Being a huge fan of the Elder Scrolls games there are so many outfits I have been want to make, but being unable to choose I decided the Nightingale armour design would be a perfect challenge. I can not tell you how fast I powered through the thieves guild quest line to get the armour.
For anyone who has seen the Nightingale armour design it is insane. Its hard to tell where pieces end an others start. The only thing I really had to go on was what other people had done in the past and the few screen shots from the game. My first step was the break down; I dont usually do full break downs for my cosplays but for the more detail complicated ones I feel it makes it easier to find a starting place.
As I tell all my clients and cosplayers that you are free to change anything about the cosplay and I took some liberty to change aspects of the design. I turned the top into a corset that is layered since I feel more comfortable in a corset. The armour itself is a light armour so there is a high chance it is made out of leather so I went with purcasing a large amount of vinyl for the project. To get the raised details I was a bit stuck but decided to work on a pattern before deciding how to get the effect I wanted.
Drafting this project was a bit easier then I thought. I just drew out every piece and then drew the designs on the pieces. When doing a project with so many pieces I will say it is very important to label everything! I learnt this lesson the hard way and got very confused over some pieces.
To make sure I knew what would be the detail lines I went over all of them with black sharpie so I didnt use the wrong lines. I drafted a corset that would be the base for my body piece as well.
My leg pieces and bracers are both made out of worbla, though my leg pieces I do wish to redo due to not enjoying how I changed the design and am redoing them to be more true to the original Nightingale shin guards.
The bracers I drafted free hand with out wrapping my fore arm up to make the pattern. If you dont want of have the materials or help to wrap your arm to make a pattern all you need is the length of your fore arm and how wide you want it. For how I built the bracers I took the pattern and cut pieces out of worbla and craft foam, sandwiching each piece before shaping them on my fore arm. After all the pieces had been shaped I layered them on top of each other so I could mark where each piece would be, so the fit wouldn't change as I attached each piece to each other. For the details I just used some worbla scraps and laid them on the detail lines I had drawn out.
I came back around to the detal work and really thought about how I wanted to go about doing it. I ended up decided to wrap craft foam in the vinyl I had been using to make the rest of the armour out of. I am needing to go back in and fix a lot of the details and add some due to the foam pieces starting to fall off the base they are glued to. I am needing to find a better glue since vinyl is a hard fabric to glue things to due to it having no fibers for the glue to attach to, so when it gets hot or things rub too much the pieces will start to come apart.
After having all pieces sewn and all details glued together, I lined them up and started to attach everything together. It was a long process of making sure all the edges had been covered and that all the pieces would go back together after they had been all attached. I messed up and glued all the piece to the waiste pieces before I had secreuly sewn them together. So after I had them all detailed I sat down and had to hand sew though layers of vinyl and craft foam. It was not an easy task and I broke many hand sewing needles as I had to use pliars to help me pull the needle through.
I had fully finished putting everything together and felt like something was missing. Everything was just so black and it looked like there was a bit of silver on the raised parts of the details. I did a small test with some fabric paint and it was just too thick and looked to defined. Then I decided to treat it like I was weathering a piece of armour but with silver, so I added water to the paint to make is more runny. To apply it I used paper towels to wipe the whole armour down. I loved the effect and felt like it stood out more like the armour did in the game.
I never did get around to making my sword or bow, but those are on the list to finish. I love this armour and see a lot of things I want to fix up on it to improve it. This was a learning process and I cant wait to take what I have learned and fix this costume up to make it better then before.
Photography - Into The New
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