Potions, Poisons, Tonics and Grenades – Part Four

floral paper or parchment

I have been looking forward to making this grenade since I made the first round of potions and poisons back in October.  Initially, the plan was to build the grenades out of clear Christmas baubles, filled with liquid and sealed with silicone caulk but I had a few logistical issues with them. Then I happened upon the perfect jars for the job.

I managed to misplace my gold mica, so made do with some edible glitter that I bought to experiment with drinkable potions and tonics, and added some glycerine to give the fluid a slightly more viscous consistency, since the flames it produces are described as “sticky.”


My reference image, from the Dragon Age wiki

Because the jars have clear plastic screw tops, I made a quick cover for the lid out of craft foam and spray paint.  I’ve had my Inquisition wax seal stamp for months and have so far only used it on a couple of scrolls from the Inquisitor and advisors, so I decided to cover the top in a layer of wax, stamped the Inquisition insignia into it and carefully fitted the wick with a hot skewer.

Antivan Fire - small signed

The edible glitter isn’t quite as visible as the mica indoors, but my husband got some great photos of the swirling effect outside in the sunshine.  I love the edited version above so much that I’m going to have to redo the wick at some point to add a blue LED to the tip!

And with the new addition to my Inquisitor’s arsenal of potions, I decided it was time to make…


floral paper or parchment


I keep the chest that came with the Inquisitor’s Edition of DA:I on top of a bookcase behind my desk and periodically I looked up at it and wished I had another for storing random cosplay bits in.  So when I got my hands on some thin but sturdy card and a few rolls of textured craft paper, I decided to see if I could make a potion storage box.  I’ve made a few revisions of the design and materials for when I come to build it again, but I am really quite pleased with my mock-up.  I do wish that I had waited for my Worbla to arrive instead of trying to use craft foam to make the gold edging, but I know for next time.

Potion box 02
Inquisitor’s Potion Box with the Inquisitor’s Edition chest.  I even accidentally managed to misalign my lock in the same way!

The box is lined with black foam and I made a cushion to support the bottles from some off-cuts of wadding and faux suede.  It will comfortably fit four of the rounded potion bottles; a grenade (if you don’t mind bending the wick back into shape afterwards) and two potions; or one of each of the three shapes of bottles.  I still plan to make a larger version that can hold more bottles but the little box will pack nicely into my prop bag and will give me somewhere to keep my potions safe while traveling to and from events.

Potion box 01
Antivan Fire grenade, lyrium, jar of bees and health potion


Photography by Darren Allen



Hunter Coat Arms – Part Two


After Wellingborough Museum’s Victorian day, I found myself with most of a pair of gloves and had the stitching finished off  couple of days later.IMAG1552


It took me a ridiculously long time to talk myself into staining the leather.  I loved the natural colour and the contrast with the dark stitches, and I was really worried about finding that I hated the way they looked with a dark stain.  Finally, I decided that if I didn’t get on with it, they’d remain half-finished forever, so I psyched myself up, diluted the dye a little and sponged it on.

It took three coats to reach a shade I was happy with, then I applied two coats of leather conditioner every day for a week to help the dry leather to soften again.  The last job was to fit the studs and braid the loop-closures from embroidery thread, and I finally had a finished pair of gauntlets to go with my Inquisitor’s Hunter Coat.


My next leatherworking project is to make a matching pair of boot covers, then I get to do it all over again in my “dragonscale” leather to make a set for my new coat!

Sarah 001

Hunter Coat Arms – Part One

Coat front

I knew when I started that I wanted to use the upgraded arms as my reference, but it was surprisingly difficult finding an image of the first layer of the gloves, with all of the detail visible.  I spent a ridiculous amount of time going through my (many, many) screenshot folders trying to hunt down a few good reference images and managed to make a few usable by lightening them to a ridiculous degree to make the stitching stand out.  The inner seam is fastened with six studs per arm, so I figured I’d make the gloves separately from the arm, make the shape of the arm from craft foam, cover the whole thing with faux-suede and sew the glove and sleeve together.

