Embellishments and Weatherizing Make a Gorgeous Costume Shine

Some of the reasons for me to cosplay are the attraction to the costume and love for the character. I love styles that are technically challenging and that push me to learn new techniques that I don’t encounter every day. In my cosplay portfolio, a majority of the projects are strong females out of video games. The concept artists may or may not be trained as a fashion designer, so it is up to me to execute all the gorgeous intricate designs and make them come to life. Besides getting the silhouette correct, embellishment and weather are a HUGE part of executing a breathtaking costume.

Embellishments are a huge part of what makes a plain cosplay amazing. Please see below for a detailed look in to the steps in which I created the embellishments for a wedding gown cosplay based on a Game of throne’s character.

Video Transcript

  • To recap the materials:
  • Stiff Bukram for body + support
  • Lace trims – Flat black Mesh, braided trims, flat trims, ropes.
  • Beads – red glass beads, gold spacer beads, garnet beads, crystals for extra bling
  • French wires Misc embroidery floss.

Depending on what your choices are, your cosplay may not be as highly decorated as this, but regardless of what your cosplay looks like, this next part will apply to your costume.

Weathering is a process of adding age and battle proven damage to your costume. Fresh off the sewing machine, everything is new and shiny. However, it is not how the character looks. They had been in battles and they traveled far to come to the world they now reside. To show and capture your character’s history, we will go through a few simple step of how to add depth to their background.

For a light to mid back ground color, we will use black paint to add depth. For a dark color fabric, we will use brown, or tonal darker color to add depth. For our demo, we will weather this leather bag.

After cutting out the pattern pieces, use black acrylic paint to darken the edges. Start with acrylic paint, and lightly dilute with fabric medium. The fabric medium will make the paint more flexible.






After the edges are dried, sew bag together with top stitch thread, according to your pattern. If I didn’t have topstitch thread, I would use a triple stitch to emulate hand stitching effects.

After the bag is assembled, rumble the bag together. (I know, it is painful to rumble such a pristine piece, but it will be worth it!) the line where the wrinkles formed will be our guide on where to put more weathering.






Load a brush with more acrylic/fabric medium paint and paint along the wrinkle line. After a few seconds, lightly blot away and repeat and feather the edges until the correct amount of shadow is achieved. Lastly, lightly pat away excessive paint with paper towels.

The end result is an antiqued bag! You can use this technique for other textiles as well. Just add fabric medium to make sure the acrylic paint sticks to fabrics.

Thank you so much for reading and I look forward to seeing you at Expo! Sign up for my classes on Saturday (#2806 Easy Grading Costuming Patterns to Best Fit Your Body & #3825 Advanced Grading Costuming Patterns for Perfect Fit)!

About the Author: Anna He is a costume designer and cosplay artist based out of Seattle. She has designed patterns for McCall and has worked for brands including Norma Kamali, Eileen Fisher, and Nordstrom. Get to know more about Anna and her work at Expo in her two class offerings or at seattlecosplay.com.

Sewing With Knits – Basics For Success


Knits! T-shirts, leggings, or a soft knit dress are always a great choice for comfort in ready to wear. If you haven’t sewn your own though, you can! Knit fabrics have been my favorite choice for years and my sewing “toolbox” is full of awesome tips. I’ve outlined the basics for you below – for even more tips, techniques and confidence, sign up for my 2018 Sewing & Stitchery Expo class!

Needles, Thread and Other Knit Sewing Friends

For knit fabric sewing, always choose a stretch needle in the size appropriate for your fabric weight.  On your sewing machine, thread up with Coats’ new Eloflex Stretch Thread for seams, hems and topstitching that retain their stretch. Your serger will be fine with a regular cone thread. Basic sewing supplies should include ballpoint pins, serrated scissors and/or a rotary cutter.

Gorgeous Knits from Pacific Fabrics

Today’s Knit Fabric Stars

When choosing a knit fabric, be sure to check the percentage of stretch and which direction it goes. Neglecting this step could result in a wardrobe sewing disaster and you definitely want to avoid that! Pre-wash as you would any fabric designed for clothing.

Jersey, Ponte, Scuba and Double Brushed Poly are the stars of today’s knit fabric world. There are many other choices, but these are the fabrics we’re all crushing on right now.

  • Jersey: A light-weight, single knit fabric most commonly used for t-shirts and dresses.
  • Ponte: A firm, medium-weight, double knit perfect for pants, jackets, skirts and structured dresses.
  • Scuba: Also a double knit, but a bit lighter weight and finer of surface than Ponte. Beautiful for skirts and dresses.
  • Double Brushed Poly: Soft, stretchy and like wearing “secret pajamas”! Perfect for leggings, dresses and tops.

Choose Wisely – Finding the Right Pattern

The Big Five pattern companies offer wonderful patterns for knits. Independent companies such as Sew to Grow, Closet Case, Grainline Studio, Sew Caroline  and Snapdragon Studios also offer lots of choices for beautiful knit patterns. Be sure to check the back of the pattern envelope for suggested fabrics.

Knit Fabric Sewing Basics

“Do I have to have a Serger?” No! Any Sewing Machine can be used to sew knits with Coats new Eloflex Stretch Thread. A Serger is a wonderful thing for sewing knit fabric seams though, so if you own one, definitely use it. If a Cover Stitch machine is available to you, they are marvelous for hemming and top-stitching.

A ¼” seam is the perfect width for knits. You may find that seam allowance trimming is needed, depending on the pattern company you choose.  The stretch and drape of a knit fabric is best enjoyed with this “narrow” seam allowance.

Knits do not ravel, so seam finishes are not required! To reduce bulk, hem edges do not need to be turned under. There are many stunning options for neck, sleeve and hem finishes to be explored. You can even use the cut edge as your “finish”!

