Making Nott, the Brave: trousers and cardigan-cloak-hood thing

While I was on holiday this past summer, MCM announced that Critical Role would be attending their October convention. Early last year, I became obsessed with the show after seeing other cosplayers I really admire talk about it and cosplay from it. Once I heard the news, I decided to pretty much jump on the idea of making a costume for it.

I picked Nott as she is very different from anything else I’ve ever cosplayed and I love her as a character. In my head, this costume was a little rushed, even though in reality I planned it and made it in roughly two months. I was working on a lot of different things and none of the elements were really things I was confident in doing (eck, trousers), so I feel like I winged a lot of it. I’m quite happy with it, though there are some things I’d like to improve!

Here are some of my inspirations:

Official art by Ari Orner.
And an aesthetic post because I LOVE THEM (all images grabbed from Pinterest).

So to break down the costume:

  • Shirt
  • Cardigan-cloak-hood thing
  • Trousers
  • Boots
  • Accessories

I started by scouting for fabric. I couldn’t quite decide on which colour palette to go for, though I knew I wanted to add more texture than plain colour blocks would give me. I used a Pantome app for some more inspiration:

I love this app.

A trip to Goldhawk Road, and I had my two main fabrics: a textured grey stiff cotton thing and a cotton-linen blend in dark ash grey.

For the cardigan-cloak-shawl whatever, I actually decided to go with a commercial pattern as a base. I wasn’t sure how to draft it and didn’t want to spend the brain power and mock-up fabric in figuring it out. I ended up going with McCall’s M6084 which looks like this:

Image result for mccalls M6084
McCall’s M6084

I looked at the shape and decided it worked, with a few alterations just as making the front droopier and some other bits. I altered the pattern by drawing directly on the fabric (this was a very wild project in my opinion).

I honestly didn’t even bother to look at the instructions. I cut out the shapes and sewed up the front darts, side and back seams, and shoulder seams. 

The front darts.

Then I moved on to hood drafting. I’d never made a hood before, so I googled hood patterns to have an idea of what the shape was meant to look like. Then I measured my head and did a rough pattern. I wanted the hood to be quite loose but I over estimated and made it MASSIVE. I think the final good pattern was after four rounds of sizing down and alterations until I finally got a shape that I liked (I had a few that were basically elf hats and I had no idea what had happened).

I think this was round number three.
Last prototype. I think.
I can’t quite remember if this is the last mock up, but even the paper pattern here had already been reduced by a lot from the first one!

Once that was figured out, I cut it out of the grey fabric and did up the seam and then set it into the cardigan. Because I didn’t alter the neckline to fit a hood (I didn’t know how, to be honest), I added a ‘lip’ shaped bit to the bottom of the hood. I then ironed this under so that the raw edge was hidden and pinned into place on the cardigan, then top-stitched it down.

The basic shape was done! I still needed to figure out how finish the raw edges of the cardigan. I wanted something more interesting than just hemming it, so I ended up binding the edges with some left over soft leather I had (left over from binding my 1776 stays). I really struggled at first, even using pliars and a strong needle. I wanted to do a decorative stitch to add some texture as well, and I was trying out a herringbone stitch. The wonderful Pipa Wolf is the leather goddess and suggested I make the holes first with an awl and hammer. I thought this would be time consuming – but it made it so much easier and I could work faster! So I used a hammer and awl to make the hole through the binding and then sewed through it. I think this took me a couple of hours to finish after finding this method.

For the armholes, I simply clipped the fabric, turned it inwards twice, and sewed it down by hand. And it was finished!

This was the other option to the suede, black pleather. I’m so glad I went with the suede! But you can see the finished armhole here.

I then took my seam ripper and made some random holes in the fabric, which I then sealed with fray stopper and purposefully sewed awkwardly together. I also used the seam ripper on the hem of cardigan and a nail file to distress the edges of the fabric. I then only hemmed some bits, to make it look like the hem had fallen apart. I really wanted to distress the costume more, but I wasn’t sure how (plus it goes against my nature, it was so stressful!).

For the trousers, I also started out with a basic pattern that I altered. The way I kept referring to them in my head was as ‘yoga pants’ though they aren’t. I wanted to keep them quite loose in general, but have three small pleats on each side at the front, to make it less plain. However, I also couldn’t be bothered to figure out maths, so to achieve these pleats, I simply cut the top edges a few sizes too big, and pleated the excess until it fit in my mock-up stage. Then I used the mock-up as my pattern.

After cutting out the pattern pieces, I marked the pleats and sewed them down.

Then I did up the inseam on the pants, followed by the crotch seams, and then the side seams (I left a gap on the left edge and decided this would be the zipper closure).

I finished all the seams by flat felling them.

I gathered the bottom edges and finished them by inserting them into little cuffs (are they still called cuffs if they’re on your legs?).

First step was to cut wide bias strips.
Sewed the strips together and ironed the edges inwards.
Pinned and sewed.
Inner edge was finished by hand with a whipstitch.

