Character: Esther Blanchett
Variation: Nun, Artbook Version
Series: Trinity Blood (Anime, Manga and Novels)
Debuted: JaniCon 2007

 Construction Notes:  Esther was definitely a milestone cosplay for me, and it is still, to date, my most detailed, time-intensive costume.  I learned many new techniques working on this costume, and experienced a lot of trial and error.

The main white parts of the costume are Empress Velveteen.  At the time I really wanted to use velveteen for Esther since I liked the texture and thought it would have a more ‘Winter-y’ feel to it, since many of the pictures I referenced had snow in the background, or some kind of cold/winter element.  Using velveteen probably wasn’t the most utilitarian choice, especially having lived in Florida at the time … but I really liked the way it looked. XD

I made all of the trim/bias tape from scratch using velveteen, as well.  It was too thick to sew using my machine, so I had to hand sew all of the blue trim onto the main white over-dress.

For the skirt, I used basic cotton broadcloth, since I knew that would be receptive to paint, and light-weight enough to puff up with a petticoat.  I sewed a petticoat directly into the skirt, but it wasn’t fluffy enough to my liking, so I decided to buy a separate petticoat to layer underneath, as well.  All of the designs on the skirt were hand-painted and drawn on, with the aid of a stencil I also custom made out of cardstock paper.  For the thicker lines, I used fabric paint, and for the finer details and thinner lines, I used a fine-tipped fabric marker.  It took 20 hours alone to finish all of the painted/drawn designs on the full circle skirt.

All of the armor and metallic pieces are either craft foam, model magic, or a combination of the two, except for the arrows which are Wonderflex.  Everything was first primed and spray painted, and then I used a dry brush painting/antiquing technique over that to give the surface of the metal some dimension, and to make it appear old and weathered.

Personal Thoughts: Like most cosplayers, I was first drawn to Trinity Blood thanks to the series’ elaborate gothic-styled artwork and character designs.  Shortly after seeing some artbook scans, I started watching the series and reading the manga, since it seemed like something I would enjoy. Trinity Blood is a sci-fi anime series with vampires, vampires that eat other vampires, and an old-fashioned aesthetic.  Esther Blanchett is the main female character of the series, and I could relate to her the most, hands-down.  In the anime she’s a young, somewhat meek teenage girl, with an occasional fiery streak.  In the manga, she’s fiery most of the time, but still retains her kindheartedness, which isn’t something I see a whole lot of in bad ass characters.  I really liked that about her.  And of course, her being a redhead didn’t hurt her case, either.