Introduction: Witcher Cosplay - Geralt of Rivia

One of my favorite games of 2015 is Witcher 3, and I absolutely love the kaer morhen armor, So much in fact, that I convinced myself to attempt to make my very own armor using real leather, hand-made chainmail, and multiple techniques that allow me to make such a thing..... with no leather working tools.

Step 1: You Will Need.

To make this costume, you are gonna need a couple of things.

Tools including

Sewing machine

Hot glue gun

Heat gun


Hole punch kit

Mannequin (If you don have one then you will need a large amount of duct tape)

Materials: Leather.... Lots of leather, In various shades of brown

Polyester Thread Cotton material, 1x color for pants, 1x color for main vest sleeves.

Eva Foam (yoga mats are the easiest source generally)

Plastic sheeting. (PVC, or styrene. Or just cut up a plastic storage container)

Aluminum or steel 2mm wire. At least 120m.

Plastic strapping or corset boning. Strapping that's used for package wrapping.

Zips, Buckles, Cord.

Step 2: Pattern Drafting - Paper

This step is where good prep can save you a lot of time later on.

First thing your going to need is a mannequin. If you don't have one of these, then you are going to need a friend, and about 5 rolls of duct tape to make one :D

Follow this link to see how to make your very own mannequin for this build. Click here

Taking your mannequin, your first move is to take a marker pen, and draw how how you want all the panels to sit on your body. The idea with pattern drafting is to make the individual panels for your garment that fit best to the wearers body, remember, straight lines don't fit well around organic curves.

Once you have drafted all your pieces, mark them with registry keys, and remove them from your mannequin.

Taking your pattern pieces, you want now want to trace them to paper, then once that's complete add your seam allowance. (The seam allowance is the extra 5mm-12mm of fabric where to pieces will be sewn together)

Now that you have your pattern pieces all made its time to make a 'mock up', this is where you will take a cheaper fabric with similar to properties to your fabric you want to use for your finished piece, sew it all together to make sure that the pattern works, and most importantly fits to you.

The pants are a lot more simple for this costume, same steps, but instead of making a mannequin and drafting a pattern, simply take some old pants that fit nicely, cut them to the make a new pattern, add seam allowances, and then bam!!! Done!!! I personally added a quilting thickener to the cotton parts of the pants, looks more medieval.

The pants are a lot more simple for this costume, same steps, but instead of making a mannequin and drafting a pattern, simply take some old pants that fit nicely, cut them to the make a new pattern, add seam allowances, and then bam!!! Done!!! I personally added a quilting thickener to the cotton parts of the pants, looks more medieval.

Step 3: Assembling the Parts

Taking your pattern pieces you have now constructed, transfer them to your leather, Cut them out, and get ready to start sewing.

When sewing leather, you ideally want to use an industrial sewing machine... Sadly not everyone has one, including me. Unless your leather is way too dam thick, your standard sewing machine with good sharp leather sewing needles, and a leather machine foot. (if you do not have a leather foot, you can put scotch tape on the bottom of a standard foot)

To sew your leather together, be sure to use polyester thread as it is very strong, UV resistant, and generally harder to break. As leather has no fibers, once a hole is made, you cant undo it, so be careful.

To stitch your pieces together, a really helpful trick is to attach the 2 faces to one another using double sided tape, this stops the pieces slipping from one another as you cant pin them together.

Once all the pieces are sewn together you can pull the double sided tape out of the seams, and to make them sit nice and flat/prep for chainmail, you will pin the seams open and flat using double sided tape.

Step 4: Making the Chest Armor

To make the armor your going to have to draft a new pattern, very importantly you have to draft this pattern on top of your current garment, reason being that if you do it straight onto your mannequin it will not fit over your costume properly, Trust me, ive made this mistake in the past, never again.

After drafting your pattern on top of the costume using paper or cardboard, cut some slits to make the piece lay flat, then transfer the pattern too eva foam (yoga mats).

