Self Portrait

Self Portrait

Self Portrait

Self Portrait

To this date I have never made a costume with as many different techniques and skills as Maria has. The costume contains embroidery, fabric embossing, leather working, screen printing, and so much beading. Above you can view my favourite images of the costume, and below you can read my walkthrough of my progress.

I started, as with any project, by first studying my available references, and buying materials. I was incredibly lucky that just before I started making Maria, Ubisoft released a 360 degree view of the costume!

I compiled a pinterest board of all of my references, and everything I wanted to buy. I managed to find some stunning dark blue basketweave chenille for the hood and the bottom skirt panels - the texture was a perfect match! I bought some indian block printed cotton, which I dyed the correct colour, for the back of the sleeves. For the front of the sleeves, I bought some grey stretch velvet, which I embossed with a square pattern using an iron. I layered dyed linen with a black crochet mesh fabric for the top. The front panel I painted a bronze colour, and then I hand sewed the top together with brown leather piping. The middle skirt panels were black linen, which I hand painted with a sponge and through wide netting, to get the look of the real thing. 

For the hidden blades and bracers, I had to learn how to leatherwork! Youtube tutorials were endlessly helpful. The veg tanned leather was stamped, dyed, and then had the cording decorations glued on it. I drybrushed some silver paint over the leather, to highlight the stamping details.

To make her corset, I used a faux gold dupion fabric, and screenprinted it. I followed the instructions that came with my silk screen, and drew up my design on it. (I even snuck in my own creations within the pattern - the assassins creed logo was one of them :P ). The corset was lined with a brown satin, in which I put the boning channels. I used a synthetic whalebone plastic boning, as I didn't need heavy corsetry, and it would make it more historically accurate! Not that that means much in this costume... The necklace was made by sewing hand painted gold triangle ceramic beads to a neckpiece, and gluing feathers onto the back of it.

Now all that is left is the beading and embroidery. I started with the horn pipe beads on the front of the shirt. From the official references, that's all it looked like! However I was lucky enough to find some photos someone took of the costumes on display, and turned out there were two small round beads in between every single one, as well as some orange quartz chip beads, plus brown and turquoise hand stitching around and over every pipe bead. So I did all of that. Phew.

And finally we have the embroidery! Definitely the most time consuming part of the costume. There were the two big arm appliques, the embroidery covering basically the entirety of the hood, and a small design on the two front corners of the bottom skirt panels, and up their inner hem. 

The arm embroidery appliques were embroidered onto organza, which is a technique I learned from Michele Carragher's website. She does all the embroidery for Game of Thrones, and did the embroidery for the Assassins Creed Movie! Every single stitch on my pieces was done by hand, every bead applied individually. Most time consuming was definitely sewing on all the little metal bronze jump rings, and the tiny gold sequins! (Note to anyone doing this costume - you want FLAT sequins, not cupped sequins. Flat ones are time period accurate xoxo) 

Then there was just the embroidery and beading on the hood left to do! More bullion wire goldwork (inaccurate, but its a technique I wanted to learn, plus its so sparkley), more little metal jump rings, and a heck of a lot of metallic embroidery thread over the entire hood, which let me tell you, frays like a bitch while using it. There are gold running stitches along every seam on the hood! I don't know why, but the little vine like embroidery and beading right on the shoulders is my favourite part of the whole costume. It's just so delicate, and somehow I managed to get it IDENTICAL to the real costume (my friends can vouch, they saw me standing next to the real costume when we were at the UK premiere, and being cosplayers themselves, scrutinized me)

Aaaand that's pretty much it! I made Maria to compete in the ECG qualifiers, where I ended up coming runner up! I also won the MCM Birmingham Masquerade with the Best Costume which was pretty cool! First time I have ever won an award for my cosplay! I can honestly say that making this costume really helped me grow as a costumer, and it made me realise that instead of banging out a new costume for every con and rushing them, I want to dedicate my time to making intricate and challenging costumes that test and improve my skills! I've really developed a love of competing, and I hope to continue to grow over the next few years <3