Guild Wars 2 - Sylvari Elementalist Cosplay

As some of you may know, I am a huge guild wars 2 player, and been playing since pre-launch.
The sylvari is the most unique and most beautiful race in the world of GW2. It is a botanical race that is birth by the Pale Tree. Everything about them is plants, trees, and flowers. So when my favorite character hit max level of 80, I knew I had to find her the perfect gear and then as an ultimate fan, will wear it to Pax Prime 2013! So I settled on the exotic Carrion Exalted set.  This set has organic design elements all over it. From the scrolling broad leaves on the neckline to the trailing skirts, to the petals exploding out of the bracers, neck and shoes, it echos the elegance of nature so well. I am so in love with the design of this gear set!

The beauty of the game is that it allow players to do an virtually endless color combinations of their gear. So far my favorite color combo is: Midnight Blue, Harvest Gold, and Icing. Which is genius!

OK, enough about my game, on to the cosplay!

As usual I started out with the reference picture of all sides, and draw out a sketch of what the outfit looks like. As usual, when I was sketching, I paid special attention to the style lines, seam lines, and different proportions of the design elements. It is important to me to get as much details down as possible. I also jog down a few measurements and things that I need to pay special attention to. And small sketched of the different parts. 

Next, I create a basic silhouette of the costume on my dress form with style tapes. These style tapes high lights the major seams and edges. After that, I drape the muslin over the form to create the first patterns. I then sew the mock up together to try it on myself. I  had to revised back and fore a few times to fix any fit issues or funky portions.

This style has large areas of design details. I can achieve these patches in multiple ways, but settled on using applique technique.  Below, you can see the work-in-progress of the skirt. It has all 3 stages of the applique - 1, laying the large patch down; 2, satin stitch on to the base; 3, trimming the excess off to show the actual patch shape. After the outlining has been satin stitched, I also went back with multiple colored thread to add the leave vines as needed to bring out the details.

Another challenge is that the reference shows the top just free flowing wraps around her body. There is NO side seam on one side. Now this design shows the Sylvari's beautiful and illuminating botanical patterns, but WHAT?! I had a idea of making a body suit, then dye to match the make up color. My dear friend Hillary helped me painted the botanical texture on. She always does beautiful work!! <3   I have also since cut off the sleeves to elbow length to eliminate bulk.

The last challenge is ..... the hair. Of course, my character has the pony tail hair style. If you have any experience with regular wigs, a pony tail thrown the whole balance off! Here is the step by step of the process. I had abit of struggle with painting the leaves, so Hillary also showed me how to paint the leaves correctly. I used clear elastic to sew the leaves together so that it will have a tight fit, as well as provide plenty of loops for hair pins to secure to wig cap. I used so many hair pins at the front that I had a massive headache at the end of the night. But is was so worth it!!

And the finished piece  -
Photo by Bill Hinsee of


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