Anubis; cosplay/dress up day

 

“A beautiful thing is never perfect.”

Egyptian Proverb

Ancient Egypt Day

 

I don’t know if historic dress up days are a school thing in the whole of England, for folks reading this and not knowing it yet, I am Dutch, but my kids school had theirs this Spring. Of course they asked me to create them something! And as Ancient Egypt is a subject in history I have always found fascinating, it was an immediate of course! The rich history, of the pharaoh’s, Ramses, Cleopatra, Nefertiti and of course Tutankhamun, the boy king, always just wowed me. Their fashions always fascinated me too. Colourful and bold. There is still so much too, archeologists are discovering, it’s just fascinating stuff if you ask me! And in a way, what better way for children to connect to history, then to do a day like this. 😊 History coming to life!

 

 

 

Anubis

One request was for Anubis. A very famous God of the time, body of a man and the head of a jackal/dog. The head always reminds me of a doberman, the pointy ears and snout. Anubis was the God of mummification and the afterlife. My first thought was, how am I going to create him! The clothing he wears, are quite straight forward shapes, but how on earth was I going to approach his head? Without it looking satirical? I did see some amazing cosplayer outfits online, so surely I could come up with
something? 

 

 

Amazon

 

Like all parents, I’m sure, I first scoured the internet and Amazon. I found a beautiful Anubis mask, honestly stunning! But, my feedback was, “I don’t want to wear a mask. I don’t want anything to cover my face.” Fair enough… Masks can look gorgeous, but anyone that’s every worn one that covers your whole face, they get very hot, very fast! So, that one was out. But then what could I do? A t-shirt with Anubis on it, isn’t very exciting. I checked, are you sure you want to dress up as him? Yes, he was the one! Back to the drawing board then. 

Hoodie

Then it came to me. They don’t mind wearing a hoodie? Could I possibly make a black hoodie, and sculpt an Anubis head onto it? But how would I do that? Then the aha moment came and I quickly sketched out my idea. Surely I could sculpt a nose, ears and eyes with simple shapes?

 

The pattern for the hoodie is like any hoodie/jersey shirt pattern. I placed a seam down the middle of the hood, so the nose is connected in between it, holding it in place for me. 

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Donkey

Like all items when it’s my first time creating it, or trying to figure out exactly what to do, I first made a
toille. Just of the head part, as the bodice of the hoodie is straight forward and there was no need to check it with the bodice. My first Anubis trial, honestly? It looked like a Donkey haha. Donkey’s are cute, think of Eeyore, but it’s not what I was after. One good thing of trying things though, is that when it’s right in front of you, tactile, you can see where it goes wrong and tweak. I saw the nose was far too big! Anubis’ nose is actually quite slim! All I had to do was grade down the pattern pieces I made. The ears were also too small and I placed them wrong. Again, if you look at Anubis’ imagery, his ears are literally on top of his head and straight, pointing towards the heavens. Adjustments made, checked and approved by myself (I am very strict haha), the next question was, how am I going to get the ears to stay up straight? Cardboard? No, if it rains, that becomes a huge mess inside. Wire? Another no, wire can bend and in rare cases snap and get a sharp point. But then what? The next aha moment, what gets used in handbags? I researched and buckram kept popping up. Buckram is also used in hat making at times. Keeping the brim nice and in shape. I ordered the stiffest buckram I could find and thought that would be enough. Alas, it was not. Anubis’ ears required 2 layers of buckram and heavy/medium duty interfacting stuck to the fabric on the inside.  Yep…that is all inside those two little ears. Doing it this way, also meant, that when the hood wasn’t worn, the ears would just lay flat on the back of the wearer and not be pressing into the body when sitting against them. The nose, has toy stuffing inside. Before closing it up entirely, I filled it to what I wanted and then placed it in between the seam in the hood. The eyes, when looking at Anubis imagery, are usually pictured the same height as his nose. So 2 pieces of

fabric next to his nose (hand sewn on) and again filled with toy stuffing, to create the same level as the nose, before closing it all up. His head was now really taking shape!