Join Me! Sewing With Knits – Trends & Techniques for Every Body

Are you ready to sew? I’ll have loads more info in my class for you along with a super helpful handout to take home. And, you’ll get to see what I make from the beautiful fabrics provided by my sponsor, Pacific Fabrics! Sign up right here and I’ll see you in class!

About the Author: Annette Millard recently started her own blog, The Sewful Life, which utilizes her sewing and teaching experience to provide helpful tips and tricks, tutorials, and project ideas. Visit the blog at sewfullife.com  and be sure to say “hi” at Expo in one of her three classes!

Sewing Techniques Applied to Costuming–with Anna He

Cosplay seems to be all the rage recently. And it is no surprise due to the rising popularity in main stream media, convention coverages, and easy to access information on techniques makes it easier than ever to get involved. Personally, I have been a sewist long before I started cosplaying. And the same trials and triumphs sewists experience are a common theme with cosplay.  Attempting that impossible seam for pattern match? Check!  Finding that exact color to match your taste? Check! What about using a none conventional material to achieve the body and drape we wanted? That’s practically what cosplay is about!

For those that are just starting, “cosplay” is a word combination of Costume and Play. It is a really fun and creative activity where fans dress up as their favorite character go to a special event like a convention, gatherings, or photoshoots.


Sewists are resourceful and have an impeccable capacity to learn and acquire new skills. These are the qualities that makes a sewist the perfect cosplayers. And believe me when I say, no matter how simple a cosplay looks to be, it is not. There will guarantee to be a hidden something that will challenge the perfectionist inside of us.  I remember when I was making the Sansa Stark (Game of Throne) cosplay, the sheer amount of drag on the dress meant I had to have a super strong support. And trying to make a supporting cage after the outter dress was already sewn up, a week before the convention, was every bit challenging as all the other sewings combined!

The process of cosplay is pretty magical. I have an endless bucket list of characters I want to cosplay. This coming year, I am focusing on Claire Fraser from Outlander TV series, White Mage from the Final Fantasy franchise, Triss Merigold from the Video game and book series The Witcher, and I am leaving enough room for one more surprise cosplay. Each project promises to be labor intensive and exciting as they will involve sewing fabrics, knitting, leatherworks, beading, cording, corsetry, embroidery and endless hours of seam ripping. It’s all worth it at the end when I don the latest projects and share the joy amongst those in my fandom. 

However, I always come back to this hobby. I personally love the fact that cosplay projects takes me out of ordinary sewing and basically re-polishes my interests in working with fancier techniques. Were it not for cosplay, I wouldn’t be working on anything remotely elaborate, such as gold lace trims, beads, embroidery, and gather brocade.

Cosplay is for everyone, it is not limited to any particular crowd. Whether you are just starting sewing and want to follow a pattern (there are plenty!) or an expert sewist who has experience in altering and creating patterns of your own – it promises to be a lot of experimentation and amusement. Whether you are making cosplay for yourself or someone else, there is nothing quite like it to put on a beautiful cosplay: the big reveal, the fantastical time that follows and just pure simple fun in wearing something you lovingly, and meticulously worked on.  I hope that fellow sewists will join me in the cosplay world. For now, I need to go back to the sewing room and tame a historically accurate petticoat–I hear it requires hand sewing!

Video transcript

About the author: Anna He is a costume designer and cosplay artist based out of Seattle. She has designed patterns for McCall and has worked for brands including Norma Kamali, Eileen Fisher, and Nordstrom. Get to know more about Anna and her work at Expo in her two class offerings:

·         #2806 Easy Grading Costuming Patterns to Best Fit Your Body – Saturday, March 3 at 10:30am

·         #3825 Advance Grading Costuming Patterns for Perfect Fit – Saturday March 3 at 2:00pm

Don’t let “costuming” scare you off from learning the basic concepts of grading a pattern! Regardless of what you are grading or altering, the method to achieve the best fitting garment is the same! If this sounds like it’s up your alley, be sure to register for the above classes.

ATTENTION COSPLAYERS! The Expo is offering a discounted admission ticket ($5) to anyone who shows their Emerald City Comic Con ticket at the gate as well as free entrance to the 2 Needle class “Simplicity Costumes: From Comic Page to Convention Floor!” held Sunday, March 4th at 10:30am. See you there!



Sew Checklist: Tickets Update

Tickets are selling but don’t worry if you haven’t had a chance to login and purchase yours yet, there are still available seats and time to shop! Like Christmas, the Expo only comes once a year so don’t miss out on these opportunities!

Our hands-on offerings are a great way to gain more experience on a machine so if you’re looking for some more hands-on practice take a peak at our three and four needle classes. Some great options include:

#4805 – Slice, Slash, Stitch, and Embellish You T-Shirt! with Barbara Crawford

#4815  -Upcycle a Unisex T-Shirt Into a More Feminine Silhouette with Michelle Paganini

#3854 – Like a Zentangle Flower Pin with Michelle Umlauf

#3852 – In the Hoop Embroidered Doll Purse with Edna Strom

#3844 – Contemporary Tech Pillow with Julie Muschamp

…Plus many more including select two needle classes! Check out all of the class options at sewexpo.com.

We have also added a new section of class #1865 Beautiful Bindings for Boutique-Quality Bags and More! with Annie Unrein. This new offering will be held Friday, March 2nd at 1:30pm in the Showplex Building, Room C. To add this class, head to sewexpo.com to login to your account and begin a new order!

For those of you who have completed your orders for the 2018 Expo, they are currently being processed and getting ready to be mailed out. Keep in mind that this process may take up to 3 weeks. When your order arrives, please OPEN it and confirm that your order is correct. If it is not, please call the ticket office as soon as possible so we can correct it.