1890’s Waistcoat

IMG_7090I started my waistcoat by drafting the basic waistcoat block, this didn’t have any stylistic features as I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to take my waistcoat at this stage. I found the drafting process reasonably easy but the tutors were giving different methods of directions which did cause a little bit of confusion but I managed to keep my waistcoat drafting consistent.





IMG_7091The next day after doing some research into the type of waistcoat I wanted to make (I looked into 18th and the second half of the 19th century waistcoats and settled on a waistcoat from 1890), I really liked its style and general shape. I began drafting and attempting to replicate its features on my waistcoat block resulting in my first waistcoat draft. I ended up taking my draft in on wednesday and saw my tutor who helped me refine the draft. I showed her the image of the waistcoat I wanted to replicate and she brought up that the waistcoat looked very similar to a waistcoat featured in “Men’s Garments 1830-1900, A guide to pattern cutting and tailoring” by R. I. Davis. Hester found a copy of the book for me and sure enough the waistcoats were strikingly similar. I then scanned and printed all of the pages in relation to that waistcoat, both for research and and reference. I didn’t trace the pattern from the book at all however I did use it as a point of reference for pocket placement and their sizes.

I found that pockets move around and change shape a lot throughout history and I wanted my waistcoat to be an accurate representation of the era. My tutor also showed me to draw my waistcoat lines as a curve as they shape over the body much better than straight lines. I then altered all of my lines (apart from CB and CB) to be ever so slightly curved. I retraced my grainlines as they were now off due to the alterations, drew my pockets in, shaped the neckline and drew in the collar. I also traced my chest and waistline incase they were needed again later on. With those alterations made I had a new final draft pattern.

I then traced the patterns off of my master copy making a seperate pattern for my collar. Hester instructed not to cut them out on the line but to instead leave a small outline around the edge so I could then sew into the paper when sewing my tailors tacks and tear the paper off at the end leaving my tracks behind.


IMG_7108In the next lesson I started on my tailors tacks, I found using a back stitch worked best for me and I was able to get through my tacks quite quickly. I colour coded each individual piece on the waistcoat making identification easier later on. I found it easy sewing though the paper and I felt that it would yield more accurate markings than attempting to chalk everything and then tack the markings through.

IMG_7109When I had finished it came to the tear off, in my mind this was going to go smoothly but was a little more difficult than I had imagined. I ended up having to hold the wool down and carefully tear the paper off bit by bit rather than being able to tear the whole thing off in one go. This left my pattern a ripped mess, it wasn’t my master so I wasn’t too worried but I still laughed at how awful it looked.
I think this was down to the paper thickness, if I were to do this again I would try transfering my pattern to tissue paper, then tailor tack through and pull the tissue paper off. I think I would have more success with the lighter tissue paper.
IMG_7115I was really impressed with how well the tacks transferred onto the wool, there were a few gaps where the tacks had pulled through but the wool was still easily identifiable. I then mounted the wool to the canvas after giving the canvas a press. The two fabrics were then held together with a long running stitch which I circled around the waistcoat three times. At this point I found my waistcoat getting quite dusty (the black seams to be an impossible magnet for dust) so whenever I stored my waistcoat I attempted to weight paper on top of it to keep the dust off of it.

IMG_7141Next came sewing the welt pockets, I found this process really interesting although it was quite lengthy yet methodical. I started with making the welt and taking my lines in to make identification easier when sewing everything together. I left a chunk of fabric and the top and bottom of the welt (past the seam allowance), I don’t remember why I did this but I even up cutting it off before the next step.

IMG_7144The welt was sewn onto the waistcoat and the welt was sewn up creating a rectangle. The pocket opening was then slashed (making sure not to catch any of the wrong fabrics in the process), I found pinning absolutely everything away from where the opening should be before cutting into the fabric worked best as it took the anxiety of cutting into the wrong fabrics away. The welt is then bagged out and everything is flipped through to the wrong side.



IMG_7177My tutor suggested to tack down the welt at this point to stop it from shifting. I then gave everything a firm press.
Then the pocket bag is sewn in, we had the option of using our (chosen) lining fabric or using the black fabric provided in our packs. I decided to use the black fabric provided as I wanted to keep my lining fabric for the back piece only.





I realised quickly that you had to be quite accurate with your sewing as to not catch the top fabric when sewing the bags in. I marked out each bag, making sure to leave a gap as the bottom of the lower pockets so they wouldn’t fall lower than the bottom hem of the waistcoat. And for the top pocket I made sure it didn’t fall low enough that it came into contact with the pocket below it.

I marked in chalk the size of the pocket bags before sewing them. I was very careful not to cut the pocket bags until I had inspected them just in case the fabric shifted or they were too small.

I’m very pleased with how my pockets have tuned out. All three of them sit flat against the canvas and I haven’t found any issues with them.
After the pocket bags were sewn I stitched the sides of the welts down so they would sit flush with the waistcoat. I hand stitched from the wrong side of the fabric so that there would be no visible stitching.

This was the result of my welt pockets.

Next two sew were the collars. I cut my lining and wool out and sewd them right sides together. I then trimmed down the seam allowance and ironed open the seams as best I could. I found suing a tailors ham worked quite well in some areas but the wool was very resisten and needed to be heavily steamed before it was doing what I wanted it to. The collars were then flipped right sides out and pressed. When pressing the collars I made sure to roll the wool over slightly which concealed the lining from the front. Again the woll was a pain to press during this process, the hardest areas were the sharp corners but a lot of steam got me there in the end.

IMG_7216Here my tutor suggested that I place the collar onto my waistcoat and tack the lining to the outside stitchline on the waistcoat. This would help keep the collar in place. After sewing these tacking lines I sewd the collar lining onto the wool of the waistcoat (keeping close the the outline of the collar) which would hold the collar down and prevent the collar from flipping up while being worn




Next the facing and lining were sewn on, I matched the facing up with the stitching lines so that it sat exactly where it should. I was also keeping in mind to make sure the collar wasn’t being moved when pinning/sewing.
The lining was also sewn on by matching the stitching lines together however, the lining was only sewn on around the armhole as the rest would be hand stitch in.

IMG_7217The back pieces were sewn together and this was my first real encounter with how slippery my lining fabric was. I ended up using a lot of pins to prevent the fabrics from moving away from each other.




