Elf Fantasy 2008, we decided to do three of four elements. Since
I’ve always wanted to remodel my old Sea Elf Dress, this
was the chance to do it.
can read the basic info on the Sea Elf here.
Elemental finished costume (April 2008)
of four elements. The Air's costume is actually so good that you
can't really see her on these pics ;-)
had already started on the belt a long while ago. The chosen fabric
was sea green dupioni silk that I had originally purchased to make
the matching tunic for the dress (pattern see under Sea Elf section
knew I wanted to add dangling strands of beads (seashells etc.),
and I knew how I wanted the overall style to be. I did some first
„sea weed“ embroidery in silver thread back in late
2006, then I lost motivation and inspiration – and also, other
things grew more important (Sparrow *whistles*) – so I put
it aside for over a year, working on the beading only in intervals.
it became clear that the Sea Elf would be turned into the Water
Elemental, I took out my belt and started on it again – this
was in February 2008 or so. I finished the remaining beading on
the belt, added the beaded shell, the little semi-circular dangles
I started on the long strands, collectig various kinds of beads,
glass, sea shells and so on. Some of them had to be painted in the
proper color (the little plastic shells and fishes; and the big
natural shells on the ends of the outermost strands). All in all,
there’s about 2.000 beads and pearls in this and about 200
real shells or glass pieces.
did not do the strands symmentrically on purpose as I wanted it
to have a bit of a disorderly look, just as if it was flotsam caught
in a fisher's net or whatever the sea brings ashore…you can’t
control that either ;-)
belt closes in the back with a velcro closure and is interfaced
and lined for extra stability.
1 ½ years
and strands: 2 months
I had a pretty clear vision of the headdress from the start, knowing
that I wanted a „crown“ of sea shells on the bottom
and lots of hair/ intertwined braids.
started out as a simple white fleece cap bought from a theatre sale,
which was sturdy enough to take all the weight. I covered it in
pale blue habotai silk and added a layer of the sea green dupioni
that I used for the belt; basically making a second cap after the
same pattern that went on the „real“ cap and was sewn
and glued into place.
first thing I did then was making two braids out of loose falls
of Kanekalon extensions in „Aqua“. I rolled them into
Princess-Leia-style buns and sewed them on to each side of the cap.
After that, they were secured and studded with pearl needles (which
are great! I’m also planning to use them on my Elizabethan
with Leia buns and loose hair, side, stage 1
On that went the first batch of loose hair. I sewed them on in the
front and placed them up on top with a hairclip as I would not need
them until much later in the process, but couldn’t add them
later because they also acted as a cushion and a base for all the
rest that was to come. Next, I did the various long braids in the
back; making several variations (thick, thin, small, with strands
of pearls, woven together…). These were attached by sewing
them onto the cap, which was quite difficult from time to time as
I had to stitch not only through the silk but also through the dried
glue and the fleece. Plus, I had to take care of the loose hair
not to tangle too much.
with hair, first stage, front
Back of the headdress
Next was the row of sea shells in the front, which I wanted to resemble
a crown. I bought a sachet of shells in various sizes already earlier
on, and painted the best of them pearl green and pearl blue (I actually
used silk paint – contour color – because I had that
at hand in the proper colors, and it worked perfectly! :-)). Drilling
holes into the shells was rather hard work (you won’t believe
how hard these little bastards are!). Then, they were arranged in
the front, overlapped, partially glued on and sewn on through the
holes I made before.
I filled the gaps on the lower bottom with little natural green
snails which were just glued on using jewelry glue which is one
of the best out there….