And I finished the top edge with a simple waistband (that matched the pleated measurement! not the cut measurement). I inserted a zipper on the side and it was done! Or so I thought. I had some of the same crotch problems as with Milo, so I had to make a few round of adjustments by fixing the curve and taking it in.

Waistband in parts and interfaced.
Sewn together and edge ironed inwards. I then sewed it onto the top of the pants, then folded it back, so that the ironed edge was on the inside and I handsewed it in place.

Last sewing bit, was the drapey bit that goes over her shoulder. I didn’t have the brain power to find a way to incorporate it into the cardigan/cloak thing (though I think that’s what it’s meant to be like), so I drafted it as a separate piece. It kind of reminded me of an archer’s shoulder guard kind of thing when it was done. I draped it on my dressform with an asymmetrical shape, then cut it out of the grey fabric. There was one side seam. I used the bag method to line it with the pants fabric – I can also wear it in reverse if I want. It closed at the side with a hook and eye. I decorated the hem with some embroidery thread in a simple running stitch.

Nott’s costume also has a lot of accessories. I had a grey shirt in my wardrobe that I decided would work. I bought two belts from Primark and used a medieval looking coin pouch I already had and looped it through the belts (I stuffed it with buttons and some of the trial gems for my Sakura staff). I also used an old pocket watch I had from my Claire’s obsessed days.

I purchased some ‘arm tights’ (don’t know what else to call them) off ebay and dyed them green (it turned out a much brighter green than I wanted but oh well). I agonized over them for a while, because I wanted to be able to use my fingers while at the convention but didn’t want to use body paint on my hands. So I cut off the tips of the fingers and sealed them with fray stopper. It wasn’t a great idea. I need to find a better one. I also painted my nails but there were still some gaps with my skin colour in photos. I bought some cotton bandages from Boots, cut them into smaller strips and hot glued them to the gloves. While wearing them. (Yes it was dumb, burned my hands, don’t do it guys).

These were dyed with poly dye in a pot with boiling water over the stove.

For the ears, I got elf ears from Madhouse FX Studios on Etsy. I used the same paint from my face to paint them green then used a little hairspray over it in the hope it would seal it in (verdict is still out on whether it worked).

I also had to make her mask. For this, I bought a simple full face mask from Hobbycraft.

Now this seemed like a good idea. It was under £5 and saved me a lot of work. But when I tried to cut through it (Stanley knife pictured here), I could hardly dent it. I tried with my rotary cutter and everything I could grab and nothing worked. My boyfriend had to use a jigsaw to cut through it. Then I used my rotary cutter to add some basic details.

Then I primed it, painted it white, and painted some details in black and red, and I sealed it.

And that was it! I straightened an old black wig, got some yellow contacts and green face paint. Some improvements would be to take in the pants as I went waaaaay overboard with them. I would also like to improve my face paint and also my general posture/behaviour. I’m used to a lot of princess-y things and I felt very awkward while wearing Nott at MCM. Some photos will come along soon so for now here is a selfie from my first make up test!


Making a Milo Thatch costume: the trousers and coat

I’m finally catching up on my projects! Originally, this costume came about as I joined my first cosplay group. Our project was genderbent Disney princes and heroes, for MCM October. This convention has now been, and I wore the costume with a group of beautiful and amazing cosplayers! It was a great experience and I’m glad with how this turned out.

Image result for milo thatch

I’ve always loved Atlantis, it was one of my favourite films growing up and I think it’s largely underrated and overlooked. Although I love Kida as a character, I don’t think I could ever comfortably cosplay her. I always identified more with Milo anyway, and a few summers ago, while visiting my grandmother in Portugal, she gave me some buttons from her stash which would be perfect for Milo (more below). These buttons pretty much made me pick Milo over any other options.

The buttons.

So! To start, I broke the costume down into elements.

  • Coat
  • Jumper
  • Trousers
  • Glasses
  • Shoes

Pretty simple compared to other costumes (Jane has like 18 separate elements!).

My boyfriend owned a jumper that I thought would be perfect and I bought round fake glasses for £2 off eBay, so those were sorted. For the coat, I wanted to place it along the 1910s. Atlantis doesn’t have quite a set period but I always thought it was along there (though after rewatching it I think it’s meant to be a bit earlier). The first pattern I tried for this, it was a motor coat pattern by Reconstructing History, although a lovely pattern, didn’t work for this costume. The jumper made me really bulky as it is not my size at all, so a more form fitting coat wouldn’t work.

I dug around for a new pattern and found this one by Folkwear:

I did a mock up and liked the look of it, so I went ahead!

In terms of fabric, I searched high and low for an affordable wool in dark green but I really struggled. Either they were too limp or (mostly) too expensive. I finally found one in Walthamstow Market that would work if I interlined it, so I bought some discounted dark green cotton twill on Minerva Crafts (I really like this website!).

