CHOOSING THE COSTUME
Even Witcher 3 can be considered an older game, I’ve started playing it just recently. I’ve always tried to avoid mainstream and popular things, but with time, the bad ones were filtered out and the good ones waited for me like gemstones in the rock for miners.
Witcher 3 is one of the best examples of those rare gemstones. I really love the game and I decided to recreate one of the most beautiful and elaborate outfits from the game. I loved the dress even before I played the game, seeing it on cosplayers around me, just in the „wrong color“. I was also not really eager to portray Triss and I was asked by a lot of people to cosplay Yennefer.
So when I found this mod, which puts Triss‘ dress on Yennefer just in black and silver, I totally fell in love and I immediatelly started working. And since it was a little bit of a con crunch situation, I made the cosplay in 1 week and then embroidered it for 2 more weeks.
MAKING THE COSTUME
Black textured sturdy structured suede fake leather (belt, leg covers), gray taffette (sleeves, belt decorations), white structured silky fabric (skirt), gray light polyester fabric (lining of the upper sleeeves), slightly stretchysturdy black jaquard – 5m (cape/dress + upper sleeves), black unvowen fabric (lining of sleeves), heavy fake silver leather – 2m (upper embroidered decorations).
I really recommend testing all the stitches your sewing machine can do before starting this project. My sewing machine can’t do any super special ones, so I mainly used the zigzag stitch, but some machines can do basic embroidery shapes like leaves and that might come in handy! It’s also good to see the density of the stitch and the speed you need to match to create a nice embroidered border.
1) The wig
Making the wig for Yennefer isn’t that hard. It is basically lightly curled 22 inches long black frontlace wig, that you can buy on Aliexpress for 40 Euro. When it arrived, I thinned it down to make it look more natural with thinning scissors and I teased the bigger side of the sidecut for more volume. Then I pinned the hair in the shape I wanted, lightly brushed it on the surface to make it even and fixedd it with hairpsray.
2) The skirt
I first glued a few pieces of paper together and I measured my waist and my hips. I made 3 parts of paper – 1 square parts measuring half of my hip size with rounded front part measuring a little less, since it will be the part going around my waist, that is smaller than my hips. Then 2 mirroredtriangle parts with a rounded side, that would create the front of the skirt, I cut them from an off-white silky fabric with a line texture, sewed them together on the sides and created a wrapping skirt, that would be secured by buttons. Then I secuted all the hems and added a black decorative ribbon around the botton seam.
3) The bag and shoes
I decided I would not the the same bag as Triss has, because I’ve never really liked the look of it. But since the dress was supposed to be a ball dress, I’d have to carry around at least some purse to store my stuff in. I decided to try to look if I find something that would match the dress and maybe remind me a little bit of the original purse of Triss and fit that purpuose and I found a really nice embroidered bag with decorative beads on Aliexpress and it fits to my dress perfectly, but htere are a lot of other suitable options.
For the shoes I also decided to go similar, but still a little different way than the original design, since I really dislike shoes with straps between fingers. For my first photoshoot I wore just simple black sandals I had at home, but for future conventions, I decided to buy a pretty cheap pair of black sandals from local store, that look like this:
The most important part of Yennefer’s cosplay is her pendant, which she wears on a black velvet collar-like band. I took a black velvet band, added a velcro on the back in the size of my neck, poked a tiny hole in the front of the band with soldering iron, so the velvet burns around the hole in the band doesn’t frizz, added a small loop
and 3D printed this model of Yen’s pendant (just smaller), which I sanded and smoothened with several layers of primer and filler and painted with Tamiya colors.
Other jewellery included big collar of leaves, 2 smaller brooches on the sleeves, belt buckle, headdress and a headbrooch.
I 3D printed them thanks to the files from Victoria Hofferson, which are free to download HERE. And then I also modelled my own gemstones, which I printed in red transparent PETG. I first printed all files, sanded them down a little, then I glued the leaves collar together and heatformed the collar, headdress and leaves for hairbrooch.
I’ve used an epoxy putty to add hairclips on the back of the hair brooch, added magnet closing mechanism to the leaf collar using black worbla and also added rubber bands to the headdress, which will go inside the wig and will be fastened with hairpins. I primed all the pieces with grey primer/filler, sprayed them black, used a sponge to add darker silver to highlight higher based areas and glued the gemstones.
