Death in The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett



Stacey King


(click images to to enlarge)

Outline the story …

"The king tried to focus on the figure. There was an impression of red and white but black, too".
Terry Pratchett's Death is usually robed in generic reaper black robes. The world he inhabits is colourless and yet, he's full of humour, cleverness and curiosity; and no matter how hard he tries, he just can't figure out doorknobs. In "The Hogfather", things are a little different. The Hogfather is a Santa-like creature who grants wishes and gives out gifts. However, this Hogswatchnight, the Hogfather has gone missing and Death fears without his presence inspiring wonder, the humans of Discworld will lose their belief. Death knows that belief in fundamental to the continuation of life as they know it and so, he sets out in full Hogfather regalia (red and white robes) to fulfil the Hogfathers duties and insure belief continues. Non-magical adults of Discworld don't allow themselves to see Death's true form, it's rather "like trying to look at your own ear." Instead, they see what they expect to see, but wibbly wobbly. I loved the idea of playing with that concept. I wanted to keep it simple, because Death doesn't consider himself nobility. So, here you have the black stays representing Death's true self, covered in the red and white of the Hogfather...berobed on a rather unDeath-like 18th century working woman.

Outline the construction…

I wanted to be as sustainable as possible, so I made everything out of items I already had. The shift I made using the Laughing Moon 115 pattern. I added length and width to the sleeves, rounded the neckline, added width to the body and changed the hemline. It's made of cotton. The bum pad is made of cotton broadcloth scraps and I drafted it myself, with inspiration from the "Bum Shop" image. I just changed the shapes until I found something comfortable that gave me the full, rounded hip and booty shape of the late 18th century. The stays are made of two layers of cotton drill and synthetic whalebone. I made the bias binding from cotton drill scraps. I used the RedThreaded 1780s Front-Lacing Stays, but I changed it quite a bit. I added width and length to all the panels, took 3 inches off the bustline and 2 inches off the armscye. I lengthened the straps and moved their position. I added boning and shifted the strap attachment point over several inches. I have tricky body proportions and fitting the stays was particularly difficult. I did five mockups before I found a fit that was comfortable. I drafted the petticoats myself. They're both made of cotton and I hand dyed the red cotton. Overall the biggest challenge was learning to draft (or alter) patterns and garments to fit my very unique body, with no prior experience. The Plus Size Historical Costuming Facebook group was a tremendous help.




  1. Avatar Sadie on March 11, 2021 at 6:57 pm

    This made me smile so much, I love it! What a great concept!

  2. Avatar Bethany on March 11, 2021 at 7:09 pm

    I love to see terry pratchett represented and I think you did a great job of representing your ideas with the pieces!

  3. Avatar Shannon on March 11, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    The inspiration is amazing and the execution is very well done 🙂

  4. Avatar Lorraine Lysen on March 11, 2021 at 11:00 pm

    What a creative use of the source, I would never have imagined it! I love that one of the greatest characters in all of literature inspired your ensemble. Stellar work!

  5. Avatar Cecile Carpenter on March 12, 2021 at 2:51 am

    I love the character of DEATH. One of the most underrated characters in literature from one of the most creative writers in history. You’ve created a costume that captures the character in a most unusual and creative way. Well Done!

  6. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 8:20 am

    I love your inspiration, and the execution is done beautifully 🙂

  7. Avatar Elowen Blackthorn on March 12, 2021 at 12:37 pm

    This is adorable! What a nice set of stays! Some how you make me think of David the Gnome’s wife, Lisa, which makes this all the more delightful. Well done! Very good work, especially for a first time sewing!

  8. Avatar Catherine Sutton on March 12, 2021 at 7:25 pm

    Congratulations! I think you really captured the character with your colour choices 😊
    Great work of the red and white garments, and particularly for the stays! Your stays are structurally sound and well stitched. Well done for iterating the pattern and building a strong supportive base!

  9. Avatar Andrea Olinte on March 14, 2021 at 6:12 am

    Wonderful interpretation!

  10. Avatar Lili on March 14, 2021 at 11:08 pm

    What a sweet and lovely Death! I admire all your hard work and I think you executed it beautifully!

  11. Avatar Valerie Meachum on March 15, 2021 at 1:19 am

    All of this is well done, but my jaw is in my lap that you drafted your own bum pad from scratch as a novice! Beautiful work.

  12. Avatar Briana on March 15, 2021 at 6:28 pm

    You look great!

  13. Avatar Alex on March 18, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    I love the reasoning and the costume (?) is just great!

  14. Avatar AnnaCatherine Sendgikoski on March 20, 2021 at 4:26 am

    I love this! The pleating (?) is wonderful! Great job! Makes me want to read the book! (It’s in my Amazon Wish List!) Thank you!

  15. PK Reynolds McKnight PK Reynolds McKnight on March 28, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    Great Job! – Love seeing all the Pratchett fans.

  16. Avatar Sue (sue-mcfluzen) Assenmacher on March 29, 2021 at 5:13 am

    Beautiful work.

  17. Avatar Sarah Murray on March 30, 2021 at 8:57 pm

    Fabulous job! I am so impressed by everything that you created, and you executed it beautifully. Lovely story as well. You should be proud!

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