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9910 W 190th St STE L
Mokena, IL, 60448
United States


Dana Digrispino is a seamstress who specializes in custom dress-making and costuming. Her private sewing studio is located in Mokena, Illinois.

Behind the Seams Blog

Get to know us! A behind the scenes look at what goes on at the studio :)


BEHIND THE SEAMS: Berserker Progress Photos


Today I'd like to share with you some behind-the-scenes photos of our Berserker Yuna and Berserker Paine costumes.

Looking back, I'm proud of all the hard work we put into these pieces. It was my first time making armor and working with fur. The construction was tricky, especially when it came to the paws. I try to challenge myself whenever I make personal costumes, and I got what I asked for. ^^;;


Brittany was a tremendous help and I'm grateful she was down for the ride. We had many late nights at the studio watching movies and drinking coffee while we worked.

Reference photos and Thumbelina ~♪

Reference photos and Thumbelina ~♪

We used sharpie to draw on guidelines before cutting the foam.

When suede and fur take over the studio. (゚Д゚;)

These paws were trial and error with a lot of faith. I made several mock-ups before finalizing the design. They have a cardboard skeleton to give them structure and were stuffed with batting for shape.

Packed and ready for Anime Central 2016!

Necessary coffee pit stop.

Necessary coffee pit stop.

The Artist Alley is a great place to take refuge during the convention. xD

Thanks for joining me on this throwback journey! After looking at all these photos, I think I want to dust this costume off and wear it again to another convention. :P

Until next time, take care! xx

Berserker Armor Tutorial


This was my first attempt at making cosplay armor. I've avoided costumes with armor for years because I had no idea where to start. I am SO THANKFUL for the people who have shared all their armor-making knowledge and I owe them a lot of credit. I used a couple of sources, including KamuiCosplay Expanding Foam Tutorial and Jia Jem's Armor Tutorial. Both helpful resources that are worth looking into :)

I wouldn't say that I have anything new to add. But I thought I'd share my experience and some of the mistakes I made along the way. Hopefully it will inspire others to conquer their fear of armor as well. :P Let's get started!


Medium to heavy-weight cardboard

Hot Glue

Expanding Foam

Utility Knives

Masking Tape

Elmer's Glue

Old newspaper


Ryobi Corner Cat Finish Sander


Step 1: Make your base out of cardboard.

I used thicker cardboard to create a solid foundation for the inside. Use the grain of the cardboard to your advantage and cut against it when making strips. It makes the cardboard easier to bend.

I hot glued all the sections together, making sure to fill in any gaps along the way. This step is important because your expanding foam needs something to adhere to.


Step 2: Add expanding foam.

Once you're happy with the shape of your armor, it's time to add the expanding foam.

Fresh coat of foam.

I was able to cover the three pieces of armor with two cans of foam. Take your time and try to avoid having any gaps. You'll thank yourself later when you start to shave down the foam and there aren't any chunks missing.

Once your cardboard is completely covered with the foam, let it rest for 24-48 hours. I was impatient and started carving as soon as the foam felt solid. It hadn't completely cured though so my knife did not glide through that well. More importantly, when I came back to work on it two days later, the foam had continued to expand making all the initial carving pointless.

Step 3: Carve out the shape of your armor.

PROTIP: Don't waste your time with dull blades. It might seem like I'm stating the obvious, but yes I did use a dull blade that I had lying around and it really slowed down the process. A fresh blade takes much less effort when cutting away at the foam. It glides right through it and makes smoother cuts.

Take your time carving out your armor. It's better to keep shaving away at it rather than taking off too much and trying to fix it. I recommend using a long blade for the initial cutting, then use a small blade for the detailed work.

Have a garbage & vacuum readily available. This stuff gets everywhere!

Step 4: Masking tape & paper mache.

Cover any exposed foam with masking tape. I left the undersides of my armor (minus the edges) bare because I wasn't adding clay to it. This will prep your armor for the paper mache layer next.

Once covered in tape, it's time to add paper mache. Jia Jem's tutorial gave a bunch of helpful tips during this part as well as the clay part, so please check it out if you haven't already!

Cut up lots of newspaper and have a bowl of Elmer's glue/water mixture ready. I don't have an exact ratio, I just a small amount of water to the bowl of glue until I got the consistency I wanted. I took an old paint brush & spread the glue mixture onto the taped surface in sections. Then I covered those sections with newspaper pieces and added a final layer of glue as a topcoat. I know some people like to dunk the newspaper into the glue, but I found this method was less messy & it worked well for me.

Wait for the glue to dry and add another layer of paper mache if you'd like. I only used one layer for this project. Trim off any edges of newspaper that are sticking out.

