Big Sister - 2015

Photo: Chris Goss Photography

A HUGE shout-out to Chrix Design and Ayanna Workshop for their detailed construction notes on their own Big Sister costumes. Without them and their kindness in sharing their techniques, my Big Sister would not have been possible.

For my second cosplay project I decided to take on the daunting task of the Big Sister from BioShock 2. I played the first BioShock back in August of 2014 and loved it to pieces. I immediately purchased both the sequel and Infinite as soon as I could. Before completing the first game, I was searching the web and stumbled upon some pictures of Big Sister. I fell in love with her design, but waited until I finished the second game before officially deciding to cosplay her.
This costume was such an experience. It took much longer than anticipated to complete, but I think that's the nature of projects like this. Especially if you're like me and haven't worked with several of the materials beforehand.

To start out, lets break down the costume into bits. Since this costume's so huge, this will obviously be a long ride!

The Helmet:

Big Sister's helmet was the first thing I decided to tackle. That's mostly because the helmet is easily the most stand out and iconic piece of the entire outfit.

I found a tutorial on Instructables that was very helpful in the starting stages. I actually have a full tutorial of this piece which you can check out over here.

The Tank:

I used an 8" diameter sauna tube as a base for the tank. The rings are made from EVA foam. Overall this piece was probably the most straightforward. All details were painted with acrylics.

The Cage:

One of my most frequently asked questions is how I went about making my cage. For me, this was honestly the hardest part to figure out and it took several tries to get right.

I found some steel bars in the venting section of the hardware store, which I cut and bent into the shapes that I preferred. Holes were drilled at the joining points so that a bolt could secure the two bars in place. I drilled small rectangular pieces of wood to the tank so that the cage could be anchored in place. One the cage was fully assembled, it was time to paint! I spray painted the whole thing gold, then used black acrylic paint to drybrush and make it all look gross and weathered. I tied on the Little Sister ribbons and secured them with hot glue.

The tank and cage attach to my body using a harness system made from an old backpack, plywood, and long bolts. The harness is worn underneath the basic white suit. The tank and cage together weigh around 7lbs total.

Shoulder Guards:

I bought a Styrofoam hemisphere in the size I desired for the larger, left shoulder piece. I covered this piece in EVA foam with thin craft foam used for detailing. The right shoulder piece is made of only EVA and craft foam since it is significantly smaller than the left piece.

Both sides were decorated with fake 'bolts' made by inserting a thumb tack into a hexnut. Everything was handpainted and weathered with acrylics.

Chest Plate:

My chest plate is made entirely of EVA foam, with welded details added using polyester cording. More fake 'bolts' were added along the edges. Everything was handpainted and weathered with acrylics. The shoulder pieces are glued onto the dust plate on their respective sides.

Base Suit:

The basic white undersuit was made using white spandex, a zipper, and a simple body suit pattern. I sewed it using a zigzag stitch to maintain the stretchiness of the fabric. When completed, the suit was soaked in a pot of coffee for a few hours to give it a grungy, dirty look. Unfortunately that means it also will smell like coffee for life.


The rest of the clothing pieces are made out of a dark brown faux suede material. I drafted all patterns for these pieces, including the corset, which is boned with zipties and closes in the back with a series of eyelets. The corset reduces my waist by one inch, though for the purpose it serves, it really doesn't need to take in anything at all. The thigh guards are actually hand-tacked to the under suit, as they have a tendency to slip down my legs.


Each of the 32 belts were made from scratch by cutting 2 in. strips of the suede fabric and running them through a 1in. bias tape maker.

To keep the edges clean, I sewed black ribbon to the other side of the strips.

I purchased a large quantity of 1 in. belt buckles from etsy. I hand sewed each of these buckles to their respective straps.

Once all that was said and done, I started the tedious task of inserting the eyelets. Each belt has 5 to 6 eyelets each.

All belts were then attached to their respective places.

The Syringe:

The syringe is my second favorite prop from this project (the first being the helmet of course).

The base of the syringe is a long 3/4" charlotte PVC pipe, with a Y piece in the middle for the bottle. The needle is made from a long wooden dowel. The bottle is actually a baby bottle I purchased from Walmart and heavily weathered.

The 'handle' piece is made from EVA foam, and the gauges are real metal gauges, making the prop quite heavy. The syringe attaches to an arm brace to keep it in place on my arm. Once again, everything here is painted and detailed with acrylic paints.

The Harpoon:

The harpoon is a leftover piece of PVC used for the syringe, paired with a round container and a knitting needle. Extra points were added to the needle using craft foam. I printed out a picture of a gauge, pasted it to the round container, and gave it a coat of Mod Podge to simulate the glass that would traditionally cover this piece. I weathered two test tubes and glued them next to the harpoon on the arm guard that it attaches to. Everything was, of course, painted and weathered with acrylics. I added belts here to simulate the straps that would be needed to attach the weapon to Big Sister's arms.

Leg Braces:

My Leg braces are made of EVA foam and plastic trim. More info on them can be found in my Leg Brace tutorial. 


I made boot covers for a pair of high-tops using the same suede fabric that I used for the rest of the costume. Zippers were added in the back for easy in and out. All details are made from EVA and craft foam. The belts were attached after the details were put in place.


Complete Photo-set: Winter Night Shoot 2015

(Last Three Photos: Guinness Cosplay)