I did some minor alterations to the pattern based on sizing (though I needed it to be quite loose because of the massive jumper) and changing the lapel shape. I cut the pieces out of both the twill and the wool.

I used colour pins to colour code each panel and wrote a little cheat sheet.

Then I flatlined them together by running large machine stitches along the edges. I ironed everything as I went.

I mostly followed the instructions on this, as I had never done anything like a coat at all. And facings still intimidate me. I started with sewing the two darts on the front pieces.

Once that was done, I started the seams by moving from the centre back outwards.

The seams weren’t too tricky,  so it came together fairly easily. I also finished the seams as I went, by binding them in lace tape. I did as I went as it was easier to manoeuvre underneath my machine this way.

After the seams were done, I tackled finishing the front facing and the collar. To be honest, I’d never done anything like this, so I religiously followed the instructions. The underside of the collar was interfaced, then sewed together with right sides facing each other. I trimmed the seam allowance, turned it right side out and pressed. Then I attached the collar to the coat, and top stitched around the edges. It was a bit tricky!

I moved onto the sleeves, which were pretty straightforwards. I sewed up the side seams with french seams, then attach the cuffs. Then I set the sleeves, easing them into the armscye.

The last step of construction were the pockets. I also followed the instructions for these. The pocket flap was sewed to its facing, then pressed and sewed to the pocket. The pocket is pinned in place and then top-stitched down.

I handsewed the buttons down and used my machine to make buttonholes.

Meanwhile, I’d started working on the decorations. I wanted the buttons to feature heavily, and I figured some sort of embellishment would also fit with the gender-bent idea, as I ended up not really ‘feminizing’ the outfit. To do this, I started out with some weird organza-y looking fabric that I had in my stash. I traced out the lapel, cuffs and pocket flaps onto it.

I laid out some wire ribbon, a weird but amazing mesh-y thing.

Then I embellished it with different kinds of beads, sequins and the buttons.

I cut the shapes out, using a flame to finish the edges of the fabric, and then handsewedthese as appliques.

For the trousers, in my head I always thought they were jodhpurs, though after rewatching the film a few times, they had a sleeker look about them. I bought the Simplicity 8114 pattern for this, which isn’t historical at all but more of a steampunk vibe. I did a mock up, which I liked. I ended up having to do a lot of modifications to the pattern, particularly to fit around the crotch area (I had terrible ‘smile’ lines) and to fit closer towards the calves.

The construction of these was fairly straightforwards. All the bits were cut out of my brown wool.

Also here is my super lazy way of transferring darts:

I mark the top edge from the pattern and make a small perforation on the dart tip on the pattern so that I can chalk through it to the fabric. I then connect the markings. Then to transfer it to the other piece of fabric, I mark the tops from the ready dart and put a pin through the tip, then use chalk to mark that. Then I connect the markings. This is not the most accurate method, be warned!

I sewed up the darts first, on each piece, then pressed them.

Then I did the in seam, by matching the front to the back appropriately.

Then the two halves were connected by doing up the crotch seam and the side seams. I pressed all the seams, making sure to clip around the edges, but also using pinking shears to finish the seams.

I also actually made a lining further on, but it aggravated some of the fitting issues so I ended up removing it altogether.

At this point I was ready to put in the zipper. I misread the instructions. Turns out on this pattern, the zipper is meant to go in the back seam, not the front. But I liked how my zipper looked so I didn’t bother to change it.

I found this tutorial at the Cosplay Journal to be really helpful.

Once this was done, there was a sort of waistband/facing thing to be added. Because I’d messed up the zip location, I had to adjust the seaming of it a bit. Once that was sorted, it was interfaced and seamed.

Then one long edge was finished by turning it under and sewing it down.

Then seamed and stitched to the end to the top edge of the trousers.

For the legs, I did a simple hem by turning it under twice and stitching it down by hand.

And they were done! But even after all the alterations, I was still getting terrible smile lines, so I curved it in more. This really helped, but I think my pants fitting knowledge needs to develop some more!

I cut and style a wig from wigisfashion that was beautiful and it broken my hear to cut it, but it had to be done.

The last elements was my Shephers’ Journal prop made by the wonderful MadCatProps completed the costume beautifully.

Photo on the left is the actual first moment I saw it. Photos by Lawrence Sedgwick.

It was such a blast to wear this costume in such a big and amazing group of people! Here is a photo of the whole group:

Photo by Cris Ward. Full cosplayers list on my Instagram!

I’ll post soon with photos of the full costume!

Making Aurora’s peasant dress: the photos

I loved making this costume. This was based on an illustration by Dylan Bonner. I wore it to MCM London in May 2018. I really love how it turned out! You can read about the making of it here:

Making Aurora’s peasant dress: the bodice and the vest

Making Aurora’s peasant dress: the skirt and details

All of the photos below are by the amazing Jamie Flack of Cat and Crown Photography.

Making Aurora’s peasant dress: the skirt and details

Welcome back to this project! I really loved making and wearing this and I am pretty chuffed with the result. So with the blouse and the vest completed, I moved on to the skirt.

