Making a Jane Porter cosplay: the photos

So one of the things that happened in the past cons was that I only ever really got one or two shots of my costumes actually being worn, at the end of the day (also when I looked the worst because I’m still a con rookie and they WRECK ME). Not anymore my friends! I was so privileged this time to be joined by my friend Lachlan Williams (https://www.instagram.com/obscure.lachlan/?hl=en), an amazing photographer. I thank him so much for his patience with me, I’m a terrible model and he’d never done anything like this and I couldn’t keep my eyes open for more than one second so – I’m super impressed with the results! It was so hard to just pick a few to feature here, so if you’d like to see more, follow me on Instagram as that’s where I post most things!

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I’ve got several shots in B&W which also look amazing

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By the end of the con, my hair wouldn’t stay up no matter what. Guess cons are kinda like the jungle.

Making a Jane Porter cosplay: the details

So it’s the final post about this costume! Yay! I had started making this with the intention to wear it to the London MCM Expo in May. The weekend is coming up and I can’t wait to debut this costume! (Also a relief to wear a skirt that can’t be stepped on). I’ll link the other posts about this cosplay below. I am overall very pleased with it. The bodice/sleeves are my only issue with it. The fit could be better, I think, and the way I worked the chemisette into it. But I do enjoy the overall look and how ‘complete’ it feels, with all the details and accessories! So onto them.

Making a Jane Porter cosplay: plans and undergarments

Making a Jane Porter cosplay: the bodice

Making a Jane Porter cosplay: the skirt and overskirts


I had quite a few elements as far as accessories went for this costume. I wanted to get Jane’s complete look! Plus, this is for London MCM so an umbrella is always handy. First, I started by making the scallop trim that goes on the hem of the skirt and on the umbrella.

I bought gorgeous white duchess satin for this. It was a bit more expensive than I wanted it to be, since it was just for trim, but it was so gorgeous I didn’t mind. First, I figured out how long and wide I wanted the individual scallops to be. Once that was figured out, I folded a piece of paper in half and drew half the scallop, and cut it out. This was to ensure it was symmetrical (because I really can’t draw). Then I outlined this individual scallop on a piece of paper and repeated it a few times. This gave me the pattern for the scallop trim. I made it as long as the width of my fabric.

Then I pinned it onto the fabric and cut it out from the duchess satin and from plain cotton (which was going to act as a lining, as I’d rather waste the cotton than the satin).

Then the strips were sewn together on the side seams. After that, I pinned the cotton and the satin layers together, right sides facing each other. Then I sewed them together on my machine. I went very slowly to try and get a clear shape. Some of them still look very wonky. I clipped all the round seams and turned it the right way out.

Then I carefully ironed each scallop to better the shape. And ta-da! I had to make about six meters of this, three for the hem of the skirt and three for the umbrella.

I sewed it on the skirt by machine, by actually just sewing it to the horsehair tape so that there was no visible top stitching. It was much quicker than sewing it by hand.

I bought the umbrella off ebay. It was cheap and bright yellow, so I bought some acrylic paint and painted it ‘Antique Gold’ which was much closer to the yellow of my dress.

Then I let that dry. I should have thinned the acrylic paint, but I didn’t know at the time, so the paint is cracking a bit in certain places. Then I sprayed it with a sealer and hot glued the scallop trim around the edges and the top.

Jane also has these adorable little gloves. I found the gloves I’m wearing for this costume before I’d even started it. I found them accidentally at a vintage shop in Angel, and bought them on a whim. They are from the 1920s and they were a steal for £8 or something like that, probably because they had a little whole in between the fingers, which I quickly mended. My original plan was to trim them to be wrist length, as they are a bit longer than what Jane wears in the film – but I think it would break my heart to cut them so… I might not.

Next up is the collar. So even though I made a nice little collar for my chemisette, I decided to add Jane’s iconic pointy collar too. I stared at some photos of it and then draped it onto my dressform.

I actually had to do this a couple of times because I couldn’t make it fit properly. I used the same method for the scallop trim: I transferred it onto paper and then cut that pattern out of the duchess satin and plain cotton. Then I sewed them together, right sides together, clipped the seams and turned it right way out.

