WHY I MADE THIS COSTUME
Ever since Sieglinde (pronounced “seeg-lin-duh”) debuted in the “Black Butler” manga, I instantly fell in love with her. Everything from her personality, her character design, and her role in the Emerald Witch arc skyrocketed her to a place among my top 3 favorite characters in the series. I knew I had to cosplay her once I gained the skills and confidence to attempt to create her costume. There are so many details, and I just wanted to capture them all. After finishing Edea Kramer, I decided to finally bring Sieglinde to life.
HOW I MADE THIS COSTUME
I studied Sieglinde in every panel of the manga that she appeared in with her medieval Germanic costume. I broke down her costume into two pieces: a black satin gown, and an emerald velvet coat with a bow-train that would be worn over it. First, I sewed the gown out of black casa satin. The bodice is shirred in the back, and the skirt is two-tiered, with hidden pockets in the lower tier (hooray for pockets in costumes!). I found lace that closely matched the hem of her gown in the manga artwork, and hand-stitched it around the hem of the upper skirt. For the lower skirt, since it would be dragging along the ground, I decided to go with a cheaper lace.
The coat was the most difficult part of the costume. Velvet is such a beautiful and luxurious fabric, and requires SO. MUCH. HAND. SEWING. Using a blazer from my personal wardrobe, I drafted a pattern (with several redraws). For every piece of velvet I cut out for the bodice portion of the coat, I also hand-basted interfacing to it for support and structure. Upon closer look at her sleeves in the manga, I thought that the puff sleeves looked incredibly sloppy. Sure, fine in manga artwork, but it wouldn’t look very flattering in real life, so I drew inspiration from medieval German gowns and created puff-and-slash sleeves.
Sewing with velvet wasn’t the only difficult part of the coat. There were so many details on it. The front panel of the coat was difficult. I hunted through the depths of Etsy to find gold buttons I would be happy with–the right size, color, and amount of details. At last, I settled on gold buttons shaped like roses. Not accurate to the manga, but I thought the fairy tale-like details were fitting for the Emerald Witch. Sewing on the buttons was not the difficult part. What was challenging were the gold ropes in the front. I pulled an all-nighter before Fanime cutting them, struggling to keep them from fraying, and sewing them onto the jacket. I used hot glue to keep the ends from fraying, and to connect the ends together, and learned the hard way to never try to jam a needle through hardened hot glue. They ended up being so heavy, they needed to be stitched down many times for reinforcement so that they would stay on.
The horned headdress was made out of a headband with cut-up upside-down paper cups attached to it with 16-gauge wire. I also used crumpled-up pieces of scrap paper and duct tape to create the pointed horn shapes on top of the cups. Then, I covered the entire headdress with cheap felt-like black fabric with a combination of hot glue and hand-sewing before hand-stitching black velvet on top. I sewed ruffles out of white satin leftovers from my Samurai Jack cosplay, and hand-stitched pearls, gold trim, and bows to complete the headdress.
Anything that wasn’t finished during my all-nighter but could be hand-stitched (the ropes on the front panel and the lace for the skirt hems) were saved for when I got to the hotel. I did a couple of shoots, and then stayed up until 3AM finishing the costume.
THOUGHTS ON THIS COSTUME
As of now, this is my favorite personal cosplay, and the costume I feel the most beautiful in. During the making of this costume, I got a new job, and that cut into what would have been an ample amount of time to finish Sieglinde, so I ended up being super sleep-deprived for Fanime and was running on adrenaline for the entire weekend. But I relished the entire process of bringing Sieglinde to life. I loved the beautiful fabrics I worked with, and am so happy with all the details. Since Sieglinde is a manga-only character as of now, I was thrilled whenever people recognized who I was (Black Butler manga readers, I love you!). I also entered Sieglinde into the Fanime Masquerade, and did a walk-on to a segment of Apocalyptica’s instrumental version of “Bittersweet” (one of my favorite songs!). I am so honored and proud of receiving the Director’s Choice Award. There a few things I wish I could improve on the costume, but I think everyone feels that way about their creations. Bringing Sieglinde to life is a dream come true, and I do hope to cosplay her at many more events to come.