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Cosplayer Lady of the Thread > Costume of Russian Empress Catherine (Ekaterina) (Le Chevalier d'Eon)

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Le Chevalier d'Eon
Russian Empress Catherine (Ekaterina)
Special Variation:
disguise outfit
Year Completed:
Construction Difficulty:
Very Difficult
Marty Gear's Judge's Award (masquerade) at NYAF 2009, Great Cosplay ribbon (staff vote hall contest) at AB 2010
Costume worn at:
Anime Boston 2010
Castle Point Anime Convention 2010
Costume Con 2011
New York Anime Festival 2009
Permanent Link:
About this Costume
Construction Details:

Despite it looking pretty plain, this was actually one of my most time consuming costumes ever. o_O; I made nearly everything from scratch, including the chemise, corset, and panniers worn underneath plus the tricorne hat. I also researched 18th Century clothes and tried to incorporate the research where I could while still retaining the anime design, which isn’t that historically accurate. It was definitely a learning experience since I’d never built a corset, hoops, or hat before. I started in January and finally finished in September with some months off in between; I would say this costume took about 120-140 hours of work.

The chemise was made with flat felled seams and closed with ribbon drawstrings at the elbows and neckline. The stays were made from silk shantung and fully boned; I cut up nearly 30 huge cable ties for the boning and there are 82 pieces in various sizes sewn into channels throughout the corset. I made my own bias from a contrasting color of silk shantung and bound the edges of the corset by hand. I also handstitched all 24 eyelets since metal grommets weren’t used yet in that period. I drafted my own pattern for pocket hoops from sketches and instructions found online. Finding a good fabric for the panniers took a bit of trial and error; I actually sewed 5 pocket hoops before having a pair that I was satisfied with. Each pannier is shaped with 3 pieces of steel boning and has a slit in the top so I can use it as a pocket. (One of my favorite things about this costume was not needing to carry a bag with it!)

The jacket went through a couple of mockups and a few rounds of alterations; it was actually altered from a men’s double breasted tailcoat pattern because it was the only one I could find with both the standing collar and huge lapels. I took it in, altered the sleeves to add the cuffs, and created the overskirt parts on my own using draping. All the trim on the jacket was sewn on by hand and I handstitched the buttonholes in my coat for a more historical look instead of doing them by machine. The coat is fully lined and has slits in the side seams so I can access the pocket hoops.

The black petticoat was made by pleating fabric into a waistband that ties in the back and gave me much more trouble than it should have. I tried to use a historical pattern from a book which entailed pleating fabric, hemming it straight across the bottom, and cutting out fabric at the front waistline to make the hem even when worn over panniers. (This was done historically to help conserve fabric.) It came out huge compared to what the book said it should be and I had to cut much deeper into the waistline than indicated to get it to work with my panniers. o_O The pleats hung oddly in the front as a result and I decided it was too stiff after making my wool jacket. So, I bought black wool and remade it. This time, I put it on my dressform over the panniers, marked a hem, and cut fabric out at the bottom. It’s not as historically accurate in construction methods as the first but it worked much better with my panniers.

The hat was made from scratch using wool cashmere and buckram. I stitched a lot of it by hand with a curved needle and the brim is shaped with millinery wire. I handrolled a hem on a circle of black silk chiffon for the veil. For the wig, I cut bangs into a long wavy wig and curled them. I pulled the rest of the hair back into a ponytail and added a silk hair bow that I made. The mask was one that I bought, cut larger eyeholes into, and painted gray. I also replaced the elastic with ribbons that tie in the back.

Personal Thoughts:

I really wanted to make this since I loved Ekaterina’s role in the Le Chevalier D’eon anime. I dislike wimpy female characters so I really like that she went to warn the French knights about the assassination plot against the Russian empress that her husband was involved in despite the jerk slapping her around. Plus, she got her revenge in the end! >_>;

This costume ended up causing more than its share of stress and panic. x_x; Started in January, it was originally intended for the Historical Masquerade at Costume Con in May but got postponed since I was having fitting issues with all the outer clothes. I finally finished it for NYAF in September but still ended up doing a lot of last minute sewing then. But I liked how it came out in the end and I’m glad I got a chance to do the walk-on I’d planned for it despite missing my chance at Costume Con.

Wearing this again at Anime Boston was fun. Since cosplay chess always has its share of wacky crossovers, I got Russia from Hetalia as my special attack and tried to exile Italy to Siberia! XD

Wig Details
Wig Brand
New Look
Wig Name
Original Color:
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