Hellsing group at Anime North 2002

Series: Hellsing
Characters: Alucard (left), Seras Victoria (middle), Integra Wingates Hellsing (right)
Made for: Anime North 2002
Worn at: Anime North 2002 (Masquerade), BakuretsuCon 2002 (Masquerade), Shoujocon 2002 (hall costume)
Awards won: "Best Musical" (presentation, novice) AN 2002, "Best Recreation" (workmanship, novice) AN 2002; "Best Skit" (presentation) BakuretsuCon 2002

Construction details (general): Oh, where to start with these. These costumes are better known as "the costumes that ate our lives for two months." No matter what anybody says, you cannot (sanely) make three complicated costumes in two months. But, we did. 'Cause we're insane, of course.

I suppose I can starting by saying that I did most of the work on the Seras costume (say, 80%), while Matt did everything else, because I was mostly busy with finals. This is also the place where we acquired a second sewing machine, since my dear, dear machine, a Singer Featherweight 221-1, made in 1953, lacked a buttonhole foot (as one might expect, from a machine 50 years old), and if there's one thing Hellsing has, it's buttons. This is also where we named said sewing machines the Casull and the Jackal, after Alucard's guns, because one (the not-Featherweight, a 70s Singer) was white, and the other (the Featherweight) was black. Yes, we're dorks.

I should probably also add that the Alucard costume was made to fit both Rebecca and Matt, since we knew Rebecca could only be our Alucard for AN, and Matt might want to wear the costume in the future. This caused additional difficulties, as you might imagine, and there are parts that fit Rebecca better (the pants), and parts that fit Matt better (the vest).

Rebecca as Alucard

Construction details (Alucard): The Alucard costume had 8 major components: shirt, pants, vest, frock coat, hat, gloves, glasses, and tie. It took the most time of any of them, as you might imagine, and we were still finishing it on the way to AN 2002. In general, we can tell the anime character designers (and Kouta Hirano, to a lesser extent), were vastly influenced by Victorian fashion, because a large number of the patterns came from historical costumers.

Shirt: Alucard was apparently a waiter in a past life, because the kind of collar he has looks very much like the kind of collars waiters today do. Turns out, it's actually a Victorian-style collar (not surprisingly, considering the above). Laughing Moon Mercantile's #107 Victorian/Edwardian Men's Shirts (1845-1920), View A, with a wing collar, and a couple of modifications, worked exceptionally well for us. We also used this pattern for Integra's similar, but less waiter-ish, shirt.

The fabric we used was a very heavy bleached muslin, but it's still a little see-through. However, considered the layers piled upon this one, it's no worry. We used button forms that allowed you to cover them with a fabric of your choice for the buttons, just so they would match.

Pants: We used the pants pattern from a Vogue men's suit pattern, I do believe, for these pants. This and the vest were made out of black wool, which is one of (many) reasons why the Hellsing costumes bankrupted Matt and I. Still, heh, it means they make a great outfit IRL.... or would, if the pants weren't huge on Matt. There's still the vest....

Vest: The vest, too, was made from black wool; and the pattern used was another Victorian (er, well, Wild West; same time period, similar fashions) pattern, from Buckaroo Bobbins' Men's Vests pattern. (I believe we used the Virginia City view, because it was double-breasted, like Alucard's vest). This is probably the single best part of the costume, and I applaud Matt on such a fine job on his first costume-making attempt. It fits him exceptionally well, but since men's vest were never meant to go over women's hips, fits Rebecca less well. We used cover-your-own buttons here, as well.

Frock Coat: Once we found out that Alucard's infamous coat was called a frock coat, it was only a matter of choosing among the many historical pattern makers who offered frock coats. We again chose Buckaroo Bobbins, and their Gentleman's Frock Coat pattern. We had to add Alucard's shoulder flaps in, which was our only major modification. The fabric we chose was, I believe, a (probably too expensive) red cotton or blend of some sort. Also, lots of red plastic buttons died for the sake of this frock coat. Take a look at how many Alucard has on his sleeves in the anime, and you'll see what we mean.

Hat: For the sake of a well-made hat, Matt and I decided to journey bravely into the land of millinery. We bought a book that provided a likely introduction to the topic, Classic Millinery Techniques, which showed us how to make a boater, the kind of hat Alucard has. We used the same red fabric from the frock coat for the hat, and, with supplies from Judith M Hat & Millinery Supplies, and a lot of handsewing, Matt constructed the base of the boater over a couple of weeks.

Then, of course, remained the task of applying the pinkish strips that form the band of the hat. I spent one long night sewing and turning inside out about 20 narrow loops of pink fabric, and then, with the help of fabric-covered buttons, Matt handsewed them all on. He didn't finish this step until we were halfway to Toronto for AN!

Gloves: We were going to make gloves, and then sew/paint/transfer Alucard's sigil to them, but Matt got frustrated with making three pairs of gloves when he could barely get past the first, and just ordered three pairs of gloves for Alucard, Seras, and Integra. We used the version of the Alucard sigil found on Hellsing Headquarters (site defunct), printed it out on transfer paper, and transferred it to the gloves.

(Unfortunately, these gloves are falling apart fast.... hopefully we can redo them in a more durable way).