I left one of the sides open to turn it to the right side, and then folded the raw edges inwards and sewed them down by hand. I added two snaps to the back and it was done!

However, at this point, I was staring at the empty neckline and remembered I had originally bought some lace to add to it. I completely forgot about it. The right time to have added it would have been before lining the bodice, so that the insides were tucked between the bodice and the lining… but oh well. I gathered down a pretty lace flouff and hand-sewed it to the bodice.

Then I turned it over the neckline edge and hand-sewed, with tiny little running stitches, so that it stayed down.

The last accessory is the cravat! Jane has this nice little purple cravat that looks adorable. Originally I bought this strong purple fabric for it. It’s not the same colour as the one in the film, it’s a lot darker but I really enjoyed the contrast with the other fabrics so I decided to go on ahead with it. I read a few online tutorials about how to make a cravat. I then flat drafted a pattern for it and cut it out of the purple fabric. I turned all edges inwards twice and sewed them down by hand.

Lastly, Jane also has a safari hat. I bought one off ebay and made a purple sash out of the same fabric as the cravat.

And then it was done! Wooooo!

Actually there is one more detail. Jane has amazing Victorian looking boots. My original plan was to find some plain brown pumps and make some spats. But then I got reckless and instead finally made a dream come true and bought some American Duchess shoes! SO EXCITING.  And here they are, my amazing ‘Manhattan boots’!

Oh and one more! I’ll be wearing it with a plain brown belt, but I don’t have photos of it on my mannequin, so here is a quick photo of my fitting with the complete costume:

Making a Jane Porter cosplay: the skirt and overskirts

Hello everyone! I’m back on writing about this costume – I really need to start writing up closer to the sewing time, because I end up forgetting a lot about how I made things (my memory is terrible). I have one post about the concept and the foundation garments for this dress here and the post about the bodice here. Once again, just a quick reminder that I did not intend this dress to be a historically accurate Jane! I just wanted it to be more detailed and more ‘me’, while keeping some historical elements like the bustle back. So on to the skirts!

I decided against my original plans of making a circle skirt for this dress. I know, right? So indecisive. Circle skirts just weren’t working for me in this project. I decided that a panelled skirt, like that of my 1871 evening dress would work better. It would still accommodate the bustle back, I could give it a large hem so that it swished, but it would also keep a flat front, which I thought was in line with Jane’s original dress.

The skirt consists of four panels: the front (which is cut on the fold), two sides, and one back. I had all my plans written out for this but I’ve lost them, so eep! I didn’t make a pattern for this, I just drew out the shapes I wanted on a piece of paper and did maths (gross) to figure out lengths and slopes and etc. I used the same method as I did on my 1871 evening dress skirt, and I had sloped panels so I could get a large hem (the hem ended up being three meters). The top of the front and side panels is small, so it ends up being almost triangle shaped, but the back panel is as wide at the bottom as the top, so I had enough room for the bustle.

I drew the shapes directly onto the fabric and then cut out the panels. I used those panels to cut out the lining.

One of the side panels, in the lining.
The front panel being cut out of the lining. It’s cut on the fold so there’s no seam at the centre front.

Once all the panels were cut out, it was smooth sailing. So to speak. I somehow managed to warp the fabric when I cut out the front panel so that it was slightly cut on the bias and it draped weirdly. One side ended up being nearly three inches too long. I was so lazy and decided just to go with it, that I could level it once I hemmed it. I ended up sewing up the whole skirt, lining and everything, and then deciding to rip it out and re-cut the front panel.

But anyway

I pinned the panels to their corresponding lining and then flatlined them (machine basting around all sides). I then went over all the edges with a zig zag stitch. I don’t have an overlocker (though I really really want one) and the lining fabric was fraying so much, that this seemed like an easy fix. I wanted this cosplay to be durable, so finishing the seams was a must and this seemed like the easiest way. I’m glad I did it this way, because if I had used another method, like french seams, it would have been much more of a pain to rip out the front panel.

Because of the bustle back and the fact that this was meant to be a separate bodice and skirt piece, I left a six inch slit in between one of the side panels and the front panel. I turned the edges inwards twice. I pleated the skirt down to my waist measurement, making most of the pleats on the back panel so it went nicely over the bustle. Then I added a waistband and a bar and a hook. I hemmed the skirt with horsehair tape, which is my new favourite thing. This is quite narrow, so I sewed it on the right side of the fabric with 1/4” seam allowance, then turned it to the wrong side, pinned it and sewed it by hand with a herringbone stitch.

