24 December 2015

Queen Elinor, or, You Thought You Knew How To Do Things

Facebook will show you that I've been working on this cosplay actively since June and at this point I just want it done.  It's been sitting in my queue for what seems like forever.  Good for me, the finishing line is in sight!  Elinor and Merida enter competition in less than a month in Boston at Arisia 2016.

As you might imagine, cosplays like this always start off simply enough, you know, before you get far enough along to realize that your planning skills truly DO suck despite whatever faith you may have had in your skills at the beginning.  I really didn't know much at all, I have realized, which over the last few months has made me doubt every skill I have as a costumer.


In this case I began with a bodice pattern from The Tudor Tailor and a five-yard cut of fabric that was a lucky find on Etsy.  It's a mirage green polyester and the best approximation I have yet seen of Elinor's on-screen dress fabric.

The first version of the dress looked great and pretty accurate.  My only casualty thus far was realizing that those sleeves, no matter how you cut them, take up an enormous amount of fabric.  Any plans I had to self-line the skirt went straight out the window.  Sigh.  To explain the problem this created, I need to back up a little.

When cutting cutaway overskirts such as this, you are much better off to cut on the bias because bias cutting=better drape.  That wasn't possible due to a vertical weave pattern, so it causes the overskirt to hang at a wonky angle that I'll have to fix later on.  Probably I'll install a few sets of tapes in the seams, which I'll tie to keep the fullness to the back instead of falling forward and creating strange puckers at the waist.

Elinor's belt was my first foray into the world of worbla.  This is tragically expensive stuff, and tricky to travel with, which are two problems right off the bat that have prevented me from using it before.

These are a craft foam core sandwiched between two layers of worbla.

Here are the three types of pieces that will be part of the belt.  The round knotwork pieces encircle the waist, while the plain rings hang from the centerpiece down the center.  It's all spraypainted gold and weathered using brown paint.  The above pieces have been reworked somewhat so that the knots are more three-dimensional.  I also re-sanded them to a smoother finish and repainted them.  The final central piece has four stones set in it, one at the center, and one on each of the three spokes, handily covering the oopsie I made while embossing the knot overlaps at the center.

Assembled the front piece looks like this:

While I apologize for the low-quality image, it does show how I chose to solve some issues with the sleeves.  Experience has shown me that medieval sleeves don't have a good range of motion.  They weren't meant to: these women didn't work.  I can't ask my mother to wear that for twelve or more hours, however, so I solved that problem by tying the sleeves to the dress, which is absolutely appropriate for this type of dress.  A few days ago I added in a puffed dark green wool undersleeve, but you won't see that until I have final photos, I bet.

I had a lot of issues with the collar facing and trim, for some reason, producing casualties in the forms of two separate failed attempts at creating something that lays flat.  The facing in the upper image has been removed in favor of a dark green wool one that is much more agreeable AND lies flat!  I used the same dark green wool for the underskirt, which you also won't see until I have final photos.
My wig deserves its own post due to its complexity, but I thought I'd give you a look at the crown as well.  There are two types of acrylic "gems".  The central ones are sparkly dragonglass ones that I special-ordered from an Etsy seller, while the smaller ones are fiber optic gems that I got from a craft store.  They don't look like precious gems, per se, but I think they fit in with the 'fantasy' look that I was aiming for with this set of cosplays.

That's all for now!  Expect two new posts soon: one about Elinor's wig, and one about Merida's finishing touches.

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