Next I cut down the seam allowance for the arm opening on the front of the waistcoat, the curves were also clipped to add ease to the fabric when flipping it out.
This was then pressed into place.

The facing was then pinned down into place where I herringbone stitched it to the canvas.

The lining was then turned over and pinned over top of the facing and waistcoat bottom edge making sure to cover everything so no canvas or gaps were visible. I stitched this down using a small whip stitch in a black thread which blended quite well with the wool and purple lining.

I cut my waistcoat jiggers out using the pattern available in class. Due to my lining fabric being so light when ironing them out the wiggles a little bit but I don’t think this will be noticeable on the waistcoat onced the jiggers are threaded through the buckle.
IMG_7235After the jiggers were prepared I continued with the waistcoat back pieces. This included sewing the two back pieces (back and lining) together at the bottom edge  while leaving a 6 inch gap where the waistcoat would be bagged out later on. The armholes were also sewn together at this point.

The waistcoat fronts were then put in between the two layers of the back pieces, lining up the waist coat sides together. At this point I also put the jiggers into these seams so they sat on the waistline back.

Once I had sewn the side seams I pinned and sewd the shoulder seams into place.
The waistcoat was then bagged out and flipped to the right side where I checked it over for any imperfections/tucks. Luckily I didn’t find anything.
I finished off the bottom of the waistcoat by closing the 6 inch gap used to bag the waistcoat out. I pinned the opening closed and used a slip stitch to close it off.

I decided to use covered buttons for my waistcoat so I could match them to my lining fabric. My tutor showed me how to use the covered button machine (press?), we decided that because my lining was so thin it would need an extra layer. I first tried doubling the lining fabrics together but they were still too flimsy. My tutor suggested that I interface the back of the lining and then cut out the covers. This was much more successful and I soon got the hang of using the press. I really like the results and I will definitely be using covered buttons for future projects.

Finally came the button holes, because my waistcoat is based on a 1890’s piece the only historically accurate buttonhole is the keyhole buttonhole. I did practice hand sewing the keyhole buttonhole but I’m far from perfect! I’m not happy enough with my samples to feel confident enough sewing them into my waistcoat. However, my tutor in the last tech skills mentioned that there’s a ‘Buttonhole Man’ who will sew keyhole buttonholes into garments for you. She showed me examples from the 3rd years who had brought their garments to him and I was very impressed. And I have decided that will be my buttonhole option.
In preparation for bringing my waistcoat to the button man I marked the button and buttonhole placement on my waistcoat in chalk. I also tacked the centre front line in white. I also took out the rest of the tacking lines on the waistcoat which was very satisfying!!

When I got to the buttonhole man’s shop I was told that the markings should be on the wrong side (the facing) of the fabric so I quickly remarked them. I was lucky enough that they didn’t have a lot of work that day and the button holes were done while I was waiting which took about five minutes.
When I got my waistcoat home I hand stitched my covered buttons on. I also made sure I got rid of all of my tailors tacking using tweezers for any strands that were wedged between stitches. Anything I couldn’t remove I snipped off as close to the wool as possible and jiggled the wool around until it disappeared from the surface.
And my waistcoat was finished!
I’m very pleased with this project and have learnt a lot of new skills from it which I will definitely be implementing into future projects. It’s encouraged me a lot with working with more formal garments and I’d love to make a ladies late victorian walking suit using these skills



If you made it this far, well done. I lost motivation for blogging the last few months and a lot of the projects I was working on (in my opinion) weren’t inspired enough to earn solo blog posts so I simply never wrote about them. In the next week or so I will do a round up of everything I’ve covered in my first year of university but forewarning, I struggled. Not with the workload or anything academic just the fact that the first year was a mixed bag or interpretation (my chosen specialism) and design (something I’m not so interested in). This dragged me a lot and a think for a little while I got a bit depressed caught up on the idea that the first year was a wasted opportunity for me to specialise straight away, this played on my mine more so because I’m having to pay international fees (unjustly by the way I’m a British citizen thank you /you can read more about that in a earlier post I believe/) which is expensive to say the least.
I am greatly enjoying Wimbledon College of Arts however and I’m still very pleased to be studying here. I had a meeting with the course director today and the second year in terms of interpretation is much more appealing and I’m excited for it!
Summer holidays is just about here, as I move out of London on Wednesday and I’ll be free to start and continue projects that got put on the back burner. And I will be posting again, it may not be as frequent as my weekly posts of the past but they’ll be more regular than the huge breaks I been taking recently.


Also if you’re on Instagram check me out, I post there a lot more. See my story for work in progress costumes and the like. I’m @NiverasWings as always!

Thank you for reading and thank you for putting up with the long breaks!


*I’m posting this late so apologies for any spelling/grammatical errors, I’ll edit in the morning


Tutorial, Faux Leather Braces

Originally posted to my Cosplay Amino Page (NiverasWings)

For those of you who follow my social media you’ll know I hate making armour gauntlets/bracers (foam/worbla) it just never works out for me.
Featuring, The failed attempt earlier this year for my Demongaze Armour and my Dragon Scale Armour gauntlets from last year.

I can never get the right shape and if I do it will be far too large and when I attempt to fix it I usually ruin them!

So for my Demongaze Armour attemopt I decided to make leather bracers with a cool pattern on them as I was inspired by This Post I think I did pretty well at replicating the design.

The first thing you want to do is create a bracer pattern. You can use the plastic wrap and painters tape method or if you want to cheat just get a long sleeve pattern decide on your length and cut it.
Because I wanted mine to do up with a zipper I made sure that the size/length of the patter would correspond with the zipper length I bought.

Next I pinned the zipper to the pattern and out it on my arm testing the fit and cut the size down if it was needed.
I kept mine a little loose as it would be worn over a bodysuit (I’ve had bad experiences wearing tight leather costumes to Summer cons before)

And with that the mock up stage was complete!
I bought this really nice faux leather for these gauntlets.

Next I printed a picture of the reference I was using and broke it down into pattern shapes. I really liked the lattice effect they had on theirs so I did my best to replicate it.
Here’s a close up of the pattern I drew out. It’s important to draw the pattern onto the mock up you have made !!!

You’ll later cut these out.
Next pin the mock up to the fabric to the fabric you are using (again I’m using faux leather but essentially any fabric could be used !)
Cut the fabric out. It’s important at this stage to ONLY cut the outline out and not the lattice pattern on the interior.
Once you’ve unpinned the mock up from the fabric you are using you can start cutting out the lattice patterns.
step-nineI suggested cutting out two pieces at a time (like I have highlighted), pin those two pieces to your fabric (in the area they mirror to) and cut them out.

