Cosplay adventures 1: The search for the perfect Sarah shirt
After I decided I would start cosplaying Sarah I made a deal with myself to try as hard as I possibly could to make the costume look as close to the original as possible. That however, poses two rather complex challenges… finding the right vest, which I’ll save for another time, and finding the right shirt.
The shirt Sarah wears in the movie has very big and “poofy” sleeves, something that is not in style today and hasn’t been for ages and ages (we’re talking centuries here), and it has a buttoned up front. Now at this point it was my first instinct to look for something piratey as pirates are a very popular cosplay at the moment, leaving the possibilities for “poofy” sleeved shirts wide open. But as I quickly found out, if I wanted something to be accurate enough fabric wise, I had to broaden my price range and look outside the fancy dress shops as every shirt in there was either too white due to the materials they were made off or had frills or lace details.
At this point I went back to the movie to gather as much details as I could. Since I was going to be spending money on this I was dead set on making it right.
So in addition to the poofy sleeves I noted the details on the shoulder part of the sleeves, plus the high collar and large cuffs and with that continued my research. That lead me to inspect poet shirts used for Renaissance cosplaying but while the sleeves could pass as “good enough” they most often had the wrong collar and cuff proportions and unless you want it tailor made, they do not come as button ups. That lead me into further research, now into the history of shirts and from the details I had from my references I could narrow my shirt needs down to the 18th century.
At this point I was starting to suspect that the shirt in the movie had been either tailor made or altered to look the way it did because frankly, shirts from the period are always very long and often have a curve at the bottom or splits at the sides, while Sarah’s shirt doesn’t reach down below her knees and has a straight cut at the bottom like most “modern” shirts.
It was then that I realized… I’d probably had to make this shirt from scratch… Dun dun dunn!
I started looking into patterns and found a few that were “passable” and was on the verge of getting my sewing machine out of storage when I realized I had one problem, I didn’t have any access to the correct fabric. While Sarah’s shirt might not be period accurate in the styling it most likely was fabric wise since by the way the shirt flows in the movie it’s probably made from linen or muslin.
A bit relieved, I scrapped my sewing intentions and went back on the hunt… this time for an 18th century linen shirt that I could then possibly just alter to look like the one in the movie. And after a while… I found one.
The shirt I found was almost perfect in every sense except for the fact it wasn’t a button up, but since I’d now been searching for weeks I felt the best plan would just be to buy it, alter it and see where that led me. There was one problem however, I wasn’t exactly sure on what size to get, the website that sold them stated that the shirts were very large so instead of ordering it online I took a three hour train ride out of town with the sole purpose of visiting the store and trying it on in person.
And boy am I glad I did!
I had been tempted to order a medium on the website put when I tried it on I found that an extra small was all that I needed. I paid for it happily and made my way home… ready to start the altering process.
The alteration took some time.
I’ll post some more photos when I’m done! 😀