Queen of Kei artbook design from the 12 Kingdoms series
I finally have finished pictures of my Youko! I actually had this costume mostly completed July of 2012, but I was unhappy with how most of it turned out, so I reworked it and re-debuted it at Fanime 2013.
12 Kingdoms is one of those stories that's not as well known but is truly worth your time. The anime was recommended to me by a friend and I fell in love from episode one. Then years later another friend informed me that there was a book series and it was even better than the show! As soon as I picked up that book I couldn't put it down. The struggles that Youko endures were so inspiring to me, I swear I cry every time I read it. Youko started out as a meek girl, struggling to survive on her own, then she transforms in to a strong, confident queen by the end of the series and it's so moving. Cosplaying her means so much to me and I love finding others who recognize and appreciate this hidden gem of a story.
The wig is made up of two wavy red wigs. I took one apart and just added it as wefts for the main wig. The top knot was a bit of a challenge. It wouldn't stay up with the huge and heavy hairpin, so I actually had to add in something to stabilize it. The beads were something I found at Michaels and thought it was perfect! All I did was add the lime beads to it (which by coincidence matched my resin gems in my armor). The hairpin was made with knitting needles and paperclay. There is also a resin gem in the center of the flower.
The armor is all wonderflex and the raised designs are funfoam. It was a bit of a pain cutting out all the flowers and then having to wait for the glue to dry before I could place the rest... but I think it was worth it!! All the gems are made with resin.
The white fabric for the sleeves and skirt was an awesome batik dyed cotton fabric I found. In the artbook she has some strange splotchy designs and this fabric was nearly a perfect replica of that. The brown skirt and tunic are all crepe. The huge flower design was all done with applique, which was also a slow process. I even did the same applique on my socks, which I also made. The cape is a red black taffeta of course. I always seem to default to taffeta for my capes. :P
The shoes were a bit trickier. I had to pattern the shape and then applique the designs. After appliques I had to find how to refit it to the shoe. Needless to say there is a lot of glue holding those suckers together.
The sword I just barely managed to finish before the con, but I am so glad I did. It makes for cool serious poses! The blade is a worked piece of wood and the handle is a dowel covered in funfoam with the designs carved out. The cross guard is paperclay with funfoam for the raised designs and the ring at the end is wonderflex. It's not quite finished yet, I still have the red tassels and the scabbard to finish... but hopefully those will be done soon.
Update: The scabbard has been finished. It's made of wonderflex with funfoam for the raised designs. The monkey's face was pretty difficult to cut out, but he ended up looking really cool! The eyes were done with resin and I even added little pupils so he could stare back at you.