Ilona Andrews Love



     I made Julie’s outfit from Blood Heir.  I know I should say Aurelia’s outfit, but she is Julie. 

     I loved Blood Heir just as I have always loved Julie ( and Derek, mmmmm Derek).  The best way I can think of to show my love is to make something.  I love all of the characters in all of the Ilona Andrews books, but I love some more than others. 

     In Magic Strikes, specifically, I loved when Kate went to her school, AND when she sat with Derek. I feel like, I have so many feelings in Julie's story throughout the series.  It helps that she is connected to Derek in my head, but she doesn't have to be to be a good character. I suppose I like angsty teenagers too. Even though she is an angsty teenager, she is also a pretty amazing human.  I feel lucky to have been able to watch her grow from a small girl to an adult in real time and not through flashbacks.

 “Julie cried. She knelt by Derek’s mangled body and cried, silent tears rolling down her cheeks.  I waited next to her. She needed to cry it out.  It hurt to look at him and she had to get through it, or she wouldn’t be able to help" (210).



     In January 2023, I started making the pants.  It took me awhile to draw them out, and then make them.  The pants are practical first.  That was the most important thing to me.  You don’t want a clothing malfunction when you are riding a horse and confronting boudas.

     Julie first rides into town in jeans.  “faded jeans, old boots, and a tattered cloak riding a horse late at night” (6).  I thrifted some jeans for this part.  They are amazing.  They have a lot of flair on the back which I really like.  In Magic Stars Julie is wearing short cut off shorts, and Derek is unhappy about it.  I took this to mean that Julie has a sense of style and wants to be as fashionable as she can.  Which isn’t too much considering where she lives.  

“I don’t need Desandra to teach me insults. And what the hell is it with all the comments about what I’m wearing? There’s nothing wrong with these shorts" (29).

     For the pants that I created, here is what I had to go on: “Under the cloak, I wore a green t-shirt, a pair of comfortable brown pants secured by a belt holding pouches of herbs, silver dust, and other useful things, and a pair of running shoes" (75).  Thanks for being so descriptive Ilona Andrews…

     Since I didn’t have much to go on, here is why I did what I did:  In Magic Stars we find out that manufacturing doesn’t really exist anymore.  “Yellow crime tape was too expensive to produce in the world that hated factories and plastics, and the cops rarely used it anymore" (19).  Also, we know her cloak was custom made, so her pants could have been too.  I also imagine sewing machines aren't going to work when the magic is up.  Not a problem, someone could be using an old treadle machine.  A treadle machine is foot powered no electricity needed.

      When I think of Atlanta, I think of heat and bugs.  I decided to choose the sewing pattern Hedy by Diby Club for the pants.  It is a wide leg pattern.  Wide leg doesn’t seem good in a place with creepy, crawly bugs.  The pants need to discourage things from crawling up your legs.  Also, Julie rides Tulip most places, and I don’t think wide, wide leg is ideal for riding a horse. I had to re-draw the Hedy pattern to be straight legged pants.  I decided on Hedy because fits me pretty perfectly.  I don’t have to make adjustments except with length.  This is crazy in clothes making.  If you find a pattern that fits with no adjustments, you make it over and over again and thank your lucky stars said pattern exists.  Even if I am trying to be Julie, I am still me, and the fit matters.  

Yes, I do realize this is a very Colorado picture.  


     The next step was choosing a fabric.  Julie lives in a tough world.  Rayon is not going to cut it, but she is also in Atlanta where it’s hot and where I'd probably like to wear rayon.  I decided to look at twill and denim.  I actually bought a lot of brown bottom weight fabric, but I decided to use the brown denim.  I would describe it as medium weight.  There is some give to it.  


The fabric is being stretched to fit in this photo as I crouch.  You can also see the inside of the cloak here.


     Then I considered what she does in the book.  She has a super secret silverbar and a house key.  Like all good fantasy characters, she seems to pull things out of thin air.  Which is great, but it’s hard to think about in the real world when making clothes. 

