A Weatherwax Winter



Lorraine Lysen

(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Photography by Evi Teurlincx

Outline the story …

Witches in Terry Pratchett's "Discworld" are non-hierarchical, and Esmerelda Weatherwax is the leader they don't have. A life-long bachelor now in her seventies, Granny Weatherwax is the strongest of the witches, challenging even Death if she thinks a situation is unjust. She lives in Lancre, a diminutive rural kingdom that is literally 15 years behind the rest of the world, which has not yet invented the steam engine but does have a condom factory. Since there is no clear timeline, I opted for a practical look based on late-Victorian fashion

Granny Weatherwax does not believe in finery: "[She] came back with her witch's cloak, which served as a blanket for sick goats when not otherwise employed. Once upon a time it had been black velvet, now it was just black." (Wyrd Sisters, p. 135). Witches wear black. She does not make or purchase her own clothes. Witches are given such things, not as payment, but as a sign of respect. In combination with the rural location, I chose a skirt that is fashionable but not very full, with the hemline safely out of the mud, and a warm wool (which is scratchy and requires an underskirt, but apparently true Lancre sheepswool resembles steelwool).

I wanted to make the shirtwaist look fancy without using fine trimmings, so I chose tucks and pleats. I imagine it was made by a mother grateful that her child's life was saved.

The pointy hat warns people a witch is coming, so they'd better behave.

Outline the construction…

First time drafting, used the Keystone Guide (I once tried commercial patterns and it was impossible to fit). I drafted a waist, and then used that to make the shirtwaist. Put darts in back panel where there was space between the original pieces. Added 20cm to the front pieces for the pleats. Next time: mark them better and be more accurate with pleating, since my second panel came out an inch smaller than my first, and I had to unpick and resew some. I put a plain sleeve into the mock-up, then drafted a bigger sleeve (high enough, not quite wide enough) for the shirt. The ruff is boxpleated, the seam allowance of the shirt and ruff keep the collar upright. I did not understand how much room to leave for closures, since my hooks and eyes wouldn't fit I made my own hooks and bars out of 1mm copper wire. Black cotton, hand sewing on cuffs, hem, closures, seam finishing, and collar.

Black boiled wool for the 'least full dress skirt.' Machined the side seams and darts. Cotton pockets, herringbone stitch hem, no seam finishing as the fabric doesn't fray. Two pleats on either back panel, placket, handmade hooks and eyes partially covered in black silk thread, waistband of red cotton tape with four lines of handsewing.

Underskirt: white cotton fleece, like above except two rows of handsewing, handfinished seams, and white silk.

Hat: Wool, cotton, buckram. First hat, many mistakes, looks cool anyway!

No corsetry/padding.

Word limit, bah!




  1. Avatar Kayla Burrow on March 11, 2021 at 7:25 pm

    I feel like you’ve really captured the Essentials of Granny Weatherwax. Super well done! It looks super comfy, too

    • Avatar Lorraine Lysen on March 11, 2021 at 10:55 pm

      I have worn the skirts almost every day since finishing them, they are warmer and comfier than trousers even in the snow! I am glad you think I did Granny justice. She is even more intimidating than this project was!

  2. Avatar Martina Girardi on March 11, 2021 at 8:19 pm

    The hat is adorable! Also the whole ensemble makes me feel like she’s a witch you shouldn’t mess with. Absolutely stunning!

    • Avatar Lorraine Lysen on March 11, 2021 at 10:57 pm

      Thank you! I have worn the hat out once, and it made a child very happy. Totally worth the days of panic and confusion =D Also, it’s so dang pointy I just wear it around the house and feel powerful. Highly recommended!

      • Avatar Sparrow on March 12, 2021 at 3:11 am

        Making a child happy it just about the highest validation ever!

  3. Avatar Dai Sanders on March 12, 2021 at 11:20 am

    A Lancre Witch if I ever saw one. <3

  4. Avatar Katherine B on March 12, 2021 at 7:19 pm

    I smiled at the little touch of red in the waistband, as though someone wanted to give Granny just a little nod to her inner fire and flair. The whole thing looks amazing on you, so glad it turned out to be a practical garment as well as pretty!

    • Avatar Lorraine Lysen on March 14, 2021 at 2:06 pm

      Yes, Granny is far too multifaceted a character to be entirely monochrome, even if she presents only a certain aspect of herself to the community. Thank you for the lovely comment!

