Princess Peach - Super Mario Bros.
Time to Make: 60 hours
Timeline of Construction: January - July 2013
Otakuthon 2013 & Beyond (Costume Updated)
Anime North 2013 (Costume Version 1)
I've always had it at the back of my mind that I would like to Cosplay Princess Peach. Growing up she was one of my favourite video game characters. Whenever I had the chance to play as her in any Mario game (like Smash Bros. Brawl, Mario Kart, Super Mario Bros. 2) I always insisted on playing as her. I guess I like that she's a princess and I love that her dress is pink. My appreciation for Peach is pretty shallow, but I did grow to like her when I was a kid. XD
I was considering eventually getting the costume commissioned, but in January 2013 when I found out that Ammie would be
pushing back an Escaflowne costume commission that I had asked her to make me for Anime North, I decided to look into other costume options for myself
for AN. I was browsing McCall's pattern website when I came across pattern M6420 which reminded me a lot of Peach's dress.
The pattern was listed as being easy so I figured why not give the costume a shot. After getting a lot of experience from
making Rei's Halloween Lolita dress, I figured I could tackle another fairly complicated costume. I purchased fabric for
the costume in late January from the fabric district and I was able to order the pattern that I wanted during a pattern sale on McCall's website
soon afterward. I got working on the costume in mid-February when the pattern arrived.
The pattern was listed as being easy, but honestly, it turned out to be quite tedious and frustrating. I decided to make
the costume out of nice quality satin and I learned rather quickly that satin is an awful material to work with. It frays
quite a bit, but even worse, the material can get caught on pins, sharp nails... you name it, and that creates horrible
snags in the material. My costume is littered with them. Nothing was easy about this costume because everything had to be redone at least a couple of times. I created a mock-up of the bodice of the dress and it seemed to fit fine, but that didn't accommodate for the weight of the skirt so by the time I got all of the costume together it didn't fit me properly. It also didn't help that a machine needle broke while I was sewing part of the front of the bodice and I had to completely remake the panel because the break created a huge diagonal snag. (>.<) I had completely finished the bodice (which is lined) minus the collar when I realized one of the bust seams looked funny and I had to open up the lining to redo it.
An interesting feature of the top is that I decided to stuff the sleeves since hers look rather puffy. I'm rather proud of how the sleeves turned out. The collar of the bodice took a few tries to draft. I had to re-buy the fabric that I had purchased for the contrast pink layer. Originally I had purchased rather thin bridal satin, but the colour was too red so I bought a darker shade of pink that was a much thicker fabric. The colour was better and the thickness made it work better for the collar. I wasn't really that accurate with Peach's contrast pink dress colour. I thought the darker pink stood out and looked a little nicer than making my pinks a little more uniform. The collar gave me a lot of trouble because the bodice shape was a little too big and despite taking the costume in at the back, that didn't completely deal with the excess so I tried to pull some of that into the collar. After sewing it on about 3 times my mother sewed it for me. I still had some excess material around the collar, but it looked a lot better.
The skirt was a tremendous pain in the butt to make. I had purchased a little bit less material than the pattern called for and it took me several tries to lay out the pattern pieces to get the skirt pieces to fit (and it ended up being a bit short on one of the panels). I knew I probably had made the skirt overly long, anyway, but I wanted to be sure just in case. I ordered a 3 tier hoop skirt through eBay which arrived after I had started working on the skirt. Thankfully the skirt was long enough to accommodate the curve of the hoops.
I created a peplum using the pattern. It was fairly straight forward although gathering it took a while. The most difficult part about dealing with the skirt was gathering the top of it. It took forever to get it to work as I had trouble getting my machine to actually make a decent stitch for pulling. The machine I have for myself was a cheap one that didn't have proper stitch functions. Eventually I found my grandmother's old machine and that made a world of difference. Many tears were shed trying to get the bodice, peplum and skirt attached when it came time to bring the dress together. It was slow torture. It probably took me a week to finally get all the gathers right and then a few days to find a way to actually sew it properly with a machine. It took me over an hour with breaks to get it to sew with my own machine (which seemed to be the only machine that could manage so many layers of gathered fabric). It didn't turn out that well, though. Some of the gathers didn't catch as well as I would have liked and parts of the skirt turned out to be more gathered than other parts. Sadly, after spending so much time sewing the lining closed and having so much trouble with it, I decided not to re-do it. I honestly don't think I could have managed to re-sew it. I was at my wits end.
The bottom of Peach's dress had a layer of darker pink fabric. I decided to interpret it as a ruffle as I've been on a bit of a roll with ruffling lately. It was fairly straightforward to make. The biggest issue I had with it was that the skirt panels all sort of turned out to be different lengths so when it came time to attach the ruffles it was hard to position it properly. When I put the last stitch into the dress a week before AN the sense of relief that I had was immense. I honestly didn't think after Shinku that a costume could be that bad, but despite being an "easy" pattern, making Princess Peach was really hard.
