Oh boy. Bakumatsu Rock is dear to my heart in the way that you might get attached to the runt of a litter of kittens. It’s completely absurd and no amount explaining really prepares people for it. I’ve been wanting to make Okita for at least 8 years and I’ve actually had the fabric for the last 6 years with 15 yards of heavy white twill!!! Every year I’ve said “I’m going to make Okita this year!” but groups have never really materialized. This year, a month before Katsucon I decided that a project wasn’t going to work out in the time that I had, so I suddenly realized THIS WAS IT. I just went for it and started cutting that giant pile of white twill before I could talk myself out of it.
All 5(!) people at Katsucon who recognized it just completely lost it on the spot and I had several full blown conversations about how wild the show was and whether or not it was a collective fever dream.
It was also fun hearing what everyone else at the con thought I was supposed to be! I was asked to join an Owari no Seraph group photo and was super confused until a friend pointed out that I looked vaguely like Ferid… I was also a Macross character, a Pokemon gijinka, and three different PreCures.
Construction was deceptively tricky. In retrospect I could have chosen either “sparkly disaster” or “good tailoring” but for some reason I decided to do both and suffered (😂). Among other weird fixes, there’s a fitted buckram shell and harness built into parts of the tunic specifically to support the anime-physics of a floating half-on half-off full-length lined coat. It ended up looking weightless in photos and doesn’t pull at the tunic at all, but there’s some hardcore internal work to get it to do that!
I also always cut my hakama as giant pleated circles (one circle per leg) to give a costume a more A-line silhouette. Hakama are traditionally cut as rectangles and pleated straight, but cutting circularly adds fabric volume at the hem that makes leg movement more dramatic. It’s not historically accurate, but neither is Sakamoto Ryoma with an electric guitar so here we are.
The detailing was fun just because of how silly it felt putting it together. The character starts out as a pop idol so I bought yards and yards of glitter heat-transfer vinyl and gold foil and just kind of went crazy. Matching the seams on the printed armscye and sleeve was a nightmare I hope to never repeat, though.