What came next? Oh yes, I figured I would like some sort of big
mother-of-pearl shells that I could roll the hair onto, a bit like
we see on Amidala in Star Wars here with the Lake Gown:
I spent a while searching for the proper shell because I couldn’t
remember the name, then I came across a wonderful German shop that
has all kinds of maritime things, and here I found the proper thing:
I ordered two of them about the same size (11 cm high) and also
a bunch of Turitella (spiral) shells for a crown.
the Nautilus on top of the headdress was quite a challenge; I had
to make holes in the shell as well (always afraid they would break
as they looked rather fragile), then I fixed them to the braids
with little tapes. Sounds not very secure, but holds up pretty well
After that, I rolled the remaining hair over the shells, fixed it
with pins and hairspray, added a little here and there…and
that was basically all. A little waterdrop here and there, some
more shells, a crab and a fish.
I made a 'crown' of pale green and blue turitella shells...placed
on a stick and fixed with an alligator clamp and lots of glue --
working time: 4 weeks
mentioned above, the dress is nothing but my old sea elf dress.
I did one thing though and that was adding gores to back, front
and sides (4 altogether). I used crinkled silk georgette, dyed 'nile
green' in a relatively complex process that involves rolling the
fabric, putting it into the color bath and allowing the color to
seep up. Thus, you'll get a nice blended color from white to dark
also changed the embroidery at the neckline a bit, adding shells
and matching Swarovski crystals.
working time: 1 week
Elf Fantasy is in April, and in Holland, and as I'm always feeling
cold, I took preparations and made myself a coat to go with the
outfit - and indeed, I did need it. It doesn't look too good with
the dress sleeves stuffed into the coat sleeves, but better than
freezing in any case. The coat was made from medium weight linen
in sea green. Oh, such a lovely fabric to work with! I used Butterick
4732, which is great. The coat is embellished with a sea
green and silver trim and three black iridescent buttons. The needles
are still in here, that's why it looks a bit odd...
working time: 4 days
made a matching necklace, earrings and scarf. The scarf is nothing
special, just a remnant of fabric leftover from the gores of the
dress. The necklace and earrings are here:
wore a long synthetic wig underneath the headdress and used theatre
make-up in sea green and light blue for the face paint.
mask was purchased on Etsy.com from an artist called Faerywhere
(also the masks of the other two elements). She has really great
stuff. As the mask was originally a 'dragonfly', I overpainted it
a bit with more matching colors and added shells and the little
I made the bag using Simplicity 4043.
Everyone said this pattern is a waste, but actually it is not too
bad when you use the proper fabrics. I used the basic pattern for
the bag, but instead of outlining the shell structure with sequin
band as suggested, I made casings following the design lines and
afterwards stuffed it with fiberfill so the shell has a 3-D look.
used seagreen and ice blue silk to make two different sides. The
bag is heavily interfaced with fleece.
added matching crystal trim on each side (that I had originally
bought for the belt) and also some glue-on "waterdrops"
that I found by accident and that look quite real :-)
The bad is small, but holds a wallet and mobile phone as well as
a small-sized camera.
The trident was made by myself in a last-minute action. It is made
from very light wood, double layered, and spray painted silver.
For the staff, I used a plastic tube from the sanitary section of
the DIY store. It was gray originally, I spray painted it with several
layers of pearl green (found at a sales bin in the local craft store
- excatly the right color, yay!).
made a 'holder' of the same silk I used for the belt and headdress,
so that my hands wouldn't get green. Then, I used the Tulip Liquid
Pearl Glue to make little 'dots', into which I pressed tiny shells,
stones, beads and so on...
the trident had to be detachable from the staff in order to fit
into the car, I put it together on location and added the two big
shells to hide the joint ~ again using jewellery glue, which is
perfect. As a last step, I had bought a decoration fishernet which
I cut in two. One half was intended to go on my belt, but I left
that away in the end. The other half was draped over the trident
to hide the wood structure that could still be seen.
was a quick thing, but I'm quite content with the outcome... :-)
also made the staff for the Fire Elemental. I'll add a short write
up on that soon...
Mask: 3-4 days (including letting everything dry etc.)
Necklace + Earrings: 1 day
Trident: 4 days
original work is protected by intellectual property laws. No copyright
infringement is intended - copyrighted images are being used for
costume study purposes only. Site design, graphics, and content
is copyright © Ela unless otherwise indicated.