Steel Inquisitor Vin



Molly Weiss


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Outline the story …

Vin is from the book "Mistborn" by Brandon Sanderson. She starts out as a peasant recruited by a thieving crew to kill the oppressive ruler, and of course ends up becoming a powerful magic-user, succeeding in the assassination, and later becoming Empress. And I took this character sideways: I attended a fantasy convention whose 2019 theme was 'The Darkest Timeline', so I decided to make an alternate-universe version of this character. What if she was found by the bad guys (known as Steel Inquisitors for their most conspicuous feature, steel spikes through their eyes) instead of the good guys, and became one of them, working for the oppressors?

She has an iconic scene in the book of entering a ball in a stark black ballgown. I thought about making another colour for this alt-universe version, but the standard concept of black equals evil was too compelling to get away from. The book describes corsets and bell-shaped dresses. In real life, this could describe 1830s-1850s. However, 1830s is so bonkers of a time period, you would go all out in describing its peculiarities. By the 1850s, ladies used cage crinolines, and as metal has special powers in "Mistborn" (and being surrounded by a metal cage could be very dangerous), I wanted to use as little metal as possible in my dress. Hence, I went with 1840s fashion, and tried to make as historically accurate of an 1840s dress as I could, given my timeline and budget.

Outline the construction…

To get the 1840s silhouette, the dress is worn over a chemise, corset, bumpad, and 3 petticoats.

The bodice started out as an 1850s Truly Victorian pattern. It was altered once to become an 1830s bodice, and for this I altered the 1830s version to be 1840s. You would think by the third version it would fit but it still took me 3 mockups to get the darts where I wanted and the off-the-shoulder look! Each iteration of this pattern shows how much my fitting skills have improved over the years. The Victorians were mad for piping, so nearly every seam is piped.

The skirt has three tiers of black lace with self-fabric hemmed and gathered strips. This was an extreme amount of hemming, but silk ribbon would have cost more than the dress fabric! The lace is white cotton which is dyed black.

The eye spikes were an experiment as I have very little experience working with non-fabric materials. These were made with toilet paper tubes with black mesh over the front so I could see. I used Crayola Model Magic to cover the front edge. The whole thing was painted silver, then distressed with some black paint to look like steel. I used eyelash glue to attach them to my face which turned out to be extremely secure. A second piece of Crayola Model Magic made the pointed spike tips, which were clipped to my hair in the back, making them look like they go through the head!




  1. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 8:49 am

    I love your entry- such a cool story and I love your rendition! the textures you get with the blacks are really cool- well done

  2. Avatar Briana on March 15, 2021 at 7:34 pm

    This is so cool. Very darkest timeline. Your dress is amazing.

  3. Avatar Manon L'Hostis on March 16, 2021 at 5:28 pm

    Love the lace details! Looks very elegant.

  4. Avatar Marion Brégier on March 16, 2021 at 9:01 pm

    I love this, the shape is gorgeous, you really give me an idea of who the character is.

  5. Avatar Carly Van Groeningen on March 19, 2021 at 11:35 am

    What an interesting alternate version of Vin! Beautiful work, well done.

  6. Avatar Laurie on March 20, 2021 at 8:31 pm

    Well constructed! Very nice fabric choices and details. Nicely posed photos with great hair and accessories, too! Lovely gloves!

  7. Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 24, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    The attention to detail on this dress is amazing, I love the pleating along the collar and lace details! Beautiful!

  8. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 26, 2021 at 1:35 pm

    This is lovely! I particularly enjoy using pleats, ruffles, lace, and other trims to create texture and depth in the inky blackness of the outfit. Nice job!

  9. Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 27, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    Yeees c’mon, Vin! I love love love Mistborn, making Vin into a Steel inquisitor is very interesting, the design is really well thought out. Beautiful! (I’ve actually made a Steel Inquisitor costume for my brother, and ended up with a similar solution to yours! :))

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