I’ve wanted to cosplay Caterina for years, and now I’m finally starting on her. I’m mixing the artwork of both Thores and Kiyo Kyujo to make something unique and beautiful. It was a long journey, but I think it was well worth it in the end. The entire costume took me somewhere between 300-400 hours.
The red, gold, and white fabric is all made of satin backed shantung fabric. There’s more layers to this than I ever thought I would want to wear. As usual, let’s start from the top downward.
I didn’t want to make the hat…because I hate the hat she wears. I do love my wig though. It required now styling and is much more flattering blonde on me than her platinum color.
Next was the cape. I actually got an idea for how to draft it when I was making a high-low skirt. So I drafted the back part with a single center back seam and then the shoulder seams where the angled front met. All the seams are French seamed. The collar was just a huge trapezoid with a curved edge to meet the cape. The collar is doubled shantung with interfacing to make it stand stronger. The lace for the inner cape is attached at the collar seam and tacked in a few places along the center back seam to keep it from moving around too much. The details are all cut from shantung fused with heat n bond. Then they were appliqued down. I bound the entire cape in hand cut bias. Then it was all beaded by hand.
Below is the corset which is my usual corset pattern, only laced in the front and back. The appliques were cut to be mirror images on each seam. The ruffled edge was sown down behind the hand cut bias to add the little detailing Caterina has on her corset. And then it was all beaded once again.
Next was the dress. It’s just a high collared bodice with all the panels drafted to fit around the waistline. I drew up and cut all the appliques and beaded them before assembling the dress. It has a separating zipper in the back. The cuffs were drafted by me. The lace from the skirt is in the opening on the cuffs. All the panels that form the skirt of the dress are lined to keep the threads of the beading from rubbing against the underskirt and then bound in hand cut bias. The bodice and sleeves have French seams.
The underskirt flares quite large and has a built in petticoat under it. I found the lace for the skirt on eBay of all places and loved it. There’s a red pearl sewn on every other circle of both tiers of lace to break up all the white. The skirt, like most of the costume, has French seams.
The boots where a pair I found online that looked perfect for the costume.
The staff is made of a PVC pipe, smooth styrofoam balls, paperclay, and a really thick cardboard. I did a lot of the work on the handle of the staff while my brother helped me by carving the cross. We plan to do more smoothing and work on it because the paperclay didn’t sand as well as we had hoped, but it was good for the first run of the costume. The two rosaries hanging on the cross are actually two of my own. The blue one was my great grandmother’s and the white one was a gift from my mother that was blessed by Pope John Paul II. I thought using my own that I’ve had for so long would add a nice, personal, and authentic touch to the costume.
I plan to wear this costume as much as possible simply because it took SO long to make. I really do love it, though I still want to make a few upgrades to it. I also want to make a shorter cape that I can wear without carrying since the one I have trails four feet on the ground behind me.