Tape sewn to the right side
And turned it to the wrong side!

The skirt was done! Or so I thought.

You can see it was still un-hemmed in these photos. Also fun fact: draping over a bra is dangerous.

 

 

The answer is… WRONG! After the whole costume was finished, the overskirts and bustle were weighing down the skirt so much that it didn’t line up with the bodice AT ALL, so I ended up having a whole flash of flesh at the back (not okay). It was a crop top. So I ended up sewing the bodice to the skirt, to make it a dress, which meant relocating the closure to the back. Thankfully the overskirts cover the previous closure so it can’t be seen!

Onto the overskirts then.

I wasn’t sure how to achieve the effect of Jane’s overskirt. But after I looked around, the costume Jane wears at Disney World shows the pleats much better, so I got onto pleating. I took the old front panel of the skirt and pleated the sides just to get an idea of how long the overskirt panel should be. The pleats are just wide, knife pleats going against the flow of the skirt, so it looks like is folds inwards.

Like so.

Once I figured out how long it had to be and how wide, it was just a question of drawing out the schematics and then cutting the fabric. I drew it directly onto the fabric, which was cut on the fold. It looked like a slightly sloped rectangle. It had to be as wide as lowest point where it hit the actual skirt, so that it fit comfortably and didn’t look strained (this is something I learned from my failed overskirt in my 1871 evening dress).

After that was cut out, I made the three pleats, the first is 3” deep, the second 4” and the third 5”. I found I liked the look of this slight difference.

I sewed the pleats down by machine, after ironing them.

Then  I turned the bottom and side edges inwards twice by hand, to hide the raw edges. This also hid the machine stitching. Then I made a waistband for the top, not sewing the sides so that it formed a channel through which I threaded a piece of matching ribbon. This is the overskirt closure.

For the pouffy bustle… bit (I’m not sure what to call it, pad maybe?), I pretty much winged it after a rough mock up. I made it quite wide and very sloped. I noticed that the sides of the pad covered the sides of the pleats in the front overskirt, so I measured them (12”) which told me how long the side panels of the pad had to be before they sloped. Then I sloped them into one big curve. Once again, it was cut on the fold. This gave me a rough oval shape (when the top was gathered down). The top had to be quite wide to fit comfortably over the bustle. Originally I tried pleating it, so it would match the front overskirt, but it didn’t give the same look as the one in the film. So then I tried gathering it with two rows of stitching and it worked! I also noticed that Jane had some sort of border around the pad which seemed to be stuffed, because it stood out from the pad.

To achieve this, I cut wide bias strips of fabric. Because there was a slight difference in colour, I used the wrong side of the fabric, like I did for the sleeves. I turned the long edges inwards by 1/2” like when making a waistband. Then I pinned and sewed one side down, all around the pad. Then, while turning the other side and pining it, I added polyester toy filling to it, and sewed it down by hand.

Then I added a waistband, like on the front overskirt, and threaded some ribbon through it. I added a couple of snaps to the side, so that it would attach to the front overskirt (this whole costume is rigged with snaps and hooks to be honest).

And that is it for the skirt and overskirts! Here are some photos of the costume at this stage (roughly), including a sneak peek at the collar and scallop trim. The next post will be about the collar, cravat, umbrella and misc. accessories/details!

(this is not the final belt, it was just here for picturing purposes!)

Making a Jane Porter cosplay: the bodice

You can find the previous post about this cosplay here. I explain a lot of the concept behind this project there, but I’ll give a brief summary here. I wanted to make a more detailed version than the film. For my Esmeralda cosplay, I made it with plain, block colour fabrics, and while I love the result, I would also like to push this next Disney cosplay and try to give it more of a different spin. A huge inspiration was a redesign by Designer Daddy (photo in the other post!). And so, while I was calling this ‘Victorian Jane’ in my head, there is nothing historical accurate about it and it’s not meant to be!

Also quick reminder that this is a description of how I did things – they are by no means the best or correct methods!

