For those of you wondering where I’ve been the last few months, I took a cosplay hiatus to apply to grad school. All of that is done now, so I can turn my attention back to cosplay. In the short amount of time I had between finishing grad school applications and C2E2 (which took place April 6-8), I was able to squeeze in a simple cosplay. Here’s my journey on Envy from Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.
Envy’s costume is composed of a few sewing elements, all of which I made from the same fabric.
- Shirt (the focus of this article)
- Arm bands
- Leg bands
- Head band
I purchased 3 yards of Yaya Han’s stretch pleather fabric and cut all of the pieces from that. I usually overestimate how much fabric I’ll need just in case I make mistakes. I’m glad I did because I ended up making the shirt three times! That’s what happens when I don’t use a pattern or make a mockup first. To be fair, making test versions with the stretch fabric was good because I wouldn’t know how the garment would actually lay with a non-stretch fabric.
Other elements that make up the costume include:
- A black wig
- Ouroboros tattoo
Making the Pattern
The first two shirts I made were based off of a sleeveless turtleneck shirt I own that I think fits me really well. The only problem is that the armhole of that shirt and Envy’s are different. Envy’s has more of a halter look, so I didn’t originally account for armhole gapping. Men won’t really run into a problem with this, but the fabric has to create a dome over breasts, which creates the gap.
I fixed this in one shirt by creating little darts out from the armhole. I just drew a line from the gap toward my nipples and sewed the darts there.
The final shirt I made started out with a different garment reference. I bought a seamless sports bra to compress my chest a little. The one I picked has a halter shape and was a perfect analog for Envy’s shirt. So, I built the final pattern from that, and this time, accounted for breast darts from the very beginning.
These darts start from the side seams and go straight across toward my nipples. As a whole, this pattern allowed the fabric to lay much better, so this is the shirt I finalized. Here is a YouTube video that walks you through how to make darts – it’s not the most exciting, but it’s definitely helpful!
Once you have a pattern you like, sewing the shirt is quite easy. Do note that when using stretch fabric, you can’t use a straight stitch, as it won’t stretch with the material. Instead, use a zigzag stitch on a sewing machine or switch to your serger. I used my serger for most of the project.
I started by sewing the darts, side seams and the shoulders. Then, I attached the collar. I did not hem the armholes or bottom because I wanted the (quite tight) pleather to lay flat against my skin. Instead, I didn’t cut the thread chain left by my serger and instead hand-stitched each chain back onto the seam. If you cut the serger chain, the stitch can unravel.
To make the collar, I cut a strip of fabric that was 4 inches wide and about 13 inches long (long enough that it fit over my head when fully stretched). I connected the two ends to create a loop, then folded it all in half. I slipped the collar inside the shirt neckline and serged along the raw edges.
YouTuber Annika Victoria has a great video about making collared tank tops out of stretch fabric. (Also, her channel is just generally awesome!)
Another important tip for stretch fabrics: Cut the pattern so that the stretchiest grain goes in the direction you need the garment to stretch. For instance, I cut the collar so that the stretchy grain went side to side. That way, when I pull the collar over my head, it stretches enough to fit.
All of the homunculus’ outfits are very simple, but they do have some details. Each sport red lines and dots that weave between their black clothing and their bodies. Envy has two such details: one on the back of the shirt and one on the headband.
I made these details using maroon stretch fabric. Because I was sewing the appliqué right onto the shirt, it would have to stretch with it.
I created the appliqués by first laying the finished shirt onto the red fabric. That way, I’d know how large the piece would need to be and how it should be structured. Then I sketched it onto the fabric using chalk. Once I was happy with the look, I cut the pieces out on the fold so each side was symmetrical.
I attached the appliqué to the shirt by topstiching using a tight zigzag stitch, letting the edge of the zigzag hang off of the red fabric. I did this for both the headband and shirt. I also applied a zigzag stitch inside the dots that go on the shirt to give it a little more dimension.
Finally, I used black Sharpie to darken the insides of the circles.
And there you have it!