The skirt is made of the pink fabric I showed in my previous post. I am not exactly sure what the fiber content of it is, probably something poly, but it drapes like rayon. It was £5 p/m in Goldhawk Road, and I bought five meters. I decided to do a double full circle skirt for this project. I love circle skirts but I wanted this one to be super extra. A double full circle skirt is essentially two circle skirts in one skirt, which means it eats up a lot of fabric.

This was my first time making one, and I made a rookie mistake I will mention further on.

If you don’t like maths, By Hand London have an awesome circle skirt calculator. Otherwise, I also recommend Angela Clayton’s circle skirt tutorial. For a double full circle skirt, select full circle skirt in the calculator put only put in half your waist’s measurements.

Here are my drafting notes. Even -I- don’t understand them anymore.

Then cut the pattern out! I did some folding magic so that I only had two pieces to unite, so I only had two seams.

However, here was my mistake: after drawing out the pattern, I got too excited and cut it immediately. Without adding seam allowances. So the skirt is a little tight around the waist. Don’t forget your seam allowances!

After cutting out the skirt, I let it hang overnight so that the bias could stretch.

I then rearranged the pattern to be shorter, for my overlay. However I now realized that I didn’t buy enough fabric of the overlay to make it a double full circle skirt so I drafted a new pattern for a full circle skirt (originally I’d thought it’d make it a gathered overlay). I cut out the overlay and let it hang overnight too.

The next day, I arranged the patterns over the respective fabrics and made sure the hem was even.

For the skirt, I sewed up both side seams with a french seam, leaving a 7” gap on the left hand side seam. This will be the closure.

For the overlay, I used my over locked and did a rolled hem on all edges. Then I positioned it over the skirt and tacked them together at the top, leaving a one inch gap at the center front. However… the closure isn’t at the center front. So I went ahead and put in the zipper on the skirt side seam. Then I cut a slash on the overlay that matched the position of the zipper and very carefully turned those raw edges under and sewed them down by hand. Then I machine stitched the two layers together across the top edge, where I had previously hand-tacked them together.

I realise that the more trouble-shooting I have to do the less photos I take!

I made a waistband for the top of the skirt. It was a long rectangle equal to my waist measurement plus seam allowance, which I interfaced and ironed in the half (width wise). Then I sewed the edges together, right sides facing each other, and turned them out. Then I sewed the waistband to the skirt top, right sides facing together, with a half an inch seam allowance. I ironed the waistband up and slotted the fabric into the fold, finishing the inside by hand with a whip-stitch (pretty much the same method I use for any cuffs ever, also described in the Angela Clayton tutorial I linked above).

Because the skirt was a little tight at the waist, I thought the side closure looked a little awkward so I decided to add some ties that I could make into a pretty bow. For this, I cut two long and thin rectangles of fabric, which were then sewed into tubes and turned the right side out. I finished the raw edges and then sewed them onto the skirt side seam by hand.

The last thing to tackle was the skirt hem. Unfortunately I didn’t check again to see if it had warped some more, because I think it did and so the hem is a little uneven. But at the time I just went ahead and finished it with horsehair braid. I sewed 2” wide horsehair braid to the right side of the skirt hem, with a half inch seam allowance. Then I ironed it towards the inside, pinned it and sewed it down by hand using a herringbone stitch.

I also made an impromptu 1950s inspired petticoat to wear with this (my Sakura petticoat was too short and fluffy for this skirt).

Some of my materials: a bunch of organza, ribbon and bias tape.

The petticoat consists of three layers: a waist panel (to keep bulk off the waistline), a shorter gathered layer and a longer gathered layers.

For the waist panel, I draped it on my dress form, shaping it by adding side seams.

I also bonded the edge with ribbon as a waistband.

For the first layer, I ripped several strips of organza that were 8” wide. I did this by marking them all in a row and then ripping. This isn’t the most accurate method, but it was quick and it got the job done.

Then I seamed all the edges together, making it one long strip. I then sewed two rows of gathering stitches along one of the long edges and gathered it down to match the bottom edge of my waist panel.

I repeated the same method for the second tier on the petticoat, but I think this one was 12” or something wide. The only difference was that before sewing and gathering, I finished the bottom edge with a mix of bias tape and ribbon.

I think I prefer the bias tape to the ribbon as it gives it a bit more body, but I ran out so I used ribbon for some of it.

Then I gathered the top down to match the second tier of the petticoat and sewed it together. Then I used ribbon to cover that seam.

Then I sewed it to the waist panel and also finished that seam by covering it in ribbon. I threaded some ribbon through the waistband channel and it was done!

And the costume was done! I bought a wig from WigIsFashion and made small flowers from scraps of fabric and buttons, which I then hot glued to some bobbin pins. I styled the wig by dampening the hair and then using medium sized hair curlers. I left them overnight and removed them the next day. Paired with my American Duchess shoes, the costume was complete!



