Tali'Zorah vas Normandy


New Member
So, I finished the Mass Effect trilogy about a week ago (yeah, I know, SUPER late to the party). I absolutely fell in love with Tali, and decided that I needed to be her. I'm hoping to have this done by PAX East next year at the latest, Katsucon 2015 at the earliest. I've been researching almost nonstop since the weekend of the 4th, and I think I have a pretty good base to actually start the construction.

I know she's been done before, but with ME:Andromeda coming out soon, it seems like the perfect time to start on my first ME cosplay.


I'll be using this image as a base for how the outfit should fall on my body/basic color scheme/general construction:

And this image to determine finer textures/details/etc (the one in the middle):

Starting from the top and moving down.

This is probably going to be one of the most difficult parts for me due to my lack of experience working with plastics. :p I'm definitely going to tackle it first, as I want everything to be designed around it so it doesn't look awkward.

I already have some clear (I think about 1/8" thick?) acrylic I bought last week. I'm going to build a mold for the helmet (maybe do the good ol' paper mache balloon?) and try to heat-form it using my oven and an old picture frame, then dye it with iDye Poly.

The frame of the helmet I plan to make out of 6mm EVA foam. I've worked with it before, so hopefully it won't be too bad.

And THEN, if I have time, I want to try to make a voice filter and audio-responsive light. Because electronics are fun. Right now I'm leaning towards the Adafruit WaveShield voice changer tutorial. I have a bit of experience with electronics, so it's not totally impossible, though it is a bit more complicated than anything I've attempted before.

Oh my god, these fabrics are like the most impossible things on the planet to replicate accurately. I know that there's the Spoonflower print for both the hexagonal design and the purple, but I'm not totally satisfied with either of those. For the purple, I'd want something relatively stretchy, but Spoonflower's spandex is pretty lightweight and smooth; I'd want a heavier weight spandex with a little more texture, like so:


So my options are hand paint or... hand paint. Or maybe find somewhere with a fabric printer? I'm open to suggestions on this one.

Now about those damn hexagons... the hexagons themselves are shiny, but the valleys in between them are matte, shiny, matte in VERY thin lines. I really want to try to replicate that effect because it looks damn cool. The best solution I've found so far is stretchy iron-on vinyl (because, bodysuit... of course), which will be ironed onto a heavyweight black spandex. Of course has to be cut with a vinyl cutting machine because the design is so intricate. Thankfully I have access to one of those, although I have no idea how to use it. Not to mention that nobody actually produces stretchy satin/gloss iron-on vinyl. I might have to sacrifice some stretchiness for glossiness.

The remaining fabrics I plan to just make a heavyweight black spandex with some white and tan/yellow spandex thrown in as piping and trim.

As far as that physics-defying shrug-hood-wrap (shroodgrap?) thing is physically going to work, well... I'll need to do some experimentation.

And for the bodysuit details, I'm thinking a satin-finish pleather to make pouches and make into a ribbed fabric for the inner elbow patches and on the shoulders.

Note that the bodysuit is probably the thing I will be finished last because of the huge expense that the fabric is going to be, both in terms of time and money. I probably won't start patterning the thing for a little while yet while I figure out exactly how I want it to work.

The gold necklace-y things, I'm thinking of trying the Make Your Own Worbla tutorial that's been floating around. I have some extra friendly plastic lying around which will be perfect for that, and I can probably also use it to make some of her buckles and other fasteners as well. For another option, I also have a friend who does 3D printing so I might be able to bug him for help at some point.

The belts/harnesses... I'm thinking folded black vinyl over elastic will get the job done nicely. For some of the thicker pieces (like on her back), I'll probably put some batting or craft foam in between the layers to give it a little more dimension.

Hands & Feet:
I'll probably make the gloves so that my fingers are split into the "Live Long and Prosper" salute, and maybe add an extra joint to the fingers? For the feet I will probably do something similar, either by purchasing ninja shoes to build the armor on top of (more on this later), or modifying some existing shoes. I do know that I want the shoes to be flexible so I can stand up on my toes; Tali is shown both flat-footed and on her toes, so having that flexibility would be awesome.

Leg armor:
Tali has weird calves. I mean, I guess it make sense because she's an alien and all. I'm thinking maybe padding the bodysuit at the top of my thigh and backs of my calves to help the optical illusion of the weird back arch, as well as designing the leg armor to make the it more pronounced. I'll be using EVA mats to make the armor.

In an ideal world, I'd like to have a Geth shotgun and an omni-tool. I'll get to these IF I have time. Which I may not. WHO KNOWS?! I'm not going to focus on them until I have the end of the envirosuit in sight.