     I decided to focus on the silver piece and the key.  When she whips out her silver for the children, she is on her horse.  “I reached into my pocket, pulled out an ounce of silver, and held it up. Silver was the go-to metal for most magic-related work" (55).  The silver pocket needed to be easily accessible; she is not digging into the side pocket on the pants - that would put her off balance.  She is sitting on Tulip during this scene, so I put the pocket on the inside seam of the right leg.  It is just big enough for the silver piece (which is darn close to the correct size given in the story).  The three super secret pockets in the pants are all welt pockets which means they are harder to see by people around her.  At least for the silver pocket, it will also be pressed up against the horse.


     There are 2 more hidden but not hidden welt pockets.  One is high up on the left leg.  I put this one in to be the house key pocket.  It is a deep pocket, so she won’t lose her key while riding Tulip or climbing poles.  There is another pocket further down on the front right.  This has no real purpose except to be another place to store things.



In the photo, if you look just below the magic pouch, you can see the slit for the welt pocket.  I think this photo shows how well the welt blends in.


     In keeping with the idea that Julie wants to be fashionable, I embroidered a flower real small on the back yoke of the pants.  I did it in brown thread, so it is not very visible, but Julie knows she has something special or girly on her pants.

     The next thing I made was the cloak.  I sat on this one for a long time.  There are so many problems with this item of clothing.  First of all, I know she keeps her knife and other things in the cloak, but I did not add pockets.  This was a choice I felt I had to make to keep the shape of the cloak.  If I made this cloak out of a heavier wool, I could have put in a pocket and played with things a bit more, but that was not practical with my fabric choice.  The design of the cloak is very simple.  I did not change the pattern.  It ties closed in the front, but I also added a button to wrap one of the ties around if I wanted to close it a different way. 

     Thinking about wearing a heavy cloak in Atlanta sounds miserable.  So hot.  I looked at so much fabric it’s kinda crazy.  I first thought of wool (too hot), then tropical wool (too thin), then twill (little drape), and finally denim (drape?).  Sigh. I came across some wool from Ireland one day, and it looked right to me.  It’s beautiful.  It’s also not crazy heavy.  Heads-up, imported wool from Ireland is not cheap, but it’s so pretty.  I lined the cloak with a black sparkly linen (because it’s magic).  I am quite proud of the cloak as I think I nailed it.  However, on the summer night we took pictures, in Colorado, I was so hot.

     The next piece to the outfit was the t-shirt.  Again, Ilona Andrews says she is wearing a green shirt.  Helpful.  In my fabric stash I knew I had a dusty, green knit fabric.  I don’t remember where it came from anymore, but I think it is hemp.  I just made a plain old functional t-shirt using my favorite t-shirt pattern.  It looks a little rustic as it is kind of a rough weave.  I guess it’s not woven, it’s knit, but it’s rough. Also, I just noticed the pattern has been retired. 

     I chose all natural fibers.  I used wool, cotton, hemp, and linen.  I figure if the KD world doesn’t have much manufacturing and very little (if no) plastic, I can’t use polyester.  It’s just isn’t being made.  Maybe some old clothes survived, but new polyester isn’t a thing.  In case you didn’t know polyester is plastic, you know now.  I am forgiving whatever the fiber content is in the sparky linen because it’s magic.


The saddle bag is by my feet in this photograph.


     I have a few accessories involved in all of this as well.  First up is my saddle bag.  Right after I read Blood Heir the first time, I made a purse called The Mountain Saddle Bag with Tulip in mind.  I used black waxed canvas, so it looks worn.  I also embroidered drops of blood on it because of Tulip’s eating habits.  You can see the blood in the photograph above.

     I had a metal rose made for me.  I bought it on Etsy.  The woman who made it humored me when I told her what I wanted (do other people get metal roses made because of a book?).  It’s not made from a coffee can, but it is rustic metal with no paint.  It’s beautiful, and I love it so much.


“The Metal Rose– the Capital Ship of the BDH. This involves Julie and Derek, and the name is based on the scene from Chapter 11 of Magic Burns, when Derek fashioned her a rose out of a metal coffee can and some nails. Julie has kept the rose all this time, but some of us have carried it in our hearts for 14 long years. Unsurprisingly, Team Metal Rose is pretty hardcore. We would actually go down with this ship. We won’t put our hands up or surrender. There will be no white flag above our doors and omg am I dating myself.”  There is more on the Ilona Andrews website here

     Last accessory: I bought a potion pouch at Fan Expo last year, and it seems to fit the bill.  Unfortunately, it is made of vinyl, but I wasn’t up for making my own out of leather even though that would have been ideal.  It attaches on my belt just like Julie’s.


