Cosplay: Becoming Sera From Dragon Age: Inquisition (Part 1)

I know, I know, I’ve been bad about updating the site. It was a very busy year and I got really behind, and … okay, it’s 2016, so no more excuses.

However, one thing I did well in 2015 was make costumes. In fact, my Dragon Age: Inquisition Sera came out so well that I ended up winning first place in a costume contest at Memphis Comic and Fantasy Con. That was an amazing experience, especially after winning a contest in my BioShock Infinite TARDIS costume at a small con in Jackson, TN a few months earlier.

The Sera costume took me about six months to put together, so I thought I’d detail my process in parts because there was a lot to it. The hard work was, obviously, worth it, but I won’t lie when I say there were tears and cursing and blood and sweat that went into it.

Beginning the costume was easy, but expensive. You see, Sera wears plaidweave leggings. Now plaidweave isn’t a regularly-available material in the real world, and the particular plaid pattern isn’t easy to duplicate. Although I thought about painting the pattern onto some jeggings, I didn’t think it would look as good as if I had fabric with that pattern. So I spent a ton of money and ordered plaidweave from SpoonFlower. I chose the organic cotton knit, which was perfect for the sewing pattern I found: Simplicity New Look 6323.

Sera leggings

I liked that the fabric was stretchy, but not too much so.

The sewing pattern also helped me create the basis of the tunic, although, obviously, I had to completely alter the top, figure out how to make it off the shoulder and add straps, etc. I chose a maroon-ish jersey stretch knit fabric for that part of the costume (found on Fabric.com): it’s supposed to be clingy, so that’s what I ran with. I started with the shirt from the pattern sans sleeves, and then sort of cut the top to match Sera’s and then sewed the sleeves so that they would fall off-shoulder (which turned out to be easier than just sewing regular sleeves. I also cut the bottom with scissors so that it looked ragged like Sera’s. Fortunately, this fabric didn’t fray, so I didn’t have to do any additional sewing.

Sera Costume

So far, so good, right? But then there’s that white trim that the shirt needed. Fortunately, I had plenty of white cotton sateen left from my BioShock Infinite TARDIS dress, so I tea-stained it (basically, I soaked it in tea to make it look more ancient) and then used it for the shirt’s straps and top detail.

Sera costume

It started coming together after that. I also slit the shirt down the front and added the tea-stained cotton sateen there. I used an awl to create the holes for the straps, which I then reinforced by sewing around the holes medieval-style. Then I tied it all together with some leather cord I found at WalMart.

Of course, there’s something missing: the distressing. I was lucky: the fabric I used for the shirt was super accommodating, so I just literally cut strips in it to create the distressing. Then I used some of that iron-on adhesive tape stuff for patches and used a gray fabric (the same material as the shirt) as a background for those rips. I think it came out great.

Sera costume

Then, I hand-sewed the stitching at the top of the shirt and along the tea-stained trim. You can kind of see it in the above photo.

Needless to say, this was the easiest part of the costume (although figuring out how to construct the shirt with the straps that ran under the armpit made me cry at times).

More to come later…

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