15 May 2014

Bleach Shinigami Uniform Methodology

Across the internet I've seen several questions about how to make Bleach Shinigami uniforms, or, as they are technically called, shihakusho.  The good news for everyone out there is that it's relatively easy!  To make this cosplay all you need is a little basic sewing knowledge.  All the garments are cut in long strips or rectangles and sizing is only crucial in one or two places.   FACT: Captain Ukitake's captain's uniform was the first cosplay I ever made (although the photoshoot is much newer):

More recently I completed another Ukitake cosplay!  This time it was a Shino Academy uniform, but believe me that the differences in the two uniforms are basically non-existent.

Everything except colour is basically the same!

Now, a Shinigami uniform consists of three garments, or four if you are a Captain:
1.  Nagajuban (undergarment)
2.  Hakamashita (Kimono, cut short at the knees so it does not bunch up in the crotch of the hakama)
3.  Hakama:  Pleated pants
4.  Haori:  For Captains only, a sort of short coat.  It is constructed along the same lines as a kimono.

Here are some good references that I've happened upon along the way (And yes, I realize a lot of them are Ukitake.  What can I say?  He's my favourite!):

This Rukia image clearly illustrates the pleated hakama and hakamashita layered over the white nagajuban, which is visible only at the cuffs and collar.
Isane's shihakusho is exacly like Rukia's, but you can see that she has a slit under the arm, a typical feature in women's kimono.  Not so typical in combat garb, but I guess Tite Kubo gets his artistic license.
A Captain's haori is longer than a typical Japanese haori, about mid-calf length.  The collar extends all the way around the garment, and each captain lines his or her haori with a different colour.  I'll write more about these colours on the haori tutorial page.
Each captain has a distinct number on the back of his or her haori, indicating which division they are in charge of.  Again, I'll list all of these on the haori page.  There is also an organic brushlike pattern along the hemline.
The Shino Academy uniform is the same as the shihakusho, but in different colours.
There is a double stripe along the top of the sleeve, a thicker stripe in front and a thinner one in back.  They also wear family crests on the fronts of the hakamashita.  These are distinct for the Academy and ARE NOT simply crosses!  They have a sort of pinwheel shape.
The hakama have a typical koshiita (backboard) and the hakamashita are unmarked on the back.
This summer I am planning to do an overhaul of my Ukitake cosplay.  I've come a long, long way since I made the original, and I have learned a lot.  Now it is time for a remake, and you can join me along the journey!

Since I am anticipating this tutorial will be lengthy, I'm going to dedicate several posts to it in order to avoid creating a block of text that's too long to read.  Links will be added here as I complete these tutorials: (coming July 2014...my apologies for the delay!)

Nagajuban/Hakamashita construction
Hakama Construction
Haori Construction
Dressing the Part (Or, how to wear your shihakusho)
Zanpaku-To Construction (don't get your hopes up, I may not have the endurance to make this one :/)