Evie Frye Cosplay Breakdown

Evie Frye AC: Syndicate

My major summer cosplay project was Evie Frye from Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.  I played the game with my roommate and thoroughly enjoyed the costume, story and character of Evie Frye – plus they final put and female playable character in one of their main titles so I felt the need to throw some money at Ubisoft as positive reinforcement. Evie Frye brings me to three Assassin’s Creed cosplays, and in someway it feels very full circle, given that my first AC cosplay was an own design Victorian Assassin.

Overall Evie Frye was an interesting construction experience, it felt simultaneously both a big challenge and also a fairly straight forward task.  The skills I used to create Evie Frye were all ones that I had a fair amount of experience using, however, this cosplay required me to push the limits of that skill to do it do the best of my ability. Sewing, patterning, draping, casting, painting to name a few.

Evie Frye AC: Syndicate

I also had the pleasure of live streaming a significant portion of the cosplay, which will hopefully help give some insight into it’s construction.  As always if the resources still leave you with questions feel free to ask!!!

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For videos of the construction check out my streaming VODs on youtube!

Outer Jacket

Listing it as one piece makes it sound so simple in it’s construction… So I am going to describe it in the parts and rough order in which I constructed it.

Firstly fabrics:

Upper/Main Jacket

The initial pattern was created by starting with a muslin of my princess seam sloper (that I have final made). I then pinned it to my dress form and drew the lines for the seams where I felt they should be for the jacket based on the design. I then cut the mock up apart, and determined the materials that each segment would be, either plain black denim, black flocked denim (both from Joann) or stretch pleather. After cutting out of the final fabric I reassembled the jacket, (sewing together the square corners needed some extra care) and also I forgot several times how the shoulders were assembled.

The back ended up needing a bit more fiddling. I needed to re-cut the center back yoke and center back portion to be smaller, and I had to sew in the tabs where the laces would be attached so that is would be inserted into the stream. Once the front and back were more or less assembled, I adjusted the fit as needed, this mostly involved making the font sections fit closer (It needed to sit open, while also still looking fitted).  I then added the bottom two panels of flocked denim, these needed to be shaped slightly and ended up having a seam roughly in the center to get them to lie flat on the hips rather than stick out.

Next came the collar and the quilted pleather lining.  Because I didn’t want to add bulk the pleather lining was only a facing on the collar and the edge of the opening. The collar was pretty simple I did need to keep track of which side was meat to overlap, but essentially it was a rectangle cut in the quilted pleather and stretch pleather. The finishing on the seams was done in stages, some before and some after the collar and facing was attached.  It involved top stitching single or double fold black bias tape over all the seams that were intended to be visible.

Sleeves

Like the main jacket I made muslin mock up of the sleeves to size and figure out where the pleather stopped and started.  After assembling the final fabrics I top stitched on the chiffon ruffle, and added a strip of 1 in wide ribbon to add the texture on the upper arm. I then added on the sleeve cuffs to end just above my knuckles. The seam was left partial open which I then bias taped to finish.

Tails and Butt Floof

The next potion of the jacket once the base was assembled was all the floofly butt bits and the supper sneaky red tails.  The main back floof was done by cutting a triangle and pleating it to provide the right volume (about three folds on each side of the triangle).  This was the edged in the bias tape.

The tails were created out of a red peachskin satin, roughly rectangular with a slope so they were shorter in the front than the back.  The edging was made with the black denim fabric, before I sewed the strip I used the fronts of silver snaps to create the silver circle button like things. This also helped weigh the red tails down but did provide a decidedly not sneaky jingle to the coat. The back section also had two triangles, and rectangles also out of the black denim to overlap and close the gap more or less (because this is what was on the design). Seriously very little of this made functional sense…

Finishing

The finishing touches included making the front Celtic knot claps. These were sculpted using Sculpy to make a master, I then created a silicon mold and cast them using using polyurethane.  They were painted black and then silver.  More snap tops were used where the silver buttons needed to be, and one functional snap was put on
the top to hold the jacket closed per the reference images.

