The prodigal daughter returns! I'll be honest, its been way too cold for cute outfit posts, so I'm posting this long overdue post about my Ruby costume. It was the first thing I've ever really sewn by myself (aka I couldn't go harass my mother when I was confused with something) and it was one of the first cosplays I've done where nearly everything was handmade. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went in to it and I'm happy to finally share it with everyone!
Okay so who the hell is Ruby Rose and why should I care? Ruby is the protagonist of Rooster Teeth's animated web series RWBY in which the four leading ladies attend school where they train to become huntresses. As a huge fan of Rooster Teeth, the series is near and dear to my heart, as it started as a rather low-budget project that has blossomed with its huge fan following. The characters are incredibly wonderful and relatable, plus the show is full of awesome fight scenes and the supernatural.
I started off the costume by making the dress. I altered the pattern Simplicity 3723 that I bought for less than $10 on eBay, but I'm sure places like Jo Ann's sell this same one, or one similar, on sale too. I picked this pattern because it had a full, gathered skirt and I felt the neckline and waistline were appropriate for her outfit. I recommend drafting her bell-sleeves, however, as the sleeves for this pattern aren't exactly accurate.
I recommend listening to the soundtrack on repeat as you work to stay motivated. I had a few issues with my bodice, since I followed the sizing of the pattern, but must have been off by about two inches. I had grown a bit in my bust and waist and hadn't really realized it, so I stress measuring yourself before cutting anything ever. It ended up being solved by making the zipper visible, but to avoid the headache, just get it right the first time. Because of this, too, I couldn't add the seam down the center of her chest like she has in the show, but I was not about to scrap the whole bodice at that point, so I've learned to just ignore this flaw. I also ripped the neck of my bodice because I am too impatient with seam rippers, so make sure to be careful or at least have some patches on hand.
One of my biggest dislikes about many mass-produced Ruby costumes is the cheap fabric choice. For my dress I bought a heavier black stretch sateen (found with bottomweights.) I loved this fabric because its a matte black, but has a very slight shine to it when the light hits it, rather than some of the super shiny costume fabrics you see everywhere. I believe I bought like four yards of it, but don't quote me on that. Whatever pattern you buy will probably be a little longer than what is needed, so there will be some guesswork in terms of how much fabric you'll need. However, when cutting the fabric I do recommend cutting it a little longer and shortening the skirt as you go. Even though her skirt is super short, you might find that on your own body you prefer a different length. I let accuracy go out the window sometimes if I know it won't be as flattering on my body.
The red cape was made with a red knit fabric, which was mostly polyester and rayon. Using knit for a cape looks better than cheap shiny capes, less expensive than things like wool, plus it feels like you are wearing a blanket. I kept the edges raw, because without a liner it just didn't look right. Besides, the raw edge adds to the Little Red Riding Hood-feel of her outfit. Making a cape is very simple, but this design was a little more complicated since it comes forward over her shoulders, which is actually a bit of weight so be prepared to have your outfit pull a little. Also, be prepared to have people step on your cape at conventions. I walked around the packed NYCC like a princess all weekend with it picked up in my hands. I think eventually I will make a shorter one just for busy cons. Ruby's cape is terribly inconsistent, so don't get hung up on the shape of the bottom edge or the overall length. Sometimes its at her knees with a curved edge, others its more of a rectangle and is like three times the length of her body. I made mine the way that made me feel the most comfortable for me. There's tons of free patterns for capes online, plus really great YouTube videos.
For the two silver crosses on the cape, I bought two charms from Michael's that looked similar to Ruby's. Using wire cutters and a heat gun, I removed the little metal loop on them. I gathered the two little tabs of red fabric and haphazardly sewed them by hand in to two little nubs. I then glued and sewed down two pieces of Velcro to the dress and cape. Then pin backs were glued to the crosses so they could be pinned in to the red fabric. Its not perfect, since it likes to pull from the weight and if I take off the cape I have these two ugly squares of Velcro, but it was the only solution to the problem I could think of.
I got my trim at Jo Ann Fabrics and used it as the base of all my reds. I have a Ruby Rose figure, so having that real world reference for color was especially helpful, since animated shows tend to be inconsistent for color reference due to lighting. I decided against adding trim to the bottom of the skirt because it would've been expensive and time consuming, but I actually prefer it without. The trim is also much more scalloped in the series, but because I couldn't find anything like that I went ahead with the one pictured, but I'm happy with the way it looks.
I was lucky enough to have Costume Supercenter allow me to review a few items which I could include in this cosplay. I knew I had to make sure the petticoat was very full, so I actually decided on two of them, found here and here. The red ended up being the perfect shade for the costume and matched my trim perfectly. A lot of times I find petticoats that are a little too stiff and scratchy, but both of these are rather soft (so soft, in fact, my cat made them his bed for a good week before I had the heart to take them away from him) and keep their shape perfectly. The two reds are slightly different, so I put the darker one under the lighter one, creating a sense of depth which would be similar if it were animated.
I also used Costume Supercenter's bullet belt for Ruby's six bullets on her own belt. The belt looked pretty great and was easy to alter, as the little black pieces have some stretch that allows you to pull them apart and isolate a few at a time. I had been worried about how to keep them all attached, so this was great. They looked pretty realistic and come with so many that I know I have a ton more for future projects. These pre-made bullets are great for lots of projects, like Black Widow's bullet cuffs, since they are lightweight and con-safe. I started by priming them with white and spray painting them chrome. Once they were chrome, I used a bit of black paint to weather them. Since they are on her belt I assume they are more decorative than functional, so that's why I decided to weather them, plus I think they look better that way.
I took a small box and covered it with craft foam to serve as Ruby's little gray pouch. I made sure to stuff it with paper so it didn't collapse in to itself. I painted it with acrylics before coating it in gray spray paint and a clear coat.
For Ruby's emblem I printed out the design to be slightly bigger than my palm. I then traced the overall shape to a piece of black craft foam and cut it out. After that, I took my printed emblem and cut out the individual pieces. These individual pieces were then traced to yellow craft foam and then cut out using an x-acto knife. This part was incredibly tedious and took me hours, so put on some Netflix while you work.
Costume Supercenter's white pantyhouse served as my practice for ombre dyeing. Unfortunately the nylon didn't take the black dye too well, which was my mistake, and I had to get thicker leggings from Target later. The white tights, however, were super comfortable and still looked pretty good, aside from the black looking very purple. I decided I'll probably use them in the warmer months.
There are plenty of good ombre dying tutorials online. My suggestion is just be incredibly patient, especially when using black dye (since it really is just a very dark purple.) You will most likely have to dye many times by going over the same areas multiple times, trying to blend it better. I ended up getting so frustrated I boiled some black dye, put on the tights, took a sponge, and used it to spread black dye on the tights. This was pretty painful and messy, so I don't recommend it, but it ended up working out pretty well for me. Also if you have a gas stove, please be careful, I ended up burning a hole in my tights on the open flame.
Well that's about it. The wig I bought second hand after a failed attempt at dyeing my own wig (black dye is a lie) and wasting about $50 and ruining the wig in the process. I will be sure to make a separate post with Ruby's scythe in the future and that post will be a lot shorter and simpler to put in to words (I hope.)
Thanks for reading and if you're gonna cosplay Ruby Rose too, send me any questions or photos when you're done, I'd love to see them! For more of my cosplays visit my Facebook page.
Disclosure: Although I was not financially compensated for this post, it does feature products I received for review. Any expressed opinions of said products are based on my own experiences and reflect my true endorsement of the product and their respective company.