With that in mind, I went about tackling the bodice. I really liked the idea of a square neckline and then something that looked like a chemise or blouse underneath, with a high collar. I had a look in some pattern books, but I couldn’t find anything that sort of matched what I wanted, so instead I draped it on my dressform. I’m still fairly new at this, but I was happy with what I came up with. I started by using large-ish pieces of fabric and laying them on the dressform, pinning them so that they laid flat. I marked the seams and cut out the extra fabric, and drew on the shape of the bodice. It left me with this:

Side view
Back view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Front view

I marked where all the seams were, where they joined and what each bit was. Then I took it off the dressform, pieced it together, and cut a mock-up. After some adjustments to it, I made a pattern and a second mock-up.

The draped pattern taken off the dressform.
My first mock-up. Some of the adjustments included making the waist longer and taking it in at the bust.

After I settled on all alterations, I went ahead and cut it out of the lining, the outer fabric and a layer of cotton twill as interlining (placed inside, between the fabric and the lining, to stiffen it).

The cotton drill layer being cut out.

I wanted to add some boning for structure support. I decided to add boning to all seams, but I also wanted some at the centre front to support the neckline. So I marked out two boning channels in the centre front and sewed half an inch bias tape to the cotton drill. I then flatlined the outer fabric to the cotton drill, matching each piece individually, and basted with a large machine stitch very close to the edge. Then I assembled the bodice by sewing the seams together with a half an inch seam allowance. I then went ahead and assembled the bodice with the same seam allowance.

 

Pinning the lining layers together.
The assembled bodice. I’m actually in love with this lining. It was super cheap but it doesn’t look it – it’s this beautiful shimmering gold and I want to make everything out of it.

I turned all the edges inwards by half an inch on the main bodice. I didn’t bother turning them twice to hide raw edges as I would be putting the lining over top and so they wouldn’t be visible anyway (and this made the edges less bulky). I did turn the back edge twice under to create a boning channel at the back to support the eyelets.

This bodice had a lot of sharp edges that were a PAIN TO TURN. I was always afraid of clipping too much, but then if I didn’t, it wouldn’t lay properly.

I handsewed all these edges down because I didn’t want top-stitching. I went into this cosplay thinking it would be a lot less time consuming than my other historical projects, but turns out I don’t like visible stitching on these either! Silly me.

After all the edges were turned inwards (including the armholes), I moved on to drafting the chemise/blouse looking bit. Originally my plan was to have it simply as an extension of the bodice, stitched onto the bodice itself. This meant that I had to attach before I could sew on the lining, to hide the stitching.

Draping the blouse looking bit. I used off cuts and small bits of the proper fabric.

This was made up of the flat section of the shirt and the collar. I then cut these out of plain cotton as a mock up.

My biggest issue was that, while it was pinned, there was not enough tension for it to lay flat and I couldn’t tell if it would work properly out of the lace. So instead I started looking at alternatives. I decided upon making it into a chemisette. They were worn mainly in the 19th century to fill in the neckline and they gave the impression of a blouse. Sounds perfect, right? I just wish I’d thought of it immediately.

So I added two extending panels to the mock-up so that it was longer, ending just about the natural waist. I turned the bottom edge inward twice so it made a channel and then passed some ribbon through to tie in place. And it looked much better!

Now that I was happy with this, I came to the next conundrum. This project has really highlighted a terrible flaw in me. I am awfully indecisive. I don’t want to commit to a decision and I’m always afraid that something else would’ve looked better. It’s something I’ll have to get better at, if only for efficiency’s sake (since I end up putting off deciding and delay projects). I think if I ever get more confident in my sewing, this will get better naturally. Anyway, I had to decided whether I wanted to line the chemisette. The lace was somewhat see-through and originally I thought that would look good – but then I didn’t quite like the contrast that seeing my skin through the lace would give the costume. Instead, I thought lining it would be a nice throwback to Jane’s solid looking bodice.

So I decided to line it.

Cutting the bits out of cotton to line the lace.

I cut all the bits from the plain cotton and then the lace. Then I pinned the respective sections of cotton and their lace equivalent, right sides together, and sewed them with a half an inch seam allowance. I pressed the seams open and then trimmed them, as the lace is see-through and you could spot some of the wider ones. I then turned it the right side out and pressed everything again.