5) The belt
The belt consists of smaller pieces shaped like triangles/leaves, so I created a shape like this from paper and cut those from a thick fake leather withe a textured suede look trying to keep the texture in the same direction all the time. Since the leaves like shapes „grow“ from the back to front, I also added a rectangular piece, that connects the belt in the middle of my back. I glued the pieces together and sewn them to a wide polyester strap, so the belt is not oly decorative, but can be also firm.
Then I’ve sewn through every triangle and the polyester strap, sewn a velcro to both ends of the belt. The ends will wrap around the belt buckle loopsand close with velcro on the inside of the belt. As a last addition I added metal loops to the belt, that hold teh decorative straps on the side. I’ve sewn those straps from gray taffette, that I’ve also used for the sleeves and added a metal endings to them.
6) Leg wraps
I started by measuring the cirsumference of my calf to be able to determine the size of the leg wraps I’d need. Then I drafted a shape on 2 paper, glued them together and tried them on my leg. The straighter side is the part hugging the back of the calf and the front parts are gonna overlap each other. And since the reference has a flower shape embroidered into the sides of the wraps, I folded a piece of paper few times, cut a teardrop shape into it and created a symmetric flower shape like this.
Then I transfered the shape to a fake leather structured suede material I’ve used for the belt already, I’ve sewn both sides together and then I’ve used a silver ribbon to decorate the rim. Then I took a chalk and marked and the areas, where I want to add other silver decorations, sewed them onto the leg wraps and I’ve used a very tight zig zag stitch to embroier the flower shapes on the sides.
Then I added velcro to be able to close the leg warmers and they were finished.
I started with measuring the length and circumference of my arm and transfering those measurements onto a piece of paper together with a sketch of the decorative embroidery. I created my sleeve measurements thanks to this tutorial. Then I transfered the shape on dark grey taffete fabric using chalk and I double layered it using a black non woven fabric just for a little more strength.
Since I don’t have a sewing machine, that can do emboridery (it can’t even do any shapes like leaves), I decided to buy this galloon with leaves and use it as filler for the embroidery. I had to repaint it black, because I needed the embroidery in black color and they didn’t have the black variant in stock.Then I tightly zigzagged around the galloon with very tight black zigzag stitch following the chalk lines.
When the embroidery was finished, I’ve sewn both sides of the sleeves together, tried the sleeve on and pinned the edges in front to add a silver rim. I added a silver rim, and sewn it with a decorative zigzag stitch to a sleeve. Then I added a thin round rubber band to go around the middle finger and hold the sleeve in place. As a last step, I’ve overcasted the upped end of the sleeves and added a buttonhole, which would go into the button hidden inside of the dress.
Since the dress has a very deep cleavage, I decided to support my breast with a special underwear and avoid any unfortunate situations.
First step was to decide to make the cleavage a little less deep, because I would not be comfortable wearing such a revealing garment. Then I bought several helpers – a special deep cleavage bra, nipple stickers , double sided tape, breast tape, pushup silicone bra and any kind of transparent strap for bras to add behind the neck and ensure the dress won’t fall off the shoulders. Then I’ve tried different combinations of those to see which ones are the best for what I’d need to do. I can’t really give you a definite answer on what will work for you – it is highly dependent on the cut of your dress and your figure including the breast size.
9) The cape/dress
I chose a black slightly stretchy jacquard fabric for the dress and patterning it was kinda a nightmare. I first used a black unvowen fabric and sewn it together to try to fit it on me. On the picture there is the pattern before I made adjustements, but the basic shape stayed without major changes. If I’d do the dress again, I’d probably make the dress a little longer on the sides and the back, but as it is right now, it is pretty accurate to the game. Do not forget to keep in mind the direction of the pattern on your fabric while laying your paper pattern on it. It always has to go in the same direction and preferably like this:
When I cut the fabric, I followed the lines of the chalk I made on the fabric and I pinned the dress together. Then I’ve sewn it and made a basic sleeveless shape.
I took good care with the seams, especially on the place, where three parts met. Then I’ve cleaned the seams on the edges and tucked them in and sewes around the edges. I also added a horsehair to make the edges of the dress sturdier.
Then I started to sew the open sleeves. I started with a butterfly shape and I cut it out of both the grey lining fabric and the jaquard and sewn them separately. Then I’ve combined them together, pinned them and sewn them to the dress in the arm area. I left the bottom part of the grey lining fabric uncut, so I have a buffer there and I could cut it exactly right after it is sewn to the rest of the dress. I pinned the lining to the upper fabric, cut it and burned the edgees so the fabric doesn’t fray.
