Ysera formal dress

Ysera is my girl – I loved making my original Ysera cosplay based on the in-game model. I wore it so much, I even bothered upgrading the wig and horns!
I love Ysera, but my old cosplay was getting worn and not looking so nice anymore. And now that I am part of Warcrafters (this group), we wanted to make a group cosplay. We already had both me as Ysera and Namalyn Cosplay as Deathwing. The Dragon Aspects in WoW are very easily recognized and there’s 5 of them + all of the other dragons from their flights. So it seemed like a natural choice for a group cosplay!


But we didn’t want to the in-game models of the dragons, since we wanted something unique. So we decided to do a formal version of the dragons! Dresses for the girls, nice jackets for the guys.

Disclaimer: I suck at drawing this kind of thing… But below various sketches I made for my design!

Left: Initial sketch, middle: sketch made when final decision to go through with the project was made. Middle: Sketch made while working at the costume, to reflect the changes I made along the way. The idea of the green skirt with a purple section in the front middle was present all the way through. While working, however, I decided to add more tulle to the skirt and ended up with a huge Cinderella-worthy skirt. At first, I thought it was too much, but I’ve come to love it.
The corset also changed – originally I planned a “regular” pleather corset with pleather scales. Then I realized that that shape corset doesn’t work so well with my body-shape (I usually feel that it looks vulgar), so in my second sketch, I changed the shape to be a corset with built-in cups for the chest. I made this version as well, but it didn’t go well – more info later in the construction section. My last sketch reflect the actual top I ended up making – this is a pleather underbust corset with a scale mail bra. As the project evolved, I also went from having planned quite large arm decorations to none. This may change in the future, but the reason this happened was that I didn’t think large gloves would fit. I meant to make scale mail bracelets (sketch 2), but as things happened, ended up converting them to the scale mail bra. The horns I am going for the original design, and most likely also the moon on the forehead and the hair thing at the back. I will have the hair down, instead of in a pony tail, though. The shoulders have also remained very similar from original design to the final version. I added an arm cuff in the second and third sketch, which I really like.

On to the actual progress!

I ordered a LOT of fabric from Germany, but I had to wait almost a month to receive it… So the first thing I worked on was the shoulders, since I had materials for them in stock!

I started out with a wire frame to which I added the LEDs. I wanted the shoulders to glow green – I used a regular fairy string lights for it. They originally had a big battery packs with 3 AA batteries, but 3V is enough to make them glow, so I added a small button cell battery to each instead. I don’t know how long they will last, but my tests show that they do last several hours, so it will be fine – in this case, a small power supply was essential! There’s 1 2 meter light string on each side the shoulder -thingy.

I got a sample of Thibra Pearls from Faraos Cigarer, and thought this would be a perfect project to test it out! I will make a separate post about the Thibra products, though, but I will say that this was just the right material for this purpose!

It works very similar to polymorph plastic – I put it in a small strainer and poured boiling water over it, which made it soft and malleable.

After I had applied the Thibra Pearls all over my shoulders, I smoothed out some areas by heating them up with my heat gun.

They glow quite well in the dark! The Thibra Pearls are also a bit translucent, so the light shines through it a bit.

My design had a little moon-shape in the middle front, sort of an homage to the original pauldrons that also have branches, glow and a half moon. I used pepakura pattern that I made from the in-game Ysera-model (will upload the file here soon!).

I used another sample from Faraos here, the Thibra thermoplastic. I applied it straight on top of the pepakura paper, and that worked really well! I made it hollow, so that on the backside, the batteries can be hidden inside. The moon comes off completely.

Without paint, it looks like some weird Christmas decoration…

I spray painted it black as a base – there was painter’s tape on the LEDs as to not paint them. Here you also see my battery holders. There’s no switch – instead I’m using holders in which the batteries are easily taken in and out to save space.

Finally, I added brown paint and some details on the moon, and glued on small fabric leaves that I took from some ugly candle rings, and voila – done!

