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:
So to break down the costume:
- Cardigan-cloak-hood thing
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:
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:
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.
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).
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!
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 gathered the bottom edges and finished them by inserting them into little cuffs (are they still called cuffs if they’re on your legs?).
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.
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).
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!