Costume :Elizabeth Swann
Variant :Burgundy gown
Source :Pirates of the Caribbean (Curse of the Black Pearl)
Progress :Complete
Worn At :Winter London Film And Comic Con 2013

Costume Photos

'Women in London must have learned not to breathe.'

Captain Swann.

She's a Pirate...

Front Reference.

Back Reference.

Underdress Reference.

Shoes Reference.

Hair Reference.

Make-Up Reference.


Costume Information

Time Taken : Just under three weeks.

Basically, Pirates if my favourite saga and I’ve wanted to be Elizabeth Swann since, like, forever. I already own the pirate medallion, bought on one of my first trips to Disney World, so what better start to a costume?! Aside from the half-failure that was Morgana, I’ve never made a proper gown before, so this should be interesting – Leaving myself loads of time, but this is hopefully going to be finished for WLFCC or MCM Expo in October :D



* Hair – Long, curly, either loose and dishevelled or possibly with some high fancy styling going on. I’m going to use my own hair, rather than a wig, as this is cosplay on a budget, and I think mine’s close enough!
* Make-Up – Natural enough, I suppose. Going to have to experiment a bit.
* Underdress – Cream shift with slight paisley pattern. Three-quarter laced up sleeves, also laced front. Shows above the top of the dress bodice, and between the slit of the full-length black skirt.
* Overdress – Burgundy/wine/plum – The colour changes in every light possible – Probably silk. Pointed front and back bodice, trimmed in gold and fastened with a black frog, with contrast 'flaps' at bust, and black lace-trimmed lining beneath. Cartridge-pleated sleeves with lace cuffs and gold trim and buttons. Gown skirt has a short train and is bustled at the back, probably with some sort of crinoline. Will experiment with butt pillows (Technical term) and whathaveyou, depending on movement and comfort.
* Footwear – Black, heeled shoes, made of suede or fabric rather than leather, with trim in same plum fabric as dress, each with a gold buckle on the top of the foot, at the base of the tongue.
* Accessories – Pirate medallion, and I don’t care how historically inaccurate it is (Because srsly when has POTC ever been in the same timezone as historically accurate) but I want a pistol tucked into my stocking.


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Looking forward to seeing this.

by Sephirayne on Monday, 19 August, 2013 - 06:20

Can't wait to see this!

by Clockwork Fairy on Friday, 27 September, 2013 - 13:01
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Thanks, guys :') This is my most ambitious costume to date, so I hope it lives up to expectation~!

by CaptainAmelia on Friday, 27 September, 2013 - 19:57
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Fantastic costume and I’m amazed at how quickly you made this. It’s good to see a costume with a detailed journal too.

by ArcaneArchery on Sunday, 6 October, 2013 - 21:10

This is fantastic!

by Clockwork Fairy on Sunday, 6 October, 2013 - 21:17
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I was at WLFCC :\ was this on saturday? love the costume

by flamewizo on Monday, 21 October, 2013 - 18:54

To-Do List

Make mock-up of bodice/skirt.HighComplete
Fabric shopping.HighComplete
Make bumroll. Such a hilarious concept.MediumComplete
Buy final eBay items.MediumComplete
Paint gold buttons slightly brighter.LowPlanned

Shopping List

Black lace trim for upper bodice flaps.£0.99Bought
Dress pattern - Simplicity 4092.£3.44Bought
Threads - Burgundy, black and cream.£1.20Bought
Pirate medallion - Already owned!£0.00Bought
Bumroll - Made from scraps.£0.00Bought
Hair inserts.£1.00Bought
15mm black elastic for button fastening - One metre.£0.35Bought
Black lace for skirt trim - Five yards.£0.99Bought
Burgundy lining for dress/bias tape for shoes - Two metres.£5.00Bought
Black suedette for shoe tongues - Already owned.£0.00Bought
Net for stiffening sleeves - Two metres.£1.46Bought
Polycotton lining for bodice and sleeves - Two metres.£2.50Bought
Fabric for shift - Four metres.£10.00Bought
Two gold buckles for shoes.£6.00Bought
Brocade fabric for lower bodice flaps - Half-a-metre.£4.00Bought
Bugundy fabric for dress - Five metres.£5.00Bought
Black fabric for skirt and upper bodice flaps - One-and-a-half metres.£9.00Bought
Hooks-and-eyes to close bodice.£1.00Bought
Five black frog closures.£0.99Bought
Seven gold buttons.£2.05Bought
Sixteen black buttons.£2.31Bought
Thinner gold trim for bodice edging - Ten metres.£4.42Bought
Wider gold trim for edges of skirt - Three metres.£1.60Bought
Lace for sleeve cuffs - One metre.£2.50Bought
Interfacing for dress bodice - One metre.£2.50Bought
Trouser hooks-and-eyes for black skirt.£1.20Bought


Future modifications. (Posted 6th October 2013)

I wore this costume on Sunday of WLFCC, and absolutely adored it from the off! Still, even the practice of wearing it brings up problems I hadn't even considered, and unless I make a list of them here and now, I'll only go and forget before Expo!