Then pin the pieces you’ve cut together (make sure to reference the mock up cut patterns if you need to it can get confusing) and then whip stitch the pieces together. This could also be done on a sewing machine using a very small and tight zigzag stitch but I found the hand sewn look has a much more ‘adventurer’ look to it!
If that sounded a little confusing hopefully the above picture helps clear it up. That’s what the finished bracers should look like once all of the individual pattern pieces are sewn together.

I suggest once you’ve used a pattern piece you do to best to lay them out again the way they were previously, then tap them together so they won’t move. This will make matching the pieces together again for the bracers pair much easier! (Believe me it’s a struggle otherwise)
step-11Next you will want to sew the zipper onto the bracer. The zipper I used had a join at the bottom which prevented it from opening completely but other zippers will work just fine. I sewed it on with a 1cm seam allowance which worked out perfectly.

Once the zipper is sewn on you can add weathering but I preferred mine just the way it was.

And then it’s complete!

I think I will turn over the zipper edges at some point but haven’t done so yet.

Further notes

•Eyelets could also be punched into the leather and they could be laced up of you prefer that (I assume this would be the better decision for LARP)

•Any fabric could be used for this, faux leather worked best for me as it’s got a more fantasy feel to it.

•Any needle and thread will do, nothing special is needed unless you are using real leather in which case you will likely need specialty needle and thread.

I don’t have anymore photos but if you think I need to explain something a little more or have any questions please comment!

Thanks for reading

Young Girl’s Loose Gown Bodice/Skirt Construction Part 3

Been a long time since I posted progress on this costume but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been making progress.

I’m too lazy to re-write the process I went through so 90% of this is just ripped directly off my Fashion and Textiles document. Please don’t don’t tell me I plagiarized my own work NECA moderators. Thank you 🙂 

After completing the facings on the bodice I was ready to start the huge task embellishing the neckline (First time beading so this was big for me!) The first thing I did was draw up some designs on MS Paint to get an idea of the layout I wanted.
beading 1beading 2beading 3

Out of the three ‘designs’ I liked the last two the best. I wanted to test the designs a little more before sewing anything so I laid both designs in to sculpting clay (so they wouldn’t roll) an then decided on the final design from there.
Beading mock up

My drawings were pretty accurate right? I decided on the first of the two designs because I thought the second one was too bulky looking.
The process of beading the neckline of the bodice took me around 6 hours but it was worth it! To save time the beads were threaded on a continuous thread that was knotted after each line (not cut) and continued to the next. I have no experience beading so this seamed most logical(?) but worked for me! I’m very pleased with it and have had so many complements on the beading.
Beading complete close upBeading Complete

Next I wanted to sew the top layer fabric onto the back piece.I first sewed the top layer fabric onto the back piece with a large gathering stitch using the machine about ¼ of an inch away from the edge. The first time I did this I forgot to check that the fabric was flat against the main layer and found that it was bulky and no tight. Because of this I had to unpick the basting(gathering) stitch and sew sew it on. I used a lot more pins the second time round which kept the fabric tight on the base layer. I think using a small amount of pins the first time round was my problem. I then hand sewed a 4cm wide strip of interfacing to the back piece on the right side (when top layer fabric is facing down). This is where the eyelets will lay on the back piece. I did make sure to check this by referencing the skirt panels as to where the split in the skirt would be. Before sewing the lining on the bodice I will sew a strip of interfacing to it as well.
Once the interfacing was sewn in by hand I began the process of turning the edges over and pinning them in place. Once all of the edges were turned over I sewed the turned over edges down with a basting stitch which didn’t go through the top layer fabric.

Unfortunately the shoulder straps on the bodice would be too thin to put sleeves on them this lead to a discussion with my textiles teacher and we decided that if I made a blouse to be worn underneath the dress out of class would be the best option. (Yay more work)
Around this time full day rehearsals for my school’s production had begin and I was apart of the costume team (didn’t see that one coming did you) and was required at every rehearsal and then every show night so this ate into my time a lot and I fell behind my scheduled a little.
I finished off the arm openings. I made sure that both ends were the same size and altered them accordingly when they didn’t fit. When they were the correct size I pinned the top layer fabric down and whip stitched it into place. I’m really happy with how clean the top layer looks.

I sewed down the top layer fabric on the bodices right side (top fabric facing down) as it didn’t need to have interfacing like the left side. The top layer was sewn down with a tight whip stitch.
Next I cut interfacing to go along the bodice side where the eyelets would lay. The interfacing strip was in two sections as I had already sewn the top portion of the shoulder strap down at that point (after adapting them) so that section was sewn on top and the other longer section was sewn directly onto the base layers with a width of 4cm. The top layer of the fabric was then folded over and sewn down.
Once this was complete I started lining the garment. On my first attempt of this I just started turning over the lining fabric towards the bodice and pinning it in place and continued doing this around a large portion of the garment. Luckily I checked to see how the lining was sitting using this method and found that the lining was not laying tight over the  bodice as was bulky in many places. Because of this I un-pinned the lining and re ironed it to get rid of creases and the started with a new attempt. This time I laid the lining over the bodice and pinned it down to the bodice in crucial places such as the top and bottom of the central bone, below arm openings, on the straps and the bottom corners of the bodice making sure to spread the lining evenly keeping it flat everywhere. I then began turning the edge of the lining under itself hiding the raw edge, I tried my best to make sure there would be at least 1cm of fabric being turned over around the whole garment but this was difficult in some places due to the shape of the bodice. The linings curves had to be clipped in places such as the arm openings and neckline, the central point however did not.

Once the lining was pinned in place I turned it over so the front was facing me so that I could check that no lining was showing through on the front. In the places that it was I simply re pinned the lining a little deeper into the bodice. When I was happy that no lining would show through from the front I began the process of sewing it in place. I did this with a tight whip stitch around the edge of the lining, the stitch only when through the lining layer and the top fabric layer that had been turned over. This process was a lot more time consuming than I first thought but taking the bodice home and working on it in study periods over the week really helped keep me on track.

The main bodice piece was very time consuming to sew but I’m so pleased with the outcome. The lining is taut across the base layer with no puckering and lays flat. I’m just as pleased with the back piece.

