Elizabeth Swann Chinese Battle Costume

Hands down the hardest costume I have ever constructed. With all the leather working, sculpting, and faux embroidery I lost track of the hours I spent on this one. The leather I got for free! I MacGyver’d the tooling on the leather with a block of wood and a screwdriver.

The hardest part was the embroidery. I tried hand embroidery for the tunic, but it would have taken me years instead of months to finish. It was way to expensive to have it done professionally, (as in 6,000 dollar too expensive), so I searched online on how to fake embroidery. I found that thread company Kreinik does iron-on thread, turned out to be my best bet. http://www.kreinik.com/ Though still expensive, (about a dollar a meter), it wasn’t as expensive as having it done professionally. I went through about 280 meters of thread and still didn’t finish the bottom of the tunic. ┬áThe thing about anything iron-on is that it has to be top stitched. So I bought some invisible thread and ran the tunic through the sewing machine.

I have to thank the amazing Jonathan Castile for sculpting the buckles. I’d say he did an excellent job. The initial plan was to do silicone molds and resign castings, however the deadline for the costume was looming and the terra cotta clay positive ended up on the end product. It’s holding up pretty good.

I premiered this costume with the paint still wet at a comic-con party aboard The Rose in San Diego.

Elizabeth Full Shot Me wearing the CostumeIron-Thread Shoulder ViewBuckle DetailLeather WorkOriginal Costume