  5. Avatar Sammyra on March 12, 2021 at 7:57 pm

    i would wear this absolutely everywhere ♡ looks beautiful on you, and a wonderful interpretation of granny weatherwax! job well done ♡

    • Avatar Lorraine Lysen on March 14, 2021 at 2:09 pm

      Thank you so much! And you best believe I have been wearing it everywhere, in as far as I actually go anywhere these days :’)

  6. Avatar Nadine on March 14, 2021 at 11:05 am

    You got it! The ensemble is adorable. I read the description with great interest. And yes, I struggled with the word limit, too. 👏

    • Avatar Lorraine Lysen on March 14, 2021 at 2:12 pm

      Oh gods, I had over 200 words just describing the process of the shirtwaist. My academic heart bleeds for my poor sentences, but I had to try just in case someone can find a helpful word in there. I think Granny would bristle at being called adorable, but I appreciate the compliment.

  7. Avatar Camille on March 14, 2021 at 11:36 am

    that’s so neat and well-fitted. Also a great match for the character, too.
    Go Pratchett ^^

    • Avatar Lorraine Lysen on March 14, 2021 at 2:14 pm

      Thank you! GNU Sir Terry!

      Until this competition it had literally never occurred to me that you could cosplay characters from books. And once I finally corrected that mistake, Pratchett was the obvious choice for me <3

    • Avatar Annette on March 19, 2021 at 9:18 pm

      You look like you just walked out of one of Tarry Pratchetts Books. Love it ❤️

      • Avatar Lorraine Lysen on March 22, 2021 at 12:28 am

        Thank you, Annette <3

  8. Avatar Marie on March 14, 2021 at 8:05 pm

    Esmerelda Weatherwax is my favourite character from Terry Pratchett’s books! You did an amazing job!

    • Avatar Lorraine Lysen on March 19, 2021 at 11:46 am

      She’s my fave as well! Though of course there are many other characters that I truly adore. Thank you!

  9. Avatar JAYE SUDAR on March 15, 2021 at 3:52 am

    Lovely work! While I’m rather partial to the chaos that is Nanny Ogg, you nailed Granny Weatherwax’s look. A great outfit. 🙂

    • Avatar Lorraine Lysen on March 19, 2021 at 11:47 am

      Nanny is an absolute joy, but I identify more with Granny. However, they are both at their best when they are playing off of each other =D

  10. Avatar Kristine Vike on March 15, 2021 at 8:21 am

    This outfit is so awesome, I love it! Now off to reread Wyrd Sisters and the rest of them!

    • Avatar Lorraine Lysen on March 19, 2021 at 11:49 am

      I just had to re-read all the witches’ books before starting. Of course, Pratchett isn’t really one for describing outfits unless it’s entirely relevant to the character, so it didn’t give me much to go on :p Happy reading!

  11. Avatar Jem on March 15, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    I love it! very spooky everyday witch vibe

    • Avatar Lorraine Lysen on March 19, 2021 at 11:50 am

      I am definitely spooking about the place in it on a regular basis. Thanks!

  12. Avatar Nicole MM on March 16, 2021 at 6:22 am

    This warms my heart, Terry and Granny are missed. Charming and spot on look!

    • Avatar Lorraine Lysen on March 19, 2021 at 11:56 am

      I feel like we could all have used a but more of their wisdom in these troubling times. But in re-reading the books, I discovered the vital bit of Granny (and therefore Terry) wisdom that applies to practically all situations: All the atrocities humans inflict on one another start by treating people as things. We need to keep sight of people’s inherent value as people. You can find this all throughout the series, especially in the stories where Vimes learns to acknowledge the complexity and personhood of other species. I think we need to encourage others to learn as much as Vimes did.

      Thank you for the lovely comment!

  13. Avatar Pia Palmer on March 18, 2021 at 7:19 am

    This really brings the witches to life! I love it, great job

    • Avatar Lorraine Lysen on March 19, 2021 at 11:56 am

      Thank you! I am all for bringing back some everyday witchcraft =D

  14. Avatar Suzanne Egan on March 23, 2021 at 5:23 am

    Nicely executed. Very Granny!

  15. Avatar AnnaCatherine Sendgikoski on March 24, 2021 at 5:22 am

    Such a lovely outfit! That hat rocks! I love everything! Thank you!

    • Avatar Lorraine Lysen on March 29, 2021 at 12:33 am

      Thank you! I highly recommend everyone have a pointy hat to feel powerful in!

  16. Avatar Vanessa Isobel on March 26, 2021 at 11:54 pm

    Yes, yes, yes to all of the things here! Classy witchy goodness and owning her space for sure! 🙂

    • Avatar Lorraine Lysen on March 29, 2021 at 12:34 am

      Clothes can really make you feel in control! Thank you!

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.