Over the last number of years, I’ve been asked about how I made my best friend’s Sakura costume. We made the costume for her back in 2006 when Shippuden was first starting in the manga and had to figure out a number of things. The main thing was the zipper and skirt. And I’ve created a tutorial for anyone who is curious about the process. I was happy to have been invited to write a guest post and this was one of the first things that came to mind to share since I’ve been asked about it so much for the last five years. If something needs clarifying, I will do my best to help. Also, I might add the boots to this some time since I get asked about those too. For now, on to the tutorial.
Step 1: Complete your shirt
Just follow the directions for whatever pattern you use to make the basic shirt, omitting any kind of closures it may tell you to put in. And then step back and look at this poor, unassuming little shirt. It doesn’t realize it’s about to be split right down the middle!
Step 2: Zipper Placement
Time for the work. So you will want to get a separating zipper, and one a little longer because you have to compensate for the curve. Now, lay it out on the shirt where you want to have it in the finished product. Pin it directly to the shirt as you get it where you want it. You will have to clip the zipper tape to get the curve, so just take the tip of your scissors and clip it to just before you hit the teeth.
Step 3: Sketching the Line
After you have your zipper where you want it, slowly pull the pins, holding down the zipper with one hand. As you pull the zipper away from the shirt, take chalk or a light colored pencil and trace where the teeth of the zipper meet. This is where you will be cutting in the next step.
Step 4: Here comes the scary part!
After the zipper is completely away from the shirt and the line is visible, take a deep breath and cut the sucker right down the line. It’s scary to cut up all that hard work, I know. But trust me, it’s not that bad.
Step 5: Pinning the Zipper
Once everything is all cut out, separate the two sides of your zipper and begin to pin them in. You will want to turn under the shirt fabric just a bit to hide the raw edges. And if you need to do so, clip a bit of the fabric to make it easier to turn, and it’s much smoother looking on the front too.
Step 6: Stitching down the zipper
Stitch the zipper down using a zipper foot. It will make life much easier, trust me.
Step 7: The Zipper’s Done!
And that’s how it should look^^
Step 8: Tools
Here’s the secret to my circles. I use Heat N Bond on the back of white cotton fabric and then draw the circles with a cd tower and the top from a ready-made cake icing container. Woo…the secret is out!
Step 9: Placement
Center the circle wherever you choose for it to sit. Make sure you are happy with it where it is before you iron.
Step 10: Pressing
I just follow the directions on the Heat N Bond. Press with no steam with a damp pressing cloth for about ten seconds. Just read the directions on whatever you use and you will be fine.
Step 11: Voila!
We have a circle!
Step 12: Materials
So here is what I used for the skirt. I already cut out the front and back pieces. Cut two pieces each for the front and back. This will hide all raw edges and give you a nice smooth skirt. The back is slightly wider than the front. Also shown are the zippers, buckles, and grommets used for the skirt. Time to start working!
Step 13: Putting it together
You will want to stitch the two fronts together with probably a 5/8″ seam, that’s just standard. Stitch around both sides and the top. Once sewn, trim the seams and clip the corners and turn it right side out. I always press between each step, but that will be up to you as you work.
Step 14: Cutting
In the center, you will want to mark how high up your zipper goes. For this skirt, the customer is longer legged, so I used a 12″ zipper. I usually use a 7″, but compensate for height. Once marked, just cut through both layers to that point. Easy enough!
Step 15: Pinned
Once it’s all cut, place the zipper in the cut, I usually cut off the little 5/8″ extra on the tape so that I can just encase the zipper in the hem. You will want to fold over the sides on the zipper tape to hide the raw edges, then fold the hem over one side and then just even it out on the back.
Step 16: Top Stitched
This is what it will look like once all the top stitching is done.
Step 17: Buckles
I just cut strips a little over twice the size of the inside of the buckle and stitch them together, turn them right sides out, press, and then stitch the buckles in and put in a few grommets to make it easier to close. They are then just stitched down into place where I need them to be on the skirts. Make sure to put the pieces with the buckles on the back of the skirt and the pieces with the grommets on the front.
Step 18: Front and Back
Buckles and straps all on and it’s ready to wear! For the easiest wear, sew the front and back pieces to the front and back of the shorts you plan to wear with this costume. It will make it easier in the long run…trust me.
Step 19: Final Product
A nice side view of the skirt all completed.
And the entire costume in action:
This method can be applied to Sakura’s dress as well as her Shippuden shirt. Here’s a finished version of her sleeveless dress I made a while back.
A little info about me while we are at it since I think I should introduce myself in my first post.
I am a 28 year-old cosplayer who works in retail as a profession, but am a designer at heart. I have been cosplaying for ten years now and have learned a trick or two in the process. I sew for myself, friends, and do commission work, so I’m always making costumes when I’m not working at my real job. Feel free to comment with questions, concerns, or anything else you might have! If you want to ask me something more in depth than comments allow, you can contact me at my email: firstname.lastname@example.org I use that one for anything and everything cosplay related.
Coming soon: Pleating tutorial for Madam Red from Kuroshitsuji and a scarf tutorial for Lavi from D.Gray-Man.