Then I sewed the shoulder seams and attached the collar (very fiddly).

(sneak peek at the skirt, which I actually completed first!)

I turned the bottom edge inwards twice, creating a channel for ribbon, and added snaps and hooks to the closure at the back. I was very happy with the result!

With the chemisette finished, it was time for the sleeves! I couldn’t sew in the lining without sewing the sleeves in first (the lining was meant to hide all my shame). I got on to drafting. In my quest to never have to draft sleeve patterns from scratch, I decided to just use patterns I had already made. The sleeves are made of three components: the puff sleeve, the straight bottom portion and the cuff.

For the puff sleeve, I dug out the pattern from my Red Velvet dress and slashed it further.

The original Red Velvet dress sleeve pattern

I ended up slashing it a total of five times, adding about 5 extra cms every time. I wanted the pouf! But the first time I only slashed it an extra three times.

After the first round of slashing.

Then bottom portion is just a rectangle, of how wide I wanted the sleeve to be and my arm measurement. I then made a cute little mock-up:

The mock-up, minus the cuff.

I was happy with it, except for a few minor alterations. I wanted more pouf and the bottom portion was a little tight and short. I slashed the pattern again and then cut out my actual fashion fabric and lining portions. Then I flatlined the lining to the outer fabric.

The sections. A bit blurry, sorry!

The cuffs were made from a rectangle, interfaced and folded in half.

Exactly like a waistband, but for the arms. Armbands.

 

I have a few things I would’ve done differently. I wouldn’t have interfaced it, as it makes them a bit stiff and uncomfortable. I would’ve sewn them on before sewing up the side seam on the bottom portion of the sleeves (this was just stupid of me). I also sewed them on by hand, which made them not completely flat (would fix by sewing with my machine).

Then I sewed the gathering stitches on the pouf sleeves. Since I suspected the sleeves still weren’t good enough, I decided to add a layer of gathered tulle. I could’ve made sleeve supports (they were a thing) but I didn’t want to further hinder the costume (comfort and practicality were my point with this cosplay!). So instead I sewed two rows of gathering stitches on the lining layer and on the outer fabric layer, on the top portion of the sleeve (the two pieces weren’t basted together in the upper section). Then I gathered them down to the required size and I gathered down a layer of tulle about 7” wide to the same length. Then I sandwiched it between the lining and the outer fabric and sewed the three layers together. I did up the side seam and I had a pouf sleeve!

The side seams were done with french seams for finished insides.

I also added a layer of gathered tulle in between the outer fabric and the lining of the sleeve. This was just a gathered rectangle of tulle that would help support the puffy sleeves.

Then I attached the cuffs to the bottom portion of the sleeves. The cuffs were cut purposefully of the wrong side of the fabric, because in the original film they look like they’re a lighter colour than the rest of the dress. I assumed this was because it was made to look like the the bodice had full length sleeves that were rolled up (some people have made the cuffs a totally different colour, like white, which also looks good, but I was satisfied with the wrong side of the fabric). I sewed them on by hand, sandwiching the bottom edge between the cuff. Then I pinned the upper section of the bottom sleeve (sorry, I can’t thin of a better way to explain it!) to the pouf sleeve, and sewed them together by machined with a a half an inch seam allowance. Then I did a flat fell seam by hand.

The flat fell seam.

Then I sewed the sleeves with a half an inch seam allowance to the armhole bodice, with a backstitch, by hand.

And since this was all done, I could attach the lining! I turned all the edges under by about half an inch, so that it was blush but not over the edge of the bodice, covering all seams.

That was sewn on with a whip stitch by hand.

Then I put in the eyelets at the back. For now, I’ve gone with brass eyelets. I’m not sure I’ll stitch over them with embroidery thread, I kind of like the antique brass look.

And it was finished! It only needs some snaps here and there, but otherwise it is done. There are a couple of details that are in the bodice area (the extra collar and the cravat) that I will include in another post (probably about accessories).

I did a quick fitting and I was happy with it! The next post will be about the skirt and the overskirt. Thanks for reading!

