[Cosplay] Attiring Oscar Pine
Today, I thought I’d take you through how I created this ‘Oscar Pine’ cosplay from RWBY.
Despite how fun cosplays are to make, I don’t take on cosplay commissions very often, simply because there isn’t the budget to make something that I would be proud of. This is one of the rare ones that actually came to fruition, mainly because the customer wanted quality materials (100% wool fabrics and genuine leather) so they came into it with the understanding that it would cost a little more.
Research can either be really dull (hours searching for obscure reference pictures) or super fun (I get to watch Howl’s Moving Castle for the thousandth time). This particular costume was really rather easy to research, so that’s a bonus in my eyes! Because I’m not familiar with RWBY, I asked the customer for a brief overview of the character and googled the particular outfit I was recreating, which fortunately features heavily. They don’t tend to get dressed/undressed in anime so I couldn’t get any images of the layers separately, but I did get a lot of different angles and close-ups which really came in handy.
Costumes in Motion: YouTube is also a really helpful tool right now as people make all sorts of compilations for shows/movies. It means you don’t have to find/subscribe to the one streaming service where the show is hosted and then skim multiple episodes just to find the one scene where they're wearing said costume. It’s all there on YouTube so you can watch how the costume moves which is oftentimes more helpful than just static pictures!
From my research, I knew that the costume needed:
A white shirt
And, most importantly:
I would source the trousers, gloves and belts, and the customer was providing the shoes. I usually source trousers because they are such a faff to make, unless I’m after a very specific era or style. If they need any extra details (like a pair of Harley Quinn trousers I was commissioned to do once), they can be added on very easily.
While waiting for the fabrics to arrive, I dug around in my store for suitable patterns. For womenswear, if I don’t have a pattern to use as a base I’ll usually drape one. It’s cost-efficient and means that I can make it to the customer’s size without any pattern alterations (if you haven’t draped before and want to make historical clothing, I would recommend ‘Draping Period Costumes’ by Sharon Sobel as a starting point- I'll also do a draping tutorial at some point too so let me know if you'd be interested in that, it’s not as scary as you think!). Menswear, however, is a little different. I have less experience with menswear and I also don’t have a male mannequin (yet), so draping felt a bit out of my league.
Luckily, I had made a men's frock coat at uni and still had the pattern, so I used that as a base for the coat. It was surprising how few alterations I had to make, actually- the coat pattern already had a separate ‘skirt’ as that was the fashion for the era, so all I had to do was alter the back to account for the contrast panels and play around with the size a little.
[Victorian Frock coat pattern]
I searched on popular fashion sites for the trousers. My initial search was ‘parachute pants’ because I wanted something slightly baggy and maybe a bit more of a sports-like fabric for the active character. After showing the customer the options, however, they decided that they wanted something neater so we settled for some smart looking trousers from ASOS.
Finding orange gloves made from real leather proved to be tricky. There were some promising looking ones from international sites, but glove sizing is a little difficult, and people don’t know their glove sizes like they used to in the olden days! I wanted something exchangeable just in case the size was wrong, so I eventually found some from the UK on eBay. They looked rather orange in the listing picture, but when they arrived they were decidedly brown. Luckily the customer didn’t mind, they thought it provided more of a ‘realistic’ edge to the character being brought to life.
We also needed two belts, one smaller one to go around the waist and another to drape over the coat and hang accessories from. You really don’t realise just how many styles of belts and buckles there are though until you start looking for something specific- it’s like trying to find the holy grail, finding a belt with the right colour and buckle shape! Both were quite important for the right look so I kept hunting until I found a style on eBay that had the right colour of belt, buckle and the correct shape of buckle, too.
I got one larger and one smaller; it didn’t really matter if the belts were too large as I have hole punches (a valuable tool for any maker- you’d be surprised how often they come in handy).
Now onto the fun bit!
I started with the shirt. Oscar always wears the jacket with this outfit- I did find an image without the jacket:
... but it turned out to be a red herring, completely different ensemble. So I had free rein to make it however I wanted, as long as the part seen from beneath the jacket looked right. I made the shirt from white cotton and used very simple shapes to construct it, a few rectangles and one button fastening (the rest of the shirt would be kept closed by various belts and waistbands). I gave it short sleeves, too, as this was for a con which always get hot.