Then I’ve wrapped the end of both fabric in a silver ribbon and I glued and sewn it in place. I also added a light grey lacey ribbon for decoration. When it was done, I sewn both sides of the sleeve together a few centimeters under the start of sleeve slit, where the 3D printed rosette brooch will be fastened. I’ve sewn around the sleeve also a silver decorative silky rope to match the original artwork. I had to secure the end of the rope with hot glue, since a twisted rope tends to untwist if not secured at the end properly. I added a button inside the shoulder area to hold the undersleeve in place and added the rosette brooch as a decoration (I’ve glued a brooch closing under the rosettes I 3D printed before using epoxy glue and fastened them to the ends of the ropes to coved them).
The dress has the right form and it is basically finished, but the most prominent part is still missing – the silver vines embroidery. And it took much more time than I expected, hence I decided to suggest you some of the solutions some cosplayers used to simplify the process before I start with how I made it and show you some of the ways how to skip this time-consuming part.
I started with the lines on the borders of the dress. I’ve used the pattern I had for the dress and transfered the shapes on the backside of the fake leather and cut a strip of the fake leather cca 2-2,5cm wide and sewn it around the whole dress border using the smallest very tight zizag stitch. For the whole project I’ve used a super light grey polyester thread. Then I cut another strip, this time much thinner and sewed it bordering the first panel of the dress, till the two stripes were completed and the dress looked like this:
Then I’ve sewn a decorative ending on the back of the dress and started creating small leaves from the fabric rests, that started to pile up. I’ve drawn the leaf shape on the silver part of the fake leather with a pen (next time I’d use a grey or white pen, since I couldn’t get rid of the blue color completely on some places) and then I’d try to sew with a tight small zigzag stitch over the sketched lines on the leather. Then I’d clean up the visible pen marks with acetone (may be too agressive for some fabrics, careful), cut the leaf out of the fake leather and save it for later.
And when I had the borders of the embroidery sewn to the place, I started adding individual vines. I started with a piece of fake leather matching in size to the vine I wanted to created and fitting inside the borders I wanted to create. I’ve drawn the shapes using pen, I pinned the panel on it’s place (make sure you don’t pin it on the places, that will stay on the dress, since every cut and incision will stay visible on fake leather) and then I’ve sewn with a normal straight stitch through the shapes I’ve drawn there. When I was done, I’ve cut the excess fabric away. I also decided to cut away the excess leather on the borders of the dress.
I’ve repeated the process on the whole area of the dress including back.
Here’s the progress of the work on the back:
When all the decorations from fake leather were sewn into place, I embroidered around them using a tight zizag stitch and I’ve used up almost 2kms of thread. I could also emroider around the original fake leaher strips and connect them to the neighbouring motives.
I’ve also added a few silver a lines and I added a black silky lines, that I’ve handsewn on the place using grey thread to match the original artwork. Then I’ve sewn on the upper part of the dress a few of the leaves I’ve made before and matched their shapes, angle and size on both sides of the dress‘ cleavage.
A last finishing step were the shapes on the back of the dress. I originally didn’t have intent to make them, because I don’t really like them on the dress, but since a lot of people were asking about them and I like my costumes to be accurate, I decided to add them before releasing the costume. I marked the lines I wanted to follow with chalk and I’ve used a silver lurex ribbon to create the decorations. I’ve used a normal zig zag stitch and it was very hard to sew, since my sewing machine really struggled with the silver plastic in the ribbon tearing it and pulling it on the way + the stretchiness of the fabric was always trying to make my life even harder. So I’d consider not using lurex ribbon and choosing a less stretchy fabric for the whole project (even I know it is very hard to find this kind of fabric quality for okay price in the desired color with the desired pattern).
The last step was to add a few loops inside of the dress right under the cleavage area to be able to pull ribbon through it and close the dress reliably. And if you are asking why the dress is not lined, I’ve notices on the referrence artwork (at the start of this article), that the shapes are visible on both sides of the dress and since the embroidery looks the same on the inside (just missing the silver faux leather filling) as on the outside, I decided to not include any lining, just to make sure the inside of the dress is sewn cleanly – a peek on the inside is visible on the picture of me sewing loops:
And that’s it, actually – the whole dress was finished. I just added a transparent strap behind my neck to hold the dress in place. Please, take a look how it cam out on following pics:
And here are a few pics of the whole costume. Hope you like it!
I hope you like my turn on this character and my guides will help you create something stunning!
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