(Close up of the whip stitching, image brightened)
Next I whipstitch the arm straps down to the bodice which created the armhole. This was a simple process and I found the easiest way of completing this was to pin the the straps to the back portion of the bodice and then hand sew a line of whipstitching and then go back over that again with another line of whip stitches. This strengthened the bond between the two materials and made sure there would be no gaps or any chance of the stitching coming undone.

I started by pinning the back piece to the bodice, right sides together with the pins horizontal on the ‘seam’. I bound the two fabrics together with a whip stitch going down the seam once to tack them together and going back up the seam again to fill in any gaps.
Back bodice finished

I love when my satin goes blood orange in some light.
Next I sewed the flannel strip layer onto the top of the skirt. This strip is 5cm wide and is the same length as the top of the skirt. The strip was sewn on with a straight stitch 0.5 cm away from the raw edge. I decided to finish the edge off and to prevent fraying by sewing a zigzag stitch along the raw edge.

After the flannel strip was sewn on I marked every half inch interval on the top of the flannel side with a fabric pen. (These marks can be seen in the second picture) This was because my cartridge pleats were to be sewn in this measurement.
The it was time to cartridge pleat the skirt down to size. I used a thicker thread for this (top stitching thread) as normal thread snapped during this process on my mock up. I also made sure to use a vibrant contrasting colour (yellow) so that I would be able to see the thread and make it a lot easier when I had to remove the thread. I used a running stitch to gather the fabric down about 1cm below the raw edge. After gathering the pleats down I measured the thread it was gathered on to just over 1m and then tied it off.

After this I had a conversation with my teacher about the skirt and how I planned on attaching it.
My original plan was to pleat it down to size and then attach it to a waistband which would be sewn into the bodice without breaking through the top layer. This would keep the dress as one piece. My teacher suggested that I keep the dress and bodice as two pieces that way the skirt would be more fitted to me and have a better silhouette. I liked this idea as most Elizabethan costume was separated into different layers which were put on in order to create the full ensemble. The only thing I would have to be mindful of is keeping the skirt panels even before sewing the waistband on. I will go with this option as it is historically accurate and won’t require me stitching the skirt into the bodice saving some time.

Next my focus was to work out what eyelets I would use for my dress. I tested this by punching holes in paper so I could get a better idea of sizes.
eyelets sizes

I decided that the better option would be the 4.5mm size as it would be easier to lace up the bodice. The other sizes would have been far too small making this difficult.
Next I got out a swatch of all of the layers that would be in the bodice that were sewn together and punched holes in that so I would be able to test eyelet procedures. I punched 5 holes in total, the first was just to show the original size of the punched hole vs. what it would look like when it was finished with the thread. Ignore pen marks and follow yellow font.

1. Is the first hole punched so that I could make a comparison to see if the hole got larger/smaller based on thread.
2. This eyelit was sewn using normal cotton thread (the same I’ve been using to sew the rest of the garment)
3. This eyelit was sewn with top stitching thread (same used for the cartridge pleats)
4. This eyelet was sewn using the machine, I sewed over the same area twice to increase the eyelet thickness.
5. This eyelet was sewn using the sewing machine, only once.
From these tests I decided that using the top stitching thread would have the better result and is more historically accurate. The normal thread cuts into the fabric causing the hole to become warped and uneven. The machine sewn eyelets are far too fragile and I do not trust them to withstand being laces up. Because of this I found the top stitching thread to be best. I will need to practice them some more before I sew the real ones on the bodice. 

Next I started on the skirt again, I made up the waist band which was 84cm x 5 inches. I made sure that the waist band was a little larger than my waist just in case I had any measurements wrong. This was cut from the satin and then a strip of interfacing was irond onto the back.
WaistbandWaistband interfacing
Next I made up some bias tap from the satin and added 9 inches of it to each side where the skirt opening would lay.
bias tape made and sewn on
Ooh doesn’t that look pretty. Not my best top stitching but nobody will see!
And finally I started cartridge pleating the skirt down to size.
Cartridge pleats
But this was all in vain as the lesson ended before I could pin the waistband onto it. And that brings us to where I am now with the costume log updated!

I’m very please with the progress I’m making and the huge amount of skills I have learnt during the making process. The dress will be made in time which makes me very happy and I’m looking to have it photographed in the third week of this month.

More updates on other costumes coming soon.
Thank you for reading


Nightingale Armour Skyrim (Full costume log 2014)

Way back in August of last year I made a brief post about my Nightingale Cosplay from The Elder Scrolls Skyrim.  That post can be found here.
The post basically acknowledged that I had made the costume but had no intention of updating on it to this blog. Nearly a year later I have changed my mind and will do a full post documenting the process. Luckily a lot of the process was documented on my Twitter account so it was easy finding these old images!
Nightingale Armour: The Elder Scrolls Skyrim
Game image
Before I get started I’d like to say that I followed the lovely Beebichu’s cosplay tutorial for this and that blog post can be found here. 

This was the first cosplay I made and it was a really fun experience and what lead me to pressue costume making as some sort of carer because I enjoyed it so much.
Once again Spotlight proves how useless it is and only had brown faux leather available when I wanted black. I think I bought 4 meters of this. As well as 3 meters of black medium weight cotton for the cape. And 1 meter of black vinyl.

I used simplicity 2355 as the base bodice. Pattern A.
Corset pattern 2355
As for the cape I used Simplicity 5794. Pattern C.
Simplicity 5794

I started off by making the corset which is the base for the bodice which the scales are sewn into. Because of this costume I now own a walking foot for my sewing machine as a normal foot wouldn’t sew the leather without eating it. 
Corset made and scales
The pattern for the corset was adapted so that the opening was at the back instead of the front. A zipper was then sewn in. No boning was used in the corset as I knew the whole costume would be very close fitting without them and they just weren’t necessary. I don’t have pictures of me wearing the corset but in the above picture you can see it with the scales below it.

The faux leather looked awful when pinned and I was a little concerned but once it was sewn down as you can see in the second picture it flattened out really well with no puckering at all.
Front scales sewn
It looked just as good when worn! I think the shape and style would have been quite fun to just wear on its own but alas I had a costume to finish.

Next the side scales were sewn on which can vaguely be seen in the left picture but a drew up a reasonably accurate design of what it looked like laid out flat. The collar was also sewn together but not attached to the bodice at this point. Seen in the red on the right.

