Anne Wheeler Cosplay Tutorial (Part 1 - Patterning and Fabric)
Updated: Jul 1, 2019
In this tutorial I will walk through how I made my Anne Wheeler cosplay from the movie The Greatest Showman. This is by no means the only way to make this garment, it is just how I created mine.
I decided to make this costume right after seeing the film. The only references I had were the minimal images online and my memory from seeing The Greatest Showman three times in theatres.
I always start a cosplay with a sketch. From there I try to imagine what the pattern pieces will look like. This is quite helpful for me because, most of the time I don't use a commercial pattern. I usually just drape things on my dress form. The sketch and possible pattern allows me to estimate how much fabric I need. Seeing the big picture can also help me make a list of everything I need to complete the cosplay.
For Anne, I did use a pattern because I had never sewn a leotard before and I would rather have a pattern as a guide to make alterations to.
I used Yaya Han's Ultimate Bodysuit pattern (McCall's M7217)
I bought all my fabric and trim at JoAnn Fabrics.
For Anne's look I wanted to push myself to create a very elegant luxurious looking leotard that highlighted both her role as a performer but also her poise and beauty. I was very particular with my fabric choices to make sure this costume didn't look cheap or like a gaudy figure-skating uniform.
For the main fabric I steered far away from spandex or lycra and bought my purple fabric in JoAnn's "performance knit" section. Ellen Mirojnick, the costume designer of The Greatest Showman had said that the fabric used was a stretch satin in orchid. However, that's quite hard to find in JoAnn's so, I made do. The fabric I chose is matte and isn't solid purple; it has small streaks of magenta and pink throughout. This fabric is also much thicker than standard spandex and feels almost fleece lined. (You can see the texture of the wrong side of the fabric in one of my progress photos)
I then found a glorious micro-pleated iridescent pink that I used for the leg ruffles, arm ruffles, wrist bands, and bow. The original design of Anne's costume uses pink sparingly and only really as a liner. However, this fabric was so beautiful, expensive looking, and perfectly matched the bubblegum pink wig that I wanted to highlight this fabric and use it more.
Three different trims are used in my Anne Wheeler costume, a gold lace ribbon, a sequined purple and gold chain, and a beaded light purple fringe.
The nude mesh for the "V" neckline and arm bands gave me a bit of a problem. I originally was searching for a nude performance mesh but, all the colors of "nude" were either way too pale or way too tanned for my skin tone. I ultimately created everything out of the fabric from a couple pairs of nude tights I had around my house. It was super weird but, it worked perfectly!
I altered the Yaya Han pattern by eliminating the under-bust seam and adjusting for the mesh cut outs in the front and back. I didn't want to permanently alter this pattern so, I first transferred the pattern to wrapping paper, then cut up the wrapping paper pattern.
From there, I cut out the fabric into pattern pieces.
( I know, I know I'm horrible, I didn't create a mock-up. I can hear the cries of seamstresses of old chanting the ancient sewing proverb, "measure twice, cut once." Well let me tell you, I am very lazy and very rarely do mock-ups. I know I'm a horrible seamstress. And one day it's going to bite me in the butt but so far, I've been okay.)
Check out Part 2 of the tutuorial to learn how I sewed the leotard and what other alterations I made.