Christmas Moonies

Last December, I had the pleasure of working with 10 amazing, talented ladies to fulfill one of my dream Sailor Moon shoots. It all started early November 2016, when I made a post on Facebook, stating my desire to do a Christmas shoot based on a Sailor Moon piece from the official art books. Several people immediately volunteered. After some discussion over who had the time to complete the looks for a late December Christmas shoot, I eventually had a full cast of people answering my call to action! The final roster for this Christmas Moonie extravaganza ended up being Miss Trista Meioh Cosplay (Sailor Moon), Loratail Cosplay (Sailor Mercury), Deanna Cosplay (Sailor Mars), Melinda Rose Costumes (Sailor Jupiter), Mina P Cosplay (Sailor Venus), Riri リリ(Sailor Chibiusa), NeuNeu Cosplay (Sailor Uranus), Bizria Cosplay (Sailor Neptune), Epik Nebula (Sailor Pluto), and Vega Sailor Cosplay (Sailor Saturn).

With my Sailor Guardians all cast, I quickly got to work creating an event to get everyone on the same page for cosplay details, shoot date, and location. Upon creating that event, the first order of business was to decide on the exact design of the Christmas cosplays. We had immediately decided against trying to add wings into the mix, we were short on time. Not to mention, wings are a hard prop to work with when 10 people are trying to pose together in photos. We ended up designing a mash up of the art book image and the Christmas chibi chara figures that were released a few years ago. We really liked the caplets that were on the figures, but preferred the matching boots from the art piece. We also opted to forego the tiaras that were on the figures, going instead, for a look of the ladies in full Christmas outfits. The last design changes we made were to give all the scouts heart brooches on the caplets, and to use the fuller circle skirts from the figures, paired with the long sleeve tops of the art book piece.

Final design sketch by Epik Nebula.

Once our final look was designed, I let the ladies take over figuring out patterns, fabric, and all the other construction/sewing decisions. Occasionally, I would weigh in with an opinion, but I felt it best to let them lead, as I have no sewing experience. I didn’t want to make life harder for them with unrealistic expectations.

When all was said and done, they decided on stretch velvet for the dresses, caplets, boot covers, and Santa hats. The velvet was sourced from multiple locations depending on color availability. I know some found theirs at local fabric stores, such as, Joann Fabrics and Pacific Northwest Fabrics. While others found theirs online at either Etsy or Spandex World.

Fabric photos provided by Miss Trista Meioh Cosplay, Loratail Cosplay, and Melinda Rose Costumes.

For the dress, they ended up choosing this McCall’s pattern, with the addition of sleeves, and shortening of the skirt to be mid-thigh length. It was also decided, that everyone would need a white petticoat for appropriate skirt fullness. Anyone that didn’t already have a petticoat found one for less than $20 on Amazon. For the caplets and Santa hats, they found this Simplicity pattern. Some alterations were made to the patterns, they shortened the caplet, dropped the neckline, and rounded out the front/opening. The Santa hats were also modified to be miniature, to better match the desired overall look. Additionally, stuffing was used to make them stand up properly. The boot covers were completed using this tutorial by NyuNyu Cosplay.

WIP photos provided by Bizria Cosplay, Deanna Cosplay, NeuNeu Cosplay, and Melinda Rose Costumes.

They used satin to make the bows on the caplets in a regular Sailor Guardian front bow size. That way, some of the ladies could reuse bows they already made for their sailor fukus, in the past. The bows were made using Sparkle Pipsi’s tutorial, which can be found here. The heart brooches were made by painting these clear ornaments the appropriate color for each guardian, and were attached to the bows using ribbon.

WIP photos provided by Epik Nebula, Bizria Cosplay, and Miss Trista Meioh Cosplay.

Additionally, the designs called for a long pile fur trim on the edges of the caplet, around the dress sleeves, along the bottom of the skirt, the tops of the boots, and on the rim of the Santa hats. Some of the ladies opted to purchase a pre-made trim by Simplicity, and the rest decided to buy a full yard of fur fabric to make the trim themselves. The last accent items were the white pom poms on the torso, hat, and boots. On the torso and boots the 2” pom poms were used, and a single 3” pom pom was used for the Santa hats.

WIP photos provided by Epik Nebula, Riri リリ, and NeuNeu Cosplay.

While they were hammering out the design and construction specifics, I was busy looking for potential locations to shoot at. Ultimately, we came to the decision to shoot at The Shops at The Bravern, a mall in Bellevue, WA. By far, it had some of the cutest decorations of all the places we had looked up. In addition to some lovely Christmas trees, there were oversized ornaments spread throughout the mall, that were easy to pose with. It also has an outdoor fireplace, which I knew would be a perfect spot for group photos.

It turned out, given everyone’s busy December schedules, the only day that all of us were free at once was December 18. So, exactly one week before Christmas, at around 1 P.M., I found myself braving the cold with 10 other Sailor Moon enthusiasts, to get some adorable Christmas photos. We started at the outdoor fireplace on the ground level. We took group photos by the fireplace, and solo photos with the giant ornament cluster next to the fireplace.

Naturally, with a group this size we were bound to get some attention from the other shoppers. Since most of the passerby had no idea what cosplay is, we told people we were a sorority/club/choir/etc there for holiday card photos. It was definitely entertaining. However, a few people actually recognized who everyone was cosplaying, which was even more exciting! Luckily, no one seemed to have any problem with us taking photos at the mall, either.  We never got asked to move or leave by shoppers or mall personnel.

It was quite cold outside, but, we were kept our bodies warm and our spirits up from sheer excitement, and maybe a bit of dancing. We definitely kept things carefree and entertaining for us, and anyone that happened to be watching. One of my favorite moments from the shoot was when I was working with Vega, our Saturn, and I just happened to look over at the rest of the ladies having a selfie-ception, off to the side. It was a moment I couldn’t not document, haha. Even better still is the collage that NeuNeu put together after all the photos were taken.

Once we finished up by the fireplace, we went inside for a while to get warm again. While inside, we decided to get photos taken with Santa.  I had made the suggestion, as I thought it’d be a nice souvenir from the day, in addition to the photoshoot, of course. The big group photo we got turned out super cute. In fact, I love it so much, I even made into a Christmas card!

Photo taken at the Bravern Santa photo op, card made by Fearless Photoworks.

After our visit with Santa, we were feeling warm enough for round two outside. For the second half of the shoot I had them all pose on the second-floor balcony that overlooked a large Christmas tree in the courtyard below. Just like by the fireplace, I grabbed some group photos as well as solo shots. I really like the photos we got there, the location captures that festive winter vibe very well.

We ended the shoot with a last group photo at a large indoor staircase. It’s really cute. When I look at it I get a club/charity holiday party vibe. Which I could totally see happening in an episode of Sailor Moon. The Sailor Guardians host a charity holiday bash in their cute Christmas outfits!

It was a wonderful day. I am so blessed to be surrounded by such hardworking, talented friends that are willing to come together and create things for the love of Sailor Moon and cosplay. Thank you, ladies, for helping me accomplish one of my dream photoshoots!

All photos, unless otherwise stated, were taken and provided by Fearless Photoworks.

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