* Still have four black satin buttons to sew on, on the sleeve cuffs.
* Mofidy shoes. Maybe find more SA buckles.
* Sew lace panels more securely to inside of bodice. Lower one side slightly.
* Attach skirt to bodice - Double-thickness of thread? Snaps? Hooks-and-eyes?
* Re-jig bumroll - The knot at the front made it difficult for the front 'v'-shape to sit flat!

24 hours and counting... (Posted 5th October 2013)

Hideous shift in lighting, but I've finished attaching all the skirt trim, and have made good headway on the bodice! My fingers feel like they've been gnawed at by small animals, but it's totally worth it (Y)

EVEN MORE SHIFTY. (Posted 3rd October 2013)

Eyelets added to shift! I, along with every other sane human, completely hate eyelets, so I literally only set the ones you'll see underneath the front split of the bodice. If I have the time/inclination, I'll set them all the way down the front, and on the sleeves. I really love the fit of this dress, though, even if you'll never see it underneath the skirt!

Ridiculous sleeves. (Posted 3rd October 2013)

I have genuinely never made anything more ridiculous than these sleeves in my LIFE. Took the black panel out to add the lace, and am experimenting with the cuff pleating on the left-hand sleeve, which is why it looks so sassy! Really loving the progress on this one~

More bodice progress. (Posted 2nd October 2013)

The burgundy and black brocade panels are all stitched on - Just need to add the lace to the top of the black panels, and work out how to have them stand up. I'm thinking either interfacing again, or some wire???

Looking a little shifty... (Posted 1st October 2013)

Those were the FIRST SLEEVES I HAVE EVER MADE IN MY LIFE and I actually don’t think they look too bad. Okay, so they did cut off my circulation to begin with, and the range of movement still isn’t great, but I’m really pleased. The shift still needs eyelets all the way down the front, and down the sleeves, but I’m definitely not going to deal with them this evening (Y)

MADE A BETTER SKIRT THIS EVENING~ (Posted 25th September 2013)

It still needs lining with the burgundy satin - Thought I might use the wrong side of the fabric, because I hate costume satin with a passion - And the brocade, as well as gathering at the waist and somehow fastening to the bodice, but the overskirt is getting there!

Made a skirt this evening~ (Posted 23rd September 2013)

It’s hardly the swankiest of things, and I haven’t hemmed it because I don’t have the right shoes yet, and there’s a dusty white mark on the front that I really, really hope scrubs out, but, aside from that, I’m super happy!

It’s just a simple gathered rectangle skirt with a waistband and a hook-and-bar fastening on the front to form the split, as there’s another layer to go underneath, but it's the first time I've made any type of skirt other than a full circle on my own, and I love how it turned out :D


Pinned the bodice it to my skin, and it doesn’t look too bad! I think the interfacing was thicker than I needed, so I don’t think I’ll be boning it??? Idk, I might. Depends. Still got to work out if I’m lining it. ARGH.

(Billionth journal update without actually achieving anything, but it makes me feel accomplished okay.)

Evade responsibilities - Go fabric shopping. (Posted 20th September 2013)

Lovely little stash~ I was lucky enough to find the burgundy fabric for the dress on sale for the grand total of £1 per metre(!!!1) so I snapped up, like, six metres of that, and I’m probably going back for more. The lace is for the sleeve cuffs, and the black fabric is for the underskirt. It’s got a little bit of a pattern to it, not quite as prominent as hers, and I really like it. On the left are some of the buttons, the gold one you can barely see, and two of the many satin-covered black ones. These, and some black frog fastenings I haven’t got my hands on yet, are on the shoulders, cuffs and centre of the bodice. There's a whole pile more of lining and interfacing and notions, but they're DULL.

Does my bum look big in this??? (Posted 20th September 2013)

Made a totally ghetto bumroll out of a pair of tights and some scrap fabric, which works surprisingly well. It’s totally inaccurate for the time period (1570s, not 1750s, history student), but it gives the same effect as Elizabeth’s bustle. Tried it out on a random skirt, and I think it looks great! Best of all, cost = £0 :D

Bodice progress! (Posted 17th September 2013)

Cutting it perilously fine for WLFCC, but I'm determined to get there - Doesn't look too tricky... Brand new pattern, so I whipped up a mock-up bodice to get the fit right, and I think it looks really good. Most of the seams are in the right place anyway; I just had to replace the back fastening with a front one. Excuse the pyjama bottoms - And welcome to my new university room! My mirror need a good clean...