Rex - Skirt Tutorial


Hello! This tutorial will show how to make Rex’s garment that he wears around his waist down to his knee, which I call the skirt!
 
Rex is the protagonist of the video game called Xenoblade Chronicles 2 on Nintendo Switch.
 
Here is an overview of what needs to be done:
 
 
To start the skirt, I suggest doing the bottom-to-top approach to make sure everything fits with the rest of the cosplay you might have already built, such as the boots and leg armor. We will then start with the half-spherical end of the skirt at its bottom, at the knees level.
 
To achieve the half-spherical effect, we can build a half-sphere as the base for it, with a hole for your leg of course! I recommend using it using EVA foam and a real half-sphere for the pattern. You can buy one at a crafts store such as Michaels. Here is the one I have bought, make sure you buy one that fits your desired size:
 
 
You see these white bumps on the surface? You can remove them by smoothly sanding them away with sanding paper.
 
Then, you can cover the half-sphere with plastic or aluminium foil, on which we will apply tape on top after. The foil is to allow us to not have the tape stuck to the boot. Please note that this tutorial follows the steps shown by Evil Ted in his YouTube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLRnyhjPWfw
 
 
Once the half-sphere is covered with foil, you may start covering the foil with duct tape:
 
 
You might have noticed that I have covered only half of the half-sphere. It is because you only need to make patterns for one side, it is exactly the same patterns for the other side.
 
Once it’s done, it is time to start doing some markings on the half-sphere. To efficiently do this, you will need to correctly mark the center of the half-sphere. You can use the base of the half-sphere to create a pattern whose only purpose is to mark down its middle point:
 
 
Once the midpoint lines have been traced, it is time to decide the space taken by your leg. You can use a compass to trace the circle, then highlight the trace with a Sharpie marker. Also, you should divide the left and right side of the half-sphere in half by carefully creating a 1/4 line. Finally, do not forget your registration marks that will prove useful when joining the final pieces together.
 
If you need visual help with any of these steps, I highly recommend the YouTube video from Evil Ted mentioned at the beginning of the half-sphere tutorial.
 
 
Once it’s done and you are satisfied, it is time to cut these patterns with a knife following the lines you are carefully traced:
 
 
Make sure you have done small openings in the patterns for the registration lines (as shown in the next picture), as it will allow you to trace them onto foam when the pattern will be applied on it.
 
Then, let’s flatten these patterns and let’s transfer them on 10 mm EVA foam:
 
 
 
 
Then, you need to heat the edge of these foam pieces with a heat gun and press them against your knee (or any other spherical anvil) to slightly create the spherical shape. This will be of great help later:
 
 
Finally, it is time to apply Barge contact cement on the contact edges of each foam piece and glue them together:
 
 
When binding the foam pieces together, make sure you align the registration marks so that you have the perfect sharp with no excess of foam at the ends.
 
When it’s over, you should have a nice half-sphere with a hole for your leg! It is recommended after all pieces are glued together to push the foam half-sphere against the hard foam base you have used at the beginning and let it still for 24 hours: this will allow your piece to keep its desired shape and let the contact cement dry.
 
 
Finally, let’s try the 2 half-spheres on yourself and make sure that you are comfortable with them:
 
 
The next step is to do the outside (visible surface) of the half-sphere. To know what needs to be done, here is a plan of how the half-sphere will be integrated in the skirt:
 
 
The plan is to use the same blue fabric as the one that will be used for the rest of the skirt. You can see how it will work in the next image with the full cosplay on me. Please note that the golden bands are on the skirt and not on the half-sphere.
 
 
To cover the half-sphere with blue fabric, we need to know the area of fabric we need to produce. The answer to this is: make a pattern using the half-spheres you have made! Again, same technique as before: foil + tape on the piece. Also, you only need to do one side of the half-sphere piece (I covered the whole piece, against my own advice!):
 
 
Once you remove it from the piece, you should have a nice half-donut pattern like this:
 
 
Then, let’s transfer it on the blue fabric. Allow 1-2 extra inches of fabric all around the pattern to make sure to cover all edges and hide any white foam that could be visible:
 
 
Then, let’s apply the blue fabric piece on the half-sphere piece. I have used fabric glue on the inside of the half-sphere to hold the blue fabric in place. Make sure you iron the fabric first before gluing it on the half-sphere to remove any undesired folds:
 
 
On the inside, it can be a bit messy, but don’t worry: a red cushion will hide all of this soon!
 