Step 5: Paper Clay

With a bowl of warm water next to you, wet your hands and grab some clay. Work the clay around in your hands to soften it, and then flatten it out. Place the flatten piece onto the armor and massage it down. Dip your fingers in warm water and smooth down clay wherever necessary. Repeat until your armor is covered.

Also, use this time to build up any areas that you think are lacking. For me, one of the shoulder tips were longer than the other so I added some extra clay at the tip to even it out.

Step 6: Sanding

The moment I was looking forward to! Mainly because I bought a new power tool and I wanted to see it in action. But this is also where your armor comes to life. :) Underneath that bumpy clay is a masterpiece just waiting to be sanded. :P

I used the Ryobi Cat Sander (a brand only sold at Home Depot. This little sander has a built in dust bag that does a pretty good job of collecting the excess clay. But I highly recommend sanding in your garage or outdoors because the dust still gets everywhere.

I sanded in small circular motions until I got an even, smooth surface. Just like Jia recommends, if you hit a spot where the paper mache is showing, don't sand in that spot anymore.

You might come across some cracks in your clay. I had some around where the horns met the base. Just add a small bit of clay to fix any imperfections. This is the one step I wish I was more throughout about. I cleaned up all the cracks but over looked some bumps that became more visible after painting. :/ Another lesson learned!

Before & after! What a difference.

Add on any extra details if needed. I added the circular detailing to the armor with more clay & sanded it by hand with sand paper. When you're satisfied, get rid of any excess dust on your armor and you'll be ready for the final steps.

Step 7: Primer!!!

I used two cans a spray primer, which gave me about three coats per piece. Between each coat I would lightly sand by hand to smooth out the surface best I could. Let it dry completely before adding your paint.

Step 8: Paint

First I coated the armor in the burgundy spray paint, then went over the horns in black.

I went in with some black acrylic paint inside the circles to add some depth. I added a matte finish top coat to finish the armor.

And there you have it! That was my complete armor making experience. I hope you found this tutorial helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. To see the completed look, please check out the Berserker Yuna and Berserker Paine pages! Good luck!

Gaby Teller (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) Progress Photos


If I had the budget, I would make all of her outfits from this movie.

Both the coat & the dress took several mock-ups before I was ready to cut into the actual fabric. I had to sort of battle with the fact that her body shape is quite different from mine. Since it looked like I was wearing a potato sack when I first made up her dress, I took it in in the waist & shoulders.

My patterning skills are messy but they get the job done.

My patterning skills are messy but they get the job done.

Mock-up #2 showed much more promise after the revisions! I wish I could put on a loose flowing dress & call it a day. But I think part of being a good seamstress/tailor is knowing what compliments your body shape.

The lapped zipper was easier than I thought but still a little tricky since the fabric had stretch to it. I had to go back & clean up a few areas.


Queen Gaby's dress was a dream to make & I'm pretty proud of the finished product. Putting in the lining was somehow harder than making the dress itself, but its done & I'm happy its over with. I hope to get a lot of good use out of this piece, since its so wearable!

Someone please take me to the steps in Rome!

Someone please take me to the steps in Rome!

Welt pockets & bound buttonholes! Worth learning if you have the time. They're honestly not so bad. The most tedious part in my opinion is making the buttonhole openings in the facing. Making sure they all lined up was a little nerve wracking @.@

That awesome moment when all the stripes match up. :) Sometimes detail is worth the extra time.

Little Chopshop Girl~

Little Chopshop Girl~

Behind the scenes of our photo shoot at the studio! Brit is keeping my 1960's beehive hairdo in check. :)

"Hey, that's me!"

"Hey, that's me!"

For the complete photo set & sewing details, check out the Gaby Teller page in my Cosplay Gallery!


How I Rhinestone My Props!


It's no secret that I love anything encrusted in rhinestones. I made a video showing you guys how I like to rhinestone my cosplay props! I used these techniques for multiple projects, including my Katniss Everdeen Wedding Dress cage!

Items used:
E600 Glue

I like to buy my rhinestones from QRhinestones on Etsy. They have great prices for beautiful quality stones. The ones I used in this video were size ss20 in Dark Siam. For Katniss, I also used size ss20 in AB Crystal Aurore.

The first technique is great for when you have two free hands (meaning you don't have to hold your prop in one of your hands). With the tube in hand, I squeeze out a bit of glue at a time. Grab a rhinestone with your tweezer & lightly dab it in the glue. A little bit goes a long way! I like to have my rhinestones spread out & facing upwards so I can quickly grab & glue :)

The second technique is a little more wasteful in terms of glue, but it's honestly a time saver compared to having to put down the E600 after every rhinestone. Since the glue dries relatively fast, don't dispense too much on your paper towel. The faster you get a rhinestoning, the less glue you'll end up wasting along the way. Hang in there!

Check out my video tutorial & let me know your thoughts. :) If you end up bedazzling something of your own, I'd love to see your creations. Best of luck & take care!