I made the matching bracelet with the exact same method – but I since I am rushing this costume so much, I didn’t take any progress photos :/

The fabrics FINALLY arrived (see my blog post review about that…). Not all of these are mine! The top half are – all the greens and purples. Also 9(!!) sheets of XL worbla ???? But we were 7 people sharing this order, haha ????

Now that I had fabrics, I started on the skirt. There’s not many progress photos, since it’s just meters and meters of straight rectangle pieces of fabric bunched at the top and stitched together onto a waistband xD But below photo shows the skirt with just the outer layers – I made sort of two skirts that I then stitched together. Skirt 1 was satin and organza, skirt 2 was tulle and lining. Each were stitched on to a waistband, and the two skirts were then combined by stitching the two waistbands together. Then I added a hook and a zipper at the back.

From inner level and out:

1 layer of polyester lining fabric: 7 meters.
2 layers of tulle, each 8 meters.
1 layer of satin, 5 meters
1 layer of organza, 5 meters green at the back,  3 meters purple at the front, 8 in total.

Total amount of fabric in the skirt: 36 meters

A photo of the finished skirt will come later!

Next I wanna talk about the corset. This was a real pain in the ass! I first made a pattern by being wrapped in duct tape and having a couple of friends draw on the shape. I tried sewing it, but it turned out way too large somehow. So instead, I took an underbust corset I had bought on eBay and traced it onto pattern paper.

I didn’t make any progress photos of the corset until it was almost done >.< That’s what happens when you are in a hurry!
I first stitched the lining pieces together. Then I used trim to make a tunnel to put the steel wire in. (on a side note – now that I try to explain sewing techniques and realize I’m missing a lot of words, I suddenly understand why I sometimes struggle understanding English pattern instructions xD).

I used steel corset wire like this.

I think it was 7 mm.

After I was done with lining and boning, I created the visible part of the corset. I found an amazing fabric with scales on it – it was the wrong colour, but I painted it a beautiful, shiny green colour. Then I found out I had cut the fabric with the scales upside down and had to start over.

When I had finished painting and sewing yet again, I had an almost finished corset:

With a zipper at the side and everything! It looked great!

But then the breast cups wouldn’t stay in place.

And then when I solved that problem and tried on the finished corset, this….

Fabric was falling apart. At first it was only around the edges, and I thought I could cover it with a silver border. But no, it kept getting worse every time I wore it for just 5 minutes. In the end, I scrapped it, took it apart and started over with a different, regular one-colour, no pattern pleather. But to reminisce my beautiful scale fabric corset, here’s a photo of it on together with the finished skirt:

Anyways, with a deadline looming (I did this cosplay in 2 months, and in the same period also made a formal wear-version of Nozdormu for my boyfriend), there was no time to cry over mistakes, so I started over. New lining with the wires added again and new leather front.

It looks weirdly blue in the photo. It’s not. It’s dark green.

I didn’t want to do the whole bra cup thing again, because it was a hacky solution on my previous corset, and now I had a chance to do it properly. So instead of adding cups to this, I figured I would make it two separate pieces. During the whole corset-crisis, I had received other materials and was working on bracelets from scale mail.

Beautiful scales <3 This package had scales for both Nozdormu, my Ysera and my friend’s Alexstrasza.

I got to work on the bracelets – my first time working with scales. Progress was very slow.

I spent 5 hours on this tiny piece. Pfew. I got faster once I got into a rythm, though, and soon I had two bracelets!

sorry for dark photo

But this was around the time I realized the first corset was utter crap. And I needed something fancy to cover my boobs (still think the 2nd leather I found is a little boring on it’s own).

Sooo two bracelets became half a boob!

I initially ordered 200 green and 200 silver scales (small size from beadsisters.co.uk) and 500 silver rings which was waaaay not enough. So I ordered another 400 green scales and 600 rings.

All I did for the next days was scales. Scales while working. Scales while cooking. Scales while eating. I dreamt about pretty new pliers to work with my scales!

And then I ran out of materials again, more or less – right photo is how far I got with the 2nd order.

At this point I had used 1088 rings and around 600 scales. But it’s wasn’t big enough still, so I ordered yet more… What a waste in shipping fees!