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Other finishing touches included the eyelets and lacing on the back (I wanted black ones, but I ended up coloring silver ones with nail polish), the mysterious chain at the back and probably some more snap fronts…

Cape

The cape could be considered part of the jacket because technically they are sewed together, but I didn’t make the cape until after the jacket was competed.  The cape was relatively simple.  I used a similar process where I drafted it out of muslin and then drew the lines where I needed to seam the different fabrics.  I then cut out the final fabric, stitched it together, and finished the seams with bias tape.  The red under portion was made with dark red satin taffeta, and was cut about an inch longer and then sewed at the neck seam.  Both pieces were sewed directly to the jacket at the neck.

The straps were made out of non stretch pleather, that was folded over and hot glued, with the silver buckles were sourced from strapworks.  The straps were affixed in place with the snap top, and the bottom half of the snap was attached to the outside of the main jacket to help the whole cape stay in place by snapping it together. Some reinforcing cotton was also used because snaps and stretch pleather don’t mix.

The cape potion was made with the red peachskin satin, and the Assassin Symbol was simplified and attached using a stabilizing applique spray and then zig zag stitched all the way around.  The bottom pattern was made using some paisley upholstery fabric (I failed to find appropriate ribbon), folded over and top stitched. The cape was then folded to provide the right width with he correct drape and stitched to the underside of the black layer of the shoulder cape.

Inner Jacket and Hood

The inner jacket used the basic princess seam slopper, I chose not add sleeves because I was already going to be melting in the layers of pleather, it just seemed like a better idea.  I split the princess seam pattern down the center front and extended each of the sides out so they over lapped above the bust line.  This would allow for the wrinkles and bunching that I wanted to get around the neck, I lined just the top portions of the grey fabric so that a small amount of the dark red taffeta would show when it was closed. Closures were added with hooks and eyes after the bias tape was stitched around the outside edge.

The hood was frustrating, for as costume with so many erroneous seams, this was the one place on the reference images that didn’t show a seam where there would need to be one.  I made a draft of the hood in muslin to figure out where the seam that sits diagonally across the top would go, the hood was constructed so the other (required) seam was in the center back to allow the shape to round properly.  I created a matching lining in the red taffeta, and finished the edges with light grey bias tape.

Before bias taping the whole hood I free hand drew on the embroidery using 3D fabric paint.  At first I tried to mimic the original drawing but I gave up and instead went from something between eldritch runes and filigree.

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To create the collar, again I didn’t want a complete undershirt due to melting.  I instead made just a fake collar, out of a double layer rectangle of white cotton fabric with interfacing to make it stay stiff.  I also added a yoke of white cotton to help keep it standing upright.  The collar snapped closed with a small snap, and the back of the collar was stitched to the back of the grey under jacket to keep it in place.

Belts and Bobs

There were layers of belts needed for this, of course because who doesn’t need lots of belts, not Evie Frye that’s for sure. The first layers is the red sash, this was a red strip of peachskin satin with finished edges that Velcroed at the back, I made sure it was more of a trapezoid than rectangle shape so that it was better fitting. The wrinkles and pleats in the fabric were stitched in place where the Velcro was attached.

Over that were two belts that I had to custom make.  Both were created with a base of felt with pleather hot glued around it, to produce structure and the right texture. The belt buckle for the top belt was made with worbla, slightly shaped to have the curve. The surface designs were made by sticking thin rolled pieces of worbla over the top, then smoothed with about 3 layers of wood glue. Final details were added when it was painted silver with some weathering touches. This belt snapped together in the back, rather than worrying about making the buckle at all functional. The second belt had two smaller straps over the top that were riveted in place, and those buckled in front using small silver buckles.

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Hidden Blade

This was assembled by cannibalizing the replica hidden blade form the Ubisoft store.  I used the spring loaded blade, the the poison dart, and knuckle section (which all would have all been tricky to do from scratch at my current skill level).

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I recreated the main leather portions of the vambrace, so it would better fit my tiny tiny lady wrist. The black portion was made by hot gluing a layer of non-stretch pleather to the front and back of a piece of craft foam, this gave a thick and study portion.  The brown section was made with craft foam cut in the pointed shape with brown pleather hot glued over the top, I stretched and glued a small section so it was intentionally wrinkled to match the design.  The gold section was worbla, over craft form smoothed with 3 layers of wood glue and painted gold, it had a cut out and small rivet tabs attached to accommodate the sleep dart section from the replica blade.  These three sections were then glued together with E6000, and the sleep dart was also glued in place.