Making Cardcaptor Sakura’s dress: the petticoat, skirt and accessories

While still working on the bodice, I also started working on the petticoat. In the reference images, her skirt is very pouffy. Although I have a few petticoats, they are all full length and historical. For this, I had to make a shorter petticoat. I started by doing some research and then planning it out.

I wanted to keep the volume away from the waist, so I started by making a fitted band, about 6” wide. Then a gathered layer of cotton organdie (what I had at the time) and then a gathered layer of lace (I live for the aesthetic, I think undergarments can be so pretty).

I draped the fitted band on my dressform, adding seams where darts would be for a quick process. The front panel was cut on the fold and all the pieces sewn together.

Then I cut large rectangles out of the organdie and sewed them together into one long strip. The seams used the selvage so I didn’t have to finish them.

Then I gathered down the top edge of the organdie to match the measurement of the bottom edge of the waist band – not to the waist measurement, as the band is 6” and it’s closer to my hip measurement. It would’ve been easier to sew the lace ruffle on before gathering it down but at the time I wasn’t thinking.

Then I measured the length and gathered down the lace. I used a lot of it, though I can’t remember how much exactly. I sewed this on by machine to the organdie.  I sewed it together by machine and then covered the seams in ribbon.

I sewed up the back seam, leaving an 8” gap at the back so I can get into it, and finished those edges by turning them inwards twice and sewing them down by hand. Then I sewed two pieces of ribbon together to create a channel, and slotted the top edge of the band into it, then topstitched it down by machine. I threaded ribbon through it using a bobby pin.

It looks like it could walk and chase me around the house.

After looking at it, I thought the petticoat could have more volume. So I got some organza and made two extra layers. Each layers was made of two different sized layers of organza, gathered down. The bottom layer was finished with satin ribbon and then bias tape after I ran out of ribbon. I overlocked the rest of the organza.

The two layers were basted together and then sewed to the seam between the waist band and the organdie layer of the petticoat. I was much pleased as it added a fair bit of volume.

For the skirt! I picked up the satin and draped it on the my dressform to try and figure it out. I wanted to fit a lot of fabric into the bodice measurement.

What a mess.

I did two tests, one gathered and one cartridge pleated. I went with cartridge pleating in the end, since it looked nicer and allowed more volume. I marked the top edge of the fabric every 1/4”, marking two rows. I used this nifty washi tape my sister had that had the right spacing between stripes.

Then I used two large needles and extra strong thread and sewed the pleats, pulling the threads through and arranging the pleats as I went. I then tied the threads down.

For some reason, I decided to do the usual method of sewing each pleat down to a band, so I used a small ribbon.

I then put this on my dressform to see, but because of the weight of the satin it was hard to picture.

I did an extra step here that turned out useless but I’ll talk about it anyway. From what I’d read about cartridge pleating, they were often secured to a tape/ribbon. I was worried about the gathering threads breaking and so thought it would be useful to sew it to a bit of ribbon for stability, so I handsewed every pleat, individually, to the ribbon. However the waistline was SO bulky that I ended up shoving this through my machine and cutting off as much off the top as possible, including the bulky selvage and the blue ribbon above.

I sewed the skirt to the bodice by matching the CB and then sewing by machine with a 1/2” seam allowance. I pulled the bodice lining down and sewed it over the seam, to cover it, after ironing (I also trimmed back the seam a lot as it was super bulky, so the ribbon got trimmed away in the end anyway). I inserted an invisible zipper at the back, sewing it to the satin and then sewing the lining over it by hand. I left however a couple of inches free from the satin, where I made some pockets (see wings below).

Pockets for the wings.

Remember that bulky waistline? = wonky zipper

I stared at it on my dressform for a few days, wondering how I was going to do the cut away bit. I really don’t like showing my legs, so I measured down to my knees and marked it on the fabric as the shortest point (plus seam allowance). And then I just… winged it. I sat on the floor in front of it and cut away the fabric in an arching motion. I tried laying it flat and matched the two sides as best as I could.

I finished the hem with horsehair braid. I sewed it to the right side of the hem with a 1/2” seam allowance, then turned it to the wrong side and used a herringbone stitch to sew it down. Everything was ironed and the dress was finished!

I actually redid the hem afterwards with thinner horsehair braid.

Much better.

The design, however, has a lot of accessories.

  • Necklace
  • Shoes
  • Garter
  • Headband
  • Wings

For the necklace, I used the same star design as for the staff and cut two out of foam and two out of worbla.

I glued the pieces together into two pairs.

Then I skewed them for that overlayered look and glued them to each other. Then I used my awl to poke a hole through the top. 

I primed with mod podge, painted them with gold acrylic paint, and primed again.  I cut a length of the red ribbon (my neck measurement plus for the bow), finished the edges by running them through a flame and sewed on the star with some red thread.

For the shoes, I bought red flats from New Look. They came with little bows, which I removed, but they left ugly stitch holes behind.

I made two small stars out of foam, primed painted and sealed the same methods as in the necklace, and then super glued them onto the shoes.

