Sailor Scout Bead Dress Pendants: Progress, Prototypes, and Plans
Many years ago I got a message from someone asking me to do a Sailor Moon dress. I didn't grow up watching the show myself but being one of the more popular and well-known animes around it didn't completely escape my radar. I gathered up dress references for the character, quoted her a price, and the response came back, "Oh no - not to buy - I just want to see it." So naturally I dropped the project entirely in favor of higher priority items!
In December 2019 I revisited the dusty folder of reference images and went hunting for more information on the scouts, or as I've now been educated, the senshi.
I'd always understood that the Sailor Moon team was just five characters, but apparently there's a lot of them. According to the site Tuxedo Unmasked there's 41 in the general canon but it expands to 73 when you include the whole expanse of various media. Each has their own unique (or at least semi-unique) color scheme but the "main ten" share essentially the same dress silhouette which makes them ideal for figuring out a single bead pattern and perfecting it.
(I tried to source the base image for this but only found generic shares, so if anyone knows send me a message and I'll update with a link!)
Using this knowledge I set to making my own "Original" Sailor Scout, using my beloved character Aerie. She uses a lot of pink and gold in her design so it was just a matter of figuring out where I wanted to put them. Would the collar and skirt be pink and the bows gold? Should they mismatch? I settled with the above configuration, figuring it would give me the most contrast, and kept the white for the main bodice. Her brooch is a deep red because Aerie's necklace is!
I went and contacted my friend Talty since I know she's a sucker for Sailor Moon and ran everything past her. I gathered a color chart, matched bead colors up to characters, and got Talty's approval! I went shopping and then had to commit to one of the more difficult aspects: the pendant dress forms.
Via Shapeways and ZVerse I was able to communicate what I needed, based on an actual pendant that I have but have been entirely unable to source to find more of. Seriously! I know these things exist out there, but all my Google-Fu reaches dead ends. The people are ZVerse were wonderful to work with and even provided a hollow version of the design in case anyone wants to get super crazy and order one in precious metal.
With everything gathered I was set to create my Sailor Aerie prototypes in January 2020! And just when I got the beads out of the tubes, my H&R Block boss asked me to come in a week earlier than planned. Cross-stitch and embroidery is one thing to tote around with me at work but beads are way more delicate and messier if they spill so I had to shelf the project.
April 27th was the first time I had a chance to sit down and actually tackle the dress!
Prototype #1 took two hours of fiddling. It's a bit lumpy and I wasn't really happy with the turn out. The back of the dress is okay but could be better and the skirt got entirely too crimped. I'm not sure why it got so lumpy since I've been using this pattern's base for years without this problem. Clearly more modification had to be made!
Prototype #2 is much cleaner! The back is looking way more filled in and the skirt is properly ballerina'd out as I wanted. Again this took two hours but now I know just where to modify the base pattern to get it looking solid.
Happy with Prototype #2 as I was, I went ahead and added her bows. The bows can't get smaller unless I change bead sizes which isn't an option for this project, so now I know I need to extend the white for the torso a few more rows before starting the skirt. The back of the collar could also use just a couple more beads to stop it from pulling so tight across the form.
All this in mind I'm now ready to move forward with the Sailor Scouts. I'll be making fourteen of them as my standard samples: Moon, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Chibi, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Saturn, Vesta, Pallas, Ceres, and Juno. With these I'll hopefully be able to showcase the character "presets" that people are likely to want one of their own for, and with Aerie the idea that any custom color combination is a viable option too!
Now... as for ordering and getting your hands on these! I am not currently taking any names or money for reservations simply because I'm still working out all the details. Depending on how fast I can do one (and that will be a solid time when the base set is finished!) will alter the final price and I think ordering in sets such as Outer Senshi, Inner Senshi, Asteroids, and All should have a discount applied. I'm waiting for shipping materials to arrive and I'll still need to order more Pendant Forms to actually fill orders, as I only bought enough to test out for the base set. In addition I will only be able to physically make so many of these a month so if I get five people wanting full sets of 14 pendants - as much of a boon and exciting thing as that would be - I would have to stop orders to catch up. For that reason eventually there will be a contact/wait list, but for now this project is still in the beginning stages.
Thanks for your interest in reading all this and stay safe out there!