Sylvanas Windrunner Build Log 1
Updated: Jun 11
Hello! This post will be filled with all the information so far on how I created my Sylvanas Windrunner (BfA) cosplay which I competed with in the Swedish Cosplay Championship 2020. It will be quite a long read, but I hope that this will possibly aid you who also want to create this character, or simply read more in-depth about the making of it.
There are some parts missing from this Log that I hope to fill out in upcoming logs when I upgrade the costume, such as the paintjob, crystal and LED attachments, overall details and other attachments etc.
To start with I ordered the Sylvanas figurine to be able to have the most accurate reference that I'm able to get my hands on. I decided on basing my cosplay on the statue version because of the great level of detail that it has and as aforementioned, I can rotate and look at anything I want whenever I need it. Sylvanas has a very low-detail model ingame and her cinematic version is not showing all possible angles, so for me it seemed like the best decision.
The absolute first thing actually regarding the costume that I did was to order my lenses from Samhain Contacts. They offer hand-painted lenses based on your reference. (Not sponsored). For this I used the cinematics as reference, since the eyes are much more detailed than they are on the statue.
Secondly, I flattedned my wig using a straight iron. I chose a curly wig as base because I feel like curly/wavy wigs overall have more base volume to work with. I purchased the wig from WigIsFashion (Not sponsored).
Before is above, after is below.
Next up I drew the pattern for my leggings. Sylvanas has scalemail legs and even though I could make them in actual scalemail it would be terribly uncomfortable. So I decided to wear leggings instead.
I drew my pattern in Photoshop looking at the statue to see how small the scales are and measured my image in "real life" size to see how large they would be on the final print.
I then ordered my print on Sport Lycra from Spoonflower (Not sponsored).
After recieveing my fabric I made a pattern mock-up in stretch fabric and transferred it onto the Lycra. I decided on having the leg seam on the outside since that part is covered at all times by armour and the shorts, as opposed to having it on the inside of the leg as is customary for leggings. I used an elastic stitch on my sewing machine and used a walking foot to make the fabric not slip as much. A wide elastic ribbon is sewed into the waist.
After the leggings were done, I started on my cape and corset mock-ups. This was my first time ever making a corset, and it's the only part that I modified an existing pattern for instead of making it myself. It is the "Dolores" pattern by Aranea Black, if you want to use it yourself here is the link: https://www.araneablack.com/corset-overbust-pattern-dolores/ . Aranea also has a full tutorial of this specific model of corset on YouTube, which helped me immensely to understand the steps of making it.
Both the cape and corset mock-up is from a thin fabric to see the overall fit of the corset before modifying it into an underbust, and to see how much fabric I wanted to include in my cape. This corset is the one that goes underneath the leather corset to give me a good stable shape and to let the leather corset not have to do all the slimming. Leather stretches over time and with regular use, so in order to keep the size proper, the corset underneath helps in lessening the stretching of it.
Around this time I also started on the gloves. I chose to make long gloves going up above my elbow, instead of doing separate parts for the hands and top part. I made a mock-up pattern in white fabric and then transferred it onto thin leather, and cut them out.
In order to make the patterns for the bow, I took a photo of the bow on the statue and printed the photo in 1:1 scale using a website to scale the picture up to my desired size and section it into A4 format. I then printed it, checked the scale to myself in comparison to the statue and trimmed it. I recommend using this method of paper patterns when creating large props to get the scale as accurate as possible.
After modifying my corset pattern, I transferred it onto the brown fabric to make the actual real corset. When doing all this I learned how to baste, which is something I've never done before (or at least not known the proper name for). As aforementioned, to see how to make your own corset of this model and with more thorough explanations than I'm able to provide, head over to Aranea Black. For this corset I chose steel wire boning so that it's flexible, yet firm. The fabric itself is very thin and weak, and not intended for corsetmaking overall however I decided on using it since it's a piece only made for underlying structure and won't be visible with the full costume on. The steel boning is purchased from Gittes Tygkälla, and the waist ribbon, boning channels and front closure is purchased from Röda Tråden (Not sponsored).
All parts cut, and started basting
Testing the fit with all parts basted together, and adding the waist-tape
Adding the boning channels and boning
The finished corset, with added front closure and eyelets in the back!
Going back to the cape, I had to make this cape two times. The first time I made it I had three layers of fabric. Two velvet layers with a linen liner fabric. In order to make it stick together I tried to glue the whole liner, however that made the cape itself incredibly stiff, not to mention heavy. So I decided to salvage what I could from it and make a second cape. Since I had already spent a huge amount of time hand-embroidering the edges and all the details, I cut those off and transferred onto cape number 2. The second time around making it I only put liner fabrics glued where the tears in the cape are, and in the bottom. This made it nice and flowy, still heavy due to my decision of using two layers of velvet, but manageable. The edges as aforementioned are embroidered by hand using a gold thread over foam applications. I used the statue as reference, and cut out the foam applications and glued them to the cape and embroidered around them to give a nice 3d texture. Before attaching the liner fabric I also airbrushed the bottom of the cape with acrylic paint to give the dirty patinated look. Due to the weight of the cape I had to figure out a new way of attaching it, since it would be too heavy to be attached directly into my shoulderpads as I've done in the past with these types of costumes. So I stitched in D-rings in the space where the hood is attached to the cape, and pulled strings through to scrunch it up even further than my folds and then had a string from that attached to the under-corset. This made it possible to have the very heavy cape and shoulders move independently of eachother. Also of course holes for the shoulder straps, ears and quiver were added.
