Creating the dress pattern was a bit of a process, so bear with me while I go through everything. Doing a mockup before cutting into the actual fabric was a must because I made the pattern and the materials are pricey. I didn’t want to make a mistake on the costly stuff and instead let myself mess up on cheap fabric. No matter what kind of sewing you do, and even if you buy a pattern, you should ALWAYS do a mockup. I’m guilty of not taking my own advice in the past, and trust me, it didn’t always pay off. Plan a trial run in your cosplay timelines.
Now, enough advice. Here’s how I made the pattern for my Cersei cosplay:
There are tons of ways to approach patternmaking, from draping with muslin on your dress form to freehanding. I decided to try a method I’ve never used before: duct tape. This isn’t fashion-industry standard, but it does let you take some short cuts. Essentially, you wrap yourself or your dress form in plastic wrap, then cover it in duct tape. Then you draw the seams on the tape and cut them out. Here are the pros and cons of going with the duct-tape dummy:
- Save money on fabric (you only have to use fabric for the mockup).
- Have pieces that fit your body.
- You can draw directly on the duct tape.
- It’s fast.
- It’s not ideal for flowy pieces.
- It’s not a fashion-industry standard (if you care about that sort of thing).
- You use a TON of duct tape.
- It really only gives you pattern pieces for the fitted parts of the garment.
- You can’t follow the guideliens on your dress form because they’re covered up.
In general, I think this method is best for costumes with simple, fitted lines. Additionally, if you already know where you’ll place your seams, this is a good option. Costumes where you have to figure out seams for yourself are probably better left to draping. The bodice half of Cersei’s dress is fitted, and you can see the seams in reference images. That meant I already knew where I was going to draw my lines when I started.
Once I cut out the duct tape pieces, I traced them on paper, adding seam allowance and the skirt. I also made adjustments to the size because my dress form is smaller than me. I used my measurements to draft the pieces.
With all the pieces drawn on paper and cut out, I could proceed to actually making the dress, albeit with scrap fabric. I just used some cotton I got on sale for a couple bucks a yard, and whatever I already had that I wasn’t going to use for something else.
I then put the dress together with a basting stitch. That way, I could rip seams apart and resew them without wasting too much time or thread.
Once I had the vest part of the dress done (so no sleeves or collar), I started making adjustments. As per usual, the bust part was a little large for me, so I had to take that in. The neck was a bit tight and the skirt had just too much fabric.
I finished off by adding sleeves and the collar.
The Final Pattern
Once I was totally happy with how the mockup version fit, I trimmed the seam allowance and ripped the thing apart. I only used half of the mockup for pattern drafting so everything would be even. I picked the side of the dress that fit best.
With everything disassembled, I traced the fitted pieces onto paper, adding a little extra seam allowance at the waste. And that gave me my final pattern!