 
Speaking of the cushion, it is very easy to do. It’s like making a big sock using stretchable fabric, but filling it with soft fibre fill! First, let’s make a test with the same stretchable fabric that you have used for Rex’s clothes! Let’s cut a big piece of test fabric:
 
 
Then, let’s fill it with nice balls of fibre fill. You can find some at fabric stores like Fabricville:
 
 
Look at these tiny clouds!
 
 
When filling the big sock with these fibre balls, add spacing between the balls as it will allow nice folding lines to be formed when the sock will be put inside the half-sphere:
 
 
You might need to make some adjustments to the length of the sock and the number of fibre balls. You should have this result:
 
 
If you are satisfied, then let’s do the same thing for real with the final fabric. I have decided to reuse the same fabric as the one for Rex’s sleeve, as it is the same color. You should have this final result when it’s over:
 
 
You might not need to glue the cushions to the inside of the half-spheres, but if you want to be safe, small application of hot glue would do it!
 
And then, let’s make sure you are comfortable with your legs inside the half-spheres and the boots!
 
 
Once it’s done, let’s move to the skirt itself! Here are some characteristics to pay attention to:
 
 
Also, the skirt seems to have some thickness, just like Rex’s blue top jacket. We can reuse what we have done for the jacket (you can see the tutorial I have made on it), which is: a layer of 2 mm EVA foam with blue fabric on top of it. As the inside of the skirt is quite easy to see from some angles, you will have to add blue fabric on both sides.
 
Let’s start to first attempt to make a pattern of one side of the skirt (as the skirt is split in 2 parts and both parts are the same). There are key portions to realize in this pattern, from the experiments I have made:
 
 
Do not hesitate to make multiple versions of this pattern (this is version 1.0.1) and try it on yourself to make sure you nail it right!
Once it’s ready, let’s transfer the pattern on 2 mm EVA foam.
 
 
You can then proceed with gluing the openings (use registration marks!) together to create the bumps. I have used Barge contact cement for this for maximum strength.
 
There is another piece that you will have to make for a nice skirt effect all around the half-spheres. Here it is, with the reference image indicating where it fits on the skirt:
 
 
This piece will allow us to wrap the whole half-sphere with the skirt and to be the base for upcoming golden bands at the extremities of the skirt.
Once the pattern is done and is transfered on 2 mm EVA foam pieces, you may glue them to the lower end of the skirt sides, like this:
 
 
Then, once all sides are glued to where they should be, you should have the base of a skirt half ready!
 
 
Here is how this skirt half will be bound to an half-sphere. You can test the system (and put it to you to see if it fits) by temporarily using painter’s tape to bind the skirt and half-sphere together.
 
 
Here is the result you should have after doing both skirt halves (you may use a classic belt for now to hold the skirt on yourself):
 
 
Now, it’s time to cover the skirt foam with fabric on both sides. I recommend that you start with the inside of the skirt, so that you may hide the sewing lines with the outside fabric. Anyway, all sewing lines will be hidden with the golden bands at the end, just like you did with Rex’s jacket.
 
Let’s cut some fabric and allow 1-2 inches extra around the piece to make sure everything is covered:
 
 
Then, let’s secure the fabric on the foam piece by pinning it first.
 
 
To prevent the fabric from moving or sagging on the center of the skirt (especially the inside that has a concave shape), we will use tiny horizontal lines of fabric glue to prevent this from happening. You can use any of the following glues, though I have a preference for the left one (bought at C&M Textiles on St-Hubert Street in Montreal):
 
 
Always test the strength of your fabric glue first with scrap pieces before applying it on the final piece. This is what I did and made me choose the left glue over the right one for drying rapidity and strength reasons:
 
 
The trick to apply the glue on the final piece is to apply it horizontally using constant distance between the lines:
 
 
Once the glue is applied, you can finish the job by sewing the fabric on the entire extremities of the foam piece. Make sure that the sewing is as close as possible to the edge and that it will be hidden by the upcoming golden bands.
 
Then, you can sew the fabric excess on the other side by folding the excess (and pin it) and sew, which will prevent fraying:
 
 
Finally, you need to repeat the exact same steps, but for covering the other side of the skirt half this time!
 
 
You will need to do the same thing for the small pieces at the bottom of the skirt on the inside of your legs (cutting fabric, sewing it on both sides, etc.):
 
 
And then, let’s assemble the whole thing by sewing both pieces together!
 
