Over the past few weeks a LOT of people have asked me about how I made my alternate Yennefer of Vengerberg costume!
I didn’t take pictures of all the steps, but I decided to make a blog post and share what I’ve learned so far 🙂 Hopefully this will be of some use to someone out there 🙂 For what it’s worth, with Aloy I am currently taking pics of every step, so that might help some of you 🙂
So, without further ado: let’s get to WORK!
My costume is made up out of the following parts (from bottom, heh, bottom, to top):
- Mini-skirt / hotpants
- Flappy pencil type skirt
- Belt around hips
- Gypsy shirt with feather shrug
- Brown leather corset
- Belt around waist
- Ribbon with symbols and runes engraved on them
- Necklace with a pentagram
So, let’s just visit these elements one by one 🙂
Now, I have to be honest here. Yen is wearing elaborate boots. These are highly detailed and very intricate and it was impossible to get decent screenshots of those boots. I was on a time crunch when I made this costume (who isn’t?!) and I figured the boots would not show up in their entirety in a single picture (I was right). So, I got some thigh high boots I already owned and wore those. In some shots I’m wearing even higher boots, because I wrecked my feet the day before and could not wear heels. For this, I cut off the upper part of high boots (I had two pairs) and used those as boot covers over a flat pair of boots. I then used some old leather to add small cuffs and to make the boots even higher.
My stockings were store bought. So go ahead and buy yourself some hold ups. If you have bigger thighs like me, there is no shame in getting a custom pair. One Size Fits All is bullshit when it comes to stockings 😉
3. MINI SKIRT – HOTPANTS
Pretty self explanatory, right? I got one of those cheap H&M short pencil skirts. You could also wear a long tank top and just shimmy it down a bit 🙂
4. THE SKIRT
Ah yes, the first ‘real’ costume piece!
This is what I did. I bought a heavy duty black cotton. Now, this is important. BUY A HEAVY DUTY FABRIC!
Seriously. You’re going to make a skirt with flaps covering your front and your (undoubtedly glorious) back. Flaps that will blow up in the wind if the fabric you use is very thin or flimsy. If you don’t want to moon the entire con (if you do: go ahead and take pics!), be sure to take a heavy fabric. Don’t be afraid to dish out a little extra dough for that heavier fabric. Besides, would Yen really settle for anything less??
For starters: you want to make yourself a pencil skirt. I believe I used this tutorial: http://www.instructables.com/id/Simple-Pencil-Scratch/
Measure yourself, make the pencil skirt and keep in mind that your fabric is not elastic. Sew in a zipper.
Afterwards, you’ll end up with something like this:
Tadaa! Looks easy enough, right? Now this is where the measuring comes in.
Lay your pencil skirt flat on a surface (the floor, a table, whatever) and figure out where the middle is. That’s the dotted line you see running down the middle. Measure this EVENLY throughout and keep in mind that your skirt gets wider as you go down.
The top horizontal line is where I figured my shirt would have to end.
Now here’s the fun part: divide the section you just made in half again! These are the two vertical lines next to the dotted line. Be sure that your seams are straight at all times during the measuring process.
Now draw a diagonal line from the bottom corners near the seams to the top of the vertical lines you just placed. You can alter this shape in any way you wish, I just went with a shape that I found most fitting for Yen.
You will end up with something like this:
(yes, my hallway was messy. I know)
(oooh, messy messy messy).
Anyway, congrats! You have made yourself a skirt with butt flaps and front flaps! Hurray!
Don’t forget that our lovely sorceress has a split in the back of her skirt that reaches wayyy, wayyy up! Be sure to make one too in the middle 🙂 Don’t be afraid to make it a little high up, you’ll be wearing shorts or a skirt underneath anyway 🙂
Of course you can’t just leave it like this. Get some bias tape (they sell it at any haberdashery shop) and neatly sew it unto your garment.
Now, Yen’s skirt actually has contrasting stitching on the bias tape. If you are an extremely neat seamstress, you might be able to get this to work if you sew by hand. I, however, am not one of those people.
I sewed the bias tape on with the machine, no contrasting stitching. You could always ‘draw’ them on later like I did with the corset. More on that later.
For now, congrats! You have a skirt!
5. BELT AROUND THE HIPS
As Yen’s belt is extremely long, I took the strap from a pleather bag and used that as a belt. You can use clay or fimo to create the buckle if you can’t find anything like it in stores.
6. GYPSY SHIRT WITH FEATHER SHRUG
For the shirt, I bought an oversized gypsy top at Asos.
(What do you mean: I own too many shoes?!)
This was my base.
I then dyed the shirt using DYLON fabric dye in Navy Blue. My washing machine still hasn’t recovered XD (seriously, this stuff leaves traces).
Then you cut a boobie hole in it and the shirt itself is done 🙂
Now on to the feathers.
I got mine on Ebay from this seller: http://www.ebay.com/usr/yym0623?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2754
Look how pretty!
