’d say Mulan has one of the least distinctive costumes. Unlike the other Princesses, she wears several outfits during the movie. I decided to base my costume off of the following outfit mainly because I liked the color combination:

I decided to make a simple underbust corset instead of the obi (or whatever the Chinese equivalent is) and shorten the skirt. I also went with more muted colors, this being post apocalypse and all. I’ve done a horrible job of documenting my work this year, so I have very few pictures of the work in progress. This is the completed corset:


And here’s a horrible picture taken just after midnight of the whole ensemble:


The skirt is just a rectangular piece of fabric folded and pinned, and the top was sewn in about 20 minutes. The beauty of making a post-apocalyptic costume is that everything is unfinished and rough! I think I may go a different route for the red belt. I also still need to dirty and rip the outfit some and find some accessories, but other than that, I’m done.

The OUAT costume is taking much more time. I started with the shoulder piece, which has been a complete nightmare. In order to get the textured looked, I first thought I’d make it out of crumpled paper. The paper had just the right texture until I started to paint it, and it also didn’t lay correctly, so I scrapped it.


I then tried craft foam which I painted with gold acrylic paint mixed with a texture medium.



Once that dried, I brushed over the gold paint with black paint using a stiff bristle brush making sure not to get too much paint into the crevices. I’m still not entirely happy with the result, but I think it’ll be good enough. Sewing the collar on has also been a pain, and I still haven’t figured out how to get it to lay correctly, so I’ve moved on to other parts of the costume and will get back to this later. I also thought I had some pictures of my progress on this, but I don’t. I’ll post them as soon as I can.

The chest piece, which I thought would be the most difficult, turned out to be fairly simple to make. I started by wrapping myself with masking tape (much easier to work with than duct tape!) over  a plastic bag to make my pattern. I’d never sewn a quilted design in anything before, so this was actually a lot of fun.


I hate when I forget to turn off the flash!



I used the same techniques to make the bottom flappy thing (I have no idea what it's called). I used a pin to mark out my pattern.

I used the same techniques to make the bottom flappy thing (I have no idea what it’s called). I used a pin to mark out my pattern.

I think in the actual costume, the red pieces are sewn in, but I couldn’t figure out how to do that without driving myself crazy. I decided to paint them in instead.


Iwas able to track down the antique two-tone slotted conchos used in the actual costume.  However, as I don’t have the money to pay $6 PER PIECE for these things, I went the much cheaper route by buying silver-toned ones and painting them. They don’t look exactly right, but for the price, they’ll do.

Before and after gold paint

Before and after gold paint

Finished (L) and prior to antiquing (R)

Finished (L) and prior to antiquing (R)

I finally got to put my Bedazzler to use (I got it on sale, okay?) in attaching the studs between the conchos.

I finally got to put my Bedazzler to use (I got it on sale, okay?) in attaching the studs between the conchos.

That’s all I have for now. I should have most of this costume done by the end of the week and will post more then.

6 responses »

  1. Wow, looks awesome! I do like the post-apocalyptic style, since one of my favorite larp events is a post-apocalyptic setting. I always find it difficult to make that kind of costumes look feminine enough, but you did a very good job 🙂

  2. Whoah! I never thought that it could be done like that!
    Super Amazing!

    And also, I want to ask how wide are the conchos you used? Thank you!

  3. Greetings from Italy, your Mulan once upon a time cosplay is amazing but some photos are not visible any more if you have a youtube tuttorial will be great. Congratulations

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s