Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Textile printing for the God of Poverty

Our last textile printing projects date back three years, when we crafted four laborious costumes in a year. The first ones were Luminara and Barriss and the second batch was Ivy and Yoshimitsu and they all required printing designs or uniform patterns. After we finished Ivy and Yoshimitsu it was clear to me that fabric printing was something I would't have on my to do-list for quite some time. Apparently three years was the required recovery time for me and I’m back on my knees with printing pastes, templates and tapes!

I’ve started three individual projects this year for spring and summer conventions. One of them doesn’t (thankfully) include printing, but two of them just crave it. Textile printing was the only possible choice for me when facing the problem of not finding suitable fabrics, since they most likely don’t exist at all. And after a long time, I really enjoyed this particular printing project even if I had some small setbacks.

The checkered skirt fabric is for a costume I started about a month ago. Recently I’ve had more spare time than I normally do and I’ve spent some evenings reading and watching new series. Even marathons have occurred. One of the new acquaintances was Noragami and since I'm quite fond of pleated skirts and whacky side characters, I immediately fell for Ebisu Kofuku.

I’ve been dreaming of purchasing screens and all the fancy stuff to go with, but with this project I just used the easy stencil and a sponge technique. I used both emulsion and paste colours to achieve the wanted look. For example the skirt fabric has two sets of stripes crossing. The magenta ones are emulsion based so that they are “sheer” and the yellow ones are made with cover paste.

First I made calculations based on the references, taped the long horizontal lines with blue masking tape. Blue is the best in this case, because it doesn’t stick too strongly to the fabric or leave tacky glue behind. After the horizontal lines, I printed the vertical ones and let them set properly before moving to the yellow lines. The yellow lines cross the magenta ones from the middle. After the colours had dried I ironed the fabrics to set the print.

The costume itself is actually ready with basic white shirt, pleated skirt and matching tie. I finished the garments probably a week ago. The brown multipurpose/-character shoes and black knee socks I snatched fron my closet. I still need to have another look at the wig. I think I need to style  it some more. I also thought about crafting Kofuku's shinki, Kokki.

I took a quick snapshot of the costume with my phone. Shame that the ruffles aren't visible from that angle...

I didn’t have any particular convention in mind when I started to make the costume. I just got exited about Kofuku and her outfit, which finally filled my easy-fun-and-cool summer costume void. You could argue about pleats being easy and fun after you have unpacked them from your cramped suitcase, but I try to reassure myself that irons and ironing boards can nowadays be found from the cosplay dressing rooms in major conventions.

I’m not going to reveal the other costume projects yet. They are still so all over the place and I want to have something real to show before making a fuzz about them. But I will reveal that I'm going to fullfil a costume dream I've had since I started cosplaying... I'm goint to sew my first kimono!


  1. Hi, I'm also trying to figure out how to make the skirt and tie for a friend, thanks for all the pictures, however since we are all a bit new to this, what exactly did you use to make the magenta and yellow lines? I googled some but didn't get much lol. I would mind just buying something like this outright but I can't find it anywhere online :(

    1. Hi there!

      The colours I used are specifically manufactured for textile printing. There are different colours for different fabrics and with different effects. I'm not sure are the terms translated correctly, but in general "emulsion" colours are translucent and are meant for light coloured fabrics and "paste" colors are opaque even on darker fabrics.

      You can find textile printing colours from your local craft shop or online. Good luck with your costume!

    2. Hi! I love your finished project! Very cute! :) I too am working on a project and your blog is the first site I've run into with any direction that would help. I'm completely clueless. Would you mind if I asked if you remember what brands you used for your paint?

    3. The fabric paints I used are from a Finnish company, Emo- tuotanto Oy. Unfortunately, I don't know if they ship abroad or not. But still, best of luck with your project! :)

  2. Hello! I'm making this project too but I wonder how did you make that lines? I mean what exactly you did to the blue masking tape? Did you just apply the paint on the masking tape, or how? i'm confusing here..need your help please QAQ
    oh and thanks before..i love your cosplay >_<)d

    1. Hi there! Thank you and sorry about this very, very late reply! In short, I had two masking tapes parallel to each other. I applied the fabric paint "inside" them to form the stripe. I let the paint dry and then removed the tapes.