IMAG1310 IMAG1311IMAG1314


Ta-da!  One pair of gloves and a pair of foam sleeves.  I was puzzling out whether to do the detailing as an extra layer of foam before covering it with fabric, or whether it would be better to sew the detail onto the fabric before finding a way of sticking it on (or better yet, making a slip cover for the foam) when I managed to get my hands on some decent leather (thanks, Mom!) and decided to take a completely different approach….


Fabric test pattern
Leather pieces cut to size


My mother machine stitched the detailing, purely to save a bit of time, and then I spent most of Wellingborough Museum’s Victorian Day carefully hand-sewing the pieces together with linen thread.  I still have the left hand fingers to finish, then I can trim the inner edge down a bit, stain the leather and start fitting the studs along the seams.  Then I’ll decide whether to go for the straps and buttons of the un-upgraded version, or if I want to start figuring out how to do the cuff and cover to go over the top.


Superior Hunter Armor – Part One

ScreenshotWin32_2373_Final (2)

I spent hours looking at screenshots and trying to figure out what the leather armour underneath the Hunter coat actually looked like, so when Bioware added new casual outfits to Skyhold, I was ridiculously pleased that this was one of them!  I spent about a week taking screenshots and making sketches before settling on a pattern and it took me about three weeks to get it wearable for MCM Birmingham, even though it still needs a fair amount of work (and lots of buttons!) before it’s finished.  I tend to hand-sew as much as possible, partly because my sewing machine is ancient and prefers eating fabric to stitching it, but mostly because I find sewing by hand relaxing, so making anything takes me ten times longer than it actually needs to!

If I ever remake this, I don’t think I’ll go about construction in quite the same way again.  I knew that I was going to need to put a layer of wadding in it to give it some weight but I didn’t have any to hand and I didn’t want to keep putting it off until I could get a new roll delivered, so I started with the outer layer.

I think I spent twice as long doing the “decorative” stitching along the outside of the seams than I did putting it together.  Over-sized, messy stitches were surprisingly difficult – I tried to channel my inner Sera and imagine what her attempts at repairing her equipment might look like, but she must have been working really hard in tongue-sticking-out concentration to impress the fashion-conscious Madame de Fer!


I managed to get the wadding and the lining fitted, and with a week to go I started panic-sewing the straps.  Although only six are visible on the front, I assume that a seventh is covered by Lavellan’s belt, and there are two on the lower back.  Fortunately, I was planning to wear it under my coat and wrap, so I figured I could get away with four in the interim, which I managed just in time for the con.


I’m slowly but steadily working on the rest, so I’ve got three straps, some more decorative stitching and a shed-load of buttons to sculpt, but it’s coming together – hopefully I might have it done by the time our next convention rolls around!

I was a little disappointed that I didn’t think to take my coat off and get a picture of it at Birmingham, but I did get a post-con selfie!


Firewalker Prowler Coat

Shrine of Mythal

Firewalker Prowler Coat - Front

This coat was my second love on my first play through and my Inquisitor wore it for the final battle (plus it looks phenomenal while galloping on nug-back across the Hinterlands!).  I was so pleased when I had killed enough dragons to be able to craft it.  It’s not the best piece of armour in my Inquisitor’s wardrobe any more, what with the DLC and updates that have come along since then, but it’s still one of my favourites.

Firewalker Prowler Coat

A few months back, my mom and I found some gorgeous leather that we thought would make a nice real-world analogue for dragon scales and it’s been waiting for an opportunity to start putting it together.




It needs straps adding and about a million buttons but I’m really pleased with how it’s looking, and compared with my Superior Hunter Armor, it’s really light-weight which will be a plus for summer conventions!

Ardent Blossom

floral paper or parchment
I decided to take a night off from stabbing myself with needles and to burn myself with the glue gun instead!

I had a nightmare of a job trying to find white flowers with anything like the shape I was going for, even knowing that I was going to have to cut down the petals to some degree, so when I have a little more time, I’m planning to make this again and to do the flowers from scratch myself but on short notice and with what I had to hand, it will do.

Presenting the best magical head-protecting hair accessory in all of Thedas!