Updated: Jan 31, 2020
I have been waiting to find the time to be able to write this tutorial and I am so excited that it is finally happening!!
In September of 2017, my boyfriend and I made the last-minute decision to go to Comic Con Together. I’d been in the past but this was going to be his first one! I was eager to show him the ropes and wasn’t going to shirk anything—he needed the full experience. So, although we only had a week and a half to prepare, and despite being pregnant and nauseas, I had to cosplay.
I went all out for my previous cosplay as The Morrigan/Babd from The Wicked + The Divine comics (as you can tell from that blog post), so my expectations were high! In recent years, I’ve started choosing characters from comics as opposed to other fandoms, because Comic Con is technically a comic convention. I started flipping through some of my favorite graphic novels, when I stumbled onto The Rat Queens.
If you’re unfamiliar, The Rat Queens is a hilarious, adult, high fantasy and adventure comic about four woman of different fantasy races, that go on quests together. Each character brings their own flair to the group, but Hannah has always been one of my favorites. She is the daughter of a demon with a no-fuck’s-given attitude.
Plus, she met my black-haired-character requirement since I had black hair at the time.
Honestly, my memory tells me that most of this costume was thrift-store-purchased, but while taking these pictures and looking over the outfit again, I am remembering that a lot of work went into this one!
So, without further ado, let me share my step-by-step tutorial on how to create your own Hannah from The Rat Queens cosplay!
DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional seamstress. My sewing skills are absolutely basic, and I was 98% self-taught (aside from a few online tutorials or advice from my mom and a sewing friend). I’m sure there are much better, faster, easier ways to create this costume, but I don’t know them. Feel free to change it up though!
Just a reminder from my last cosplay tutorial: I am NOT a professional seamstress. Everything in this tutorial was completed via what I like to call "winging it" on my sewing machine, through thrift store finds, or last-minute purchases on Amazon. All fabric measurements below were also estimations, and you may need more or less depending on your body type.
1 red mid-thigh length skirt (bought from thrift store)
1 pair of gray opaque tights (they were out of white, but white would be preferable)
1 pair of dark red knee-high boots
1.5 yards dark red sturdy fabric (for the cardigan)
3 yards pink/salmon stretchy fabric (for the corset)
0.5 yards dark red sheer fabric (for the corset)
3 yards white satiny fabric (for the corset)
3 yards interfacing (for the corset)
1 roll gold ribbon fabric 1/2"
1 roll black ribbon fabric 1/8"
14 pairs of grommets and eyelets
1 pair red satin gloves (bought from thrift store)
1 piece of yellow foam paper
2 toilet paper rolls
Needles (for stretch, regular, and denim)
Dark red thread
Cardboard (like from a cereal box or something thin)
Hot glue gun & glue
Step One: The "Easy" Stuff
This section will go over how to create Hannah's brassiere and skirt.
This part of the costume, although "easy," was the most time-consuming. It required a lot of fine details because Hannah's costume has some gold swirly designs on it. So, yes it was easy because all I did was modify articles of clothing I'd already purchased, but I purchased pre-made items because I knew the details would be time-consuming and I didn't have much time to prepare.
As mentioned above, I purchased a sports bra off Amazon to create this piece of the outfit. As a busty woman, I was a little afraid I'd wind up with something that wouldn't fit, but the sizing on this bra seemed to work.
NOTE: When I made my Codex cosplay, we also had to sew trim along the edges which wound up altering the size of the bra (it made it so small it almost didn't fit), so I purchased a bra in the next size up, just in case.
If you look at the pictures of Hannah, you'll notice that her brassiere is actually more of a tube top, but again, I'm a busty woman, so I was just improvising a style that would work for me.
The first thing I did was sew the gold ribbon along the edges. Folding the ribbon over the edge, you want to sew along the edge of the ribbon so that you wind up sewing along the front and the backside of it. If you miss the backside, then it will flip up and show from behind.
I made sure to stretch the fabric as I sewed so that the bra wouldn't lose some of it's elasticity. And here is a close up of how I reinforced the straps and where I sewed along the edges.
Something else worth noting is that I believe I folded the edge along the front side of the ribbon so that it wouldn't fray like it did on the back (see below).
When I was done with the trim, sadly I realized the bra had shrunk a little. Not too much, but enough to be a little uncomfortable. So I decided to take out the small amount of padding from this bra. And to my surprise, it honestly still felt pretty secure!
The last step for the bra is creating the spirals that cover her chest.
Because I was paranoid about them turning out vastly different or misshapen, I decided to draw a design first on cardboard, using a cereal box. My plan was to use a template to trace onto the fabric and then sew the ribbon on top. But once I had the design, I realized THAT WOULD BE MADDNESS!
Instead, I created two templates and covered them with the gold ribbon. Then I just superglued the swirls directly onto the bra. NOTE: I did this while wearing the bra though, again because I didn't want it to lose the elasticity or have a strange placement once it was on. If you do the same, make sure to put a towel inside the bra to protect your skin. I did not do this on the first one, and it was ouchy.
Compared to the bra, the skirt was relatively easy! Because I found this perfect skirt, I didn't have to make adjustments to it or anything and all that needed to be done was for me to add the gold accent along the hem.
For this part, I folded the ribbon on itself. Not in half, because if you just fold it in half that one side of the ribbon will be exposed and potentially fray. Instead you want to fold in the left side and the right side, so what's left is "the middle."
From there, it's pretty straight forward. I laid the ribbon out along the hem and sewed, leaving space for the two swirls at the front/center of the skirt.