Making a Jane Porter cosplay: plans and undergarments

With MCM London coming up in May, I’d been weighing up my options for cosplays for a few weeks now. I didn’t have anything particular in mind. Cosplaying Merida showed me that, at least for now, I could only really do brunette cosplays as I still haven’t figured out how wigs work. I only used a wig that one time, and yes it was cheap and not great and it squished my brains into oblivion so I’m not sure I’m ready to revisit wigs! So I made my little list of option and eventually decided on making a Jane Porter cosplay.

Jane is from Disney’s film Tarzan and she looks like this:

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However, though there are amazing cosplays of this costume, I was more interested in making a more detailed version. In my head and notes, I’ve been calling it ‘Victorian Jane’ – but this makes no sense, really, as there is little Victorian going on in my version. Dating Jane’s costume is hard; it makes little since. There is a bustle going on, but little else that falls within the stereotypical bustle era gowns. So I thought I’d make it clear to state that this was not, in any way, intended as a historically accurate version of Jane. This costume is for cosplay and I just wanted to have fun with it.

With that said, my main inspiration for this costume is this version by the amazing Designer Daddy (he is such a great inspiration in everything):

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Designer Daddy’s version, isn’t it gorgeous?

This was made for Jessica LG and you can see photos of it being worn there! So my ideas rotated around brocade fabric, lace everywhere and as many details as I could cram in. I made a sketch for this and went into planning and fabric shopping.

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My sketch! I’m terrible at drawing so please forgive.

Fabric shopping was a pain. I couldn’t find anything that I really liked. I didn’t want it to be too gold or it might not be recognisable, and I didn’t want it to be too yellow in case it looked tacky. And I also didn’t want it to be expensive. Eventually I settled on this home decor yellow brocade fabric I found, it was £6.99 p/meter and I bought six meters.

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My fabrics!

But before getting to work with that, I had to work on foundations! I definitely wanted to keep the bustle look from the film and add the cupcake-look from the version above. I didn’t want a bustle cage because I thought it might  be uncomfortable for a busy convention, so instead I made a bustle pad. I used this tutorial by the wonderful Izabella. I did pretty much just follow her instructions so not much to add!

To decide how big I wanted it to be, I simply took a tape measure and held it up to my mannequin’s butt and did a bit of guess work.

My nonsensical schematics
Gathered down the bigger panel
Pinned the two layers together along the sewing lines

After sewing along the gathered lines, you’re also meant to sew one of the shorter sides closed (the other is left open so you can stuff the thing). My suggestion would be to bind the already closed edges at this point if you’ve got a little uncooperative sewing machine like mine. I ended up having to sew the last edge shut and do the whole binding by hand because my machine would not sew the stuffed pad, couldn’t get a right angle between the foot and the machine arm. Or maybe use the bag method if you’re more comfortable with that.

And then I filled with polyester toy filling until I couldn’t cram any more in

Then I sewed together the open edge through which I had stuffed the pad, and then bound all the seams with bias binding. Then I gathered down a lace ruffle and sewed than on (by hand as well as my machine wouldn’t do anything to the stuffed pad). Then I added two ribbon ties and it was done.

The finished pad

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On to the petticoats. And here is where I messed up. While the original skirt could be achieved with a plain gored skirt, like the one in my 1871 Evening Dress but shorter, Designer Daddy’s looked a lot more voluminous and ‘cupcake-like’. I liked this idea. As I am a huge fangirl, I’ve watched some of his live streams on Facebook and realised some of his amazing skirts are achieved with circle skirts – so in my head I instantly assumed this was a circle skirt too. And of course, what would give more volume to a circle skirt? Circle skirt petticoats!

groan.

This was also around the time I had determined to try out organdie for petticoats, at the recommendation of Jennifer at Historical Sewing. While organdie is great and I am a huge fan now, IT IS A STUPID CHOICE FOR A CIRCLE SKIRT. I am an idiot. It doesn’t drape! And circle skirts do! This is entirely my mistake and I wish I hadn’t insisted on it and ended up cutting two circle skirts before giving up. But I did – so I was determined not to let it go to waste.

I used Angela Clayton’s circle skirt tutorial to draft my pattern.

Then I cut it out of organdie, it was positioned so it was a double layer.

