Bulma Briefs - Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods/Dragon Ball Super
Time to Make: 20 hours
Timeline of Construction: January - March 2015
Ever since I Cosplayed as young Bulma from Dragon Ball back in 2012, I had wanted to Cosplay as some version of Bulma from DBZ. Honestly, I had wanted to Cosplay DBZ Bulma from the beginning as I never really watched Dragon Ball growing up, but I had a lot of trouble finding a particular outfit of Bulma's to make. She has quite a variety to her multitude of outfits and hair styles and some of her outfits were either too complicated or were too casual. A big barrier for me was the fact that a lot of her more interesting DBZ outfits had very busy boots and shoes that seemed like they would be too difficult to make. Bulma was a character that I've liked since the late 90s so I kept it at the back of my mind to Cosplay her over the years in case I found some outfit that I liked enough to make.
In very early 2015 I was browsing Tumblr and I came across gif sets of Bulma from the 2013 Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods movie and immediately Bulma's outfit stood out to me. It was a lot like her red dress with a yellow scarf that she wore in the later part of DBZ, but her boots looked like normal boots that I could actually buy and modify. I was quite thrilled. Her outfit in the movie was a purple bodycon dress with a light green neck scarf. She had pink boots with light pink details. Her hairstyle was a short layered bob. I always liked Bulma's bob hairstyle so it was a bonus that it was her hairstyle for the movie.
I scoured through my multitude of simple dress patterns, but eventually I decided to re-use my dress pattern from my Tennis Peach costume. I had originally copied the pattern from Pan and when I mentioned I was planning to use that pattern, she suggested another pattern she had made for the shirt part of her Robin costume as it was more form fitting. I borrowed her sample pattern and traced and copied it in late January. I really appreciate Pan lending me patterns as we're both quite petite so commercial patterns tend to have a lot of fit issues for me. That explains why I had trouble making my Princess Peach ball gown. My torso ratio is much smaller than the average person so that means excess material on my upper chest tends to bunch up around the neckline.
Pan and I took a detour on January 17th, before visiting friends, to go to the local Fabricland to search for costume fabric. I find Fabricland to be a bit hit or miss, but we were able to find a pretty nice purple knit fabric almost right away to use for the costume and it was on sale. It was a much thicker fabric than the material I bought for Tennis Peach so I was glad I wouldn't have to worry about it not being very opaque.
It actually took me quite a while to make this costume as I found it hard to work up the motivation to sew during February because of some family medical issues along with the really harsh and cold weather we had during the winter. Once I did start sewing in February, making the dress was fairly straightforward. I got to try out my brand new sewing machine that my parents bought me for my birthday last year. It runs like a dream! The dress pattern had a couple of darts, but everything came together pretty well. I forgot to buy thread when I was at Fabricland so I had to use a very light purple thread that I had on hand. I was kind of surprised that after working on costumes for over 10 years I only had one shade of purple thread. XD I had to top stitch down the collar of the dress as it's a very high collar that's covered by the scarf she wears, but I wasn't really happy with the colour of the thread. I wanted to wait before finishing up the hem on the dress to get thread that matched the fabric a bit better. After a few weeks I mentioned it to my friend Stillvisions and he was able to lend me a big spool of purple thread that was much better so I finished sewing the dress in late March.
I took long breaks while working on the costume. I had been motivated to start making it because I had felt bad that over the Christmas holidays I really didn't work on costume stuff. I had planned to start my Madoka school uniform, but the pattern modification and mock-up that I made of the blouse didn't work out and I had to wait until Pan was done her semester of school to get started on that costume so she could help me with patterning. I wanted to make Bulma quickly in order to work myself out of a sewing funk. I figured it would only take me a week or two of working at a moderate pace to finish the costume. Instead it took about 2 months. XD I guess I really didn't have a deadline so taking my time wasn't really a big deal, but it's nice to set deadlines and try to reach goals. My aim was to finish the costume quickly and hopefully wear it to AN in the spring.
I ordered costume accessories through eBay and on the Amazon marketplace. I had to do some image searching to figure out Bulma's various jewelry accessories. I figured she had a white watch and a simple gold bracelet. I wanted to get a watch with a bit of a blue tone for the watch face. I found a neat one with blue fake gems on eBay. It turned out to be quite a big watch, though, but it worked. The gold bracelet was another simple and cheap eBay find. People really like to compete for cheap jewelry on eBay. I got into a couple of bidding wars before I was able to get my bracelet. (^^);;
I decided to spice up the costume with some DBZ accessories. I already have a 2-star Dragon Ball and a small dragon radar toy, but I decided to up the recognition factor by buying a toy scouter. I had wanted to buy one for a couple of years and I debated about ordering one of the cheaper scouters, but I figured why not get one of the more deluxe DBZ Kai scouters. Bulma briefly fixed up and wore Raditz's scouter so I decided to buy the green scouter. It's pretty cool as it lights up and says Japanese phrases for Vegeta and Frieza and I thought it would be fun to wear at cons. I got a few photos with it so it made for a neat prop.
