I decided to make Kasumi from the Mass Effect series before my N7 armor as I knew that the armor would be a much intense project. Little did I know that Kasumi would be one of the more difficult costumes I would have tackled in recent years. After completing the project and speaking with fellow Mass Effect cosplayers, that all Mass Effect costumes are really a labor of love.
Once a I played the Mass Effect games I fell in love with them.
Shepard is by far my favorite character, though Kasumi and few others are a close second. I really liked Kasumi’s design and personality was so fun that I really wanted to make her. Plus, I realized that Kasumi is kind of an under loved character in terms of cosplay so that was also another motivating factor on why I wanted to do this character. As I mentioned I was very drawn to her design with all the different layers and textures. I knew it would be a interesting and fun challenge to recreate this design in real life.
Regardless of what costume I’m making, fabrics always play a very important roll for me. The right fabric can make or break a costume and if done right, can help tell the viewer something about your character even if he/she knows nothing about it. Since Mass Effect is set in future and in space, I know right off the bat that most, if not all, the fabrics would be synthetics with interesting textures. Since Kasumi’s body suit is so close fitting, different spandexes and stretch materials became the ideal choice for this project. The challenge lied in all the different subtle shades of black and grey through out the design plus added texture differences too. Textured spandex such as PVC, metallics and wet looks, come in one shade of black and grey: black or grey. So to create the look of slightly different shades of blacks and grey, I had to rely on the texture of the material to reflect light differently to achieve the look I was going for. My final fabrics I chose were, metallic spandex in black, matte metallic spandex in black, printed vinyl, black stretch PVC vinyl, black spandex, and grey texture knit.
Patterning the Suit
For most body suit patterns I used either one I have on hand or I make a quick body suit out of spare fabric, draw up my designs on it and then cut it out using it as my pattern. However, Kasumi presented the challenge of not only different sections, but levels. Suits on suits will you. I still went a head and made a mock up body suit and drew out all the designs you see on her’s. Afterwards I cut out the different sections by each ‘layer’ of the design. So instead of cutting out every little section that I drew out, I cut out what would be the top suit, the under suit, and the leg parts. Afterwards I traced the top suit out on paper and added it back to the under suit to help fill in the gaps to complete the pattern. Once done I cut out all sections for all layers. To help keep track of the pieces I numbered them and added notches so the pieces would line back up when I went back to piece things together. Using a large safety pin to keep pieces together also helped preventing loosing anything. When doing this technique, when you go to either transfer the pattern to paper or to your final fabric, don’t forget to add seam allowances to everything. I usually do 1/2″ as it makes math easier for me, but do whatever you feel comfortable with (though never go under 1/4″ seam allowance).
The Magical Space Hood
Kasumi’s hood was by far the hardest part of the costume, and yet I still feel mine could use lots of improvements. I admit, hoods are something I haven’t made a lot of and the ones I have made have been super easy big floppy hoods. Kasumi’s hood present this weird challenge of appearing to have structure yet drape down around the neck and face like magic; all reasons I started referring to it as the magical space hood. I made about 4-5 mock ups out of muslin before I started to have a shape I liked. At first I tried to make it with as little seams a possible, like you see in the game, but let be honest and says that’s IMpossible. In the end I came to the conclusion of making a structured under hood and then make a spandex cover to go over it. The under hood was made of black felt which had three seams (two down the side/shoulder and one front to back), four darts (near the neck region and shoulders) and about 2 yards of plastic flat boning sewn into it to help create the shape. I then took black spandex made one seam front to back, placed two darts and then stretched it slightly over the felt under hood. The spandex cover was sewn to the under hood right sides together with the front left open which was left open to turn right side out. To close it I hand stitched it closed in the front. The designs were then drawn out free hand and attached with Heat and Bond. Snaps were sewn to it and the body suit to keep it in place, along with a hair comb to keep it in the right spot on my head.
Construction and Details
To start, I made the under suit first. The top suit was made and edged with the black matte metallic spandex and then sewn direct to the suit. Same with the leg/boot sections, as they were constructed and then added to the suit on top later (though that section was sewn on by hand). To get the dark grey line details you see on the the suit, I mixed black and white fabric paint, taped of the lines, and then painted it all on with a brush. It was time consuming but gave the look I was aiming to achieve. For the ribbed sections, I sandwiched 1.5″ flat batting between PVC vinyl and spandex and proceed to sew all the lines to give it that quilted/ribbed effect. In order to make certain pieces were in the right sections I did a lot of trying on and pining things in place and then removing it carefully. Since this was going to stretch I wanted to be sure of my placement and proportions before I stitched a lot of it down. All the piping on the suit was done with folded spandex and sewn in between the sections. The armor pieces on her elbows were made of Worbla, covered in wood glue and then painted with spray paint. They are secured with Velcro.
I got these great base shoes that had a slight wedge (to help make my legs look not so stumpy) that I decided to make a shoe cover for. To create a pattern for the different sections, I put the shoe on and sandwiched my foot between to pieces of spandex, then pined it closed and close to my foot. I then marked where the pins were, where the different sections would be and where the sole started. Using what I just drew out I cut it out and used it as my pattern for the cover. To attach the cover, I slipped the cover over the shoe, applied my glue just above the sole, folded a small section of the cover under it self and pressed it into the glue. I stuck I bunch of straight pins into the area I glued to help hold it in place while the glue set.
Since you never really see more than Kasumi’s lips and glimmer of her eyes, I had to kind of make up what I was going to do. For my eyes (which you see more than I cared for) I did heavy black on my lids and liner with a cat eye shape. For lips I covered my lips in my foundation as well and added the purple with eyeliner. In retrospect I think would add a little more color to my lips so there is more noticeable difference on camera and do more contouring on my face. Have the hood, high collar, and no hair to help shape your face, I feel I need more makeup to help get a better look on camera.
Of course if you have any questions on this feel free to message me!