Glasses: We spent the whole two months in the Search for the Perfect Round, Yellow Glasses, and only came marginally close. Still, we took what we had, and Matt bought leather scraps from Wal-Mart and crazy glued them in appropriate shapes to the sides of the frames, making almost (but not quite) perfect Alucard glasses.

Of course, you know that after AN was over we found perfectly round glasses. Duh. And then we embarked on the task of covering them with glass paint in order to mke them perfectly round, yellow glasses. Those were premiered at Shoujocon 2002.

Tie: We thought one of the ties that came with Laughing Moon's shirt pattern might work, but we ended up inventing our own kind of tie, and a way to tie it, for this. It's a tied that's narrow at the ends, and bows out in the center, and it's tied a little different from a standard tie knot. We made it out of a red satin material. We used the same basic design for the blue Integra tie, as well.

Other details: Ace bandages were used quite liberally to bind down Rebecca's bust.

Matt as Seras Victoria

Construction details (Seras): Believe it or not, this was the easiest costume to make. I made the skirt over spring break, and made other parts of before finals killed me.

Skirt: I don't think I've ever made an easier piece of clothing. We used one of those Simplicity, 6 patterns-in-one patterns, and only realized halfway through that the slit in the view we were making was in the front, not the back. So we turned the pieces around; problem solved. I made this one is a day, go me. And I got to use a zipper foot for the first time! Let me tell you, a zipper foot on a Featherweight is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, have it your way) Matt lost weight before AN, so we had to take in the side seams at the convention itself. And then, take the out the next day, when Rebecca decided to wear the costume. Thank goodness for basting!

Shirt: The base of the shirt is another of those Simplicity 6-in-one patterns, but it required some heavy modifications for the collar. Basically, we constructed the basic shirt pattern with no collar, and then Matt completely improvised the collar and the epaulets (with darker fabrics) and the badges (with help from fabric paint and his neat handwriting).

Cotton, or a cotton/poly blend, was used for shirt and skirt. We're big cotton fans, can you tell? No shiny stuff for us. Lots of blue plastic buttons died for our sins here. But, heh, Matt learned how to sew on a button himself, so I can't complain too much.

Gloves: were purchased, in the same batch with Alucard and Integra's gloves.

Shoes: Thank goodness for DSW Shoes. We found these size 11, high-heeled, winter boots on sale that were perfect Seras style.

Stockings: We tried just buying thigh highs for this purpose, but they weren't opaque enough. So, in a spurt of cleverness that astonished me, Matt took his old dance tights, cut off the legs, cut the elastic bands out of the thigh highs, and sewed them into the dance tights legs, forming opaque thigh highs. Go him!

Other details: Matt dyed his hair red (again) for Seras, so no wig necessary. The box that looks a lot like the Halconnen ammo case is actually the case for my Singer Featherweight ^_^ Came in handy to carry stuff around the con, too! The belt is mine; Matt was stealing my clothes, as usual.

Lise as Integra

Construction details (Integra): I love Integra. I couldn't stop smiling the whole time I was in that costume, which, unfortunately, is not in character. Despite my Integra love, I had very little part in the making of this costume. Matt did all the work (with a couple of fittings), and it fits me amazingly well (a little tight in the waist, but that can be fixed).

Suit: Ah, Integra, and her omnipresent suit. We were torn as to whether we should buy a men's suit pattern or a women's suit pattern, since (dorky Hellsing fans that we are) we noticed that even though her suit has a feminine cut, the buttons are still on the male side.

We ended up buying a Vogue women's suit pattern (on sale! Good thing, Vogue patterns are pricy), which we used for the jacket and the pants. We were going to go with a wool for this as well, but at $13 a yard, that was Too Much (Matt claims we never found a good wool fabric that matched, color-wise, so it's up to you which of us you believe), so we found a high quality polyester that worked just as well, and looked just as good. More of those cover-your-own buttons were used here, as well: 8, in fact. I know, because I sewed them all on.

Shirt: The shirt is very similar to Alucard's. In fact, I can't tell them apart, and always have to have Matt tell me which is which. I think the Integra shirt has a longer, pointier collar. But then, who can tell.

Tie: The tie, except for color, is identical to Alucard's.

Wig: This was my first foray into fake hair, but I think I did well with Witch Wig's (site defunct) Alicia XL in Golden Blonde.

Other details: I got to wear my own glasses! That made me happy. Also, the gloves were purchased, and the shoes were mine already. Slashmistress Gumi member Maggie loaned me a cross to use for Anime North 2002 and for Shoujocon 2002; at BakuretsuCon 2002, I used my ol' Catholic school girl cross from home.

Don't forget Sparky!: The gag in our skit for which we won "Best Musical" was a hellhound sock puppet that Alucard wore (since named Sparky). Sparky literally was a sock puppet. One of Matt's socks was sacrificed for this purpose, as well as many, many googly eyes.

Omake: We had fun in these costumes. Lots of fun ^_^ (Clicking will open a larger image)

Alucard's characteristic hand pose The Silicon & Thread Fleet in a goofier moment The construction of Sparky Integra, looking sexy Matt looks good, I look like I've seen God