The collar also needed the Nightingale emblem on it which was patterned on paper and cut from black vinyl. This was sewn on by hand.

The straps attached to the collar were then sewn to the main bodice. The collar is circular as show in the right picture. With the triangular flap that comes down over the bodice and the straps which are sewn to the bodice. The gape between the inner most circle and middle circle is to represent the standing collar which had a hook and eye set at the very top. The gap is represented by the red line which goes through the circular collar and the standing collar. The circular collar clips together with domes.
Skirt pinned
The ‘skirting’ was made up of three different pentagon shapes which were sewn to a home made belt. Home made because all of the belts in stores were far too think for me to sew the skirting pieces onto unless I hand sewed it. So I bought a belt buckle and used some grommet pliers and made myself a belt.
Bodice skirt finished
And finally it was all coming together!

My Bodysuit arrived around this time and couldn’t resist taking some pictures. I also got the mask made. The bodysuit I bought was from RiversEdge Dancewear in “Liquid Leather” which has a small collar too. Unfortunately RiversEdge is now out of business. But I am so very happy with my purchase and will and have used it for many cosplays since purchasing.
rivers edge danceware bodysuit
This was my first attempt and was made from the black vinyl, which hurt to wear after a while (and made my nose red) so it was later re-made with some black spandex I had laying around.
Cape made Full shot
mask and hood
I finished up the cape as well which I shortened to drape to just below my knee length.
After this my cosplay was complete!!
The brown faux leather was initially painted black with acrylic paint. This was really unsuccessful and the painted chipped or came off when manner-less children pushed past me in the halls at the convention.  But after a re-touched it for a shoot last year I “dyed” it black with liquid Kiwi shoe polish.
kiwi shoe polish
I recommend doing this rather than painting!!! The faux leather will take it much better than the paint. And it gives it a really nice sheen.

2015 Photo shoot

And I think that has covered everything! If I have missed anything I’m sure Beebichu’s tutorial will fill in any blanks.

That’s it for today’s post, thank you for reading

July Craft Haul

Today was a trip to Nelson to get the rest of my french hood and dress materials. I also bought a new hot glue gun as mine decided to self destruct and explode yesterday. It was a near death experience believe me!

On my list was

  • Meter of Black velvet
  • Half a meter of red flannel
  • 6 meter of white mock up fabric (top pop poplin)
  • Half a meter of white buckram
  • Half a meter of white cotton gauze
  • Bead divider box
  • Small and medium red glass pearls
  • Small and medium sea beads
  • Hot glue gun
  • Expanding foam
  • PlastiDip or NZ equivalent

First up was the hardware store where I bought a new glue gun, expanding foam and Plastidip.

I ended up getting two cans of the expanding foam which should be enough for the base of both should armour pieces on Demongaze. The ‘LeackSeal’ AKA PlastiDip will be used to coat my sword paired with Demongaze, multiple layer will be used but one can should be enough!

Next was Spotlight and not matter how many times I go there I still don’t know the full lay out of their fabrics section. (Though that may be down to Spotlights lack of organisation). So anyway I go in there with my list and decide to get the beads/pearls out of the way first as they would fit in the basket and I wouldn’t have to carry round fabric at that moment.
First I got the sea beads, the larger ones are for the bodice neckline embellishments and the the smaller and whats left of the larger ones are for the french hood.
Sea beads
I bought two packs of the larger beads and just the one of the smaller size.
Also! The Square buttons I ordered arrived a little smaller than I had imagined but will work all the same.

I also bought three packs of small and medium glass pearls for the neckline and french hood.
Glass pearls
And for all my future beading I bought a bead box with a bunch of dividers in it.
bead box

I always buy fabric last in stores if I can help it because I hate carrying around rolls/bolts, its almost impossible to carry more than three at a time and being my clumsy self I can guarantee I’d hit something… or someone.

First I bought one meter of Black Velvet this will be the veil of the hood, which was a lovely $45 a meter. Looking back at it now after looking at prices online wasn’t too bad but I was a little annoyed at the time.
The most boring purchase was 6 meters of Top Pop Poplin which is my go to for mock up making now at $5 a meter and less if I catch it on a sale or end of roll run off. This is for the gown mock up.
top pop poplin
I bought 3/4 of a meter of Cotton Sateen which will be used for the lining of the hood (not the veil).
cotton sateen
I wanted to buy 3/4 of a meter of Buckram for the base of the french hood but ‘apparently’ Spotlight doesn’t stock it. The staff member I asked was rather standoffish and pretty well useless at helping when I had questions about fabrics and their locations in the store.
So I improvised and bought the heaviest weight interfacing they had which I plan to double.
heavy interfacing
Lastly I bought the roll run off of some red flannel which will go along the top edge of the skirt to add some bulk to the cartridge pleats making them larger in the slightest.

I did forget to buy some black bias tape for the veil as well as lace for the french hood but I should be able to buy those in my local sewing store.

Also after playing around in MS paint I think I have a final beading design for the neckline of the bodice.
Final beading design
The gold and black squares are the buttons I bought. The red dots are the medium size sea beads. And the Silver dots are the medium glass pearls. The central gold and black square is covered on both sides with the read sea beads but this pattern stops with the next squares. This is because I wanted to make a feature of the central square.
From the research I have done this seams pretty accurate in a historical beading embellishment design but I’d love to hear feedback on this!

And that’s all for today post, I’m hoping to have the bodice fully embellished by the end of the week ready for school next Monday. I’ll likely work on that in the evenings and work on Demongaze and the gown mock up during the day.

As always, thank you for reading

Young Girl’s Loose Gown Bodice Construction Part 2

Finally some top layer fabric action!!

After inserting the quilt batting into the bust of the bodice I placed the top layer fabric out (Top facing down) and then placed the base bodice over that with the denim layer touching the wrong side of the top fabric. I then sewed a basting stitch 1/4 of and inch away from the raw edge of the base layer. This stitch attaches the base layer to the top layer and makes the next steps much easier. I don’t have photos of this step but it explains itself in the next photos.