First, I glued the feathers to a satin ribbon. I know most (American?) cosplayers love their glue guns, but I live for PATTEX super glue*. (*Not sponsored, but srsly, Pattex, hit me up. You’ve saved my cosplay life more than once).
I cut the feathers, picked only the nicest ones and layered them on. Make sure you layer these feathers for a nice and thick effect.
This is messy, time consuming and leaves little bits of feather and glue all over your house and/or table 😀
After a while, I ended up with this:
This means that the ends of your feathers are still visible. I used black bias tape to cover up the feathers and where I’d glued them on.
I hand stitched the bias tape to the satin chord and then I hand stitched that to the shirt. Be careful when sewing this on that you keep in mind that the fabric may need to stretch a bit to fit around your arms.
7. BROWN LEATHER CORSET
Now, this is where it gets interesting. I could not find a pre-made corset that fit my needs. So, after a lot of deliberation, I decided to make it myself.
I bought this Ralph Pink pattern: http://ralphpink-patterns.com/product/rp054/
Now, these patterns are nice and all, but come with a couple of downsides.
- The sizing. These corsets are only available in small to medium sizes, which sucks if you’re a bit more on the curvy side like me. I got the biggest size (which should have fit me just great, theoretically), but I still had to add a bit to it. Keep in mind that you’ll be wearing this with extra layers underneath it so you’re going to want a bit more ‘wiggle room’. Unless you don’t like to breathe.
- While this is a nice pattern, it does not match Yen’s corset to a T. Alterations were needed to get it in the shape it has today.
However, as a guideline, this works just fine. Sadly, I have no pics or references of how we altered the pattern as it was mostly something we (me and my husband) did based on our gut feel.
In addition: The corset in the pattern is laced in the BACK. Be sure to connect the back panels with each other instead of keeping them open and lace it in the front (cut the front part in half). Also smooth out the little bump onthe top in the front and make the corset shorter.
I first made a practise corset out of a jean type fabric:
This seemed to work well, so then I went on with the construction of the actual corset.
What you need:
- A pattern
- Steel boning
- Boning caps
- Concrete scissors for the steel boning (You NEED this)
- Coutil (heavy duty cotton, especially made for corsets. Not cheap, but not interchangeable either)
- A long chord
- Acrylic paint (white)
- A thin brush
- Bias tape
Basically what you do is you follow the instructions provided in the pattern! Keep in mind that you want your closing in the FRONT and not the back, like I discussed earlier.
Before the boning was inserted, I ended up with this! (I may have had half the boning inserted here, on second glance). It wil look a bit stretchy, but you will fix that later when you can really close the corset 🙂
Don’t be like me and make sure your boning channels run all the way through. Also don’t make them too small! The boning caps will make your boning wider, which will mean they won’t fit in those super neat and tiny boning channel you just made (True story!).
When the boning is in, you can start hammering in the rivets. (I used special pliers for mine and that worked out just great). This will take a while! It took me 1,5 hours to get them all in as it was painstaking to cut through all those layers of fabric.
However, it will leave you with this:
(And yes, hello boobs!)
Looking rather like a corset, right?
After this, it’s time to attach the bias tape to the corset, as also outlined in the pattern.
Now, Yen’s corset does not appear to have any boning. Mine does. Why? Because for any corset to have this shape and actually work as a corset (at least on me), you need boning. It will look better and more polished. As this was my first ever corset, I did not feel confident in making the elaborate pattern on her corset on the outer layer. I’m sure it CAN be done, but I decided to ‘cheat’ and go for another method to get the stitching where I wanted it to be.
That’s right, I used paint! Take a white acrylic paint and a very thin brush. Place small, thin stripes to create the illusion of seams. This works great from a distance and it won’t smudge or fade off! Take a small piece of fabric to practise on first. It’s better to have too little paint on your brush then too much!
The contrast makes the corset look super dark, but you do see the actual ‘stitching’ better 🙂
I was terrified of making a corset beforehand, but it was actually rather easy once I found a pattern 🙂
8. BELT AND GLOVES
The belt was made from pleather, hand stitched with white stitching and small diamond shaped beads.
I used black acrylic paint and a thin brush to paint on (storebought) leather gloves. She has an intricate pattern on hers and I just kind of went with it and changed it slightly to suit my taste 🙂
9. RIBBON WITH SYMBOLS AND RUNES
Yet another satin ribbon! I bought a silver marker and drew on the runes. Just look closely at the reference shot 🙂 These were all the runes I could make out.
The necklace was store bought! I did not have time to create her necklace out of clay and was convinced (given my non-existent sculpting skills) that it’d look better with a store bought pentagram.
And there you have it!
Totally bewitching, no?
If you make this costume, PLEASE let me know! I would love to see your creations!
You can find me at Facebook: www.facebook.com/ravenstarcosplay
Now go forth and throw beds out of windows, my friends! <3