I added a smaller pleather section that connected to the small buckle that ran across the knuckles and around to the palm of the hand, these were also glued in place. The black trim around was glued in place and then the knuckle guard from the replica was glued on top.  I added elastic finger loops to the brown pleather under the knuckle guard to keep the hidden blade in place while being worn.

Various decorative details were added with strips of appropriately colored pleather and riveted in place.  The left off some of the buckles that should have been there because at this point there was just too many buckles. A few more bits of elastic were used to keep it in place on my wrist.  The blade portion the just slips into place in the gap on the back.

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Boots 

The boots were done fairly last minute, at this point I didn’t have the energy to put all the detail into them that would make the 100% accurate.  I instead made simpler boot covers out of brown 2-way stretch pleather.  To fit them, first I created a mold of my leg by wrapping it in cling film and tape, then cutting the mold off.  I used then used this to create flat pattern pieces.

Essentially it became two leg shaped like things that I stitched together down the center front and back (based on this tutorial).  I then gathered the fabric under the toes so they would slip onto the shoes I wore underneath, and made sure there was a hole for the heal of my shoe.  Lastly I glued a rubber shoe pad to the bottom so I might not just fall competently on my butt while wearing them.  Because Assassins should be graceful right?

“You All Work for Us” – Evie Frye Final Cosplay

Evie Frye AC: Syndicate

Evie Frye makes my 3rd Assassin’s Creed cosplay, but my first AC cosplay that is based on an actual existing character from the series.  I suppose this is in fact somewhat of a criticism of their general lack of female characters up until this point.

I really enjoyed Evie as  a character, I empathized a lot with her exasperation with Jacob and shipped her hard with Henry or Bell (either was good). She was more than just a simple one dimensional character, it was refreshing to have a somewhat feminine and also badass lady to actually play in a main title. Given that I also liked her outfit, this was a fun opportunity to cosplay as part of a group of that we fondly dubbed “Murder Girls” – ladies who murder.

This cosplay was also one of my first live streaming creative projects, and represented a use of many skills I have practiced before – but required the combination of them at a higher level than I have frequently been required to do.  The pattern was complicated and the details many! Overall I am incredibly please with how the cosplay came out!  So please enjoy the MURDER GIRLS!

Photographer: Kirin Photography
Shao Jun: Fabric Alchemist
Emily Caldwell: JakiDash

Evie Frye AC: Syndicate

Evie Frye AC: Syndicate Evie Frye AC: Syndicate

Evie Frye AC: Syndicate

That Uncomfortable Feeling: Learning

As a special education teacher in my classroom we talk about learning being uncomfortable, that it might be a struggle and it might make them frustrated – and all of that is OK.  For many of my students they would rather look mean than stupid, or the learning is not worth the negative thoughts and feelings that come with a struggle.

As someone who has almost always enjoyed school, and intends to continue their education further – learning being uncomfortable is not a feeling I often experience.  For me the outcome is almost always worth the struggle, looking stupid is just part of my every day life; and I am not stuck with an inner monologue that tries to convince me I am a failure because I can’t do something.  Which is to say, it can be hard for me to step in their shoes and empathize.

Recently I did a 12 hour twitch stream as a celebration for the Legion raising a stupid amount of money for Extra Life and the Children’s Miracle Network.  As part of that I decided to try my hand at chainmail, I had the supplies, I had watched at least two youtube videos and was totally sure I could figure it out.

It became rapidly apparent that I couldn’t.

I had know idea what I was doing, the pattern and procedure didn’t make sense, the tutorials were completely unhelpful. My friend Casey was streaming with me, trying to offer support and assistance, the Legionaries offered much positive motivation in chat.  Which, while helpful did little to alleviate the feelings.

I was faced with that uncomfortable feeling: learning.

I wanted to have fun with the Legion while streaming, and I wanted to understand how to make chainmail, the two goals were not particularly compatible.  The rest being that I grew steadily more frustrated, I snapped at Casey and generally was in a foul mood.  I had to take many deep breaths to reset myself before moving on with the 12 hours.

I can say I handled the feelings of frustration better than my students might have, I can also say the experience gave me a reminder of what they go through every day. Feeling incompetent, not understanding something and having to do it in front of others is decidedly unpleasant.