So... that's my plan of attack! YAY! I'm really excited (and nervous) to be working on this. This will be the most complex costume I've attempted to date. Wish me luck! I'll try to update at least once a week.


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New Member
Very well planned out, can't wait to see the results! For the hood, have you thought of attaching the fabric to a wire frame to maintain structure?


New Member
Thanks guys! :3

The wire's a good idea, and one I've been tossing around in my head. I'm thinking a wire to get that very sharp bend where the fabric begins to fold, and a heavyweight woven fabric or interfacing in the top of the hood to reduce wrinkling over the actual dome of her helmet.

Sluis Van Shipyards

Legendary Member
I'm not sure, but you might search for Tali on here because the face plate part, or even the entire helmet, might be for sale. So they might be able to point you in the right direction. The helmet probably wouldn't be too hard, but if you don't have a vacuuforming machine the face plate might be tough to make.


Sr Member
Ozymandius has them for sale in the classifieds section under an unlimited run. They are very nice helmets. I have thought about picking one up and modding for another project, but haven't gotten through all of my current builds. :lol
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New Member
Thank you for the suggestion, but I'm one of those people that really likes to build as much of a costume as I can by myself. I just really like working things out and figuring out solutions. I also enter contests from time to time, and I wouldn't be able to do that in good conscience knowing that I had bought a major component of the costume. I did actually find that thread earlier, and they're phenomenally done! Curse my creative streak and my grad school salary!

I've looked up a couple people who have used PETG to form a pretty nice faceplate using only heat forming via an oven. I just happen to have an acrylic sheet on hand, so I'm going to try that first, and if that fails, I'll order some PETG.


Also, progress: I made some 3D print models using TinkerCad!

The alignment looks a little off on the clasp because I took the screenshot at a slight angle to the workspace. I promise it's actually centered. These guys have a 25 mm diameter and are 6-8 mm tall. The dark grey portions (8mm) are more raised than the purple (6mm), and the underside has a small cutout (2mm) to allow for a big snap to be inserted so it'll lie completely flat against the fabric.

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 9.25.07 AM.png Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 6.42.06 PM.png Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 2.41.38 PM.png

The buckles are 3mm tall, about 25mm height and 7-8mm in width.
Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 9.25.22 AM.png Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 12.27.31 PM.png Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 2.41.45 PM.png

Back circular clasps and buckles are just variations on the front ones: (used the same dimensions)

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 12.46.44 PM.png
Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 2.40.04 PM.png Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 2.41.24 PM.png
Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 3.47.49 PM.png Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 3.47.07 PM.png

And, my magnum opus, the belt buckle:
Which is approximately 4 inches long, 2 inches tall, and varies from 8-12 mm tall. There are also notches in the bottom to allow the belts and buckle to lay nicely. The dimensions for said belts are 1.75", 1", and the depth of the notches is between 5-7 mm (there's a big square in the middle for the buckle).
Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 12.40.28 PM.png Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 3.36.53 PM.png Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 3.37.20 PM.png

This is my first time working with making 3D models, so suggestions are appreciated!


Also, I found a possible alternative to getting hexagons on the black spandex (and I feel silly for not thinking of this before): fabric paint! Specifically, Dharma Trading Company sells a dimensional, stretchy paint here. They're currently sold out of the gloss, but I'm not planning to paint for a little while yet, so it's cool. It'll be WAY cheaper, too.
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Well-Known Member
If your friend is able to help with the cost of 3D printing, then that's the best route. Nothing like the crisp evenness of a 3D model. However, those are the perfect height for just cutting from craft foam and mats. Simple and easy to cut from a template with scissors or knife, but of course, not as clean as 3D print.


New Member
My friend's job it is to basically print samples and sell printers. So he prints things for me in exchange for sewing lessons. It's a pretty sweet deal. :D

Before I send these off to the printer, I'll probably make mock-ups out of craft foam just so I'm sure I'm happy with the size and shape.

Craft foam also won't be as durable, and these things are all in high-movement areas and will function as actual attachment points. High stress-areas + craft foam = easily damaged pieces in my experience. :x

Sluis Van Shipyards

Legendary Member
Thank you for the suggestion, but I'm one of those people that really likes to build as much of a costume as I can by myself. I just really like working things out and figuring out solutions. I also enter contests from time to time, and I wouldn't be able to do that in good conscience knowing that I had bought a major component of the costume. I did actually find that thread earlier, and they're phenomenally done! Curse my creative streak and my grad school salary!

:thumbsup Ok, you passed the test. You can stay! ;) :lol
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