I also found this neat little button in my stash to use!
Pattern Hack: If you need a sleeve pattern quickly/on a budget you can trace around one of your shirts (or your father’s, in my case) for a quick pattern. It may need some minor alterations, but it's a starting point and saves you having to buy a whole pattern just for the sleeve!
I also made a ‘cravat’ for the neck. I’ve made lots of these for Regency outfits so it was nothing new, simply cutting a rectangle and hemming it. Then, to give the impression that it’s one long, thin length wrapped multiple times around the neck I ironed pleats into it and stitched them down at two points, roughly at every third. The stitches would fall where the cravat crossed over at the back so they wouldn’t be visible, then the end lengths would tuck into the shirt.
(Artists rendition bc I forgot to take a photo, oops)
I also had to make a cummerbund-style accessory. The colour was a little ambiguous, but I had some gold in my stash so I asked my client whether that would be appropriate for the character. They liked it so I went ahead with the gold, making it rather similarly to an Edwardian belt; I drafted the shape and then cut out two layers of backing fabric (I used calico) and one layer of the top fabric. I tacked the two backing layers together and stitched in three bone channels so the belt would keep its shape, given how wide it is. Then I stitched the backing and top fabric right sides together with some piping cord I’d made myself from the gold fabric sandwiched in-between. Turning it out was a little tricky with the bones (luckily I used false whalebone so they did have some flexibility), but once that was done it had a lovely neat finish with the piping cord running along the outside and all the edges concealed. The belt tapered down into small tabs which fastened with a singular trouser hook.
(Another artists rendition...)
I had quite a lot of fun making the cuffs, even though I wasn’t expecting to! I made a mannequin arm using the client’s measurements, using calico filled with stuffing to round it out. I then used this to draft the shape of the cuffs; it was all going to be made from equal strips of leather, but I wanted to make sure the cuff was the right depth and double check I had enough leather before I started assembling. To do this, I used strips of paper and blue tack (very technically advanced, sorry if you’re having trouble keeping up) to make a mock-up and then cut the leather pieces to the same size as the paper pieces and marked where they overlapped.
The finished cuffs:
I stitched down poppers for the fastenings- if I had a proper insetting tool for poppers it would have looked neater, but the hand stitched poppers turned out to be quite handy. The cuffs ended up being a little big so I had to take them in, something which would have been a LOT trickier if I’d inset the poppers.
The one on the left had a strap going over the hand too, so I used the glove as a rough guide to make sure it would fit.
I had an absolute nightmare using rivets in this project. I bought a pack off eBay that came with the setting tool and three different sized rivets. Whenever I tried to hammer one in place the pin would bend before it got secured, meaning that it took me two or three tries just to get one rivet in place.
After some googling, I discovered that the setting tool is very important in ensuring that the rivet doesn’t slip around as you hammer. The one I bought only came with one setting tool for three sizes, so it obviously wasn’t going to work from the off. I did have an easier time with the smallest of rivet sizes (for the cuff), so the setting tool was probably made for this size, but saying that they still didn’t go perfectly. If you’re going to try out rivets for any reason, I would advise getting them from a proper shop, not eBay or Amazon. It may be more expensive, but if it saves you from the frustration that I suffered, I’d consider that worth the price.
All of the base garments together:
Finally, onto the meat of the thing; the coat! I was so looking forward to making this.
I constructed the coat from 100% boiled wool. I used 2m of the lighter colour (‘lime green’, eBay) , only 0.5 of the darker (‘olive green’, Minerva) and 0.5 of brown for the shoulder details (‘terracotta’, Empress Mills). It took a lot of searching to find exactly the right colours, especially the last one as everything was either brown or orange, but all that time searching paid off in the end- all of the colours were perfect!
I put all of the fabrics together to make sure they worked- the silver is just some scrap from my stash which I would use for details, and the leather is for the sleeve ‘belt’ detailing.