Eva foam is wonderful for costumes as it flexible, glues with most adhesives, and best of all, when heated with a heat gun you can reshape the eva, and it will retain that shape once its cooled.

Reshape your eva foam using your heat gun, and glue everything in place as pattern drafted. Hot glue works great, but in general it can get kinda messy, so if you can glue this together cleanly then there's less work needed to clean up later.

I decided while that instead of sealing and painting my foam armor, I would instead adhere leather to the surface of the foam. Taking your foam armor, a large pot of contact adhesive (only the good stuff), and your leather, you can now start positioning. Once the leather is placed, you can now start applying your leather, I prefer to glue it from the center out, that way if you have to stretch or bunch any leather then everything's is stretched evenly.

Last step is to attach your small buckles to close it all up, these sadly have to be hand stitched into place, but with a bit of patience, a thimble and some pliers, all should come together fairly quickly.

Step 5: Making and Attaching Your Chainmail

To make your chainmail you need to work out how big you want your rings, I wanted 12mm in diameter rings, that were made of 2mm thick wire, giving the rings a 8mm hole.

This being the case, you simple take an 8mm dowel from your local hardware store, drill a 2.5mm hole in the end and place the other end of your dowel into your drill, this gives you your ring maker. I went a step further and made a small jig that allowed me to make really nicely packed coil.

Once the coils are made there are 2 ways to cut them, one uses side cutting pliers, the other an angle grinder, the side cutters are nice because it means you can cut the rings where even and when ever you want, downside it will give a poor gap in the rings which can cause them to un lock from one another.

The angle grinder means that you can get really nice clean edges meaning that your rings will lock nicely..... I regrettably used the pliers.

To make the chainmail there are plenty of techniques, There are plenty of good ones on youtube, my technique is to connect 4 rings together by 1, repeat, then connect the bottom 2 rings of one set, and the top 2 rings of another set to create a longer set of chainmail, then repeat, and repeat, and repeat. Aluminum is soft and easy to shape by hand, where as steel is strong but takes a long tome to make.

Once youv got your chainmail set and made to size, you need to connect it to the suit. As some may know, video games armor is not designed to be practically reproduced in real life, so the way I have attached my chainmail is kinda on the hairy side. I attached my chainmail by threading through the seam of the leather, around the seam threads, and knotting it off for each individual link.

A last detail to hide the stitching that holds the chainmail in place, plastic strapping or corset boning is hot glued inside if the leather seam, and is then folded over the chainmail, this will later be hand stitched closed permanently.

Step 6: Making Your Shoulder Belts

In this costume there are many different types of belts, all of them are warn in, stretched, shaped, and fit to the body armor very nicely... this is very hard to do on a short time frame with straight belts, so this is how to get the same effect right away.

To do this step you need to have your costume and armor, all assembled, everything on the costume that will be under the belts, has to be made by this point.

Mark out roughly where you would like your main belts to sit using a single line of masking tape, after that, using masking tape to simulate exactly where the belts would sit.

Once you have placed your tape, mark out where the belts meet, and carefully remove from the armor in one piece, seriously, this has to all come off in one piece... this is your pattern piece, dont break it. Upon completion of the tape removal, stick your tape down carefully to a large piece of paper, this creates a more stable material for transferring l to leather next. Lastly, double sided tape it to your leather, and cut out :D

Step 7: Making the Shoulder Armor Panels

In the game 'Geralt' Has 2 very ridged shoulder armor panels. Making these panels is very simple, step one, make a base, step 2, cover it.

To make a good base shape for this build, I intended to use pvc or styrene plastic.... However as I have neither, and am very impatient, I simply cut up an old crappy plastic storage box.

After cutting the pieces out with a grinder, I scored the plastic to its final shape with ruler and knife.

To reshape this plastic, just like the eva armor, moderate heat was applied with the heat gun and was slowly re shaped to its desired form.

