The model for the skirt:
As you can see, there are a lot of different layers here, and I tried to get as many details as possible in my real-life render, so I could be as close to the reference as possible.
Materials used for this skirt:
- Brown, stretchy fabric
- Green none-stretchy fabric (cotton canvas, I think)
- Grey, shiny fabric (not sure what it’s called in English, I think it might be “beaver nylon” in Danish).
- Thick elastic (to keep the skirt up)
- Feathers. Lots of them.
- A LOT of textile glue
- Yellow, none-stretchy cotton for the sides around the feathered ovals (it looks yellowish to me in the reference)
- Thick fabric with cotton inbetween two layers of nylon (not sure what this is called)
- Green nylon fabric (for leaves) – has to be meltable.
- Green pen for painting on fabric.
- Brown leather
- 1-2 tubes of superglue
- 4-5 A4-sized craft foams of mocca brown
- Hot glue gun
How I did it:
First, I made a brown mini-skirt. I measured my waist and the length I wanted the brown part. It’s mostly just because the green skirt won’t be stretchy, so I needed something stretchy to get into the skirt without zippers (I hate zippers). The length of my brown skirt is to around middle of my thigh (there’s a picture further down).
I took two square pieces of fabric with 1/2 waist*length measurements. I then sewed them together in the sides (leaving the top border in one side not sewed for the elastic). Then I folded down the top long enough for the elastic to fit, and sewed it down. I then added the elastic, fitted the length, sewed it together, and voila, ugly brown miniskirt!
Next thing I did was to measure how long the green part of the skirt should be.
The top border of the green part I made same width as the brown mini-skirt – since these two are sewn together. The bottom I made around 30 cm wider – it seemed like a nice width and I needed the extra width for mobility.
After cutting the two green pieces, I got started on the grey stripes – this part took forever.
Yup, I did it wrong first. Grrr!
I made 3 stripes and then one little “square”. The triangular shape is just achieved by taking two long, rectangular strips and sewing them together at a 90 degree angle. I ironed down the border of the grey before sewing it on.
After adding all of the grey stripes, I sewed the green sides together, and then put the brown skirt inside the green and sewed them together.
Next I started working on the patches of bark or feather – hard to tell from the reference. I first measured out how big I wanted them, made a paper pattern and tried fitting it on with needles to see it was the right size, then cut the ovals from light brown, none-stretchy and pretty thick fabric (not sure if it needs to be, that’s just what I had.)
I then made the yellow borders by cutting and folding and ironing some yellow strips of fabric and sewed them on:
Time for glueing!
I put a bit of glue, added feathers, put more glue, added more feathers… Until the entire brown area was covered by feathers.
These I made two of. It took a while for it to dry.
When it did dry, I sewed them onto the skirt – I hand-stiched them all the way over the top part, then made a few stitches around the edges, so they wouldn’t flap (They might have feathers, but they’re not wings).
Next, I worked on the green parts that go down in front and back. Starting with the front, I measured the about size, cut it out from paper, pinned it to the skirt and sort of fitted it while wearing it.
I used some thick fabric with cotton to give these parts an embossed look like in the reference. I first cut the inner fabric after the pattern, no extra fabric for seam.
Then I cut the green part with around 2 cm seam space around (my English sewing vocabulary is not that good). I folded it in around the thick fabric and ironed it. It’s very hard to get the curve right. If I wouldn’t be so lazy, I probably should have made a border-thingy like I did with the yellow fabric further up. I added green fabric on the inside, soo, so the purple wouldn’t show.
Anyways, ironed it and sewed it together around the border. Then I took a green fabric marker (I had one lying around) and painted on the embossed pattern. Then I sewed with a darker green thread on top of the paint, and then – just to make it extra visible – added another layer of paint on top of the thread:
I then attached it at the top of the skirt, but below the elastic. (The top will be covered by a leather belt, anyway).
Then I went to war with my leaves. A LOT are needed for this costume. I made around 30 in one night and started sewing them on, and with the first 12, I wasn’t even 1/4th through.
The leaves are easy enough to make – cut out a leaf-shape slightly bigger than you need. Sew a zig-zag stich along where the stem would be – make sure to feed a little too much fabric at a time, so it gets wrinkled – then you take a candle and melt the fabric around the edges. Voila, leaf.
I’m stitching them on by hand:
I used the exact same technique to make the back green part and some more leaves.
Next step was the leather belt part.
I made first a paper-model/pattern and fitted it (by taping it to myself). There are 6 parts – back, front and two sides that are from two layers of leather. Then I cut the leather parts out.
I used elastic and velcro. First, I took a piece of elastic (well, two, because I had only small pieces, but I sewed them together and it’s fine). It’s very heavy-duty 3 cm wide, the kind used for pants with elastic waist, I think. I put it around me where I wanted the belt to sit and put a needle to show the length. Then I put some velcro in each end (I made it slightly smaller than measured, since it’s elastic, and will stretch and lose elasticity).
I made little belt loops on the back of the leather pieces and ran the elastic through there. The front and back pieces have belt loops on the inside (made with leather, attached with super-glue), the side pieces are in one side glued to the front- and back pieces, in the other side glued to the front and I glued velcro on the back, so it’s openable (the same side where the elastic’s velcro is, ofc.)
I started working on the pattern as well that is on top of it, I’m making it with craft foam.
Next, I added more craft foam around the edges, and I also made the front pattern a pinkish colour with some acrylic paint and a sponge.
I made another 30 or so leaves – same tactic as last time. These I used to fill out the last little hole I had in the skirt (where it isn’t covered by leather at the side) and also to put between the two layers of leather at the sides – as it is on the original. Turned out like in the next few pictures:
As I was making the chest piece, I realized the belt was placed way too high up on my waist, since I am not a night elf, my upper body isn’t as long as my character’s, and the belt and top were touching. I took the front of the belt off the rest, cut off some of the top border, and glued it back together a bit further down. I also folded up the lower border of the skirt and stitched it.