I then tried them on and pinned two lengths of ribbons on each side, and tangled them up my legs. Once I saw how much I needed, I cut the four lengths out and sealed the edges by burning them. Then I sewed them on to the shoes by hand.

Disclaimer: this did not work. The ribbons kept falling down during the day. In the morning, my panic ridden solution was to safety pin the ribbons to my tights at several different points and they sort of stayed up (like, ten pins on each leg). I would like to find a better solution but I haven’t yet.

The garter is a long piece of satin. I turned the edges inwards twice and sewed them down, then sewed two rows of gathering stitches down the middle. I gathered it down and then hand sewed red ribbon over the top, having sealed the cut ribbon edges with a flame. It then ties to hold and it held up pretty well!

The headband is just a length of ribbon that I ran across the wig and then made a bow at the side. I secured it with a couple of bobby pins. (I used I think 10 m of red satin ribbon for this costume).

The wings were… special. I was determined to make wings but unsure about how to secure them, as the dress wasn’t strapless. So when sewing the dress, I left a couple of inches free from the zipper. I sewed two small rectangular pockets from the lining fabric, zig zag stitching to finished the raw edges. Then I inserted one pocket on each side of the CB, sliding inbetween the lining and the satin. They were secured at CB by hand, sewing to the satin seam allowance and leaving them open. This was hopefully where the wings would attach to the dress.

Wing materials.

For the wings, I sketched out a pattern and cut it out. Then I (mostly my boyfriend tbh) shaped wire (originally wire hangers) into the shape, using fabric tape to secure where seconds had to overlap and be linked. Then I cut the shapes out of 4 oz batting and sewed it to the wire by hand with strong thread. I bought a bunch of different types of feathers from ebay and hot glued them on. Then I fiddled with attaching magnets (also from ebay), attaching some to the wings and some to the dress. I found I didn’t have enough magnets to make it work, so I only wore the wings for a couple of seconds for photos as I only made them a couple of days before the convention and didn’t have time to order more magnets. However in the future, I will order more magnets and add them, as I think that will safely work. It’s a good easy solution.

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I posted a photo of the finished wings yesterday and here’s how I made them! This was my first time making wings, so I’m by no means an expert but this worked for me and was fairly easy to follow. Materials: paper for a pattern, wire, batting/wadding, hot glue gun and glue, and feathers. 1. Draft a pattern. I estimated measurements, drew it out, then used a french curve to smooth out curves. 2. I used the pattern and cut two wings out of the batting. 3. Using the pattern and two pliers, I (though tbh it was mostly my boyfriend) shaped the wire to match the pattern. I used fabric tape (zinc tape) to tape together the edges where they overlapped. 4. I handsewed the wire to the batting with extra strong thread. 5. I used the hot glue to add the feathers. 6. And it was done! The whole process of attaching these to the dress was hella messy so I’ll go over it when I make a blog post. Hopefully this is helpful to someone! — #cosplay #cosplayer #wings #props #craft #crafting #sakura #cardcaptorsakura #cardcaptorsakuracosplay #sakuracosplay #anime #manga #clamp #tutorial #kinda #tips

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And that was it! I will have some photos up soon, as I also worked on the wig to match.

Thanks for reading!

Making Aurora’s peasant dress: the bodice and vest

When I was planning cosplays for May MCM, I was lacking some inspiration. I knew I wanted to make Sakura’s dress and that was about it. I wanted something ‘simple’ for one of the quieter days, so either Friday or Sunday. I was looking for inspiration through my photos when I saw a screenshot of an illustration I’d taken from Instagram. The artist is Dylan Bonner – I’ve been following him for ages, his art is amazing so please check him out!

By Dylan Bonner

By Dylan Bonner

Although slightly different, I used these two illustrations to make my costume. With these two references, I went fabric shopping. I manage to get all of my fabrics from Goldhawk Road. Also that night, I posted on my Instagram stories a few short clips of me talking and showing these fabrics.

I got one meter of reddish brown wool for the vest, two meters of beige textured fabric for the blouse, five meters of the pink for the skirt, two meters of purple for the shawl/cape and four meters of the purple chiffon for the skirt overlay. I also bought loads of organza for the petticoat underneath and used a layer of cotton twill for the vest that I already had.

Moving onto the construction, my first step was to drape the blouse. I did this by using scraps of fabric on my dressform, pinning them into place, and drawing on the shape that I wanted. I used a mix of calico and old sheets for this, as I ended up making three different mock ups.

I made small darts at the top to curve it inwards towards the bust.

Once I was happy with the shape, I ripped the seams of the mock up and transferred that to paper. I then used that pattern and altered it to create the vest. I made a couple of mock ups of it too. The blouse is a loose fit, so it was hard to drape the fitted vest over it. However, after a few try ons, I managed to get a shape that I liked. I transferred that to paper too.

And I had two patterns done!