The left shoulder was quite simple, rectangular piece of leather plus 4 boarders. The right shoulder had an added leather point, not much to sew, however adding the chainmail is a bit more difficult, unlike with the main body, instead of stitching around the seam, i had to stitch through the leather on the pointed part of the shoulder.

Step 8: Arm Guard Armor

Making these shoulder I started with 2 basic eva foam cutouts, after reshaping with the heat gun I glued it lightly down to a cardboard base. Using plaster bandages I made a real quick and cheap mold of the shoulder pieces, which were later filled with polyester resin and fibreglass matting.

After removing the fiberglass from the plaster mold, cleaning it, and cutting it down, it was now time to start drafting the leather panels for the top. After taping some patter paper to the top, cutting it to size, adding detail lines, and making seam allowances, it was time to cut it from leather.

Usually the leather would be stretched over the shoulder shape, but as I'm strapped for time/it will be covered by chainmail(easiest done before gluing), it was easier to simply snip the edges of the leather and glue them down.

Step 9: Connecting Your Shoulder Armor With Belts.

This part is something you need to be patient and precise for.

Using your shoulder straps, and shoulder armor plastic, line them up together as they would sit on top of your armor chest piece.

Taking a marker pen in hand, mark on your plastic armor and leather where they contact one another with an 'x'.

You are going to drill the perspex in these spots, and through these holes you are going to connect the plastic and leather together by simply hand stitching.

Now that you have done this, you can start securing your leather/chainmail armor panels down to your perspex shoulder pieces.

Step 10: Gloves... God Damn Gloves

This is easily one of my least favorite parts of the build because they took so long to do, and they require hand sewing.

As I did not have a set pattern for these gloves I had to improvise, using tape, I wrapped the hand, cut it open and layer it flat on paper to make my pattern.

Next I cut out the finger tips, and sew them to the palm by hand.

The rest is self explanitry, just follow my pictures.

Step 11: Glowing Silver Sword

This part is something that I will be making a second in depth tutorial got later on, however, if you need to make one in the mean time, you are going to need; A router, angle grinder, jigsaw, wood, perspex, led strips, Power supply, Switches, Primer, silver spray paint, glue, wire, soldering iron, and a dremel.

The over all idea is that you will make your sword shape, route out a slot on one side the same thickness of your perspex, cut your perspex to fit snugly into that slot. Next take your led strips, mount them on the inside of your wooden blade, and glue perspex down over the top.

As I stated above, I will be doing a second more in depth tutorial later on for these types of swords, but for now, thats the rough Idea, and hopefully the pictures a fairly self explanatory.

Step 12: Hair (optional), and Make Up

Now the usual way to do this would be to acquire a "lace front wig"... I ordered this from china and to my surprise upon arrival it was not a lace front wig as advertised, And due to being very short on time, I had to settle for option B-leach, Haha Badum-tss

This requires a couple of things to be successful, Lots of bleach (specifically for hair), Toner, and grey hair spray.

If you decide to take this path, please be sure to follow specific product instructions. The purpose of the bleach is to take all the color our of your hair... But you will end up with yellow blonde hair. Once you look like draco malfoy, proceed to add the toner into your hair, do so until your hair becomes a white/silver colour, then stop, if you dont, your hair will go purple. Cutting Hair is optional.

The makeup is the final step, for this you need two things; some cat eye contacts, and a scar'd face.
Easiest way to do the scar effect is to clean selected areas with iso alcohol, and then use a product called Collodion. Once applied, collodion shrinks as it dries, causing the skin to pull and bunch up as if it were real scar tissue, another little handy trick you can add is to a small dab of purples and blues to the skin before hand to add more of an effect.

Step 13: Finished Project

All is completed and finished just in time for the New Zealand Armageddon expo.... but only just.
I hope this will help anyone out who is looking at making their own witcher cosplay, and please feel free to ask any questions you may have.

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