Susan Sto Helit

Sask Expo Selfie!

This weekend is the local comics convention. A few weeks back I bit the bullet and bought tickets for the kids and I—we had been to the one in Cow Town, but we’ve never been to this local one (this is only its third year running.) This local offering was definitely a bit more budget-friendly, even without the seven-hour drive each way. And while it’s much smaller than the Cow Town event, it was still plenty big enough to wander around, and being local I knew several people with tables there, which makes it nice. 😉 The hubs declined to join us, alas… somehow the prospect of escorting a passle of teens hither and yon through bedlam and mayhem didn`t appeal to him. I can`t imagine why.

Joker, Elf, half-ass-Ninja-Turtle, and Wendy Marvell.

Joker, Elf, half-ass-Ninja-Turtle, and Wendy Marvell.

Tyo went as a generic elf (it was that or wear the Batgirl costume I made her last Hallowe’en), in a couple of my costume/dance pieces that she tried on in a fit of playing dress-up one night, and totally rocked. Moms out there, you know: that moment when your daughter steals your clothes and looks way better in them… yeah. I still love her. Mostly.

Syo wanted to be Wendy Marvell, a character from her current Anime obsession, Fairy Tail. Which outfit deserves its own whole post, so I won`t go into it too much except to say, it went well, better than I had anticipated, actually.

Still life with rat.

Still life with rat.

Me, I went as Susan Sto Helit, arguably the best female character in the whole Discworld (with exception of Granny Weatherwax, of course. And Lady Ramkin is pretty awesome also. Actually, there are lots of awesome females in that series…) I knew I wanted to cosplay her at some point as soon as I heard that Terry Pratchett, the author, had died earlier this year. He was one of my favourite authors, maybe my most favourite. His books are the most amazing blend of humour, wit, fantasy, and social commentary, and I will miss him terribly.


Now, Susan actually appears in the movie The Hogfather, based on the book of the same name, so I could`ve gone with that version of the character.

Everyday Susan

Everyday Susan

But a) I hate to be bound by one person’s imagining of a literary character, and b) I was busy making Syo’s costume and with a few liberties I could throw a Susan costume together pretty much entirely from pieces I already had on hand, if I didn’t try to match the screen version.

Fancy Susan (with Death, her grandfather.)

Fancy Susan (with Death, her grandfather.) This would still be fun to make at some point, of course.

All I needed was the wig and the Death of Rats, which are what really make the costume, of course.


Back view, not that you can see anything with all the hair.

OK, I’ll be frank here—the main reason I’m posting this is that I wanted a reason to post cool and self-indulgent pics of the costume. This post containers very, very little sewing. So there are way too many boring pics of me standing by my  fence (not even in cool dance poses) and if you click away now I will be completely not hurt at all.


A fair chunk of the costume, including the key elements that make it recognizable (wig and skeletal rat, as I said before) weren’t even things I made.

Blouse & Vest

Blouse & Vest

The blouse is a pseudo-Victorian-looking thing I yoinked from my mother last spring when we did all the historical costuming stuff,* and the vest is a really-too-small piece that belongs to Tyo. She wears my clothes, I wear hers, I guess. Sometimes it works out. As long as I don’t try to do up the top button, anyway.


I wore a pocketwatch, because it just suited. Although technically for the character a big fancy hourglass would’ve been better.

My mom had actually purchased the little skeletal rat for her own Hallowe’en decorating, so I was able to borrow him, and all I had to do was make him a raggedy little black robe.

The Death of Rats.

I haven’t sewn anything that small since I stopped making Barbie clothes when I was about fourteen. Plus I decided to use some scrap black knit (so I didn’t have to finish anything) that is a beast to cut and even worse to sew on a regular machine (and no way I was trying to maneuver something this tiny through the serger). Let’s just say it was not a couture creation. I do like how his (inaccurately bony) ears hold the hood in place, though.


I did make two elements of the costume. The skirt I blogged here, and while it may not be the only long black skirt in my wardrobe, it has been the one I reach for the most, at least in the winter (since I oddly don’t often reach for full-length black wool-blend skirts much in the summer…). In a perfect world I would’ve make a real Victorian skirt, but this one did the job just fine.