A progression of the mock ups from Instagram! @katisinthebag

For the blouse, I cut the pattern out of fabric, but didn’t cut the petal shaped bits of the neckline. I thought a lot about how finish those edges while keeping a clear shape. In the end, Instead of cutting out the petals immediately, I traced that neckline (without any seam allowance) onto interfacing. Then I interfaced that onto the blouse. Using that as a guideline, I cut around the petal shapes, leaving about a 1/4” seam allowance. Then I turned this over the edges of the petals (the interfacing made this a lot easier to keep the shape) and tacked it down by hand.

Before interfacing, I sewed the bust darts, transferring the markings by tacking them down with big loops of thread and then snipping it

I sewed the blouse pieces together at the side seams and shoulders, then finished all raw edges by turning them inwards twice (except for the armholes). Then I used lace tape to cover the raw edges around the petals of the neckline. I added an invisible zipper at the back and it was done.

Not perfect, but it kept the shape.

The vest pattern was made up of three pieces. The center front was cut on the fold, followed by a side piece that connected to the back piece.

I cut these out of the wool and the cotton twill.

I sewed the black twill together first, basting some of the harder curved seams.

To avoid top stitching, I figured out where I wanted the boning channels to be. I decided to us the seam allowances of every seam, and also added some to the back to support the future eyelets. I sewed two boning channels down the back and then sewed the pieces together of the cotton twill layer alone. I sewed down the seam allowances for boning channels.

With boning chanels.

Then I sewed the wool layer together.

Clipping the curved seams was very important.

I sewed the cotton twill and the wool together around the neckline, using the back method (where the right sides are facing each other). I clipped and trimmed the seam, turned it the right side out and ironed it.

Once that was done, I used synthetic whalebone to fill the boning channels. Then I finished the bottom edge and the back edge by turning the cotton twill layer under and the wool as well, so that I could sew both of them down in one go (I think I first heard of this as a similar 18th century method).

I added the metal eyelets and it was done. Or so I thought. At this point, I wanted to make it look less flat and more detailed/textured. I thought embroidering the neckline of the vest would look nice. I was curious about my machine embroidery (my sewing machine has some decorative stitches) and tried a few samples until I settled on one. I highly recommend doing this before you insert in the bones (though my sewing machine could sew through them, it made me cringe every time).

Sneak peek of the skirt I had already begun.

For the sleeves, I had a bit of a conundrum. Although I really love the sleeves in the illustration, I thought they reminisced more of Rapunzel than Aurora, so I wanted to alter them a bit but I wasn’t sure what to. I thought loose sleeves would keep with the look of the design. I asked on my Instagram stories, and Helen (of Helen Alice cosplay) gave me some suggestions about bishop sleeves. I decided to keep the elbow pink detail of the original sleeves, but flare out the top and bottom, and add pink cuffs.

I used one of my old patterns for this, I think I dug out my Cream dress sleeves for this (photos are here for reference). I alter them slightly in volume, and calculated where to break for the elbow based on my arm measurement. I created a mock up that included the elbow detail. Once I was happy with that, I moved to cut out the pieces, using the beige from the blouse and the pink from the skirt for the elbow and cuff details.

I sewed the sections together after overlocking all edges (I’d just gotten my overlocker to work again so I think I overlocked everything within reach). Then I sewed two rows of gathering stitches at the top and bottom. I sewed up the side seam of the sleeves (since it was overlocked, I didn’t bother with the usual french seams). I gathered up the top to match my armhole measurement and the bottom to match my wrist measurements.

Late night sewing = terrible light

The cuffs are two rectangles of the pink fabric, interfaced and ironed in half.

The edges were pinned so they had the right sides facing each other and sewed together.

I trimmed the seam allowance, then turned them the right way out and ironed. They were pinned to the bottom edge of the sleeve, right sides together, and sewn with a half inch seam allowance. I ironed that seam down, and flipped it, then sewed the other side of the cuff into the interior of the sleeve by hand.

I set the sleeve into the blouse, added a hook and eye to the cuffs and it was done!

The last thing to do was add the little crosses detail onto the vest. I used an awl to poke through some holes and some leftover suede black string to weave through with a big needle and tie together on the inside.

And it was done! Next up is the petticoat, skirt and accessories. Thanks for reading!

Making Cardcaptor Sakura’s dress: the bodice and sleeves

And we’re back into cosplay! After October MCM, I worked mainly on historical costume as it was the lull period in between conventions. I made my Linen Robe à l’Anglaise and my Early Edwardian ensemble. But in January, I started looking forwards to London MCM in May. It took me a little while to decide what to wear. With the new release of the new Cardcaptor Sakura manga and anime, the Clear Card stories, I felt the urge to revisit this childhood icon. I grew up with the show and the manga and it meant a lot to me. So I started by working on the staff, because I was curious about making a prop. I made a post about it here [add link].

This is what that dress looks like:

Image result for cardcaptor sakura film Image result for cardcaptor sakura film

Image result for cardcaptor sakura film

Related image

The dress is worn in the second film and it’s only for a short time, so I had mostly screenshots to work off of.

