Top 5 Hits of 2015


2015 is the year I finally felt immensely confident in my own sewing. I only felt “competent” in previous years. There were still stressful moments and long nights, but I never felt like I couldn’t do the skills the projects asked for.

This year was a year of costumes and almost nothing else. I can guarantee that will come up again in my #SewingTop5 revelations and goals write-ups. 🙂

In chronological order:

1. Mulan

I think I mentioned in the costume write-up the first costume to bring me to tears. Seeing Mulan as my reflection was all kinds of emotional. At Portland’s Rose City Comic Con, a tiny Belle (probably about age 6-8) squealed, ran up, and hugged me. I had to hold back a couple more tears while we posed for a picture.

Thanks to my friends at Zeita Studios, I started to really understand fabrics this year. I had very specific fabric weights and colors in mind for each component and the fabric search took me a long time – taking me all around Seattle and even out to Denver fabric stores while I was on a short vacation.

In terms of the actual sewing, I am impressed with how quickly I was able to “frankenstein” the appropriate Big-4 pattern pieces with self-drafted components. Unlike other costumes, there is not much I would change or improve.

Photo by Alexander Kopyev

2. Korra

If I could only cosplay one character it would be Korra. Possibly because spandex and french terry are super comfortable fabrics. On top of that, because of who Korra is, when I am in this costume I feel powerful.

Just one year ago, season 4 of The Legend of Korra ended. Her story (on television) was completed. I immediately began planning to update my Season 1 Korra cosplay. That “update” quickly became a completely new costume because each part of our outfit was slightly different.

The design and construction was straightforward. Maybe because I had already done this before. I used old PJ’s for the pants pattern, I modified the original spandex body suit pattern, traced my arms for the gloves, and used a skirt pattern as the base template for the suede wrap. I worked up until the night before, but  I never felt stressed about the design (only the available time).

For my fellow Korra Cosplayers, I promise there is a full write-up coming in early 2016!

Legend of Korra cosplay water bending
Photo by N8Zim Photography

3. Myconid King

This costume was commissioned by Wizards of the Coast for the PAX 2015 Acquisition’s Inc D&D game, to be worn by DM Chris Perkins.

Myconids are mushroom/fungus/humanoid creatures. Think a fungal Ent or Groot. The costume is my original design, based on artwork from the Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual. I took inspiration for the shapes and colors from shelf fungus. The orange robe is based on a regency dress pattern.

Photo by Wizards of the Coast

I have a full write-up coming. For now, please enjoy Chris Perkins’s entrance to the stage at the start of the YouTube video (5:32 to 7:48 is my costume’s moment in the spotlight)


This was how I felt during the entire opening. 😀

4. Shao Jun

Let’s just call 2015 the year of Chinese cosplays. This is 2 of 2. Representation matters. I felt a kinship to these characters.

Shao Jun was the culmination of my current cosplay skills. Not only did I self-draft the coat and tunic, but I was smart enough to gauge my workload, and pre-empted some stress by buying the dry-fit undershirt and baggy yoga/harem pants. I am incredibly satisfied with my fabric weights and colors. My greatest moment of victory came when I topstitched the princess seams smoothly and evenly.

Look at that topstitching, and the unintentional pattern matching!!

Unlike Mulan and Korra, there are some things I would like to go back and finish, fix, and improve. I’ll be working on that in 2016 (along with that write up!).

Greg is his Ezio costume (2012), me as Shao Jun. Photo from Assassins Creed community Cosplay Meet-up.

5. New look 6104

I can’t stop wearing this! And it is almost winter.

I started sewing this shirt in May and finished putting the buttons on in November. I used french seams on the shoulder and side seams (after I basted the pieces together to confirm the sizing was right). This silk-cotton fabric factors into my assessment of 2015 as the year of fabric knowledge. I will be looking for more drapey soft cotton blends. It feels good on me and I feel good in it.

If it weren’t for the buttons, I would call this a TNT pattern. Or maybe I’ll just get better at buttons. 🙂


This shirt helped me realize that sewing clothes does not intimidate me anymore. Through sewing complex costumes for the past 4 years I’ve already tackled a wide variety of fabrics and modified many patterns. I used to hesitate to sew clothes for everyday wear. Now I have an insatiable appetite for handmade wardrobe projects.

Next up: Top 5 Sewing Misses of 2015

This post is part of the series started by Gillian, look for more posts (by her and other sewcialists) at her blog, or on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #sewingtop5 .


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