I cut out the pieces and then left my cupboard door open...
(If you can’t tell, that’s a cheeky kitty taking advantage of comfy new wool scraps!)
I assembled the main bulk of the coat once I’d cut it all out.
For the collar, the anime colouring was a little inconsistent, so we had a couple of options.
The customer ended up going for the light blue, a scrap fabric from another project which just so happened to be made from wool too.
I also spotted in my research that the coat back angles slightly downward, so I ensured to do the same as it's such a nice detail.
Continuing the assembly, I tacked the blue lapel panels in place as well as the shoulder panels, and attached the stand collar.
I used reverse applique to create the design on the back.
I drew the shape myself, obsessively checking my reference pics and the design in proportion to the coat. Sometimes artists/designers create ‘design packs’ for characters for just such occasions; I’ve seen them for Anna from Frozen, with all of the patterns on her dresses traced out and put into a document that can be resized for cosplay purposes. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any for Oscar Pine.
(Anyone else's camera roll look like this when working on a project? Just a sea of green.)
The sleeves ended up being a major stumbling point - there always has to be at least one roadblock in a project!
On Oscar, the sleeves are pretty much three quarter length, to show off the arm cuffs. However, the customer wanted the option of full length sleeves for more casual ‘bounding’ outfits. We needed a way to roll the sleeves up, but the wool was so bulky that a simple roll would look ungainly and probably wouldn’t be very comfortable, either. We discussed a few different options; rolled up, an overly bulky option; a slash up the side with poppers or some other fastening; a small slash up the side creating a ‘winged’ cuff when folded up.
(Rolled- doesn’t look to bad here, but it certainly felt bulky)
(Slashed sleeve with ‘winged’ cuff)
After a lot of playing around, I figured out a way to roll the sleeve up without the bulk. I got rid of the facing on the sleeves, which only added unnecessary layers, instead stitching a small hem (wool doesn’t fray so you don’t need to fold it over multiple times). Then I turned it up and back on itself instead of simply rolling, which gave a very neat result and without the bulk.
Pretty pleased with that bit of problem solving!
How the cuffs look under the sleeve:
I hemmed the bottom of the coat in the same way as the sleeves, a single fold stitched down with herringbone. I bound the raw edges of the front with silver bias that went all the way up and around the stand collar. Because I wasn’t lining this jacket, I also herringboned all of the interior seams down. It probably didn’t need it, but I have a thing about neat seams and as I was using wool the stitches wouldn’t be seen from the outside so I could get away with it.
With all of the assembly finally done, I could move onto all of the beautiful details. This coat is just so rich, which is why I was looking forward to it so much.
I added contrast stitching to the shoulder panels in embroidery floss, all the way around the panel and sword design. I added ‘studs’ to the shoulders using bronze buttons- initially, I was going to use rivets but I’ve already gone over why that didn’t work out (see rivet graveyard). I also made small ‘tabs’ in the same blue wool, using two layers with a straight stitch around the edge and a single rivet at the centre. I placed them at even intervals along the length of the lapel and stitched in the ditch of the bias to secure them.
The sleeve ‘belts’ also had me obsessively checking my reference pictures to make sure they looked right. I cut 1” wide lengths of leather which on the left I looped around three times. I secured rivets into them where they overlapped so they would hang correctly and then stitched them at intervals to the sleeve so they wouldn’t fall down. On the right, I bought a buckle and made a decorative belt, complete with buckle holes even though it wouldn’t be functional, and also stitched it to the sleeve at points.
The Completed Coat
I also ended up making these little ‘bags’ for the belt with my leftover leather. I punched holes in the leather and used the same embroidery floss I used on the shoulder pads as thread, making little boxes. The back panel I made long enough to flap over, creating a little bag, which I then decorated with rivets and small loops so they could hang off the belt.
The Final Outfit
I’m so pleased with how this one came out and I can’t wait for my next cosplay order (even if I have to commission it for myself!).
And worn on my lovely customer:
Thank you so much for reading! I am always available for cosplay commissions if you want me to create something bespoke for you, or please do reach out if you have any questions.
Until next time,