Lady Sif was the second costume that I’ve ever made for myself. I had no idea what a major undertaking she would be. I made many mistakes but thankfully learned from them. Her armor is so beautiful and fitting of a warrior goddess.

Costume Stats:

Hours: Approximately 200
Materials: Worbla, EVA Foam, pleather

Lady Sif Costume parts include:

  • Upper torso armor
  • Lower torso armor
  • Upper back armor
  • Lower back armor
  • Shoulder pauldrons (two pieces) x’s 2
  • Upper arm wrap x’s 2
  • Vambraces x’s 2
  • Vambrace sleeves x’s 2
  • Hand covers x’s 2
  • Thin collar pieces that extend up from the upper torso x’s 2
  • Circle thingies on her collar bone x’s 2
  • Lower leg armor x’s 2
  • Red Dress
  • Chainmail under-dress
  • Shield
  • Sword

MAKING THE MAIN ARMOR PIECES

Duct tape dummies are not very sexy

I started out with a duct tape dummy of myself and built the pattern directly on top of the dummy using painter’s tape.

Then, using a layer of saran wrap and more duct tape, I drew the pattern for the armor.

Next, I drew the shapes directly onto a new layer of saran wrap/duct tape that I added to the main duct tape form. Another way to do this is to use painter’s tape.

Next, I cut the patterns pieces out, making sure to label each one.
This is the top front and back of her armor

In this one you can see that I actually remembered to include registration marks before I cut out the pieces. They look like little lines through the edges. These marks are very important because they allow you to line up each pattern piece exactly where they need to be in relation to each other.

Next, I transferred the duct tape pattern pieces with registration marks and labels onto paper. I apologize for these images, I was still learning how to properly document my process, as well as how to keep my work area organized!
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TIP: ALWAYS SAVE YOUR DUCT TAPE PATTERNS! You will most likely need them at a later point in your project.

Next, trace the patterns onto EVA foam. It’s a good idea to mark them exactly the same as they are marked on the paper. Cut them out with a sharp utility knife or X-acto knife. Always use sharp blades. It’s much safer.

I like to pin all of the pieces together onto the dress form again when I’m done cutting them out to see how it’s all fitting together. This is also when I start to really think about where it’s all going to connect, how it will move, and how to make it so it won’t fall off (cosplayer’s nightmare).
It is always fun seeing your costume coming to life!

It is always fun seeing your costume coming to life!

The back of Lady Sif

The back of Lady Sif

PIECING IT TOGETHER WITH WORBLA

Next I covered each piece of EVA foam with worbla.. and added a few details (and secret messages) with puffy paint around the edges.
TIP: Puffy paint or any kind of acrylic paint in a tube with an applicator tip can be very useful for making details in armor.
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FINISHING THE SURFACES

…………… fast forward a month or so ……………
I originally made this costume to wear to Wizard World Portland in 2015. I didn’t have time to prime/sand/paint correctly (or to document), so you get to see what happens when you scrape off all of the paint and start again for a nicer finish for a later con.
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As shown in the photo below, the “original” kind of worbla has a textured finish that requires some time and attention to reduce and/or remove completely. Black worbla wasn’t invented yet! I really wanted a super smooth finish, so I used color changing spackle to smooth out the texture. It was pretty messy, and in hindsight I would instead use several layers of spray primer and perhaps avoid sanding completely!
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You can also see in the image above that I used buckles to attach the front to the back, as she does in the movie.

After I applied the spackle and sanded it a little, I painted a few layers of gesso. Gesso is sandable but it requires several layers and lots of sanding. I was determined to get a smooth finish!
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Soon after applying a few layers of gesso, I learned about spray primer. Spray primer is magic!
First I sprayed with white, after masking the red fabric parts that I didn’t want to make again with painter’s tape.

I still needed to sand the surface for a smoother texture, so I sprayed a dark grey primer on top of the white. This way, it allowed me to see where I needed to touch up the surface with a little more filler to avoid any large surface flaws.
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The image below is an example of worbla texture that has not been primed and sanded, versus an area that HAS been primed and sanded. The difference is really significant.
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When I was happy with the surface and done with sanding (yay!) I sprayed all of the torso pieces with Shellac. This smoothed out the surface even more.
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PAINTING

I used Rub n’ Buff silver and gold. It was not an ideal paint, as it will rub off eventually. Unfortunately all of my experiments with applying a protective coat made the armor appear very dull, and so I decided to keep the Rub n’ Buff uncoated.
The finished outside of the armor front
The back of the armor

VAMBRACES AND WRIST COVERS

To save you time, I have made patterns of these for you all that are interested in making these vambraces:

Get the pattern at my ETSY shop!

Get the pattern at my ETSY shop!

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There are three parts: The bracer itself, the inside sleeve, and a wrist wrap. I made these with worbla, 2mm eva foam and the pleather. I also attached real buckles as in the film.

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MAKING THE DRESS

I modified this Simplicity pattern to make the dress:

Once again I sadly did not document much of the dress making process because I was really just piecing it together as I went. But modifying the dress pattern was a good place to start. I am not an expert seamstress by any means, so it helped that I had already made that dress for my stepdaughter’s Tauriel costume because I was familiar with it.
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Lady Sif is wearing chainmail! Argh! I didn’t really want to spend an eternity hand-making all of that chainmail, so I opted to make smaller links that I then attached to the bottom of the skirt pieces. I then made a lighter underdress out of gold tulle to mimic chainmail.
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The "chainmail" is subtle. And my thumbs are happy to have NOT made an entire chainmail underdress!

The “chainmail” is subtle. And my thumbs are happy to have NOT made an entire chainmail underdress!

THE SWORD

For the sword I opted to NOT make my own, but to use this absolutely gorgeous resin replica from my friend Eric Jones of Core Geek Cosplay and Creations. Seriously, just get one of these swords. It’s totally worth it.
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THE SHIELD

Her shield is a beautiful NIGHTMARE! Oy vey, it took a LONG time to draw out that pattern. I made this shield with EVA foam and a lot of tears and superglued fingers. I made ONE side and then transferred the pattern to the opposite side with Photoshop.

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TIP: If you are making your own Sif shield, just save yourself the trouble of drawing it out and go download my pattern from ETSY. I’ve made it very easy, just print out and transfer to EVA and glue down. I’ve even included how to make the arm holders attach to the back of the shield. It’s $5 and totally worth the time it takes to do this yourself.

Get the shield pattern at ETSY

Get the shield pattern at ETSY

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Then I traced all of the patterns onto EVA foam and cut them all out.
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The finished result was pretty spectacular if I may say so. Again, I used Rub n’ Buff for the surface so it would match my armor. You can also see that I’ve painted the sword the same way.
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Next I applied some red fabric scraps that I had leftover from the dress, and some gold tulle (chainmail) around the edges like is seen in her shield. I also applied the red fabric to the sword.
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In the image below you can see the inside of the shield is covered with the same fabric. The sword can sit inside a pocket in the shield, as it is in the movie.

The back of the shield

Photo by South of Autumn

Photo by Al Lin

Photo by Al Lin

And there you have it. This was the making of my Lady Sif costume. It was definitely a large task for me at the time, but I learned SO MUCH from all of the things I did wrong.

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If you’ve gotten this far, I thank you for your determination and attention!

Have fun with this and send me pictures of your Lady Sif!!

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Beverly
Head Nerd at Downen Creative Studios