This past few weeks I’ve been working on Kat’s Engineer Shepard from Mass Effect. I am told this is some sort of multiplayer outfit variant thing and not something in the main campaign, but either way, I have a bunch of reference images and even if they are consistent, I’m a dick and I like to do my own thing anyway. Anywho:

This is going on the back of the flak jacket/harness, meant to imitate some sort of faux-kevlar, faux-body armor structure with raised sections.  This is the same technique that Christine used on her Captain America shoulders –– this picture in particular shows that part. We both did it the quick and easy way, which is a nice way to do panels that need to be raised when you don’t have access to leather forming or, frankly, just don’t have the time or desire to. It’s the magic of craft foam and topstitching, baby.

Either way, draft your pattern and cut it out twice: once as a backing layer, and then a top layer. I’m using a heavy canvas for the backing and a thin, soft fashion vinyl for the top layer. The top layer needs to be cut slightly larger –– you’ll shave millimeters off your top piece with every panel, and even if a millimeter doesn’t seem like much, it adds up to leave you significantly short. You can be a little overzealous here, too, as you can always trim the excess to match the backing layer.

Next, out of craft foam, cut the shapes you want to have raised. On mine it’s those three rectangles, but yours could be just about anything –– I really just advise you plan it out ahead of time on your pattern instead of winging it, haha. Better safe than sorry. 

Lay these pieces out between the layers of fabric and pin. You may want to do this in stages in case you find yourself running tight by the end –– I adjusted the next piece every time I sewed a line just to be sure I didn’t run out of slack. 

Tips for topstitching:

  • Use a zipper foot to get in you in real close to the edges of the foam, which, like a zipper, will prevent you from getting too close. The zipper foot will also let you ride the edge of the foam, making it a little bit easier to keep straight.
  • Take your time. There’s no time limit. (Unless you’re Christine! Get back to practicing those jets!!) Topstitching is a very obvious detail and wiggly waggly lines can be very off-putting, so give it the time it is due.
  • Use all those nifty features on your machine, because that is what they are there for. Most machines come with markings/notches intended for topstitching, and picking a dedicated marker will help you keep neat/straight.
  • If you have a machine that does double-needle stitches, load ‘er up and do the double lines in one go.
  • If you’re topstitching a vinyl or something, you’re going to want to use a teflon foot (or walking foot, but I find the teflon worlds easier.) You could use Sewer’s Aid or some other lubricant, but I loathe that shit for how messy it is. Catch-22: if you’re lucky enough to own a machine that has a teflon foot, odds are you aren’t lucky enough to own a teflon zipper foot. (I don’t even know if these exist for non-industrial machines.) The solution? Teflon stickers. I have yet to find a new source for the original set that came with my machine, as I haven’t gone through them all, but they’re removable stickers that you can put on the bottom of your standard feet to make them glide like a proper teflon foot.

That’s all I got for ya :) So sorry about the lack of updates or good progress pics on this one… I promise I’ll be better in the future.

Tomorrow, I remake almost all of Ryuko ‘cause I can.

Jenn, Who Has Heatstroke

A message from Anonymous

What types of fabric would you suggest for a character who lives in a hot, sandy desert? And is some weathering with light brown paint a good idea? Thanks

Depends on what kind of desert –– humid or dry! Middle Eastern deserts, for example, generally have very little moisture in the air, so temperatures plummet at night, making wool a better choice, as it breathes beautifully during the day under the sun, yet keeps one warmer at night when it is cold. Meanwhile, in many African deserts, it stays warm even at night, so a linen is more suitable, as it is a powerhouse for absorbing moisture so that the sun can’t dehydrate you so quickly. It’ll also vary depending on what kind of animals are in the region, so if you’re working out of a fantasy setting, you might want to think about how easy it would be to access wool (or wool substitutes like mohair, angora, cashmere, etc) or what kind of other fibers might be around (flax, cotton, hemp, silk, etc).

Regardless, you’ll just generally want anything that is a natural fiber and breathable. You’ll want lighter colours, something that drapes nicely so the body gets some airflow. It’ll need to cover a lot, as sandy places will have a high risk of sandstorms.