I ended using around 1250 rings and 800 scales for the finished piece – if it wasn’t more! Lost count. I ordered the scales from beadsisters.co.uk, which sadly doesn’t exist anymore.

The horns were another story of failure upon failure – that’s what happens when you don’t have time to plan things properly!

Where do I even begin? I made 3 pairs in the past… First pair was waaaay too long and fat. Second pair were the ones I first used, they were more like bull horn shaped – sticking out to the sides. Third pair was the 2nd I used for my upgraded wig. They were short and fat and stubby and I don’t really like them – but a lot more comfortable to wear!

Fourth pair can be seen in a collage below… I made them from pepakura, whicih I filled with foam. Then I put paper clay on top. But I made two mistakes: The foam took the path of least resistance and went out the end instead of filling up and “bloating” the paper as I thought it would. It also collapsed when I added wet paper clay before it was entirely dry. As a result, the horns were square’ish in shape. No matter how many freakin’ layers of clay I put on them. In the end, I lost patience and added foam on top of them (Desperate times…), cut that and started adding clay to THAT… Horns were heavy as fudge and then they cracked.

So these horns were scrapped. I tried again – sprayed foam in paper shape, let it dry, took off the paper shape and cut it smooth to avoid the square shape. Too fragile and thin. Tried again: Sprayed a whole freakin’ can of foam and tried cutting it to shape. No go.

In the end, duct tape solved my problems!

I took the pepakura form again:

Took strips of pepakura paper and wrapped around it and then added duct tape to hold it in place. LOTS of duct tape later, my thing started to resemble the horn I wanted!

Repeat for 2nd horn. Then I tried adding clay, thinking that would make it hard enough, but nay. Two days to go before the costume needed to be done, so I thought: Fuck it! Worbla works like magic here, despite being heavier than I want it to!

They’re big. Cookie for reference! But not heavier than my original pair of horns. And the shape is perfect, since it is taken from the in-game model. They’re really long, too – I think something like 30 centimeters. Maaaybe a bit too long. But it will look fierce!

To mount them on my head, I’ve made this “helmet” under the wig. I wrapped my head in plastic and heated up a strip of Worbla that I wrapped around my head. I added another strip that goes across my head to stabilize the horns. The wig goes on top of this and two screws for each horn will go from under the “helmet”, through the wig and into the horns. I used this same technique for the first two wigs (though, the first one I used Kobracast for, but Worbla works just fine as well). The one in the photo wasn’t the final one – I had to make it go even further down in front and in back and make a larger surface on front to mount the horns. It wasn’t perfect… I can only wear it for a few hours before the pain gets so bad, I need to take it off. Improvements will happen in the future!

As always when rushing stuff, I forgot to take progress pictures of the nails… But they were easily made, so I’ll try to get by in writing. I made a paper pattern around my fingers. Except the thumb, the front is the same size for all digits. The length of the band is of course adjusted to fit each individual finger. On the right – a sketch:

I cut this in 2mm craft foam, then wrapped it in one layer of Thibra, wrapping the sides so the thibra JUST covered the edge and not the inside. Then I heated it up again and shaped it around each finger. The band goes on the first finger joint so the surface of the finger tip is free, and the nail is covered.

Thibra is so smooth that to me, that’s all you need to do – no need for any kind of treatment of the surface before painting. It’s amazing! So I spray painted them silver. I might do a manicure later and add some details to them, but for now, I like them!

This was the first rendition of the cosplay – many things were changed after the first time I wore it at Gamescom 2016, but I won’t do a full write-up of the changes. I’ll list them here, though:

– Horns were remade with XPS foam (see my Dreamwalker druid for the technique)

– Shoulder armor was converted to a staff – they got tangled with the wig too much on my shoulders

– Green corset was replaced by a purple store-bought one – just looked better.

– New shoulders made with transparent thermoplastic, plastic leaves, organza, faerie string lights and lots of hot glue

– New bracelets were made, necklace from my original Ysera cosplay reused – to cover the bodysuit I used instead of painting my skin.

See the gallery for more images of both old and new version of this cosplay.