The side seams were sewn up, leaving one with a six inch gap. These side seams used the fabric selvage, so I didn’t even have to finish them. Then I used a bit of ribbon as waistband, not sewing the two edges together like recommended. Instead, I simply turned the raw edge inward and sewed the edge down. Then I folded it, so that it created a channel for some more ribbon and it closes in a drawstring manner.

I decided to add a layer of tulle inbetween the circle petticoats in hopes it would help. I added a long two inch wide ruffle at the bottom edge and initially gathered down the top side to fit the waist, but I found this added too much volume on the front. It was about this moment I decided to get a full bustle look, keeping volume away from the front if I could. So instead, I added two darts to the front and pleated the excess at the back, over the bustle.

The silhouette looked like this at the moment:

I used an old circle skirt over it so I could see what the final skirt would look like

While it was getting there, it wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be. The organdie doesn’t fold well into the circle skirt shape, so it jolts out at awkward angles. Right about this time, I found this old instagram photo of Designer Daddy, which shows his petticoat:

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I was so mad! I over-complicated everything. I just needed to make ruffles! In an effort to salvage my petticoat trials, I decided to add flounces and ruffles to the tulle layer, in hopes that it would life the upper organdie petticoat into submission. And it worked! I added two plain cotton ruffles all the way around the bottom of the tulle petticoat, each 5” wide. Then I added one final 5” organdie ruffle on top of that. The silhouette
was much better and I was satisfied!

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With the bustle pad and the two petticoats, the undergarments were completed. As I said in the beginning, there’s nothing really historical about them! I learned a lot from this. I really enjoy building a silhouette and I feel like I learn a lot every time! The skirt is sufficiently poofy for me, while still keeping the flat front and the bustle-y back.

The next post will be about the bodice!

Art Nouveau Meg: Details

After finishing the main construction of the costume, I was finally ready to tackle Worbla again. All I had left to do was the belt. I rolled a long strip of Worbla into a tube, moulding it with my fingers to try and make it look branchy. I then drew and cut leaves out of Worbla, using a shaping tool to draw the little leafy channels. After melting the edges of the leaves and pressing them to the belt, I realised I’d made it too big. It wasn’t in proportion to the rest of the costume, it’s bigger and chunkier than it should be. However, I went ahead and painted it, made the medallion and kept it.

I drew the medallion on craft foam and cut it out. Then I sandwiched it in between Worbla, using a crafting tool to press in the edges and dents. Then it was finished with layers of craft glue, then paint and then I used black paint to detail. Then I put on the same gems as on the shoulder bit.

And it’s come to the final details! The first thing I decided to tackle were the details on the bottom of the skirt. I had been panicking about these forever as I didn’t trust my ability to draw out a pattern. I first tried to lift the pattern off the digital image, but I’m not Photoshop able enough to accomplish that. So! I took up pencil and paper and stared at the image until I could draw something.

So I came up with this:

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There was more to the left, the design spread over four A4 sheets

I inked it, photocopied it and then stuck it on a flattened cardboard box. I used Ginger Liz’s method, since hers turned out so great! Her method was to paint it over parcel tape so that the paint sort of pools over on the right side of the fabric and becomes smooth. Top tip: make sure that the parcel tape doesn’t ripple. I didn’t and mine ended up having grooves all over. So then I just painted it over in sections, letting it dry for 24 hours in between. I used Jacquard Lumière Metallic Gold and it took nearly two bottles for the whole costume.

The chiffon shifted a lot as well, so I have to be careful. But it was done! Then I ironed it to set the paint and hemmed the skirt up with Heat’n’Bond. Unfortunately, it is still too long but since it’s painted I can’t hem it any more than it is. I used this same method to paint the golden borders on the edge of the sleeve and toga.

Then I did the little bit to decorate the top shoulder of the toga bit. It just looked like a bumpy trim. So I simply took a bit of leftover trim from the making of the breastplate and sewed it so that it had little raised pockets.

I attached that to the gathered stitches at the top of the sleeve. Then I painted the little dots on the sleeve. I wanted to use Tulip’s Beads in a Bottle but unfortunately I couldn’t find anywhere in the UK that sold the metallic gold I wanted and it was too late to order it from the USA. So instead I used Tulip’s Metallics Gold 3D paint which allowed me to do little raised dots on the sleeve. It’s a different sort of gold, so I experimented with painting over the dots with Jacquard, but I figured I liked this darker gold as well.