Hope that helps :)

- Jenn

All my hand sewing is done! Now to just finish off my gloves tomorrow before my last full day off before I leave full of props, patterns, samples, and if I have time, packing.

And for the anon that just asked, a shot of my petticoat under it.

A message from Anonymous

Is there a pannier/petticoat under your unikitty dress to give it that poof?

Yes, there is a heavy duty one I had made for a costume years ago, that still to this day holds that much volume.

After 3 very long and busy days at work combined with last minute birthday gift shopping for my dad tonight(his birthday is Monday), I can say I am finally down to just hand sewing on unikitty! I also found the best prop in my room for her. I am just going to remove the nutritional information sticker from the back and keep my lollipop chainsaw one on the front, hiding it for photos.

It’s really starting to look almost a little too much like a kawaii maid at this point, but I wanted to add her green neck piece colour in to the design. All that is left now is hand sewing and quick blue gloves.

A message from Anonymous

What stores/where do you usually buy your fabrics?

The hell that is Queen St. West aka the Fashion District. Affordable Textiles (shout out to my instagram pal mr_fabricc) and King Textiles are my preferred stores because I don’t feel like I’m going to die when a shelf gives out and buries me in mystery fabric. Chu Shing is the best place for spandex and silk organza. Fabrics By Designers is great but is soooo far away from the others. The Leather Supply Depot is my go-to for notions.

- Jenn

A message from Anonymous

Hi! I am going to cosplay Aiichiro Nitori from Free! in Samezuka white uniform! My only problem is my breast size. Any suggestion to hide it? Where should I buy a binder?

I have no idea what that costume looks like because Google Images mostly gives me black uniforms and shirtless guys.

Underworks has expanded their market from FTM trans folks to include cosplayers. (What a world we live in, where there’s a store that caters to transmen and niche hobbyists, haha.) I imagine they’d have more information for you than I would, as all of us in this group are either so flat there’s no need to bind, or so busty that there is absolutely no binder on the planet that could bind us. If you don’t have much to work with, a sports bra is generally enough, especially if you’re wearing a track jacket like I’ve seen lots of those Free dudes wear.

However, as always: though some people might tempt you with ideas about taping in the girls down, do not use duct tape. Please do not use any tape on your skin unless it is specifically meant for usage on skin. 


A message from Anonymous

I'm interested in purchasing a Catwomn Arkham City Cowl Mask... Are you selling this product, have any in stock or can you make me one?

You’re definitely looking for the uber-talented and phenomenal ReevzFX.

A message from Anonymous

Any recommendations for fabrics for assassins creed robes? Specifically female novice?

If we’re talking Renaissance Italy, natural fibers like wool, leather and linen are period accurate; cotton didn’t hit broad/common usage in much of Europe until the 1600s and so on, and even then for quite some time, cotton was considered a cheaper and less durable alternative to wools. (Earlier usage of the word “cotton” in European texts is generally referring to the texture/weave of a textile rather than the fibre.) Italy was basically the textile centre of the universe in that time period, too, so your novice shouldn’t have much trouble accessing a whole variety of those fabrics, though you might today! If you’re talking Ottoman Empire, cottons would be a bit more common.

If you’re not going period accurate, I’d go for a nice cotton twill. Ezio’s tunic in AC2 has a very similar texture and it’s a breeze to work with, as well as being fairly durable for someone who is gonna be running, jumping, climbing things, etc. You want to steer towards something heavier in weight (though obviously still clothing weight) so it doesn’t look flimsy, so twill works for this as well. Me, I’m using matte cotton sateen because I want my Ezio costume to look a lot like a nobleman’s clothing, but whether you go the same route depends on how wealthy your novice is.


Progress on unikitty for today (so far, faceoff is on). The ears are finally at the level of pearl pink I like, so I’ll be sewing them to the wig soon. I changed the dress into a pinafore, and spent hours gathering that satin. (Seriously, it took me one try to gather it the first time, this time it was broken gathering stitches every 5 seconds) Now I am working on cutting some of the pink up with a bib on the tshirt, while trying to figure out where I want to place the buttons.

I still need to make my blue gloves and work in how I am adding the green. Unikitty y r u made of so many colours.