HALLOWEEN COSTUME CONSTRUCTION
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XENA, THE WARRIOR PRINCESS

Due to popular demand (roughly equivalent to 2-3 people), I've scanned the sketches and notes for 'my' Xena costume. These are simply my best guesses after peering at dozens of Xena pictures and viewing Xena tapes frame-by-frame. In terms of the underlying outfit, my goal was to look for the visible seams. At these seams, I measured the relative size of the pieces enclosed by the seams -- and with these proportions known, I calculated the sizes needed to fit a would-be Xena-impersonator. (I'm surprised it worked out as well as it did considering I couldn't do a custom fitting as she was several states away at the time.)

One quick note. I don't want to insult anybody's intelligence but please leave margins for sewing patterns together as my diagrams below don't show them.

This section will not be updated anymore as I no longer have access to this costume as part of an unofficial breakup settlement. (Ok, it's more accurate to save I tried fishing through her boxes before she fled town but I couldn't find it.)

OVERVIEW

Below is what Xena's outfit roughly looks like under the chestplate.

MAIN BODY

The front of the outfit consists of 4 pieces. Basically, you have 2 rectangles bisected into 2 triangles each and then sewed back together. A shortcut is possible here -- you can use a single piece of frabric if you sew "fake" seams where the cuts are shown below.

A) Distance from UNDERARM to WAIST
B) 47.5% of A
C) 42.5% of A
D) 57.5% of A
E) 50% of B

X) Distance from STERNUM to UNDERARM
Y) 8.5% of X
Z) 25% of X

I'm sure you've noticed the ?? in the above diagrams. I left them as unknown as you will need to custom tailer the breast area -- it wouldn't do to have a nipple pop out (unless that is the desired effect). I can give you the general shape (the item on the right). Sewing along the "PacMan mouth" will form the desired dome shape. A thought to consider is that height of this cup (in terms of looking at it from above) will decrease after sewing together so be sure to leave enough space to work with.

    Examples
MAIN BODY: REAR

Below is the pattern for the rear. You can see the rear cut is practically the inverse of the front pattern.

A) Distance from UNDERARM to WAIST
B) 47.5% of A
E) 50% of B
F) 20% of A

X) Distance from STERNUM to UNDERARM
W) 15% of X
    Examples
MAIN BODY: SIDE

I'm sure some of you are thinking right now, "hmmm...those patterns look a bit squarish". And you would be right -- I made a quick sketch (at the right) of how such an outfit would look like and I certainly wouldn't be caught dead wearing it.

Luckily, I have a solution. The next step is to cut 2 relatively narrow strips of fabric. Now, read this next part carefully as I explain how to calculate the dimensions. The vertical measurements from A-B, B-C and C-D are straightforward. The width at those locations is the difference of the body circumference minus the combine widths of the front and rear pieces divided by 2. You end up with the cut that looks roughly like below:

FORMULA
(BODY_CIRCUMFERENCE - (WIDTH_OF_FRONT + WIDTH_OF_BACK)) / 2

A) UNDERARM
B) CHEST
C) WAIST
D) HIPS

When you use these side cuts to act as the interface between the front and rear, you end up with the picture on the right. Now that's much better!

Some additional items to think about here. Instead of sewing everything together into a single piece, I used three mini-belts on each side to hold the front and back together. (Ummm, unless you are working with somewhat flexible fabric, getting in and out of this thing without popping some threads might take some willpower.) In addition, I added a 1-inch margin on both sides to allow for additional flexibility. (It would suck to have to resew after losing or gaining weight.)

Width =
15% of
UNDERARM
to WAIST
If you are worried about a 2-piece outfit not holding together, you can use a belt. I've seen a or two pictures of Xena where she has a belt around her. (Diagram on the left.) It has 4 gold buttons on the front -- don't know about the back but you can probably assume the same. Use a real belt underneath it and cover it with this fake one.
    Examples
SKIRT FLAPS

The number strips making up the inner-skirt is probably 8. It looks like 3 in the front, 3 in the back and 2 on sides. These flaps go under the "strips" mentioned in Part 2.

A) 45%-55% of Distance from WAIST to KNEE (depends on how revealing you want it to be)
B) Match to the angle of the front body bottom
C) A - B
D) 8.5% of A

X) 12.5% of Circumference of HIPS
Y) 45% of X
    Examples
SKIRT STRIPS

Finishing a true-to-Xena skirt is not a convoluted process -- just tedious. From what I could tell, it looks like there are 5 strips in the front, 5 in the back and 2 on the left/right hips. I went for 10 sections per strip although the feedback I got was that 11 or 12 would have been less "pornographic". Time? It took roughly two weeks to cut 120 little pieces of vinyl, color fabric-insides with a black permanently marker, sew them together and attach 120 studs. Ugh.

A) 50%-60% of Distance from WAIST to KNEE (depends on how revealing you want it to be)

Number of segments per strip should range from 8 to 13.
    Examples
BICEP ARMBAND

My first idea was to spray paint yarn with gold/metallic car paint and tie the results to the armband. I ended up cutting patterns out of cardboard paper as I didn't get a chance to test the feasibility of the first idea due to time constraints.

A) 33% of Distance from UNDERARM to ELBOW
B) Circumference of BICEPS
    Examples
FOREARM BRACER

Quick note -- the diagram says "6 laces in the back". Well, using laces is great if you have someone to help you put the outfit on. As tying laces with one only hand is rather difficult, I used velcro as connectors and added laces for display purposes only.

A) Circumference of "meaty" portion of the FOREARM
B) 50% of A
C) Circumference of WRIST
D) 50% of C

X) 85% of Distance from ELBOW to WRIST
Y) 80% of X
Z) 72.5% of X
    Examples
SHOULDER PAD

Some notes on how the shoulder pad connects to the rest of the outfit: The shoulder pad has two separate connectors -- it can connect to both the main body and the chestplate. The wavy/snaky connector in front, as far as I can tell, is the chestplate connector. I haven't been able to detect the other one so I guess it is some sort of clasp underneath the outfit. (I believe there are two separate connectors is that I've seen pictures of Xena with just the main body, with the main body+chestplate and with the main body+shoulder pad.)

Below are the design patterns I could discern. I got a relatively good view of the front but the rear was very skimpy. Of course, I wasn't able to get anything from the top. You'll just have to make the rest up on your own.

Here is the overall cut-pattern of the entire shoulder pad.

A) 130% of Distance from SHOULDER to SHOULDER
B) Distance from BASE_of_NECK to SHOULDER
C) 14% of A
D) 12% of A

X) 115% of TOP_of_SHOULDER to UNDERARM
Y) 35% of X
Z) 45% of X
M) 28.5% of X
N) 18% of X
O) 14% of X
    Examples
TO BE DONE (OR TO BE DONE BETTER)
CHEST PLATE

The picture below is a rough diagram of the chestplate. Unfortunately, I've found the overall design is quite delicate if you are not working with strong materials and I'm not really sure what is the best way to implement it. I've already thrown away 2 attempts -- my next try might be molding sheets of plastic with a heat gun. Bleah...I'll post results when I have some.

REAR PROTECTOR

The extremely sloppy diagram below is what little I could get from stop motion viewing of Xena tapes. Take it with a grain of salt.

BOOTS

I may know some artsy-crafty stuff but I definitely am not a bootmaker. My plan was to cut patterns of vinyl, nail some studs into it and clip it onto knee-high boots. Never got around to it because the boots were never sent to me as promised.

SWORD SHEATH

I actually never made this piece as I didn't make a sword. Just some more ideas to think about.

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