Another year, another crazy BlizzCon costume idea. It’s been a while since my last great Diablo costume, so I felt it was only right to make a return to that franchise in the best way possible: with a class that’s new to my cosplay but iconic in Diablo, the Necromancer.
This Necromancer just might kill me. But it’s cool, because she can resurrect my bones and keep me crafting for all eternity. Right? Right.
As a reminder, I am not competing in the BlizzCon costume contest this year. I am not sure if I will compete again. I appreciate everyone encouraging me to enter since the rules have changed to better highlight intricate handwork like mine, but I do not want to enter with anything short of a winning entry. I may devote a longer blog post to my feelings on this, so that’s enough about it for now.
I started sketching my plans out before Anime Expo (July 4th weekend) even started, which was a bit unusual. I normally jerk it for a good 3 weeks after AX before starting BlizzCon stuff.
I’ve been ordering assorted beads and findings for this idea since January. All I thought at the time was that I wanted to do something extra extra, so a bunch of cool beads and stuff would be mandatory.
Honestly, I didn’t think I would want to fully embrace Bead Hell again after the torture I went through for Elune, but here I am. As of this post, I am 63 hours deep in Bead Hell with no sign of leaving anytime soon. The three major focal pieces I will add to this coat are only conservatively estimated at an additional 100 hours of embroidery. I really hope it’s not closer to 100 hours each because I will definitely be dead by BlizzCon.
And then there’s the rest of the costume.
[Crippling Anxiety Intensifies]
[Screams in Necromancer]
But I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself here.
Let’s review the current state of the Necromancer and take a look at some of the embroidery I’ve done.
This facric is a velvet and satin jaquard material. The high-collar coat and tails is all original patterning, as usual, but this time I went ahead and fully lined the fucker. It’s correctly lined like a formal dress jacket, including those fancy turned sleeve seams that don’t leave any sort of seam edge in the armpits or any of that crap.
No, this is the pinnacle of extra. Only the cleanest work for this coat. Even the tail is lined and attached with buttons to keep it removable like some formal jackets with tails.
I created puffy, gathered sleeves at the shoulder seam and upper forearm. The forearm gathered edge meets a normal tubular sleeve that reaches down to my wrist. There is a faux piping strip where the two pieces meet which I may or may not accentuate further, time depending (this is one of those nice-to-have and unessential decorations on my worklist). Antiqued gunmetal buttons were added to the lower sleeve at the outer wrist line to create a stylized, more modern look.
Bear in mind that the lower sleeves are normally covered with armor. I’m currently debating a single armored arm and the other arm only gloved, not unlike how Malthael’s arms are mismatched and many of the Diablo III concept art pieces portray in-game armor sets, like my old Demon Hunter concept set (most have matching symmetry in-game, but the asymmetry is a cute touch for many of the concepts and I personally prefer it).
The basic coat trim isn’t trim at all: it’s hand-embroidered. Some leftover materials from Elune are seeing use in this costume, like the fuzzy gray yarn I wove into some braided gray embroidery floss stitches, creating a textured band. The silver sparkle braid is another Elune remnant, simply loop-stitched to create a neat metallic border. The other edge is hand-beaded with alternating rough silver cube beads and medium gunmetal seed beads, both glass. I left a gap in the back trim and stitched down some silver wire ball beads to help with placement of the back designs, but I’m saving the larger design work in this area for later.
Similar threads were used for the sleeve bands, just with different patterns and some added spike pendants that will also go on the outer shoulder bands like in the sketch. You can see all that in another photo below. Those stitches were less complex (you can see how they work at a glance) and mostly done on a stream, so I didn’t feel like going over them here.
And I just want to put this here before I forget:
ABSOLUTELY NONE OF THE EMBROIDERY GOES THROUGH THE LINING. IT IS ONLY SEWN TO THE TOP FABRIC. THIS PROCESS ONLY ADDS TO MY HELL AND TAKES 15% LONGER TO DO.
The next design I worked on was the ribs. I outlined the edges with silver French wire (it’s like a tightly coiled spring thread with a hollow core). This is another material I first used with Elune and was well aware of its awkwardness. The wire needs to be stretched just enough so it won’t bunch up while worn, but stretching it too much will completely destroy the coils.
I favor a little room to breathe when sizing the French wire, so it will never be 100% perfectly flat while worn. It’s much better than irreversibly damaging the wire.
Fortunately the little donut beads sewn close to the wire help keep everything in place, so the coil never seems too wiggly. Here’s a picture (below) of what the wire looked like while I was sizing it, the excess pulled out from the stitches keeping the wire in place so that I could trim it down.
Right around here is when I wrapped up the open work I had to get the costume in a good place for a little shoot.
More on that later.
Like way later.
I sewed a bird skull pendant to some awesome pleated trim and made a collar (above), finished with a clasp and chain in the back (not pictured). This choker will receive embroidery before it’s done, but this was a quick assembly just for the look at the time.
I went through my best gothic emo vampire gear and pulled medium fishnets, ripped black jeans, and a couple of black belts. I didn’t use the one shown here, instead using a cool patterned black cutout belt with an antique gunmetal buckle, previously used for my convention bag when I briefly wore my Nightingale Armor set at E3 a few years ago. I paired everything with leather Freebird Coal Miner boots.
I also yoloed one of the wigs I set aside for this costume by pulling back most of the hair into a single loop at the nape of my neck and leaving the face framing side section hair long and straight. This is a silver wig that was too short for Slayer, but it should work out fine for the Necromancer. I plan to airbrush the thing with Copic markers, as I thought about doing for Slayer, then give it a nice wave for a bit of “Interview with the Vampire” aesthetic. I’ll add a decorative clip to the looped hair tie to finish the look.
The goal with the wig style is to keep everything interesting and close enough to the character design to not be mistaken for something else, but I want to keep the hair controlled and short enough to not hide all of the detail work I’m putting into the coat.
I also quickly made (in about an hour?!) this layered bralette to wear under the coat. As I lose weight toward BlizzCon (this happens every year due to stress and overworking myself on costumes), I hope I won’t have to remake this thing and can instead make small adjustments to keep it wearable because…
…I added a fuckton of gunmetal rings to the edge of the bralette after the shoot. This is one of those things I don’t care to do again unless it’s for other areas of the costume (??!?!??!?!?!?! SOMEONE MAKE IT STOP). It took 4 hours of embroidery alone to sew the rings to this single piece.
Then I was like “How else could I while my life away on this thing to make the sketch scribbles into some sort of cool designs?” so I went with a scale pattern somewhat like Elune’s bodice, but this time some pokey shit is flying off it.
It’s on the sleeves too. Rough estimate was 2 hours of embroidery per section, so 8 hours total for these 4 areas.
And here it is after these applications, looking dapper af on the dressform. I’ve already started the final layer of metallic stitches over the gray scales. When those are done, I’ll start on the next major area. This was all the “small” embroidery work for the coat.
It’s gonna be a year.
I’ll continue updating with these bulk process posts whenever I can.