I ordered the boots not long after buying fabric for the costume. I spent a couple of weeks searching various websites until I settled on ordering boots through eBay. I ordered a size 36, but the seller sent me a 38 so they ended up being a bit big. The boots were a suede material and took pretty well to simple pink acrylic paint that I had on hand. I painted the tongue and tip of each boot as well as the heel to match the boot details and I then sealed the painted parts. I ordered white shoe laces online to replace the dark pink laces the boots came with and I also ordered purple socks. I had hoped the socks would be a very similar colour to my fabric, but it turned out to be a few purple shades lighter. XD
I had a lot of trouble ordering a wig for this costume. I'm used to finding a wig and ordering it right away, but after searching for a while I settled on ordering the blue steele Arda wig in teal. My young Bulma wig was an Arda wig and it worked really nicely. The problem is that the exchange rate became quite weak by early 2015 and it was really expensive to order one wig in Canadian dollars from the Arda site. Arda Canada opened up not long after I decided to buy a wig, but it was still really pricey to order the wig online. It turned out that Arda Canada would be selling at Toronto Comic Con in March so a friend of a friend was willing to pick up the wig for me. It was really nice of someone I didn't know to be willing to do that! I ordered the wig and paid online and picked local pick-up as the option. After I got the wig my wonderful friend Pan helped trim the wig to suit Bulma. It needed some trimming around the bangs and the sides. I love how well it worked for the character!
The final part of the costume was the scarf. I'm ashamed to admit that it took me weeks to make it. I was really stuck on what shape and size to cut the material for the scarf. I really didn't want to waste fabric. I also struggled with the type of fabric. I had a ton of lime green fabric in my basement from a Tsubasa Syaoran costume I never made and I decided to use it. Only when I actually found the fabric, the shade was way too bright for the costume. The shade of green for Bulma's scarf is more of a washed out light green. I was searching through my fabric bins for ancient fabric from a Terriermon costume I made a decade ago and I stumbled upon 2 metres of a washed out green fabric that I think is some sort of linen. I don't know where the fabric came from. It may have been given to me by a friend of my mother's when she was giving away craft and fabric stuff several years ago. Anyway, it was much closer to the shade of Bulma's scarf and it flowed nicely. I debated about cutting the fabric into rectangle and square shapes before I found an old Girl Guide scarf that was triangular. I decided to keep two sides triangular and make the shape more of a trapezoid. It gave me nice pointed edges where I tied the ends and enough of a loop around my neck that it covered most of the neckline and the top of the dress. Not really a proper scarf shape, but it worked well enough! It was super simple to make as all I did after cutting it was make a double rolled hem. Pretty simple considering it took me forever to actually work out the nerve to cut out the fabric! Too bad when I got some photos at AN 2015 I had my scarf tied over the wrong shoulder. XD I made sure to double check when I tied it before wearing the costume at Atomic Lollipop 2015.
This should have been a really fast project, but it ended up taking me roughly two months to make. I think if I had been closer to a deadline I would have finished it much faster so I don't suppose I should agonize about how slow I was. It does make me think that my days of making costumes might be slowly coming to an end as finding motivation and keeping on task is getting a bit harder these days. It's still fun and I still think fondly of Cosplay, but I am starting to see a bit of an end for Cosplay being a big focus in my life.
Having said that, I do still find an immense joy in putting together a costume for a character I really like and I did greatly enjoy donning another outfit of Bulma's. I wasn't sure what the reaction would be to the costume as the outfit was from a movie, but I was pleasantly surprised that a few people recognized me at AN and I got some nice compliments on how the dress turned out. It was a neat surprise that when the Dragon Ball Super series debuted in the summer of 2015, I found out that it covers and expands on the plot of the Battle of the Gods movie and Bulma in the purple dress will be featured in several episodes during the arc. Maybe because I'm getting older I can connect better with a character like Bulma. She's definitely a character that I like to Cosplay.
In 2018 I re-wore this costume to Fan Expo as the con was featuring the only Canadian stop of the Dragon Ball North American Tour booth. I was able to get quite a few photos around the booth with props and background setups. I had lots of fun with the Bulma's missing Dragon Ball sign and the food table. It was a really cool experience and totally worth digging out my Bulma costume from my costume bin. (^_^)
Events/Conventions this costume was worn to
Anime North 2015 (Friday), Atomic Lollipop 2015 (Saturday) & Fan Expo 2018 (Thursday)