 
 
Don’t forget to create some space inside, using the top of the skirt, for the horizontal belt that will come later! You can build this space by folding the skirt top on itself and sewing it!
 
 
All right! Now, to a very fun part: building the golden bands that are on all extremities of the skirt! You may use the patterns you have build to create the golden bands patterns with the desired size. You will need to do this for the 2 patterns you have for the skirt:
 
 
Once all band patterns are done, it is time to transfer them on 2 mm EVA foam. It is the same thing that you might have already done for Rex’s top blue jacket. As a reminder, to have a nice effect from all angles, you will need golden bands for both sides of the skirt, so keep that in mind when you calculate the number of bands you need:
 
 
Then, it’s typical priming and painting time. Using a brush, you can apply 3 layers of Flexbond to prime the golden bands on all visible sides, then cover the bands with yellow ocre, finish with 50% metallic gold and 50% metallic silver and conclude with coating the paint with 2-3 layers of Mod Podge.
 
 
You can them proceed to glue the bands to the edges of the skirt. I have used hot glue to achieve this: on second thought, I would have used Barge contact cement! When gluing the bands, make sure that no blue fabric goes over the golden bands. You could fill the gap with Kwik Seal and then paint the dried seal if you want.
 
 
Now, let’s assemble the half-sphere and the skirt halves together. This is a very easy step: just add hot glue to the front and back bottoms of the skirt (the back of the pointed end) and then bind them to the bottom of the half-spheres:
 
 
Now, let’s move on the belts that are in and around the skirt. The oblique belts stay on the outside of the skirt and are fixed on your sides at the waist level. The fixation point is: golden bands on the outside. To do them, I have decided to use vinyl (faux leather) and paint them gold after.
 
Let’s cut ourselves a strip of faux leather (enough width for both sides):
 
 
Then, let’s sew both horizontal edges together. Then, to avoid the band from opening too much at its middle and form a circle shape, let’s add 2 sewing lines on each side:
 
 
Then, let’s paint the visible side of the band (the one without the middle sewing line) gold by applying yellow ocre first as the base, then applying a mix of 50% metallic gold and 50% metallic silver. For all these layers, you can also add medium fabric for better grip on vinyl.
 
 
Then, you should have this for the final result. The only thing that’s left is to glue these bands to the upper portion of each half-skirt with Barge contact cement. You can use this opportunity to hide the sewing line used for creating the inside hole for the horizontal belt.
 
 
Ok, now that everything holding the belts in place are done, let’s do the belts! Here is a recap photo of what needs to be done:
 
 
There are 3 different buckles to make. Each of them seem to be fake ones as there is no belt arrow hanging out from any buckle. So, we can make discrete buckles on the side and back of Rex to put on the belt and remove it for real. Let’s also not forget the numerous eyelets on each belt and their different size depending of the belt (smaller for the horizontal belt, bigger for the oblique belts).
 
There are also 3 small golden vertical bands at the back (1 per belt) to be aware of:
 
 
So, without further due, let’s work on the front buckles first! After determining the width of the belts, let’s build patterns for the buckles in respect to these dimensions:
 
 
Then, let’s start building these buckles using 5 mm EVA foam and a worbla base on which the foam will be put on and the vinyl (faux leather) for the belts will be glued on:
 
 
Please note that there is a very small bevel angle on the side of every buckle edge, you can do it with a dremel.
 
Then, just like the rest of the cosplay, you can prime and paint the buckles with 3 layers of Flexbond, a yellow ocre base with a finish composed of a paint mix of 50% metallic gold and 50% metallic silver:
 
Please note that the small circle bumps on the middle buckle are small foam clay spheres glued with Gorilla Glue gel to the buckle (before doing the priming/painting).
 
We will come back on the buckles later. Now, let’s build the long belt strips. It needs to be good on both sides, and since sewing machines can have problems with multiple vinyl leathers, I recommend cutting strips (long enough to go around your body + extra size to attach it), then applying Flexbond on their back (to give a uniform finish) and finally glue the back of 2 strips together with Barge contact cement, forming 1 belt strip that is beautiful on both sides.
 
Before doing that, to give a fake sewing effect on the belts (fooling people thinking that the 2 sides are sewn together), you can do 2 sewing lines on the length of each vinyl strip.
 