Next I turned the bottom edge up by about half and inch and clipped the curves where necessary.
Basting bottom edge 1I then ran a whip stitch along the bottom edge securing the fabric in place. These stitches are to secure the fabrics together but the stitch should not poke through to the top layer. This took me a while to master and I had to check every stitch I made to make sure it didn’t poke through the top layer. I pretty good at it now!
I’d also like to mention that I later whip stitched the clipped edges down too as I missed them when I initially whip stitched the bottom edge into place. Yes, they would have been covered with lining later but they were annoying me and I had time to spare!

Next I sewed the neck and arm facings onto the bodice with a straight stitch on the sewing machine about 1/4 of an inch from the edge.
facing sew on
Okay I can’t remember what this technique is called so I’ll just describe it for now and hopefully I remember it layer! Basically the facing is flexed back into the position the neck facing is in seen above and then pined into place like so. Then a line of stitching is sewn just off the seam that was sewn attaching the facing and the bodice. This line of stitching is suppose to sew over the clipped curves which makes turning over the facing that little bit easier. Because my clipped curves on my bodice were half a centimeter wide as best in places I sewed this line about 3mm off the seam. Confused ?  Me too, but it worked! So lets move along…
basting stitch insideI then sewed down the facing with a basting stitch, this process is repeated with the arm opening facings as well.
I also did a mock fit test of the bodice and I really like the shape and the silhouette it makes. Have I mentions how proud of myself I am with this project for a first time complex historical costume!
Mock fit test

Fast forward to today. Its currently school holidays and my textiles teacher was having an open class day where her year 12 students could come in and work on their (now overdue) projects. I decided to come in too so that I could cut out my skirt panels and sew them together if I had time. Luckily I had a lot of time and got both of those things done.
Once my skirt patterns were cut out I sewed them together with french seams. This was my first time sewing french seams and a few times I found myself puzzled having to sew the fabric together with the wrong sides together.But it all worked out really well and I had now issues what so ever! I also made the decision that I will sew a waist band onto the skirt which will be whip stitched onto the bodice, I’ll go into more detail with this in the next post.
After today I am feeling so much more confident with this project, I am certain that I will have this finished by the 16th of September along with the french hood and gown.

In other news I have ordered some buttons to embellish the neckline of the bodice. I wanted to replicate the embellishment design seen on Queen Jane Seymour’s neckline in the well-known portrait by Hans Hoblein.
The simple design looked easy enough to replicate but I wanted a little more added to the design. Luckily I found the most amazing woman (who I unfortunately can’t source as all the images I have found of her are re-post images) who made a recreation of the dress seen in the painting and she took some artistic liberty with the design and added some square pendants into the embellish mix which I think is a great look.
QJS recreation
So I hopped online to Etsy and found these Square Rose gold+Blue/White/Black Rhinestones which obviously aren’t 100% historically accurate but they look the part!
Button comparrison
They look pretty similar right! I opted for the black version and bought 24 of them in total. I estimated I would need 18 but decided over buying was better than under buying. I only just hope that is enough!
Including shipping the whole package cost me just over $30 NZD.


And that’s all for this post! I’ll make a start on the gown mock up these holidays as well as drawing up the patterns for the french hood. I have so many projects going at the moment that I can’t really say what my next post will be about, hopefully it will be a little more lengthy than this one!

Thank you for reading

Costume Schedule Update June 2016

Short update today!
A few things have changed in my costume ‘To Make’ list for the year. Larger projects have been replaced/postponed  with smaller ones. So what’s now happening and what has changed?

The updated list 

Demongaze (WOW Deathknight) 
Both the front and back
Still happening and is still a work in progress. This will be my Armageddon Auckland 2016 Cosplay Cup entry so I want to get it perfect for the event.

Ophelia (Dress based off the painting by the same name by Georges-Jules-Victor Clairin)
Again still a work in progress, this was the project that would have work put into it and then put away because something more important came up. I actually worked on this all weekend and made some great progress on it and should have a complete mock up soon. There isn’t a due date for this but the sooner the better or other project will take over.

Young Girl’s Loose Gown (Patterns Of Fashion Book 3) 
Clear picture
And now for the projects I haven’t started yet! This gown is needed for completion of my full Elizabethan costume. Ideally this needs to be finished by the 16th of September which is two weeks before the Toi Whakaari Costume course submissions close.
I am also making the dress worn underneath the gown seen in the picture at school as apart of my scholarship submission.

Sylvanas Windrunner (WOW)

This lovely lady got onto my list a few moths ago when I fell in love with her character. I think I’ll wear her for one day at Auckland Armageddon 2016 in October IF I have time to make her. But damn I need to work out if I want to strut about with confidence wearing this cosplay!

Sailor Pluto

So recently I’ve been binge watching Sailor Moon/Crystal(Until my internet crappd out and I can no longer stream videos, RIP Game Of Thrones and all the anime I used to watch). Annnnd Sailor Pluto stole my heart and I would love to cosplay her! I would love to wear this to Armageddon Auckland but I might not be able to as all of my cosplay days are taken should everything else come along on time! However, one of my lovely Twitter friends and I are planing a meet up when I move to England next year and she wants to make a Sailor Mars cosplay so we may end up meeting as Sailor Scouts which would be awesome!

What’s no longer happening

Sansa Stark
option 2

Honestly I’ve lost motivation to make her beautiful garden dress from season 3. And because the fabric is so lovely I don’t want to attempt it when I’m not motivated to make it in case I ruin it. So for now I’m going to keep the fabric and possibly make her later or make something entirely different from the fabric, who knows!

Trash For Fashion Show
This was just a project I considered doing if I had time and I certainly do not have the time for it any more. So it’s no longer happening. Not that I made any major progress anyway.

I hope this clears up what’s happening from now on and what to expect in the coming year. I am really looking forward to completing costumes in the next few months. That is if my mother doesn’t kill me for buying more fabric for more costumes when there are incomplete ones laying about…

And that’s it for this post, thank your for reading and I’ll have a new costume progress update next weekend.

Dark Brotherhood Armour Progress: Part 4 / Completed Costume

Costume Status: COMPLETE
Below are links to each individual post in order.
Part 1Part 2Part 3

The long awaited final post of this progress log.

In my last post which was way back in September of 2015 I was yet to make the hood, mask, boot covers, gauntlets and possibly a weapon.

Boot Covers
These were relatively easy to make, simple craft foam covered in fabric which was hot glued into place on the other side.

I started off by making the pattern which I made by wrapping my boots in plastic wrap and painters tape and then drawing on the shape of the cover which looked sort of like an upside down bottle.