The eyes I did with a technique called “sewing on thread”, literally as it says, you sew on crochet or knitting thread onto the fabric. It’s something I got taught to do while I was studying for my Costumière diploma, back in Tilburg, the Netherlands.

Anubis is usually pictured with a Khat too. Depending on what images you see, these can be gold or sometimes blue. I decided to go with gold, as to create a united image. The Khat, is stitched onto the hood, behind the ears, to make sure it can’t fall off and disappear somewhere. I’m sure everyone with kids  has seen the school’s lost and found box more than once, am I right? 

Lining

As anyone that crafts, not everything always goes as planned. My original plan was to give the hood a lining. To cover all the seams inside, a nice smooth finish. But when the lining was in, the hoodie kept being pulled out of shape. No matter what I did, it didn’t sit right. Jersey is a tricky fabric at times and even though I was careful with not pulling anything out of shape, this lining just wasn’t happening. Normally when I know a lining isn’t going in, I coverstitch over seams so the seams inside, are flat. With the head being on top, I couldn’t do this anymore. The inside may not be finished as I’d like, but the look is there as I want it. 😊 Sometimes, you just have to accept things are the way they are.

The lining got unpicked and removed and the hoodie behaved as it should again. So if you ever stumble upon anything not going to your liking, it’s ok. There is always a solution!

Usekh/Broad Collar

One things we immediately think of when we think Ancient Egyptian, is the beautiful broad collars we see depicted all over their tombs and other artworks. One more stunning than the other! Anubis couldn’t be without his of course!

The collar is pattern cut from a bodice pattern to the width I wanted it. The decorations are from all kinds of sources. The appliqués I found on E-bay, with an American seller.

Please note, that if you order items from abroad, that you do check regarding any customs rules and/or extra charges.

They took a little while to arrive of course, but they are the nicest ones I could find and the perfect size for what I wanted! They have a glue backing. You use a hot iron (always place a tea towel onto the appliqués though, to protect them) and they stick onto your fabric. I then machined over them, as the glue on these items, usually don’t last that well. At least not with my experience. But the glue backing, does help keeping them in placing while machining them.

The turquoise stones, I found on Amazon and hand sewed these on.

The bigger golden and red jewels, I bumped into at the Stitch Festival, when visiting in London. And the golden fabric is from a roll, I bought many, many moons ago at a car boot sale.

The Usekh/Broad collar, has poppers at the centre back, for easy removal

Shendyt / Sarong

Another fashion item from Ancient Egypt was of course the Shendyt. An item that I’m thinking looks very similar to say a sarong? A piece of cloth, draped and wrapped around the body.

Anubis is pictured with these sometimes in gold, sometimes in blue. I decided on this occassion to stick with gold, the same as his Usekh and his Nemes. The pattern for this, I started with a skirt style one. To make sure it would sit right on the waist. The shape needed adjusting as I was working on it, because I didn’t want it to look like an actual skirt. It needed to look like the images, of the items Anubis wears.  Slimming it down at the sides, to make it more straight, did the trick! The Shenti has poppers in the waist band, for easy removal of the item.

T-shirt and trousers

To finish off the look and as we never know what the weather does (you don’t want bare arms in freezing cold for example), I bought one long sleeve t-shirt, one short sleeve t-shirt and a pair of joggers in black to wear with the items.

Shopping list:

The black jersey was purchased from Pound Fabrics

The appliqués were purchased from Ebay, from an American seller (Always check regarding customs, before ordering something, you don’t want to end up being hit by big custom charges).

The turquoise beading I found on Amazon.

1 thought on “Anubis; cosplay/dress up day”

  1. Ineke Robbe-Ansems

    Very well explained what it takes to be able to create such a wonderfull costume. The result: marvelous!!

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