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I also painted the accessories with the same acrylic paint I used for the armour. The accessories consist of two headbands, a hair accessory, and a snake bracelet – all were bought from eBay. I also varnished them to try and keep the paint from scratching.

The last thing I had to do was to cut and add the chains! I used little jewellery hooks and closures to attach them to the shoulder piece. Hopefully it’ll be enough to hold it in place! I am wearing this costume to the London Comic Con this weekend and I’m so afraid of ruining it. The chiffon seems to tear and crumble with everything! Wish me luck.

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Art Nouveau Meg: making Worbla armour

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Artwork by Hannah Alexander

I’ve made a start on my cosplay! I am so excited for this project. I love Hannah Alexander’s redesigns, particularly the Disney ones. I’m also making an effort to document my way through this, maybe it’ll help another cosplayer at some point! I would also like to particularly thank Ginger Liz, who has already made an amazing Megara cosplay and has been so patient and helpful with all my questions; everyone at the Hannah Alexander Cosplay group, and also Kayoss Cosplay for all their advice as well.

So this is my first time using Worbla and I was a bit daunted by it. I’ve seen so many amazing results in terms of armour for cosplay, so I had high expectations and no skill at all. But I want this cosplay really bad, so I tried it anyway, and it’s not really that bad! My first stop was Google and Youtube and thankfully there are plenty of talented cosplayers sharing their wisdom. So with their advice in mind, I set off!

Worbla is a bit of an investment. It’s expensive (I got a large sheet for £26 with a student discount at Flint’s Chandeliers, down in Elephant and Castle), and you need a heat gun. I started by putting all this together and making a pattern. I did this by wrapping myself in clingfilm and then masking tape. I then used the mirror to draw on the rough guideline shapes. I cut off the weird plastic corset off and drew the details onto it, and then cut it out of the Worbla.

I ended up with this!

I cut off the breast bits separately because they need to be shaped into a round form, so they need to then be melted and blended into the rest of the piece. Most of the tutorials I saw used a plastic round mould for this, but I didn’t have any nor did I know where to get any, so I used an old bra instead. I used duct tape to secure clingfilm over it, and made sure the Worbla was already cooled a little bit before draping it over the cup and shaping it. Then I let it harden into position. I then used the sandwich method (one layer of craft foam between two layers of Worbla). I put the wrong sides together, so make sure that the shiny side of Worbla is the one facing the foam! Also make sure that the foam bit is smaller than the Worbla, so that it sandwiches around it.


Then I heated up the edges of the breastplate and the cups and very carefully patched it together. Now, I didn’t use two sheets for the cups, as most tutorials suggest (because I’m an idiot), and so the Worbla started tearing once I put pressure to fit it into the round edges. I would recommend using two layers of Worbla for this as well! Once that was done, I traced the detail patterns onto craft foam and used my glue gun to stick them to the breastplate. Then I heated up the whole thing and awkwardly wrapped it around myself so that it would get the round shape.

I fiddled with it some more after thus photo, popping air bubbles with a pin and trying to smooth it out (mostly unsuccessfully)

I was really unhappy with the uneven, messy aspect of it, but the more I reheat it and tried to fix it, the more it started crumbling and tearing. So I gave up and called it finished. Then two layers of craft glue for priming! And on to painting. I started with a base layer of  black, and then gold. I also used a little bit of black again to try and give it a used/ old vibe but I’m not very good at painting so… yeah. Then I added trims and then varnished it.

I also made a pauldron (or shoulder thingy, as I’ve been calling it!). I didn’t take many photos of this because the process was the same, except I didn’t sandwich the foam in two Worbla pieces. Instead, I cut a big oval like shape out of foam and then one out of Worbla, but I did something like a half inch in allowance. Then I heated it up and wrapped it over the foam, turning the excess allowance inward. Then I cut details out of foam, glued everything on and painted it.

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It’s pretty much done at this point! I’m having some trouble finding rhinestones or jewels big enough for the eyes on the shoulder thingy, but after I sorted that out, the amour for this Megara cosplay will be done. Not really looking forwards to working with more Worbla, but I still have a belt and bracelet to do, eck.