Revolutionary Girl Utena

Utena Tenjou

VARIATION: Orignal Manga Colors
COMPLETED: December 2013
DEBUTED: IkkiCon 2013

WORN TO: IkkiCon 2013, KatsuCon 2014, Anime Central 2014, KumoriCon 2014

COST: <$100



Back when I first started cosplaying, the very first costume I ever made, with my Nana's help, was Utena Tenjou, in her school form.  Since I was allowed to call all the shots, the end results were rather dismal, since I knew nothing about clothing, or sewing.  Not long ago, I took a look at it and realized -- what better way to show how far I've come in this hobby, than to remake my first costume!  Of course, over the years I've come to find out that I look terrible in pale pink hair, so I opted for the lesser-known early-manga color scheme, in pink, baby blue, and strawberry blonde.


Scroll down, or Click Here to read about how I made this costume.

Costume Construction

For the record, I am aware that my color choices aren't exactly on-par.  The thing about the early manga illustrations is that the color of her uniform varies from a baby pink, to fuschia, while her hair ranges from a light yellow blonde, to the nearly orange seen in the picture I've posted here.   For my purposes, I already owned a wig in #144 (Gold Coin) that was the perfect base style, so it's what I used.  As far as my selection of shade for the uniform, it came down to 2 factors.  The reference image I had on me at the time leaned more towards the fuschia, but the deciding factor for me was to find a stretch-knit and a non-stretch that matched in color.  I succeeded in finding a stretch knit, and a quilters cotton, that matched EXACTLY, and I took it as a sign from the cosplay gods.

As mentioned above, the wig is a Linda in #144, with only a little bit of bang-trimming, back-combing, and hair-spraying.  The jacket was made almost completely off a butterick jacket pattern -- the one I also used for Mytho's school uniform, and the base for my jacket for Magical-Girl form Homura Akemi. The only modifications were to split the side and back seams, and fold the fabric in ever-so-slightly to achieve that 'flared' slit.  All the trim work is light blue bias tape, and the pockets are facade made of a matching quilt-binding.  I am extremely proud of all the trim work, as I learned to do mitered corners and stitch-in-the-ditch for this costume, and I LOVE how clean the end result is.  Obviously, I went with the cartoony look on this one, so I actually painted all of my buttons with an 'inca gold' colored metalic paint, and then bought a cotton to match as closely as possible for the triangles on the collar; said triangles are appliqued/satin stitched on.   The shorts were made off a basic leggings pattern I had lying around, and taught me the tricks of having the right kind of needle in your machine for knit fabric, as well as tension adjusting for sewing on a stretch fabric with a zig-zag stitch.  Oddly, the shorts probably took me longer to figure out than the body of the jacket.  The socks are extremely jacked-up, and yes, I made them -- they are the same stretch fabric used on the shorts, using the stir-up bottom part of the same leggings pattern... then I attached a tube piece onto the front, so they had a way to stay anchored inside my shoes.  the shoes themselves are white vinyl... saddle-shoe like lace-ups that I bought ages ago when I first entertained the idea of cosplaying Utena again.  A quick coat of paint to the toes and heels, and then I re-laced them.  Luckily, the shoes are so tight, I laced them loosely and they still fit snug to my feet.  I knotted the laces and tucked the ends, and glued my little bows onto the knots, effectively turning my shoes into slip-ons.  The ring is actually the same ring I made back in 2004, with a little sanding on the inside to better fit my finger, and a quick paint touch-up.  I got a lot more comments on that ring than I expected to!

For Anime Matsuri 2013, I decided to finally update this costume to her Duelist form.  The epaulettes are a base of 3 layers of foam core,  with the dome being made of plastic bags covered in tin foil, and then again in heated-and-formed craft foam.  Crevices were filled with modeling clay, sanded, and the whole thing painted in the same paint as my buttons.  The 'cigar-like' tassels were made by rolling pieces of white felt, and hot gluing-them into the shape needed.  I then rigged a series of wire loops, which I glued into a burnt-out grove in the bottom of the epaulette base, and sewed each tassel to a wire loop so that they could move individually and freely with my arm movements.  The whole piece was attached to my jacket with Velcro.   

The chord was a simple white cord that I purchased from the home dec section at JoAnns.  The Cabochon jewel was cast in resin using a 99 cent paint tray as the mold.  I painted the back in a metal blue paint, then mounted it on a craft-foam setting that I made by gluing together 2 layers of craft foam, and burning out the center of the top layer, so the jewel could be set in.  The triangular piece is also several layers of craft foam, and the whole thing is secured to a wire on the back side, which mounts all the pieces together.  The cabochon is glued to a pin backing, and the whole thing holds the jacket shut where I removed the top button.    The end of the white chord is wrapped in velcro, and secured right underneath one of the epaulettes.   The cuffs were drafted by me, trimmed in more of the same baby-blue bias tape, and made from leftover white cotton.    The ruffle/skirt underneath the jacket is made for 2 large circular ruffles of chiffon, serged on the ends, then pleated, and pinned in place on my shorts with safety pins, so that the slit in the middle wouldn't shift around, without bulking up my shorts with non-stretchy notions to keep it in place.  

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