A Costume Tale: Triss, The Witcher 2

I wasn't really planning to dress up for Halloween 2010, but after a trip to E3 and a quick chat with Tom Gop, I was somewhat taunted to make a new costume. The suggestion was Triss, and I honestly don't like Triss that much... but it seemed like a fun thing to do, so why not. With some artwork available (image #1), I started planning in June for what would be the highlight of October. And all I could think was "...my ass is way too fat for this!" But fat ass or not, I was determined. And so another costume tale began.

Again, there were a lot of details in Triss' costume, which at first I wasn't sure how to replicate. And this time I started with what had been giving me trouble in the past: the hair! Fortunately, long wavy and very red wigs seem to be popular among cosplayers, so it wasn't hard to find one on Ebay. The problem was budget, so the best I could get cost $28 (image #2). But it was perfect! Now I just needed to do the little pigtails.

Browsing the dollar store, I found some purses that could be easily altered to recreate the belt pouches (image #3). At $1.25 each, these leather satchels were a super bargain, and all I had to do was cut out the embellishments carefully, shape the flaps and cover them with brown and yellow ribbon (image #4). I actually ran out of ribbon and had to search around other dollar stores for the same color, but in the end all four pouches looked great (image #5). Sticky velcro would attach them to the belt. Funny story about this belt... I couldn't find one wide enough of the right color, so I had a dark brown one, flipped the buckle and worn it with the inside showing, which was the color I needed. I almost forgot the red studded belt, which was one of the last things I did. I improvised with red ribbon and imitation rhinestone stickers painted silver (image #8.) Materials for all the belt pieces came to $22.

Triss' fingerless gloves weren't as easy to find as I thought. Ok, you can find brown fingerless gloves, but they were a bit out of my budget. Browsing costume stores online off-season was actually productive, since these Pirates of the Caribbean official costume gloves did the trick for only $10. Little pearl stickers painted silver (image #6) turned into studs, for $2. Cutting the fingers and sewing mini-hems on them took hours of poking myself with a needle and pins but it was worth it, and it looked decent in the end (image #7).

I debated on wearing Geralt's costume boot covers, but I honestly didn't like them. One lovely day while grocery shopping, I saw a pair of suede boots for $16... lucky me, they were perfect (image #9), and I can wear them with regular clothing!

Since I still have no clue how to create clothing from scratch, and after my mom's doubtful "are you sure you can do all that?!", I started by making a list of the simple basic pieces I would need to alter: a white top, olive green hoodie, brown shirt, beige or light gray pants, and another pair of blue pants. Why two pants? To create the right ones, of course (image #10). Although it may have been blue stockings, I thought it would work just as well if I cut out the white pieces from an old t-shirt, attached them to the gray pants, then attach the legs of the blue pants below it. Easy enough!

What I thought I really wasn't going to be able to do was the brooch Triss wears on her hoodie. Using a screenshot close-up, I managed to somewhat replicate one using the rest of the modelling paste that made Geralt's buckle and a big safety pin attached to it while it baked. I didn't pay close enough attention to the symbols, but overall, I was pleased with the result (image #11).

Next, I started working on the hoodie. Cutting some parts of a brown shirt created the bits I needed. Cutting parts of the hoodie gave it the right shape, while the cut portion was enough to add the long portion to the hood itself at the back (image #12).

Seeing it all come together made me realize I was missing some important details. Brown ribbon as hoodie trim completed the look later on. More belts (six at $2 each) were used as armbands to hold the arm warmers up, which were made out of the rest of the blue pants. Blue ribbon was glued on to a white long-sleeve t-shirt to make the top, with red thick yarn making the ties at the front. And there were still the pigtails to form on the hair (image #13).

In the end, making this costume was a great learning experience. The added bonus was that shortly after I had started on my outfit, the official Witcher forum held a costume contest. The winners were to receive a copy of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and have their likeness imported into the game as one of the NPCs... guess who was one of the three lucky ones? I ended up in the middle of the woods in very negative temperatures freezing my ass off with a professional photographer to get my "official" winning photo taken (image #14), and it was worth every second of it!