Those swirls were the hardest part. Thankfully, Hannah’s swirls are jagged which makes this so much easier, but they still required some problem solving.
My first inclination was to just cut the ribbon in pieces and sew each part on individually, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized this too would cause some fraying.
Instead, I opted to fold the ribbon at each corner. I'm not sure that makes sense, so I'm going to try to explain it a little more. The swirl is one continuous ribbon that has the sides folded in so that the edges look neat. Let's start from the tip of the swirl. From there, I laid the already-folded ribbon down and sewed along the three sides (the bottom, the left, and the right). Then, I'd fold the ribbon over itself a little, so that the direction of it would arch up and to the right (see below). I'd then sew along the two sides, and fold again.
Below is a view of the sewing from behind the swirl, to give you a better idea of what this entailed. Minimal sewing, but lots of maneuvering of the ribbon required.
Step Two: The Harder Stuff
This section will go over how to create Hannah's corset and cardigan.
Now is the section about the pieces of the costume that I actually made myself. I did not use any purchased templates for these, I just designed templates that made sense to me and used my own measurements. It would probably be wiser to actually use templates because I am still surprised that this worked out as well as it did.
Let's talk about this beautiful and yet tragic "corset" I made!
On the one hand, wow it surpassed my expectations! But on the other hand, what a nightmare... It wasn't the best quality and I was unable to finish many of the hems, as well as the seams on the inside were facing the wrong way... But, it mostly worked for my last-minute needs.
Here it is from the back—I cringe every time I look at the bottom and see the lack of hem!
Creating the corset required tons of fabric and tons of panels. I also didn't like the feel of the stretchy fabric (and it was a smidge see-through) so I also included a liner (that was hastily sewed on). Normally, you would want your seams of the liner on the inside facing the other fabric, but like I said, I was running out of time.
To create this corset, I first had to create a design. I knew the piece would be sectioned into five panels in total: two for the back (A/B below), and three for the front (C/D and E/F below).
Not pictured below: once I finished putting my panels together, I realized I needed a fabric beneath panels E/F, where the ribbon would tie up the front, so I cut something out. As you can tell from above, I made sure it was quite long so that I'd have enough room to get inside, and even then it barely fit.
So, measure, measure, measure!
Because I wasn't caring about which way the seam ran between the outer layer fabric and the liner, I just sewed it all together at once. I matched panel A of the pink fabric and panel A/B of the liner, to panel C/D of the pink fabric and panel C/D of the liner. And so on.
In addition to the pink fabric and liner, the sheer red fabric was also cut using the panel E/F template and layered on over the pink fabric. As I mentioned earlier, in hindsight, this added more fabric to an already thick section, making the grommets/eyelets more difficult to puncture, and therefore, if I redid it, I probably would just use a red fabric for this section and skip the pink fabric.
Not gonna lie, I did like the way it looked though...
The hardest part of the corset was using the grommets and eyelets. I haven't made something that required them before, so I was excited to put my tools to use (there's a puncture tool thingy that I used, as well as these "clippers" that snap the grommet and eyelet together).
However, none of the grommets/eyelets wanted to work...
They flattened, like this one:
They fell out entirely:
By the time I was done with the grommets/eyelets, I honestly wished I had just used velcro or something else... They were hanging on by threads and made this cosplay barely reusable.
I'm open to tips and suggestions for future cosplays! So please leave those in the comments below!!
I can’t find my templates for this but I vaguely remember not actually using one. I had some leftover fabric that I think I decided to just play around with and it worked!
The cardigan is basically just a back piece and longer panels of fabric for the arms. I hemmed everything so it would look nice and honestly when I pulled this out of my closet to take pictures of it just now, I thought it was professionally made (not to toot my own horn).
After it was sewn and hemmed, like I did with the brassiere, I added gold accents, which was probably the easiest step to this entire process.
Step Three: Accessories
This section will go over how to create Hannah's belt and horns/hair.
Okay, I lied, the belt was the easiest part of this entire project. Don’t judge me for simplicity on this. In the past, I tend to skip the accessories because I run out of time for them, so this time I was dedicated to doing most of them.
All the belt took was a strip of the black satin ribbon, Velcro, and yellow foam paper with gold glitter. I used an Exacto-blade to cut out the "heart" and the shape of the rat, then viola! Belt complete.
I seriously underestimated how difficult the horns would be. I watched/read other tutorials on how to complete them and thought it would be cake, but it took many hours to finish them, plus a few burns on my hands, and they still weren't exactly what I wanted.
For the horns, all I did was take two toilet paper rolls and glue them to the headband with hair. The tutorials I watched said to cut them in half, but I thought that would get rid of the height I wanted. In retrospect, I wish I would've cut off an inch or so, that way they were shorter and stubbier.
After they were glued to the horns, I begin hot-glueing the hair extensions around-and-around-and around. You'll do this in layers: applying glue, then wrapping hair, applying more glue, then wrapping more hair, until you either achieve your desired thickness or run out of hair (as I did).
In hindsight, I wish I would've wrapped the hair first and then glued them to the headband, that way I could've placed them better having seen what they looked like full.
My bemoaning and hopes that things were perfect aside, I was quite proud of the costume once it was all thrown together! My boyfriend found an old cat toy that we used for my wand and, had I remembered, I had black lipstick ready for Hannah's chest runes/markings.
Thanks for reading this tutorial and I hope you found it helpful! For those of you trying this at home, what methods worked for you in creating that corset? Or, what cosplays would you be interested in me doing next?
UPDATE: If you're enjoying my cosplay tutorials, check out my latest one: Yang Xiao Long from the RWBY anime series!
author: The Awakened series