So I’m working away on Yennefer’s normal travel outfit (The Witcher 3) and her sleeves are finally done! So I thought I’d share how I made the ribbon parts since it’s the key detailing that makes the doublet so recognizable but also the most intimidating part aside from Yennefer herself.
I’ll make a note that in the game the ribbons are weathered and darker, but all the cosplay guides and lore I’ve read say they’re supposed to be white and black. So that’s the colour I went with. In time maybe I’ll weather the ribbons a bit. I used a 1″ white grosgrain ribbon for sturdiness to hold that pretty loop shape, and a black satin ribbon because I couldn’t find the proper width in grosgrain.
BEFORE WE START.
Work on your sleeve while it’s flat, with this much detail trying to put things on while it’s rounded will be a pain in the ass, just like Geralt. I mean… He’s just grumpy <3.
How Much Ribbon?
Time for maths!
- If you measure the circumference of your bicep, add an inch to an inch and a half for ease.
- If you’ve already cut the sleeve, measure the length of the bottom cuff and subtract an inch for seam allowance when you sew it into a tube.
Then, each loop of ribbon will take about a foot of length (30cm).
For metric, multiply by 30 instead of 12, and then divide the result by 100 to get the length in metres. you need the same amount of both black and white ribbon.
Stay in Control
To help hold things in place, I used the fusible hem webbing like stitch witchery, but trimmed the web in half lengthwise so it didn’t poke out from behind the black ribbon. Then, in one long spool, I ironed on the black ribbon to the white, sandwiching the web (pictured as blue in the diagram below) between them.
This won’t hold forever since grosgrain’s so ridged, but it’ll help us work with the ribbons and keep them aligned without hating all our life choices.
Step 1: Cut pieces
needless disclaimer: diagrams below not to scale.
So I mentioned above that each look takes about 12″ or 30 cm of ribbon. To try to streamline this process, I cut the strips in one go, ending up with about 26 foot-long pieces. The number of strips you’ll end up with depends on
how big your guns are your bicep measurement and how wide the ribbon will be.
Optional: I sealed each end of the ribbons with a candle flame since the ribbons were both polyester, and I want to make sure this costume lasts because Yennefer is amazing and I love her.
I split the ribbons into two equal piles and moved onto the ribbon-origami. I’ve marked the rough measurements for the loops in green lines across the ribbon, but it might vary on the width of ribbon and how you want your loops to look.
Step 2: Fold and pin
We’re going to fold the long loop first, since that’s also the side with the double loop. I folded mine to just under halfway, (5″) and held it down with a finger before folding the top piece.
The top loop is a bit trickier. The idea is to match the side with the black ribbon to itself. So bring the loop over and then push down and pin it in place so the smaller loops are even on either side.
Remember to leave the ends to one side of where we’ll be sewing, or the loop will just fall open. I pinned all the loops down before moving on to sewing them.
Step 3: Sew Together
If you were smart and have extra black ribbon, you can sew the loops down perpendicular to the ribbon to help stabilize the trim. Or, if you’re like me and didn’t think to be smart, you can just very carefully stitch them down so the edges of the ribbons are butted up against each other.
Once you’ve sewn one set of your ribbon loops down together, go over them again a few millimetres above the first seam. This helps stabilize the loops and prevents them from flipping around while you sew them onto your sleeve.
Next step? Pin and sew them down along your sleeve, making sure that the long loops hide the cuff’s hem.
Step 4: Hide your shame
ALMOST DONE. Now we’ve got our ribbons on, the next step is to hide the line of stitches. The artwork has a thin black cord, but I had some black lacy trim on hand and I felt like this would fit the character well. Stitch that down, and your sleeve cuff looks gorgeous!
Step 5: Tubular
Once you’re done with all the finicky stuff, sew closed the tube of your sleeve. Be very careful not to catch your ribbon loops in the seam, and to avoid just that, I ended up pinning the loops close to the seam away from where I’d be stitching.
The only thing left now is to sew on the pearl beads, but that’ll wait until I’m done the rest of the doublet.
Hope this helped!