 
You can use a pencil or a very thin marker to highlight the sewing line:
 
 
Then, it is time to start installing the eyelets. First, you will need to mark down their location and space them in a way that also fits with your buckles (how many eyelets need to be visible in and around them). Here is an example with the buckle of the horizontal belt, where 2 rows of eyelets (4 in total) need to be visible from the hole:
 
 
Then, let’s add all the other eyelets for the horizontal belt. First, mark down all their locations. Then, using a sharp knife, create an opening smaller than their circle location. Make sure you do this on the back (invisible) side of the belt:
 
 
Then, follow the instructions of your eyelet anvil/scimitar kit (using a hammer) to install each eyelet. Once it’s done, here is how it will look like on the front (visible) part of the hammer:
 
 
It is the same principle and techniques with the oblique belts, but with bigger eyelets.
 
Now, you might wonder: how will the buckle fit on this belt? How will the small bars of the buckle going from the eyelets will fit in this? I have the solution for now. You will need some worbla pieces to build this mechanism, and some Barge contact cement to hold the buckle to the front side of the belt.
 
 
How are the 2 worbla pieces held up on the belt? The answer is: on the back with another worbla piece! You only need to paint the visible parts before gluing the worbla construct on the belt.
 
 
It is the exact same thing for the other buckles on the oblique belts (it’s even easier for these ones):
 
 
You might ask yourself that since the buckles are fake (they do not serve a purpose to attach the belt), how will the belt be attached for real? The answer is: real buckles on the side (oblique belts) and back (horizontal belt) of Rex.
 
 
To install a real buckle like this, create a hole for the middle piece, then fill in the buckle, fold one end of the belt on itself and sew the belt.
 
Finally, you will need to install 3 tiny vertical bands at the back of the belts. For this, you can make them out of vinyl (faux leather), paint them and glue them on the oblique belts. One of the oblique belts has 2 vertical bands, the other has 1.
 
 
Then, you have it: Rex’s belts!
 
 
To finish the skirt, there is one more thing we need to do: the gears on each side! If you have already done the gears for Rex’s blue top jacket, then you’re in business since it’s almost the same thing!
 
To build them, let’s first make some patterns, then use layers of 2 mm EVA foam to build the different levels. Let’s then make the small dots around the gear with tiny balls of foam clay. Do not hesitate to use tools like rulers and compasses to make perfect lines, cercles and angles.
 
 
And then, it’s priming and painting time using the exact same priming, painting and coating techniques and materials (primer, coater, paint) as before! Do not forget to add black paint around the key parts of the gears to highlight the parts and create depth!
 
 
You may then glue the gears on the skirt using the glue of your choice (hot glue or Barge contact cement).
 
Finally, let’s work on one important thing: how to make the skirt and the leg armor / boots stay together so that there is no gap. A good idea to achieve this is to use straps holding both things in place from inside the half-sphere and inside the leg armor, which will make the whole thing invisible:
 
 
You can then sew (with your sewing machine, if it can) a band of stretchable test fabric to the front and back of the boot that is under the leg armor (if you have following my tutorial on Rex’s boots).
 
 
Then, we will use the 2 bands coming out from each side of the boot to create a knot on the half-sphere using D-rings to pass 1 of the 2 bands (for the knot). You can use backpack straps that you can find at fabric stores for this. You will need to sew D-rings inside them.
 
 
We will then glue 2 straps like this on the inside of the half-spheres (near the hole for knee): one to the front of the leg, one to the back of the leg. I am using hot glue for this and to make sure that the strap holders, I am making small X incisions in the EVA foam of the half-sphere, and using a heat gun to enlarge the incision openings, to allow the hot glue to sink in, which will greatly increase the durability of the strap.
 
 
For the type of knot, I was in the scouts when I was young, so I know a lot of knots that are durable. I recommend the reef knot, which you can find on Wikipedia, which is almost unbreakable. It is very painful to untie, especially with the red cushion inside the half-sphere, but it is doable if you are patient enough after a cosplay event!
 
 
Then, I believe you are fully done with Rex’s skirt! Here is what you should have for the final result! Enjoy this nice photo from MrJechgo also featuring Sweet Phoenix Cosplay as Mythra!
 
 

Conclusion

That’s it for Rex’s skirt! If you want to see the other tutorials I have made for Rex, check out my Facebook page (the Notes section) and follow it to not miss anything new that will come on Rex!

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