I left about half an inch of allowance on the fabric so I would have enough room to turn it over where it was glued down with hot glue. The base is black craft foam. I’m still surprised at how clean they look with little to no puckering or creases.

I also decided I wanted the foot covers as well so I patterned them in the same way that I made the top half of the covers wrapping plastic wrap an painters tape yet again.
And they looked good.. in the patterning stage.

I thought everything was going so well, they fitted so nicely and looked perfect. I think my mistake here was using the craft foam as a base, if I had used just the fabric I think they would have sat so much nicer.

I would have liked to have an O ring between the two covered joining them like the in game model but it was just to difficult with very little time.Both the top and bottom covers were attached with elastic. Unfortunately the foot covers didn’t make it to the convention as they slipped all over the place and I was scared of loosing them in the halls.

Hood and mask
For the hood I think I traced the hood off my dressing gown which was semi close fitting or I used the hood pattern from Simplicity 1771. I can’t remember! Either way I hemmed all the raw edges and sewed small black domes in five places along the bottom edge of the hood. Two at the very front, two in the middle and then one at the back. I then sewed opposite domes onto the body suit to correspondent with the ones on the hood creating a detachable hood. I would also like to mention that I had to use some left over black medium weight cotton for the hood as I didn’t have enough black spandex left over. This annoyed me as my black fabrics didn’t match!
The mask was made in the exact same way as the one for my Nightingale cosplay. I literally traced that pattern onto my red cotton, hemmed it and sewed the elastic and hook and eye set on and it was finished. Again this was a dumb move as the cotton didn’t stretch and it hurt to wear as it pressed on my nose after a short amount of time.

I didn’t make these in the end as I ran out of time (night before con crunch). I was going to wrap craft foam with my red fabric again but wasn’t sure how it would close so I gave up…

I did make the Blade of Woe, I even stated up until 12 the night before the con completing it. However, it got crushed in my luggage on the way to Auckland. Here’s a progress pic!
Blade of woe
This has to be the worst Pepakura file I have had to use. The there were numbers to match on the file and it was literally a guessing game using the red line system on the program. I don’t know where the blade ended up after the convention hopefully somewhere never to be seen again.

November 2015 Photo Shoot
I forgot the belts when we did the shoot but oh well, maybe I’ll re make this cosplay next year.

Notes and things I would change if I made it again

  • Top sewing a non stretch fabric (cotton) over a stretch fabric (spandex) prevents the stretch fabric from doing its thing and stretching, restricting movement.
    I should have foreseen this but unfortunately didn’t but hey I’m learning from mistakes!
  • Pepakura is a really slow process when it comes to making weapons and armour. However, it is very accurate if you get your files from reputable designers. I do want to challenge myself more and am trying more EVA foam based weapons.
  • Find a new way of making face masks/make them more comfortable to wear. I’m getting very tired of wearing my mask for half an hour, taking it off and being left with a red face because it was so tight.
  • I really should have done something more with my hair in the photos even if it was something simple like a braid.
  • Heavy interfacing instead of craft foam would have made a better base as there would be more flexibility.
  • I would have liked to put more detail into the bodysuit. There are a lot more seams in the body suit which really add to the style and overall look.
  • Another thing I would have liked to have added is the use of faux leather. More so in the strapping belt system.
  • Overall I think more detail would be a lot better on the costume.


And that is my Dark Brotherhood Armour Cosplay!
If anyone has any questions about any parts of this cosplay then ask away! I have no doubt forgotten to write about some things!

Thank you for reading and there will be more posts in the week

Young Girl’s Loose Gown, Mock Up

I started the mock up for this project about half way through last school term.

I wanted to make a bodice similar to Angela Clayton’s 16th Century Kirtle which she has also made a  Video Tutorial for. Because I had limited time to make this I decided it would be easier for me to adapt a pattern rather than me drape drafting one. The bodice pattern is an adaptation of  Simplicity 5582, which is a renaissance pattern pack.
pattern sim
I used the main ‘vest’ pattern which is worn in the bigger of the three pictures. Adapting it was simple enough. I took the opening at the front out replacing it with a full front pattern and moved the opening to the center back. I later realized that it would be easier for me to have the opening on a slant to the side of the center back as it would make skirt patterning that little easier (In my opinion!). That and Angela’s bodice back piece was of similar shape.
4th mock up pattern with construction notes
Hopefully the above bodice clears my awful explanation up! Draw by yours truly on Paint. The red represents where I will whip stitch the bodice seams together and the blue is to indicate the eyelet placements.
My first attempts at sleeve making failed, I tried using a sleeve from Butterick 4377 (The dress pattern I’m using for Ophelia later this year). The pattern fit into the arm hole perfectly but once I tried it on there were a few issues.
Bodice with sleeve
1. The sleeve was too tight 2. Because the sleeve was so tight it created this really neat look where my (amazingly muscly) shoulder actually stops the sleeve from coming up my arm any further 3. Adding on from 1&2 the bodice is pulled over and just looks terrible My mother had to pull this off me.
The following day I took the bodice to school and explained my predicament to my Textile teacher. She suggested finding another sleeve pattern that was meant for ease stitching into place. I found Vogue 1264 Basic Design and used a sleeve pattern from pattern E (Brown tunic)
So I ease stitched the pattern into place and it worked perfectly!
Correct sleeve
Ignore my awful pose! The sleeve needed to be shortened but aside from that I think it works perfectly!
After this was completed the bodice was finished.

The skirt was reasonably easy to pattern, I used a drape drafting method and worked out my gathering as I went. I marked every 1cm along the top of my mock up fabric and then began pinning it along the panel section I wanted on the bodice. I would pin the first mark fold the second so that the mark was the top of the gatherings fold and pined the next mark down and continued so fourth. Confused?
The blue line is the bodice edge. Black curves the gathering in the mock up material. And the red dots represent each marked cm. I have never drafted gathering before so this was the first solution that came to my mind which estimated the gathering needed without having to waste material.  It was time consuming but over all the whole process was only 6 hours which isn’t too bad if you ask me! I do want the dress to be really gathered, I think it will look fantastic with the bumroll and petticoat under it.
I used this method for all of the four panels of the skirt. I drew up a basic design of this, again in paint as it was needed for my school assessment.
Dress pannels marked
Blue, Front panel. Green, Side Left panel. Pink, Back panel. Yellow, side right panel. This image also shows where the eyelets will lay down the back of the bodice and about 5 inches into the skirt.
The final skirt mock up looked like this,

The back panel has about 4cm extra on it as I’ll trim it down once I’ve hemed it. The back view was taken on my dress form with a makeshift bumroll (two singlets rolled together) which is why it sits ‘correctly’. The front image was taken on the school dress form without a bumroll. Regardless I’m super happy with the dress at this point!

