Practice 2: Endless Outfit Designs (MS 5)

Practice 2

Designing is hard

As reasonably straightforward as the pants have been, the top half of my necromancer character, and the skirts over top, have been quite the source of frustration for me. I’m clearly not a designer – making any sort of decision about the shapes or appearance of this costume has been essentially trial-and-error. I’m not the strongest sketcher, so it truly is easier for me to simply mock up various shapes in Marvelous, but it’s also led to an absolute graveyard of discarded garments (maybe I ought to put together a pattern pack and post it on Artstation marketplace so at least it serves some purpose!).

I started out with a strong idea about wanting off-the-shoulder, puffy sleeves, typical for any medieval fantasy peasant woman, but ran into a few problems. The silhouette was generally quite top-heavy, it didn’t seem entirely appropriate for an elderly woman, but most importantly, these kind of tops just don’t behave well with the software. Marvelous has a feature, that I use constantly, where you can assign garments to ‘layers’ and it will do its best to pull outside of lower layers and tuck into higher ones. Just as a test, I imported a pair of stays (corset) I had made for a previous project, set it to a layer above the shirt, and watched the puff sleeves desperately attempt to worm their way inside the bodice. There really isn’t a good solution to this that will last more than a few simulations before it starts becoming a problem again. Since I have freedom of design here, I figure I’ll just work with the software limitations rather than fight them, and keep some of the volume out of the armpits where it’s directly in contact with the stays. I’d still like to have some volume in the sleeves, but perhaps lower down her arm.

I also tried out numerous different shapes for the torso part of the top, rejecting many of them for their lack of shape or interest, and attempted a few draped skirts as well. I think I’m a little too wedded to the complex pants I made previously, but I kept having problems with the skirts covering too much of the underlying layers; I’m thinking asymmetry is the way to go.

Yet another shirt, sleeves, skirts

In yet another attempt at the slight off-the-shoulder look, I started working on a shirt resembling the bodices of 1840s gowns. It’s getting closer to the look I want, and more importantly, is no longer fighting an overlaid corset, but still doesn’t quite feel right for the character. I decided to revisit it later.

For the sleeves, I discarded the entirely puff sleeve I had originally in favor of some Italian Renaissance puff-slash sleeves with volume lower down. My main inspiration was from a beautiful concept art by Kyung Han Kim, which has the perfect amount of volume without overwhelming the character; this is, at this point, the one area I can say I’m very happy with, and I expect the sleeves will remain largely as they are.

I drew upon designs from Aya from the game Assassin’s Creed: Origins for a more asymmetrical skirt that still showed off parts of the underlying garments. While mine ended up having somewhat of a different shape, it achieved exactly the effect I was looking for. I still think I’ll add more layers to the skirt – perhaps a center front panel – but this is fairly successful so far.

New stays, finally a neckline that works

Since my previous corset was just a stand-in, and I wanted to ensure that the sleeves were in fact working technically with the design, I went to work on the overlaying stays. I started out with my previous test pair, but in removing the tabs and drastically changing the fit (I didn’t want them nearly as cinching for an elderly woman seeking comfortable garb), the patterns are nearly unrecognizable. I didn’t like how blank the front was, so I tried out some lacing designs and a belt, which added some good visual interest.

However, something was off about the vertical proportions – she had too much empty space in her chest – so I attempted a..fourth? fifth? bodice with more coverage. I was vaguely thinking Viking-style tunics with an open V-shaped neckline, and added some pleats at the shoulders to keep it from resembling a modern-day t-shirt. I think this feels much more appropriate for the character, and I’m really enjoying the total mish-mash of historical time periods and styles (perfect for a centuries-old graverobber with eccentric tastes).

So, with those pieces settled, here’s just a small glimpse into the many, MANY rejected pieces I’ve made so far on top of my current WIP. It’s impressive (and just a little embarrassing) seeing it all together!


Assassin’s Creed Wiki. (2022). Amunet – Assassin’s Creed Origins. [image] Available at: [Accessed 3 March 2022].

Han Kim, K. (2018). Elf. [image] Available at: [Accessed 3
March 2022].

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