In terms of the accessories, I bought a pair of gloves that were the same as my Sailor Scout gloves. I just took them in a bit to better fit me. Peach's gloves are meant to open up around the top but I wasn't sure how to alter the gloves so I decided to leave it. I had originally intended to buy a crown and brooch online after seeing one that looked awesome, but after a couple of months of waiting for the seller to re-list the item after they had sold out, the seller flaked so I had to look for an alternate. I approached my friend Adrien with the commission and he agreed. He had previously made my Saturn staff, my S.T.A.R.S. gun for Rebecca and my locket for young Sherry Birkin so his prop work is top notch. He made the gems out of resin (a first for him) and created the crown with a combo of wonderflex and foam. The end result was amazing! The brooch and crown attach using magnets that worked out surprisingly well. I purchased a pair of clip-on earrings through Etsy and repainted them to be a darker shade of blue to better match the crown and brooch. I also bought pink high heels on eBay. They turned out to be a tad big, but I really wanted the heels to elevate my costume off of the ground. In April 2014 I bought Payless Comfort Plus high heels because they finally started making pink versions of those shoes. I find those shoes to be tremendously comfortable and I was quite happy to replace my old shoes.
The wig was an Arda Luthien in platinum blonde. To be really accurate, Peach's hair comes to a number of points around the side of her head and has layers around the back. I figured the curled layers of the Luthien gave a nice realistic look to her layers. As for the points, I decided not to do them all. With Pan's help we did create a couple of large curls around my forehead. They're rather accentuated, but they have a neat effect. lol They sort of look like a silly mustache. XD Pan also trimmed my bangs and created sideburns. I really appreciate her help especially with the big curls! It took a lot of hairspray to get them to stay!
In the end I'm fairly happy with this costume. It took a lot of time, blood, sweat and tears and a lot of money, but another fun childhood dream sort of became a reality. At times I debated giving up on the costume. At one point I even asked my friend Ammie if I could give her the costume when it was half done and pay her to finish it, but I'm kind of happy I stuck with it. It might not be the greatest Peach costume or my best work, but I'm proud of myself for seeing it through. I did really want to learn one day how to make a ball gown. It's really not that complicated, but the type of fabric you're working with and the heaviness of the costume with gathering really can make or break how tricky it is. Plus, it didn't help that satin is a pretty evil fabric. I'm hoping to get quite a bit of wear out of my Princess Peach costume given how much work it was. In the future I'll be sticking to making simple costumes! XD
The costume received a great reaction when I wore it at Anime North for the first time. I took all of the compliments to heart because of the time and effort it took to make this costume. It meant a lot to me. It was kind of hard to manage moving around when I had to pull up the hoop skirt and dress to walk. It definitely made for a different experience. I was impressed that the dress managed to make it through the con with just a few dirt spots on the ruffles and a couple of small rips along the bottom. I met a pair of awesome Mario and Luigi Cosplayers at AN who hung out with me for a little while on Saturday evening of the con. They were acting in character and were really awesome. They even helped me find the strap of my shoes when I lost a strap from my backup Shinku shoes that I had been wearing. They were my heroes!
After seeing photos of the costume from AN, I decided that I wanted to fix up the parts that really frustrated me and that I rushed. I took in the shoulder and bust seams and I had to re-set the tops of the sleeves. I also completely re-made the collar. This time the scallop shape was better and the collar was much smaller. I also completely took apart the bodice and the skirt so I could better spread out the gathering. The gathering was a bit uneven with the left side being much flatter than the right. I pushed the excess more to the sides and the back so it's not quite so unbalanced. I also purchased a new hoop skirt. My old 3-hoop skirt didn't quite support the full weight of the dress so it was very difficult to walk in and fell a little flat. I had to pull up the dress for every step. The new 4-hoop skirt that I bought is a little fuller and does a much better job supporting the dress. I took in the waist of the hoop skirt a little bit so it's much better for walking.
Although I wasn't able to fully get rid of the excess fabric around the collar area of the dress, I was able to minimize it quite a bit and it does look a lot better. To completely fix it I would have to take apart the entire bodice and peplum and re-pattern the top so I've done the best I can given the circumstances. I'm glad I took a slight break from working on the costume right after Anime North. Working on the alterations over the course of about a month from early June to early July gave me the perspective necessary to get the work done without rushing it. It was a real labour of love making this costume. Cosplaying Princess Peach was definitely a highlight of my Cosplay career given how long it took. I really had to use all of my skills to make this costume a reality. (^^)
Events/Conventions this costume was worn to
Anime North 2013 (Saturday), Otakuthon 2013 (Saturday) & Anime North 2014 (Saturday Afternoon)
Professoryaoi, Pan, Cosplay For a Cure, DragonFly188, Santiago Photography, Joe Huang, EleventhPhotograph, Mauricio Calero & Stillvisions