I was a little worried last Thursday and had to lay the skirt out (It was all pined together at this point)  and measure it to make sure I would have enough fabric to make it!
The skirt when laid out flat measures roughly 375cm which gives me plenty of space for the bodice,sleeves and french hood. Famous last words..

In class now I’m sewing the skirt together, prepared for some extreme gathering. Once the skirt is sewn on I should be finished! Then I can start the real dress.
I will likely start patterning the gown part of this project once I have finished my current projects at home (Demongaze and Ophelia) this should give me time to make the gown in time to be paired with the dress.

Dress and fabrics
Unfortunately when I opened the satin out a few days ago I found it got some stains on it from when it was with my luggage coming back from England. A bottle of makeup remover leaked in my back and must have gotten to the fabric. I took it to the dry cleaners on Wednesday and they said it would likely come out which made me happy but I still spent a good five minutes telling them how delicate the fabric was. I’m picking it up this Tuesday and will cost the grand total of $30 which my mother and I are splitting between us. So lets hope all goes well with that!

Next post will be either a tutorial or and update on Demongaze but hey last time I tried scheduling posts I disappeared for almost two months.

Thank you for reading

Young Girl’s Loose Gown, Breakdown

I can finally announce that I will be making this costume in my fashion and textiles class this year as apart of my full year project.
This costume will also be my garment I will use as apart of my scholarship entry. I am determined to top the fashion and textiles within my school this year and getting a scholarship would be fantastic too. Top scholar for Technology is also up for grabs and award that is given to the top students within the subject over the whole country. This would be an amazing award to receive and would help me significantly when applying for courses and school in London.

What am I making

In class I am going to be making a (simple) Elizabethan dress that will be paired with a French Hood. Both will later be paired with a loose gown which I will be making outside of school.
The dress and gown as pictured in Janet Arnold’s ‘Patterns of Fashion Book 3’
Clear picture
The dress can only be seen from the front view. The dress has long sleeves and those can be seen through the arm hole of the gown worn over top of it. The dress does have a seam down the center of the bodice though at this point I’m unsure if I want to keep this or just make the bodice in one piece (Which I think will be easier for my skill level). At this point I want the dress to have eyelets down the back of the bodice and into the skirt which will lace up to create an opening and closure. I don’t like the look of historical ‘replicas’ that have invisible zippers running down the back. They almost always pucker and just don’t do the dresses historical justice. Because of this I will hand sew the eyelets myself. I also want to include a bum roll to give the dress that nice added lift, I will also be borrowing a long petticoat from the costume room at school because I really doubt I will have time to make one! The dress will include some basic beading around the neckline and possibly the sleeve cuffs too. And lace! The dress will have a trim of lace around the neckline and sleeve cuffs seen in the picture. I wanted to get something similar to the pointed lace design seen in the picture and had been eyeing up a roll in my bosses work room for a while and today plucked up the courage to ask if I could have a meter. She gave me the whole roll!

Its cotton lace and in a roll that large and such a good condition is very rare, I couldn’t be happier being its new owner! I’m still unsure if I want to keep it this colour or possibly dye it black.. Opinions in the comments please!  I will do tests I promise and not bulk dye!
The Italian duchess satin is lighter than the brocade for the gown but the pair match together well.

The gown is gorgeous and I love it so much! The gown has long hanging sleeves which are topped with winged shoulders. Most for the edges and seams are covered with a trim or bias tape. The pattern is still confusing me to be completely honest. Before I start my mock up I will take it into mt textiles teacher to see if she make any sense of it. What confuses me is there is a secondary pattern that goes on the back to create the wing but I have no idea where the seams fit because they aren’t there in the reference image. The wings just merge into the back panels perfectly and I can’t see how with the patterns and instructions!
The brocade for the gown is a darker red than the dress satin, the pattern is a very dark red creating a really nice contrast between the three different colours.

Have I mentioned that I love this brocade. I really look forward to seeing this costume all put together but don’t expect that until October!

The French Hood will be made of the same materials as the dress and gown from scraps ect. I will be following a mix of online tutorials and the book ‘The Tudor Tailor’s tutorial. I’m heading to Christchurch in a fortnight where I will pick up the necessary materials for the hood there as well as thread and some more pins because I have bent/blunt so many while making Demongaze my current armour project.
I’m aiming for something similar to A Damsel in This Dress ‘s French hood tutorial.Headdress 5
Their tutorial goes into so much detail and has already helped me understand the basic construction of a French Hood.  And they have such a wonderful blog so if you haven’t checked them out already you should do so now! I’ve been reading their blog for a few months now without realizing I hadn’t followed them! No wonder they didn’t appear in my reader! I’m an idiot!

The plan so far
I still have a lot of book work to be done in class before I can begin my dress such as finish my ridiculously detailed research (I’m at 29 pages as of today this does include other book work), draw the designs myself which I’m not too happy about its been at least a year since I have drawn figures and of course make a mock up.

The dress will be lined in a similar colour. It will have an inbuilt corset (I’m going to follow Angela Clayton’s tutorial on this). I am still debating if I want cartridge pleats or not, they are historically accurate which is making me lean towards them more than normal gathering/pleats. It will have embellishments such as beading trims and lace. The back will be laced up with hand sewn eyelets.
The dress will be made in class first because its the bigger of the two projects, the French hood will be left until after that is complete.
The gown will be made out of class though I will likely consult my textiles teacher as I go. The gown will also be lined in a similar colour. It will also have a trim of some sort going around the edges, I’ll likely buy this online as I will have more option compared to NZ’s limited range of all things sewing.

And that sums everything up I think
My next update for this costume will be once I have started the mock up and venture into the world of boning and drafting (far more) complex patterns than I have before!

I was going to update this blog with all of my book work from my textiles class but then suddenly thought, What if I get done for plagiarism from my own blog…?
So I will bulk post everything once I have got all of my results for the year. To be on the safe side.
My next post will either be on Demongaze or Ophelia.

Thank you for reading