Leather armour

A nice way to finish the year (academic year I mean) before summer holidays is to talk about the last project of my second year of the costume making degree.

We were quite free for this project, we had to try something new such as wire work, casting, leather work etc…

I chose the last one. First inspired by the costume of the TV show Vikings, I after designed a piece of armour on my own. The design was not the main focused on the project, it removed a bit of stress I have in this field.

It was a self-directed project which meant we did not have to be on site to work  but it also meant that the most convenient model was myself…

I started my making the toile and then the pattern.

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I cut it on my  leather piece ( it is not that easy).

and after the fun began…

Using leather also meant tooling which was, in that case, embossing a « picture » using tools such as embossing stamps. To have a nice 3D effect, the thicker leather the better. Mine was 3mm which was a good balance between that and the fact that it needed to be wearable…

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After that I dyed it. The whole project was about experimentation. I never worked on leather or with leather dyes so I learnt as I was doing it.


The other fun part was sewing the pieces together. It had to be done by hand. I did not know if my sewing machine would have liked sewing 6mm of leather and I did not want to add extra fullness with seam allowances.

The whole process is not complicated, only a bit laborious. I first marked the sewing line with a edge crease, then marked the stitching points with a wheel then  made the holes with a awl and finally saw the pieces together. I am pretty sure I could find an easier way…. what do you think ?

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I wanted to use different techniques of embellishment so I also tried engraving (but did not like the result once dyed ) and also « lace » effect by cutting the leather with a Stanley knife. That was very hard… I liked the process and it is definitely something I want to try again but probably with a thinner leather…

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Few more things to add and it was done.


I don’t have pictures of me wearing it but I did the whole presentation wearing it because, yes it fits …

So I had a lot of fun during this project and also learnt a lot sometimes by making mistakes but after all, it is also a way of learning.

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Missy + the Master =


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For this one, I went a bit further than recreating an existing costume.

A friend of mine told me that I could mix characters instead of making something as closely as I can.

I thought that was an interesting challenge so I chose 2 versions of the master.

The first one is the Master played by Anthony Ainley from 1981 to 1989. He was wearing a kind of black velvet suit with a tailcoat and a trouser with a front buttoned panel.

The second one is  Missy with her coat, long skirt and shirt….does it remind you something ?

From the first one I kept the fabric, the tail coat and the front panel. From the second one, I took the skirt, the shirt and the accessories (make up and jewellery).

I had to create a pattern for the coat and I have to confess I was far from being good at this time (not that I am a master of pattern drafting now); I also could have added a lining to the coat for a better fit.

I know that the details are difficult to see on the photos because of the fabric, still it was fun to make, even if I never wore it in a convention.

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Photo : MegaPanda, 07/2015


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Another DW convention, another costume.

I made the costume of Missy, the female regeneration of the Master, 2 years ago. I liked this character. She has a strong personality and is completely crazy (you will see in following posts of cosplay I have a thing for crazy female character…).

This was challenging because I never made a coat nor a shirt before.

I found the pattern for the coat but had to alter it quite a bit to fit Missy’s costume. I should have added shoulder pad… You learn from your mistakes, as they say…

Making the hat was a lot of fun, especially to find the adequate pieces.

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Do you like this female regeneration ?

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Do you want more of her ? See you next week then!

Missy – S8E12 Death in Heaven

Coat pattern / Simplicity 1732

Shirt pattern / Burda style 7136

Photo: MegaPanda 07/2015


50’s pregnancy shirt


I have been asked to make this shirt for a birthday party , the theme was the fifties.

The 50’s are very popular among the sewing bees. My friend did not want a 50’s dress, as she was 6 months pregnant,  but a shirt . She made  research on 50’s pregnancy outfits and came with a couple of images from the period. She chose the white shirt on the last image.

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What was very interesting in making this garment was that it was the first time I created the pattern ( simple but still) from the beginning to the end from an image. And that is also what costume intepretation is about.

I started by making a basic bloc with her own measurement (which is a bit odd on a pregnant woman) and after I manipulated the pattern by the method of slashing and spreading to make a pattern of the shirt she wanted. I first made a toile (something I never did before going to costume school) and we made the shirt together with a fabric she chose.

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This was the beginning of the new area of pattern drafting for me :-) and after that I never stopped !

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What about you, what your first pattern look like?

Vampire of Venice (2)

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My third (and last) costume of the episode of Doctor who called The Vampires of Venice. I made this dress 2 years ago for a DW convention. I had the  top fabric for quite a while because when I saw it I recognized straight away for which costume I could use it. It took me one or 2 years to make it, mostly because I did not think I was ready, it seemed too complicated.

The most difficult part was the stand collar. I looked closely at the frozen images on my TV screen, pictures on the internet and I had a pretty good idea on how it was made.

I bought lace, sprayed it with gold paint (not fabric paint) and tried to put very fine flexible wire to make a half circle shape. Unfortunately my attempt failed , it is why there is not any collar on this dress. I should try again, with another technique, someday …

How would you have made it ?

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Madam Calvieri – Doctor Who S5E6  The vampires of Venice

Pattern: Simplicity 4092

Photos: MegaPanda