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About Varied / Professional Elissa HullahFemale/Australia Recent Activity
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Elissa Hullah
Artist | Professional | Varied
I'm a freelance costume designer/illustrator/maker who has a passion for fantasy concept art and living bravely...

So as most of you know by now, I've been working pretty solidly on a custum cosplay costume commission for a new client. Suzie contacted me a number of months ago through seeing my LinkedIn Profile with the intention of finding a designer and maker who could create a new costume for her based on a Lolita-inspired version of The Riddler from Batman. Suzie's aesthetic is very feminine, with an emphasis on classic Victorian details and quirky design features. She had a clear idea of what she wanted but was looking for someone who could add a new perspective and offer some useful and practical design advice. She was an absolute pleasure to work with from the get-go and gave me a lot of freedom to use some personal artistic-license in the process.

From our discussions I came up with the following designs, the final on the right being a combination of elements from the first two, and the one that we agreed on for the finished product.


Once we finalised the design through online messaging, a few face-to-face conversations and lots of coffee, I embarked on the toile creation. The design looked stunning in the cream calico I used to make the toile, it was actually a little heartbreaking to know I would have to eventually take it apart to create the pattern! Here's some pics of the initial rough toile; full of pins, pen markings and rough edges :)



Whilst working on the toile, I began fabric sourcing for the right colours and textures to create the final costume. Because of the tailored nature of the design, the number of layers and the potential of Suzie wearing all day, I recommended that it be made using as much natural fibre as possible, as it would breathe better and thus be more comfortable. The very detailed nature of the design also made me feel that it was important to use good quality fabrics that would do both the costume and work justice. I'm all for saving money and going for the cheeky synthetic, but sometimes you have to splash out. And it was certainly worth it :) I sourced some beautiful silk satins and quality velvets among others to get the ball rolling.


I arranged a couple of appointments with Suzie to fit the toile and refine the design. This is what the toile then evolved into, finally it began to resemble the finished product.


It's wonderful getting to this point in the making process; you can see the finished product in a raw state and though there is still much work to be done, it's incredibly motivating seeing the physicality of a drawing come to life.

Now, the fun part begins….

I had the designed the skirt fabric with a question mark pattern which I had originally thought to have silk-screened in a bold solid green colour, but I liked the idea of hand-painting it create a gradient within the shape.


The painting was slow going because I had only one go to get it right ;) The task took me the better part of a day to paint the 30 odd question marks in green and then outline in silver paint.

The came the shirt. I used a silk dupion fabric in a vibrant violet shot with aqua blue. In the light, the aqua picks up and gives a beautiful dynamic highlight to the fabric. I used a fine black tulle with a small velvety polka dot pattern across it and overlaid each individual piece of the shirt before sewing it all together. The sleeve had 4 layers all together; The tulle overlay, the violet/aqua main fabric, a purple net core to create volume, and a fine purple mesh to prevent the netting from scratching. Here's a little breakdown of the the shirt construction:


And the waistcoat:


The main body of the waistcoat was made using a beautiful emerald green silk satin which I sourced from The House of Franke, Stuart; my go-to place for high quality dress fabrics :) Using such a beautiful fabric, I couldn't bear the idea of using a cheap bemsilk lining or the like, so instead I used a gorgeous magenta cotton-sateen that had a small stretch and would allow the silk fabric to breathe. The thickness would also give a greater body to the silk, which I stiffened with interfacing. The pockets and lapels consisted of a deep forest green velvet, the latter to which I then hand-sewed the final diamonte trimming.



Whilst this was all going on, I commissioned Nathaniel from Hades Industries to create Suzie's Riddler Cane, which was based off the design used in Batman and Robin. I was recommended to Hades Industries through my wonderful and talented friends at Nightshade FX as HI specialises in film grade quality props reproductions and commissions. From a very short brief, Nathaniel created this wonderful prop for Suzie. here's a pic of the handle creation. Click on the picture to check out the rest of Nathaniel's process Photos.


When it came time for the handover on Friday, Suzie was super excited to see the finished product. She would be debuting it at OZ Comic Con 2013 in Melbourne, this weekend and from the look of the many photos that she has since already put up on Facebook, the costume was a rollicking success :)


It was a fabulous experience and I'm so looking forward to the many new commissions I have lined up for the rest of the year. On that note, should you, patient reader, have any desire to engage my costume designing and making services, please don't hesitate to contact me. I always provide a complimentary and obligation-free first consultation to see if my services are suited to your needs. You can contact me through my

Thanks for reading and check out my Facebook Page for more Photos and news of my current projects!

E xox

  • Mood: Joy

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Vehemont-Protector Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2011  Student Writer
Welcome to dA! Enjoy your stay :)
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