Snow White Riding Outfit 1: What did I get myself into?

There are a couple of new cosplays I’ve been hankering to make for a while now, and now that the wedding is over, I can finally begin.

First up is one I’ve been planning since I started cosplaying a year ago: Snow White from Once Upon a Time. As much as the show I once loved has become a show I love to hate, I do still love this character (probably because she’s one of the few who has retained her not-just-a-copy-of-the-Disney-character status), and while she has certainly had some fashion missteps (as has everyone on that show), by and large, she gets some pretty wonderful costumes. I’m embarking first on one of my favorites:

Snow White played by Ginnifer Goodwin, Costume Design by Eduardo Castro

Since I have had multiple people stop me in grocery store lines and other random places to tell me I look like “that chick from Once Upon a Time,” it seemed like it was time to go for it.

Technically, work on this cosplay began back in April, when I made the wig:

We got extra lucky on this wig, because a beautiful high-quality hair was on sale in exactly the right color at just the right time, so it’s extra soft and silky. The wig will soon get to be used for its intended purpose, but in the meantime it has still been busy–the length and silkiness of the hair makes it a perfect wig for the 1840s!

As with all costumes, I first sat down and did a lot of staring at pictures, watching scenes, and planning. This mostly involves asking lots and lots of minute questions.

  • Her jacket has a soft texture. Is it suede, velveteen, or wool?
  • What are the large skirt-like panels made of?
  • What are the beads on the jacket? Do they sparkle?
  • Should I buy or make the pants?
  • Is the pattern on the jacket quilted or embossed?
  • Can I find leather/pleather seam binding in exactly the right shade of ivory, or do I have to make it myself?
  • How big are the grommets that hold her sleeves?
  • How are the sleeve cords tied?
  • Why didn’t whoever took the character shot edit out the tape spike on the floor? (Not relevant to the costume, just a question I have.)

And so on and so forth…

Some of these questions can only be answered by seeing the costume move onscreen, and some of them can’t be answered at all without seeing the costume in person. So, at the end of the day, I have to decide how I can most effectively reproduce the look with the information I have.

I don’t like to embark on a costume until I have the answers to at least most of my questions. I also like to know where all of my materials are coming from. I don’t want to get halfway through a project and suddenly realize that I can’t find the right fabric for one of the pieces, since that would put all the work I had done on hold until I found it.

The standout piece in this costume is, obviously, that jacket. I has so many stunning details! The beads on the sleeve attachments! The dramatic collar! The diamond pattern! The sparkly bit in the center of each diamond! I was very excited to get started.

After going back and forth many, many times, I decided to make the jacket out of cotton velveteen, and quilt the pattern into it.

While the velveteen was on its way, I started draping using a random scrap of upholstery fabric from my stash.

One of the trickiest things about the jacket is that large front dart. Rather than being straight, the dart seam is bent to follow the shape of the front edge of the coat. I had to fudge the line while draping, then adjust it flat while making sure to take out the same amount of fabric as I had on the dress form.
I cut the shape into one side of the back on the dress form, then folded it over and cut the other side so that it would be symmetrical.
The darts sewn in the mock-up, though not pressed yet. You can see how the dart follows the shape of the piece.

Next I draped the tabs at the bottom, but I don’t have pictures of that because I was busy live streaming it on my Facebook page! Head over there if you’d like to check out the process.

I draped the collar with canvas so that I could really see how the shaping at the points would look. The collar is all draped as a single piece, and has to blend in very gently to the front in order to create the correct shaping of the neckline.

The left half is the original piece I draped, the right half has been trimmed and shaped to my liking.

The sleeves are just two very simple shapes that are held to the body of the jacket and onto each other with strings. I ran out of my original orange scraps and moved on to some green ones.


The fabric hadn’t yet arrived when I finished draping all of the pieces, so I moved on to drawing out the quilting pattern. I started by blowing up a high resolution photo until the front tab was the same width as the piece I draped, so that I had an idea of what size the diamonds needed to be.


I measured out each line and drew the pattern on a large piece of tracing paper so that I could transfer it to large areas of fabric without need it to move the pattern around too many times.

The velveteen arrived! I cut the pattern out in velveteen, batting, and muslin for lining, so that it gets nice and thick and squishy when quilted.


I transferred the design to the muslin lining by pinning the pattern to it, and shining light from my phone behind it, then tracing the lines with a pencil.

It took me a few tries to figure out the best system for quilting all those tiny shapes. I did all of the outer diamond lines first, since they can be stitched straight across the piece from edge to edge. The largest inner diamonds came next. Each one has to be stitched individually. It first I was just jumping from one to the next, leaving all of the thread ends where they were to be dealt with later, but it didn’t take me long to realize that that was going to be overwhelming when it came to it. I started pulling the thread ends from each diamond through to the back and trimming them as soon as I finished stitching. This made whole pieces much less cluttered and easier to work with.

You can see that things were becoming a bit of a mess before I started trimming as I went.

The next size of diamond was done in exactly the same way.

You can see a few places where the thread got caught and wouldn’t come through (I’ll trim them closer than this), but for the most part everything is much neater.

The final small diamond and the horizontal lines that flatten down part of the diamond pattern will have to be done by hand. There are too few stitches in each of those lines to make it worth starting and stopping the machine and deal with the thread ends every time. By hand, I can stitch the lines, the diamond, and the central bead with a single thread.

Here’s where I am now: getting the pattern transferred onto more pieces while watching Pride and Prejudice!

I had better get back to quilting! I had originally hoped to have this costume done for our annual Halloween party, but all this quilting is making that look like a crazy idea! Unsurprisingly, it turns out I’m nuts and set myself crazy tasks. I’ll see you next week with more updates!



9 thoughts on “Snow White Riding Outfit 1: What did I get myself into?

  1. I really hope this doesn’t come off the wrong way, but are you aware the screen accurate fabric is readily available? It’s Robert Allen’s Diamond Tuft in natural, and while it is a bit pricy per yard, you don’t need more than 2.5-3 yards. Your work so far is amazing, so I hope this doesn’t seem rude. I’d just hate to put in all the extra work when you can save a ton of time and have the correct fabric.


    1. Wow! Clearly I do way too much staring at show pictures and not enough looking at what other cosplayers have found! That’s amazing! I did do a lot of searches for different permutations of the idea of diamond suede or diamond velvet fabric, but didn’t do a search to see if someone else had found the darn stuff. This should teach me a lesson. Revising all my crazy plans now! Thanks 🙂


      1. It happens! I did an insane amount of research before making this costume but I probably never would have started it if not for the Once Upon a Time thread on Coscom lol. If you end up finding something that works well for the leather binding, I’d love to know what you used as it’s one of the aspects that stumped me. Glad I could help, and best of luck!


  2. The draping came out really well! I was a bit sad I had to go to bed when you were live doing it. 🙂 And the quilting pattern looks really intricate. I bow to you for taking the time to tackle it! Did you go through with it in the end or are you now working with the actual fabric they used on the show?


    1. I bought some of the screen accurate fabric and started cutting it yesterday. I was happy with how the quilting was going, but it was maddening! This way, hopefully, it will turn out just right! I’m glad you enjoyed the live stream, I’m hoping to do another one soon!


      1. It already looked maddening in the pictures! And I am much looking forward to the finished costume and the stream. It’s a pity we live in such different time zones though!


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