Creating the patterns and transferring them onto 2mm eva foam
Checking the cape for which patterns go where, and measuring the distance to be symmetrical between both sides.
Embroidering all the patterns by hand
Airbrushing and placing together with the liner fabric
D-rings stitched where the hood is attached, and testing the strap length going to the under-corset.
After making what feels like an abundance of gloves in all these years, it's still quite tricky to get them right. Since these were made in genuine leather, handstitching turned out to be very time consuming and sewing on machine near impossible. So I only handstitched the parts that were very narrow such as the fingertips and parts between the fingers, and the rest I "handstitched" on machine by manually feeding it with the wheel on it. The gloves themselves are of a typical model with fourchettes, and some minor design choices by the creators of Sylvanas such as the seams on the top of the hand. I basted a lot of the pieces before doing the actual stitching to see that the fit was slim enough, and in order to get them as tight as I wanted I added a string closure with eyelets on the inside where the arm-armour will cover later on. The final step was adding velcro on the inside of the top so it attached to the upper-arm armour.
Sewing the top parts together to recreate the reference design, and handstitching the top parts of the fingers together.
Adding the fourchettes, then proceeding to add the thumb and stitch the sides together to finally trim away all the excess from the edges.
Slightly off order, here I was testing how they look inside out before attaching the thumb. The final step was adding the slit and eyelets for the string closure.
The shoes were the fastest part of this entire costume to make, since I chose to buy a pair in a fitting model instead of making them from scratch as I had originally intended. I decorated them with red genuine leather, tracing the design first using masking tape and then transferring it onto the leather. I glued the edges down on the leather, and then glued it all onto the shoes. As leather does stretch, it was very easy to get the fit around the toe without additional seams or edges.
Creating the pattern, cutting it out and gluing the edges down
Keeping all the pieces in place with needles while it dries
One of the largest changes in Sylvanas design when she was remodeled from her bikini armour is the leather corset. This corset took two tries for me before I was happy with how it looked. For the first attempt I used the same method as I did with the shoes in gluing the edges down before sewing it together, however I was incredibly unhappy with how uneven and ugly all the edges looked so I remade it. For the second attempt I basted all the edges and basted all the pieces together before "handsewing" it on my sewing machine (hand-rolling the wheel). In order to create the pattern I got some help from a friend wrapping me up in plastic wrap and duct tape while wearing the under-corset. While still wrapped up, I drew the aproximate pattern and got some assistance being cut out of the wrap. I then cut apart the duct tape pattern and transferred it onto a yellow fabric mock-up. After testing the fit of the mock-up, I transferred it onto the leather and cut all the pieces out to do the aforementioned basting and sewing. The final step was adding a zipper in the back so it would be easy to take on and off, and adding the flap with velcro on top of the closure to hide it.
Duct tape pattern, and testing the yellow fabric mock-up
Hand basting the edgepieces, and basting everything together
Testing the fit after sewing everything with the zipper basted in the back
Testing the fit and look with the velcro flap basted before trimming all the excess on the edges
The final piece of leatherwork was the shorts. Now these shorts don't really make any sense, so I had to get creative with how to get them on and actually staying up. I started with making a base shorts pattern for the back part, and then I moved on to the sides that are layered in sections. The layered sections are also where I attach my thigh armour for it to stay up, so in order for it to be flexible I sewed the layers together with elastic straps and have velcro on the inside to attach the thigh armour with velcro straps. I decided on elastic straps to the frontpiece, and then two heavy-duty snapbuttons from the side layer parts that snap to the frontpiece.
Sewing the layers together with the elastic ribbon, and testing the placement on the backpiece
Adding the front part with elastic ribbon, and then basting the side layers onto the shorts after trimming the length and adding the top "belt" part
Trying out all the leather parts together before the final decoration of the corset with my leggings (except the gloves)
The armour is the most straight-forward part in this whole build. I started out with making a pattern in stiff paper for all parts before tracing them onto EVA-foam, except the collar. The collar is made in a similar fashion as the leather corset using plastic wrap and then duct tape around my mannequin's neck to create the pattern. All armour parts are made with 5mm high density EVA foam, except for the collar which is made in 3mm EVA foam and the decorations on the shoulders that are made of 10mm EVA glued together. The uppermost arm-armour and feathers that are 2mm EVA foam, aswell as the finger armour which are the only parts covered in Worbla. All the bevels are hand cut and/or dremmeled by me, with minor exceptions such as the top most part of the armguards where I used pre-cut bevels and the two innermost parts of the shoulders (the part closest to my neck) that also has pre-cut bevels. All armour parts are dremeled in an angle where neccessary in order to get the proper shape when gluing them together. I used a zipper closure for the lower leg armour, and being that this was my first time doing a closure like that I'm very happy how it came out. The other parts of the armour has velcro attachments where it's neccessary, and the breastplate is attached to the bra straps of the bra I'm wearing underneath. The straps are removable, so I pull them through fabric slits placed in the breastplate for proper placement and so it stays secure. The shoulderguards are attached in a similar fashion with a strap going through the shoulder and then attaching to the bra with small hooks. The skulls on the shoulders are 3d printed from a modified skull model I found on Thingiverse. Unfortunately I'm not adept enough at 3d modeling to make something that requires such anatomical accuracy as skulls, so that's what I did instead. To make all the bevels nice and smooth without seams showing, I used foamclay to fill the gaps and smooth it out. I used contact cement to glue everything.
Patternmaking for the legs and collar
Making the breastplate parts