The other part is the little black underbust corset, which I made back at the beginning of the summer. It was supposed to be part of a costume I’m making for for a friend, but has a number of flaws, so I’m going to call it a prototype—first, I couldn’t find my pattern pieces, so I cloned the pattern off my boring corset with Press ‘n Seal. This was not a bad way to do it, but I “lost” a teeny bit at each seam due to turn of cloth that I didn’t think to accommodate for, so it ended up being just that little bit smaller than I was aiming for.

Underbust corset, with other costume elements.

It also isn’t quite as curvy as I wanted—I think to do with cutting down the full-length pattern to basically a waist cincher. And then I didn’t fully bone it, and I used spiral steel along the back lacing—not a good idea, incidentally—and didn’t leave quite enough seam allowance for the binding in a few places and, well, it’s fine for my own use but not something I’m proud enough of to sell.

All in all, it was pretty nice to just throw something together from what I had (because let’s face it, at this point I have quite a bit). In the end, the hardest part was probably adding the black streak to the white wig I found… via Sharpie marker. Maybe not the best way to do it… 😉



*FYI, and in case I don’t manage to blog it again because I’m terrible these days, we are doing another Historical Sewing series this fall, only more hands-on—bring your own project! And yes, the first date is next weekend.

A Victorian Sewing Circle

at the Marr Residence, 326 11th Street East, Saskatoon, SK     


Sunday September 27                  

Sunday October 18                         

Sunday November 15                    1:00-4:00 p.m.  each date

Come join us this fall at the Marr Residence for a Victorian Sewing Circle! We invite you to bring your historical sewing project to spend the afternoon sewing, planning, and sharing information about historical costuming in Saskatoon. 

We provide space, basic sewing equipment (straight stitch machines and pressing equipment), light refreshment and—best of all—lively discussion and learning about historical costuming, especially with regard to the periods interpreted in the house (1880s-1920s). Marr Residence volunteers will also be on hand to provide guided tours and information about the history of the house.



Filed under Sewing

13 responses to “Susan Sto Helit

  1. YES!!!!!!! (love Pratchett. Love Susan. And you even got in Death of Rats!!!1)

    • YAY! Pretty much no one at the con actually recognized me, so I’m happy SOMEONE does! 😀

      • Heck yeah – I have an entire shelf piled two deep and two thick of just Terry Pratchett. (Not discworld – but have your read Nation?) My boyfriend got me the last book – Shepard’s Crown – I haven’t been able to read it yet, because I want it to last…

  2. Claudia

    Love Susan and Terry Pratchett!!!! Awesome costume. Well Done!

  3. gilliancrafts

    I LOVE this post! Because nerdy kids need a nerdy parent, or at least one willing to indulge them. And your costume turned out so well! You should wear it again at Halloween for sure!

  4. trumbelinasews

    So glad you posted about this. I was thinking about you at the con. Glad you had a great time, and though I’m not familiar with the character, now I want to be!

  5. Heather (Thing I Make, Plus Rocks)

    AAAHHH your costume looks awesome! I love all the awesome little bits you just had laying around (“oh this little old corset? Yeah I just threw it together this summer and well, it was just sitting in the closet so why not.” lol), and I think the rat cloak is perfect. 😀

    I hope you guys had a ton of fun at the con! Let us know what other costumes you saw, yeah?

  6. Love your Susan costume, and your Death of Rats. I just finished the Shepherd’s Crown. I don’t think I’ve ever cried when reading a Pratchett novel, but this one got me. I’m going to miss him too! I’ve been thinking of a Nanny Ogg costume with Greebo…

  7. Oh, so lovely! Excellent work, cosplay mom! I have been saving most of the Discworld books, because I know I will adore them, and will need a deep binge read. Around here we have saved up for Emerald City ComicCon tickets, which go onsale this week. We’ve been cruising the Value Village Halloween racks for usuable bits onsale. As dearly as I love some characters, I just can’t see spending a whole day AS him/her; instead I will continue with my Dalek mashups. This year I’ll be Rusty AND a cocktail version of the red Imperial. And yes, nerdy kids and nerdy moms rule!

  8. Ohhh my goodness I love this! To my chagrin, I have never read any of Pratchett’s stuff, but I am always a fan of these pulled-together-but-still-looks-totally-cool costumes. Now I feel like I need to try some Discworld…

  9. Hah, never thought I’d see Susan Sto-Helit on a sewblog heading. Was wondering if my feedly had got confused! Good work!

  10. Pingback: Underbuster Parfait | Tanit-Isis Sews

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