It’s easy to forget that competence and mastery are not achieved quickly, and everyone needs to find their own way to push through the struggle.  As a teacher it is my role to help my students find that skill, and it’s always good to remember that uncomfortable feeling.

 

The Blackguard from Necropolis Cosplay

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I’m known for moderation in many things (maybe), but cosplay in definitely not one of them.  The story of creating the Blackguard from Necropolis goes something like this:

Summer break is soon, I think I’ll start streaming cosplay/creative because it seems like a fun thing to do and people keep telling me it’s a good idea.  Hrm I guess I could start with Shadowrun CorpSINs cosplay.  Oh look at this tweet from Harebrained Schemes showing the Blackguard from Necropolis.  Wow that’s a nice costume and wouldn’t be too hard to make.  Nah that’s a bad idea I already have a bunch of cosplays to work on already, you know all the CorpSINs stuff. Well I’ll just tweet at the HBS people to tell them how cool the design is.  Oh dear they tweeted back, oh no they would be super happy about cosplayers. Well I guess I have to do it. Crud.

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Long story short, I ended up making a blackguard from necropolis cosplay for the live stream launch event, and it was my first cosplay I streamed my progress on. All in all it wasn’t too complicated of a cosplay in terms of construction – mostly fabric which is for sure my wheel house. So let’s break this cosplay down:

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For video details check out the stream VODs on youtube!

Tabard

Overall the construction was very simple, a long enough strip of fabric, with an hourglass sort of shape (going in at the waist and out at the shoulders and knees), with a hole big enough for a head.  I used a linen look fabric from Joann and doubled it, sewing the sides together and turning it inside out then top-stitching the neck hole.

To make the shoulders stick out I used heavy weight interfacing, on the inside layer of the tabard, and had the shoulders cut to a rounded point that stuck out about 2 inches farther than my shoulders.

Lastly, the for the trim I used two widths of grosgrain ribbon, 3/4 and 1/2 in and pinned it in place, about and inch out from the out edge, the decorative bits used the narrower ribbon, and folded them into shape.  The ribbon was then top stitched down.  I deiced to only do one side, in part do to laziness, and in part due to the concern that I would never get the two sides to line up properly.

Belt

The base material for the belt was a bottom weight cotton.  The fastening was a simple strip of Velcro at the back.  The top texture was created by cutting strips of pleather (about 1.5 inches wide) and sewing them to mimic the pattern on the belt, almost a pseudo weave. These striped were the top stitched, the pleather had the advantage of not fraying.  Lastly the top and bottom edge was folded over and top stitched to finish.

Hood and Cape

For the hood I used a bottom weight sateen. The hood and cape were a very simple pattern, I used a standard big hood pattern, essentially a long rectangle that when folded over would be long enough to reach from shoulder to should and then go over the head. The depth of the hood was enough that it would stick out from my head by about 2 – 3 inches and overall be very roomy.  The back seam was also at an angle to give a slight peak (liripipe) to the back of the hood that would flop down.  I double layered the hood and ironed medium weight interfacing to the inner layer just around the brim of the hood to add some structure and help it be all sticky-outy.

The cape portion was just a partial circle, it did not need to go over the shoulders per the original design, just reach from arm to arm and curve nicely at the bottom. I think mine is about a 1/4 circle, with a notch cut out for the neckline, and a layer of interfacing to help it stick out more.  The was then attached to the back portion of the hood, and a tie was put in front for a closure, as it would be covered by a scarf I wasn’t too worried about appearance.

Scarf

Rather than trying to create a very large scarf that could wrap in a super specific way, I created a static loop that would wrinkle and give the impression that it was wound around a stupid number of times.  The scarf was created in two layers an inner ring that was the height I wanted it to stand at, approximately 10 inches, with some heavy weight interfacing to give it structure.  The other layer was then sewed, so the whole thing created a tube, the out layer was taller than the inner layer and ends up folding over slightly top and bottom to disguise the seam.  As it is larger it also ends up wrinkling to give that multi-layer look. The scarf was then seamed in the back to finish.

The last portion of the scarf was the two tails, these were cut as rectangular strips so that when sewed to the top edge of the inner layer they would hang down to the right length, they were double layered so as to be finished front and back.

