Borderlands Cosplay work in progress: Patricia Tannis part 1

We are hoping – no, let’s be firmer than that – we are aiming to get our Borderlands 2 costumes done for October. AddAltMode B is going to be Salvador and I’ll be cosplaying as this wonderful crazy lady, Dr. Patricia Tannis:

Dr. Tannis: screen shot from Borderlands 2 Mr Torgue's Campaign of Carnage DLC (the best DLC!)

Moi? Dr. Tannis: screen shot from Borderlands 2 “Mr Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage” DLC (aka the best DLC!)

Mostly so far we have just been gathering the materials we’ll need for these projects but I have done a bit of sewing and gluing already. As with Project Slipstream, I’ll be blogging my progress throughout the construction, so here’s how things are shaping up so far…

Forgive the crotch shot! Reference point for her trousers

Forgive the crotch shot! Reference point for her trousers

The early stages of a cosplay project mostly involve sketching, scheming and hitting up haberdashers and charity shops. Charity shops are definitely a cosplay girl’s best friend. I’ve always been pretty lucky when it comes to finding garments I can use, modify or at the very least cut up for fabric (if you only need a small amount of a certain material this can sometimes be a more economical option than buying the fabric new). Tannis’ coat is unique so I know this will have to be sewn from scratch but I was hopeful that most of her other clothes could be customised from other garments, and I seem to be doing reasonably well on that front.

Top and Trousers

First up, her top and trousers. Tannis wears a grey vest top and stone brown coloured trousers. The vest was easy, it’s the right season to buy a top like this for a couple of quid in pretty much any clothes shop or even supermarket. Sorted. For the trousers I had a big charity shop trawl and eventually found some brown cropped ones in the local RSPCA Shelter shop. The fact they’re cropped won’t matter as I’ll have boots / leg guards up to my knees anyway.

Unmodified trousers and top

Unmodified trousers and top

You might notice that the trousers have a lace up detail at the knees. This probably will be just about visible above the boots on the final costume. It’s not authentic for Tannis, but I do think it’s a very Borderlands-looking touch, true to the spirit of the game’s aesthetic if not the exact stylings of this particular NPC, so I’m happy to leave the ties there. What the trousers did need was the patches adding to the inner thighs. These look to be a grey fabric with squared/textured detail. Originally I’d planned to buy plain fabric and stencil on the detail but then I spotted some grey patterned pillow cases for sale in another charity shop (I know Charity Shop Fu!)  that looked like they might work nicely.

Starting to sew on this project was a funny experience. At first I was so careful to make tiny neat stitches that wouldn’t show, but then I realised… hold on a sec’ this is Pandora, I’m going to be adding black lines to most of the seams and outlines in the final stages for that authentic Borderlands touch. I don’t need to hide my stitches, if anything I should sew in black and accentuate them! So I switched from grey cotton to black embroidery thread!

A grey pillow case will become the patches

A grey pillow case will become the patches

Leg patches in progress and applied

Leg patches in progress and applied. They don’t look quite level here but they do when worn (probably my legs are wonky!)

I still plan to accentuate some of the other seams here with black fabric paint, but as I’ll be doing this across all of the garments I think it probably makes sense to wait until all the other parts of the costume are ready then have a black line blitz across the whole thing!

Wig and Goggles

Now I didn’t want to get too far without sorting out the wig as if I couldn’t get that right then the whole costume would be pretty much a non-starter. Fortunately I managed to pick up one that I was really happy with from Coscraft. I really like the colour! It’s a little longer than Tannis’ cut, but that’s necessary at the back to hide my real hair underneath. I may trim the fringe a bit more (I haven’t modified it at all yet) but again that’ll probably be something I do near the end when I can see how it’s all looking together.

Like any self-respecting steampunk, I already owned several pairs of goggles, one of which seemed highly suitable for Tannis. They just needed to have the yellow added. To do this I just cut circles of yellow foam, added black line detailing (this is going to be a recurring refrain of project Tannis write-ups) and pushed them in under the lenses.

Blame Arcee for the blue paint on my wig stand!

Blame Arcee for the blue paint on my wig stand!

Bags / Accessories

Bag reference screenshot

Bag reference screenshot

Tannis has three main accessories that are part of her actual outfit: a disc-shaped backpack thing (what actually is it?), a light detail on her belt and an outer belt with a pouch bag. The easiest of these to tackle is the last one, so I did that first. I really wanted to ensure this bag was functional not just decorative as it will be so nice to have a usable pouch to keep my camera and cash close at hand if I go to conventions in this outfit. Handily, I already owned a brown belt bag so it was just a case of making this look more Borderlands. And you know what that means? Black lines! So yes, I added some additional detail with paint and leatherette fabric.

The biggest challenge here was how to move from the ornate bronze clasp of the original bag to the silver round clasp that Tannis has without making it so that the bag didn’t fasten. In the end I made the round clasp by painting the bottom of a jelly pot silver. This just slots firmly over the real clasp, hiding it but ensuring that the bag does still does up securely. I think that works quite well.

Original bag

Original bag

Borderlands style

Borderlands style! I may add more detail to the belt part yet but want to wait to see how it looks over the coat.

The real clasp still works underneath

The real clasp still works underneath

I’ve also bought the red fabric for the coat, and with some help from a wonderful friend of my Mum’s who is a far more accomplished seamstress than I am, have a proof pattern for it that’s looking good. But more on that another time.

So things are shaping up!  Now, come on internet friends, help me nag AddAltModeB to get a move on with his Gunzerker guns!

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