So you think you can decorate…
Alright, alright, alright. Let me start by telling you how elated I was when we were told we could decorate a corset for work, because creating cosplay is my JAM. Seriously. A chance to bring my hobby into the workplace? Sign me up! What an awesome way to use our creativity, while showcasing the endless possibilities of how you can customize your corset.
I have been playing a ton of Skyrim and Dragon Age lately, so all of that adventuring and questing inspired me to channel my inner badass dragon hunter. I had visions of leather and armor dancing in my head. I wanted to make it look like I had smithed it with my bare hands straight out of a forge in the realm of Tamriel.
Sky above me. Earth below me. Fire within me.
I decided to use the CS-530 overbust in satin, mostly because I wanted to change up the fabric type and I knew that the satin would be easiest to sew through. Over my many years of crafting, I have gathered an arsenal of scraps and materials that I was able to use for for this project, but they are still things that are easily accessible and can be purchased for under $30 (our given budget). I started by taking scraps of faux leather to sew onto the panels. WARNING: Do not use a sewing machine on a steel boned corset. Boning and needles do not get along. It will not end well. To differentiate between the bust and the body of the corset in an attempt to make them look like separate pieces, I hand sewed a softer fabric onto the bust, and a thicker leather fabric onto the body. I left the boning channels out to give the corset a little extra detail, and painted them silver with an acrylic paint.
Next, I crafted the armor pieces, using nothing more than craft foam sheets and spray paint. I eyeballed out what I thought looked right (although you can probably find stencils or tutorials online) and cut out the shapes that I needed. This included an underbust piece, a shoulder, and two thigh pauldrons. I then added detail to them with other little pieces of craft foam, and embellished with beads of hot glue. Next came the forming. I used a heat gun to make the craft foam more pliable, and formed the pieces into the shapes I needed. Once the foam cools off, it hardens into the shape you’ve formed. I finished them off with black and silver spray paint to give them a more realistic and worn look. To add a little extra dash, I took cheesecloth that I had dyed black, and glued it to the undersides of each armor piece.
Finally, it was time to put them together. For the shoulder pauldron, I took two straps of leather and connected them to both sides, which would lie across my chest and back. The back piece wrapped around to the front and connected underneath with a velcro strip to add more detail to the corset, and the front piece was connected with a clasp that was made out of faux bone. The underbust piece and the thigh pauldrons were also secured with velcro, so they were easily removable when taking the corset on and off.
The whole process took me 3 or 4 nights to finish, diligently working my little fingers to the bone into the wee hours of the morning. I definitely would not recommend doing it in this short amount of time. I am a terrible procrastinator when it comes to costume making and I usually don’t give myself long enough to really do everything that I had envisioned before the deadline. Please do not take after me. It’s best to give yourself an ample amount of time so that you don’t feel rushed and stressed, which will bring you an even better end result!
Cosplay can be created by anyone, you just have to put your mind to it!