Mask

To create the mask I used a semi-opaque fabric (essentially a dense mesh knit) in a semi circle-esque shape.  I cut out the eye shapes to match the design, and then covered the holes with white thin cotton fabric stitched to the inside. To make the lighting effect I attached (though lots of trial and error) some small blue LED lights, which gave a good glow. I attached the mark to the inside of the hood using snaps around the top and side edges, this allowed it to be removed for those times when seeing was preferential.  Overall visibility was pretty low and was best when I was in brightly lit areas to provide more contrast with the outside.  I tried to make sure the lights were about my actual eyes, but as the hood was loose it has a tendency to move around when walking.

Shield

Because props seemed important, I made a very basic w shield using EVA foam floor mats.  I cut one mat into the right mostly circular shape, and then I use the second mat to create the outer right using math, and geometry (it was supposed to be 10 sided). The inner circle was formed using a heat gun and shaping the bump in a bowl.  The whole thing was assembled with copious amounts of hot glue, and sealed using a mod-podge and water mixture.  The shield was then painted with a combination of silver paints and the black lines drawn on with sharpie at the end, before a final clear sealant was applied.

Underthings

Mostly pretty simple.  I wore black leggings, gloves and long sleeve under armor shirt to give the black silhouette.  The under shirt was a purple loose t-shirt dress that I already owned, and just had to cut the sleeves off of, but I did consider just sewing a t-shirt dress.

And Voila, you are ready to face the Brazenhead.

10 Minutes in the Forest

While I spend most of my costuming effort on cosplay, I am always excited to create a piece or two for the theater, which is why I nominated (essentially told) Casey that I was going to make the costumes for her production of 10 Minutes in the Forest.

The show is a live action, immersive game/theater experience, it require many words to describe because it doesn’t fit well into any particular category.  The essential premise is that audience members/ players are told a brief poem before being let into a space (individually or in a pair).  In the space they are greeted by a Firebird who conveys the gist of what they are supposed to be doing through mime and lots of squawking.  The players have to make it through the forest, facing off with Baba Yaga to retrieve the Firebird’s eggs and bring them to safety.  As a performer and designer in this production the variety of strategies and actions of the players was fascinating.  Some bargained with Baba Yaga, some asked Firebird for help, others walked silently, and some were incredibly strategic. Which meant that each 10 minute event felt entirely different from all the others.

From a designer perspective there were some interesting challenges in this production:

  • Each character was played by 3 or 4 different performers with different heights and builds
  • The performances required quick changes for the characters, there was only a few minutes between each production
  • The costumes had to stand up to a significant amount of movement, and especially Baba Yaga’s a reasonable amount of abuse
  • The characters needed to be distinct but not cartoonish
  • The budgets for both needed to be under $200 (ideally less)

With these challenges in mind, I began designing the costumes.

The first step was considering the main thematic idea for each character,  I didn’t want a creepy witch and a person covered in feathers, so that meant simplifying them down into contrasting features.  The easiest became using the concept of elements, fire bird was obviously fire and Baba Yaga was earth or the forest.  This lead me to color pallets of reds/yellows/oranges for Firebird and browns/greens for Baba Yaga, as well as a contrast between lighter and floatier textures with more heavier denser ones.

The final designs and outcomes:

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You can see for Firebird I I did still want to evoke the idea of feathers and wings, by cutting the fabric into feather shapes and layering them, as well as the two panels of fabric hanging from the back.  The structure was essentially a shrug made of elastic which made it flexible for a number of different sized people to wear. The materiel was glissnet, it has a very similar hand to chiffon, and is also translucent but doesn’t fray which makes it the best stuff every for cutting out so many feathers.

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The main idea behind Baba Yaga was to have her blend into the forest.  A circle cloak again is flexible in size for a number of different performers.  I distressed/frayed the edges and added on patches of burlap, then painted the cloak with diluted black/brown acrylic to make it darker and dirtier.  The downside is this made the cloak much stiffer but that did add a nice contrast between the floatyness of the Firebird and the weight of Baba Yaga. The final touch was adding the fake plants (found at goodwill), I wanted them to seem almost like they were growing on her, so I had the line wrap around the cloak, and stitched them on by hand.

Overall the costumes only needed a few tweaks once we went into performance, I added a tie onto the cloak so it stayed shut better than with just the Velcro closure.  The sticks on the Firebird broke so I replaced them with finger loops, though they looked less wing-like it ended up being easier on the performers as their hands were free.