First thing I did was to sketch out the costume myself, and break it down into elements or parts. Then I figured out how much fabric I needed and the hunting began. I’m really not a fan of pink (so it makes NO SENSE THAT I PICKED THIS DRESS), so I was determined to pick a very light shade of pink, kind of like blush. Satin was the clear choice for me, as it would keep the body of the bodice but would look nice gathered around the waist.

I bought this fabric at £8 p/m and I bought five meters. I also bought a few meters of half an inch and one inch wide red ribbon.

To start on the bodice, I decided to use a pattern I already had and then alter it. This dress has princess seams at the front. At first, I struggled because they look like straight seams on the original dress, and princess seams curve around the bust. However I then wrote this off due to the fact that this dress is on like an eleven year old that has no bust ( ¯\_(ツ)_/¯). I got out my Jane Porter pattern, as I really liked the way that bodice fit me. I cut it out of calico, put it on my dress form and correct the seams and neckline. I straightened out the seams so that they looked slightly less slanted, and I shortened the neckline to add an extra band around it.

Then I cut that up, transferred it to paper and cut it out of scrap fabric to make the final mock-up. The fit was pretty good, so I left it pretty much as was!

The fit has changed slightly since this stage. The Jane bodice and this bodice were draped over my old strapless bra. That has since been thrown away and the new bra I bought isn’t as… pushy? So the bodice looks larger around the bust. Since the bodice is fully lined and the seams are boned I’m just – just not gonna think about it.

The finished pattern

I cut this out of the satin, interlining and the lining.

I then pinned the satin and interlining (cotton twill) layer together and sewed around the edges (flatlining).

For the satin, I basted all the seams together before putting them through my sewing machine. Princess seams can be tricky, so I decided to spend the time on them. For the lining however – haha – I just sewed the seams together with my machine (however one of them had a tiny lump and I went back and re-did it, I’m not SUPER lazy I swear).

I clipped the rounded seams (very important in princess seams) and pressed the life out of it. I didn’t grade back the seams because I would be using them as boning channels. I did trim back the neckline seam, where the band meets the bodice.

I sewed down the seam allowances by hand to make boning channels. I added a boning channel at each edge of the centre back.

Then I finished the edges of the ribbon that I was going to put at the top of the bodice. I burned the edges of the satin ribbon, rolled it inwards and sewed it down by hand (I thought this gave a nicer finish). I wanted a really clean finish, so I decided to set it in when I sewed the lining to the bodice.

I put the bodice and the lining together, pinning right sides together. The ribbon was set along that top edge, in between the two layers. The wrong side of the ribbon (so the one where I sewed the edges down to) was facing the lining. Then I hand basted it together.

And sewed it together by machine.

I pressed this all. A LOT.

And it was time to start thinking about sleeves! I decided to also start with an existing pattern. I used the pattern for my 1860s ballgown since they were similar. I cut out a mock up to see, as the bodice doesn’t rest as off-the-shoulder as the ballgown does. I wasn’t very happy with the mock-up.

I think it was because the bodice isn’t quite off shoulder, the sleeve sat weirdly and looked sloped. To fight this (without having to make a proper sleeve), I altered the pattern so that it was longer and wider at the middle. I made another mock up and I liked it better, so I went ahead and cut it out of the lining and satin.

The sleeve was so full that I had to get on my chair to get it in the photo.

I also made two little tulle poofs like on my Jane dress. This is something I started doing after researching historical sleeve supports. It worked well in my Jane, and it wasn’t as much work as proper sleeve supports so I did it again! It’s basically just a long rectangle of tulle. I gathered one edge down, and finished the edges with binding (not pictured below).

Then I sewed two rows of gathering stitches on the top and bottom of the sleeves, both on the satin and the lining. (Gathering stitches are just the longest stitch length on your machine. Then you gathered it down by pulling the bobbin thread).

Toilet paper is a staple on my crafting desk. Seriously, it would’ve been such a hassle to make her staff without it, just to clean paint off everywhere and other things like that.

Then they were gathered down, to my armhole measurement and my top arm measurement (plus seam allowance and ease).

I pinned the little poofs into place, sandwiching them between the lining and the satin.

They were pinned with wrong sides together and sewed together by machine.

Then I made and attached the cuffs. These were rectangles of fabric that were folded in half and ironed. The long edges were turned inwards by half an inch and the bottom half of the sleeve was slotted in and set in by hand.

Making the cuffs.

I measured the cuff and inserted a piece of synthethic whalebone to hold its round shape. At this point I thought some decoration would be nice, so I added some red ribbon to the bottom of the cuffs and some sequins like on the bodice. Then I sewed up the sleeves side seam with a french seam.

I then attached the sleeves to the bodice by machine. I pulled the lining through and used it to cover the armhole seams for a clean finish.

I added some sequins to the neckline and the bodice was done for now! Next up, the skirt and the accessories.