I LOVE RWBY and while my last Nora cosplay was loads of fun to wear I simply did not feel comfortable in it as a person. So when I saw Nora's Volume 4 outfit I KNEW it was true cosplay love. I have an affinity for crop jackets and I LOVE making circle skirts!
Before we get started you will need a few things...
- Sewing machine OR Ability to Sew by hand
- Sewing needles
- Sewing Thread
- Fabric (I used 2 and 4 way stretch polyester, jean, spandex and knit fabrics for this)
- Patterns (I made my own however; I can link you to some that would work for this outfit)
- Fabric Textile Medium and Acrylic Paint OR Fabric Paint (for her back symbol)
- A zipper (for the jacket)
- Some Elastic (thick and thin - I used 3" and 1")
- Fabric Markers and/or Chalk
- Measuring Tape
- Pins (to secure your fabric)
- Silver Buckles (one large for the waist and two small for the arms)
- Black Fabric Paint (aerosol preferred)
- White Gloves (I used an old pair of gloves for the white armlet and for the pink gloves)
- Pink Fabric Dye (I used liquid RIT)
- Children's tights in Pink (for Nora's socks)
Let's get started!
Step 1: Skirts and Shirt
Let's start with the skirts. For these I used a generic circle skirt technique...wait - what technique? Allow me to elaborate...
- Take your fabric and fold it hot dog style (like a long rectangle).
- Now lay the folded rectangle down and fold it in hamburger style (so that it becomes a square).
- Measure your waist circumference (mine is 32" but circle skirts come out big with stretchy materials so I usually measure at 28" instead).
- Take your waist measurement and divide it by 6.28 (which, for reference, is 2 x PI (3.14) ).
- Use the new measurement (for example my is 4.5") and measure down the length on the side of one corner.
- Now create a half circle from your two measurements
- From the half circle measure your skirt length
- Now draw a BIG half circle from each length measurement
- Finally, cut out the skirt!
Was that too confusing? No worries! Here's a VISUAL TUTORIAL by Whathecraft that should help you out :)
Once I had my circle skirts (I cut one from the pink and one from the white) ready I measured my waist and created a rectangle that was the length of my waist circumference by the 5" for height. I folded this in half, placed 2" elastic in between the fold, then sewed the corners and edges down. This was my waist band (I made two of these as one was the belt and one was the actual waist band).
Next I took the pink skirt and began to create loose pleats by folding the fabric in (as seen in the pictures) and pinning it to the edge of my waist band (be careful not to pin the elastic - get the fabric edges instead). I sewed the waist band to my pink skirt and was done with the top layer.
For the white under skirt I took 1/2" thick elastic and folded the top of my skirt over it. I sewed the top to it (being careful not to get the elastic) then pulled and pushed the fabric around the elastic to create loose pleats.
The shirt was a little tricky for me. I took the following measurements:
- Length from clavicle to navel
- Length from shoulder to shoulder
- Arm circumference
- Neck circumference
Once I had those measurements I set my dress form to match them, pinned some stretchy white polyester fabric to it then drew on my shirt pattern. Before I cut out the second layer (since this was a white shirt I made the front portion of it two layers to be safe) I tested the fit (for comfort). It fit well. If you are not comfortable with making your own shirt you can buy a white turtle neck, remove the sleeves and proceed with the next step...
What's the next step? Why that tricky little heart silhouette! Since it's VERY hard to describe this I included a video tutorial in this section to help you along (you can also find the heart cut out tutorial HERE).
Step 2: Jacket
I am pretty good with measurements but for those of you who are not comfortable with starting from scratch here is PATTERN you can use to get started with for this jacket. Interested in starting from scratch? Then let's soldier on!
Here are the measurements that you will need to take...
- Over bust
- Under bust
- Empire waist (above your belly button)
- Arm circumference
- Arm length to elbow
- Shoulder width
- Torso length from clavicle to empire waist line
- Torso length from under arm to empire waist line
I used stretch denim and spandex for this jacket. I started by drawing the sides of the jacket. I took the length measurement from my under arm to my empire waist line and drew a straight line down. At the bottom of that line I drew a long line using 1/4 of my empire waist line. I repeated on the other side of the line so that the length was in the middle of the lower line and my bottom length line measured half of my empire waist line. Next I went to the top of the height line and took my arm circumference then drew it out in an oval (make sure the middle of your arm circumference lines up with the middle height line). Finally, I drew half my shoulder length on both sides of the semi-oval then drew a straight line down so it met the bottom hem line.
The end result is the image that looks like a square with a little oval cut out of it. I repeated the pattern on my red fabric then cut one more of each so I had matching sides. I sewed the red fabric to my denim as lining then I took my denim and sewed the opposing sides together. Next I took the ends of those ovals, folded the jacket inside out, and sewed them together so that, when I place it right side out, the seams were inside the jacket. Now you have a sleeveless jacket! Go you!
Your next step is sleeves. Take your arm circumference and draw it as a semi-circle on your fabric. Next, draw your arm length down on either side of the semi-circle. Finally, draw a straight line a across so you have created a box with a semi-circle top. Curve the edges of the semi-circle in a bit (so they are concave). Repeat this on another piece of fabric. Take one piece of fabric and sew the sides together (DO NOT SEW THE SEMI circle). You should have something that looks like a tube with a half moon on top of it (refer to the images in this step for examples). Now you can pin your sleeve to your jacket and sew attach them. If you like how they look you can repeat the actions above with the second sleeve.
For Nora's arm details I used bias tape and some pink spandex trim.
Your last task is to add a zipper and you're done!
Step 3: Accessories
Nora's belt, jacket symbol, socks, gloves and boots were a bit of a thought process for me. I always over think the little things.
I used the waist band method mentioned in Step 2 then added some grommets and a faux belt buckle. To secure the belt (for easy removal) I sewed in industrial strength velcro.
For the symbol on Nora's jacket I used American Textile Medium combined with acrylic paint and drew on the symbol by hand. You can use a stencil for this OR generic fabric paint. There are references online of Nora's symbol that can be printed to size.
This may sound odd but for Nora's socks I bought child size dance tights in dark pink (as they were close to my fabric color) and cut off the legs. They fit perfectly around my calves and came right up to my knees.
I used an old pair of white costume gloves purchased from Spirit Halloween and cut off the finger tips. I removed some of the excess fabric at the top of the glove then dyed them using RIT in pink. For her square cut out on the hand I used some No Fray, drew a square, then cut out the shape.
I ordered a pair of boots from AMAZON as I am not fond of boot covers and these matched Nora's shoes VERY well.
Step 4: Video Summary
That's how I created Nora! If you want to know how I made her hammer (Magnhild) check out my previous tutorial HERE. For those who were a bit overwhelmed with my text descriptions on my process I've included a full video tutorial in this section to simplify things.