     I also bought boots from Thred Up just for the shoot.  They ended up being vinyl, but I couldn’t bring myself to buy leather boots for the shoot, so I broke my natural fibers rule for this as well. Also, she is wearing running shoes in the beginning, but all I have are yellow Vans, and that did not seem right, so I am wearing th boots the whole time.

This might be my favorite photo.

     I brainstormed quite a lot before I did this.  Julie’s clothes need to reflect Julie and Aurelia.  She is hiding in this book from multiple people, and all of her clothes are designed to help her blend in.  Even though Julie is a complicated character, her clothes need to be simple.  We need to underestimate her.   She’s a badass, but just like the cop in the church views her as naïve she needs to look that way.  The only people that truly see her are Luther and Derek.


     Yes, I did hide my face in each photo intentionally.  I am not young and not beautiful, and I didn't want to photoshop the crap out of my face, so that's what I did.  I also didn't hide my tattoo (which by the way, is werewolves) because no matter what I am retaining myself in this.

     All of the clothes I made will go into regular rotation after this.  As I think about what to call what I have done, I want to call it Cosplay, but I don’t think it is.  One of the reasons I don’t think it is, is because all of my makes are regular clothes that I will wear after this photoshoot.  Fun Fact: even though I finished making the pants and cloak months ago, I refused to wear them until AFTER the photoshoot.  


Here is a list of where I got things from AND my awesome photographer.

Hedy Pants - DIBY Club Patterns

Cloak - CosplaySewingNL - Etsy

T-Shirt - Idyllwild by Itch To Stitch

Metal Rose - KRKrafting

Mountain Saddle Bag - Emmaline Bags

Pixel 5280 did all the photographs!  Thank you Jodi THEY ARE AMAZING.

Here's a few more photos from the shoot:


I have started thinking about the next character to make, but I haven't gotten very far.  Any suggestions?


I am going to add "Mind on Paper" by Reason to Believe today.  One reason is simply Jon Bunch's voice, and the other is how important my brainstorming was to get this all put together.  I have so many notes about this.



Ohhh the details are so good!!! This is absolutely stunning. An amazing tribute and such phenomenal work. Thank you so much for bringing a little bit of the KD world to life here!!!

Thank you for sharing your work. You did an amazing job of creating the outfit within such well researched parameters. It wonderful that the items can be used and not just as a costume. I loved the photos and really enjoyed reading about your process. Thanks for helping bring one of my favorite characters to life.

Really wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing!

I absolutely love the clothing, the thought process, the photos…everything. So cool for you use your amazing talent crafting and creating this character clothing. I love it all. Can’t wait to see what else you create.

I love all things Julie! Can't wait for the next installment of the series. Until then I can enjoy your cosplay ❤️

Wow. I can't believe how great this looks and how talented you are. this is such beautiful work. Good on you.

Also, I had no idea polyester was plastic (should I have known that) and now I do. thanks!

Again, wow. such great work.

I hope you do Andrea or Luther next.

I agree that Andrea would be an excellent character to create a wardrobe for. There are such good descriptions in the Gunmetal Magic book. I would love to see "the dress" from the pages of that book. It sounds amazing. It looks like your body type matches Andrea's, too.

I haven't read Gunmetal Magic since it came out! It is back in the Too Read Pile as of today!

I agree that Andrea would be an excellent character to create a wardrobe for. There are such good descriptions in the Gunmetal Magic book. I would love to see "the dress" from the pages of that book. It sounds amazing. It looks like your body type matches Andrea's, too.

What amazing work! I love to see the way talented, artistic people can make the characters so real. I'll back up your thoughts on straight-leg versus full-leg on horseback--to much fabric, even denim, and you get bunching (chafing) or else your jeans get caught in part of the saddle.
Amazing! thanks for sharing!

Squee! Mad skills, the details are so

Squee! Mad skills, the details are so

You should be so damned proud of yourself. Thoughtful, amazing work.

You do the BDH proud! Kudos for making everyday-wearable homage pieces.

You stated " I am not young and not beautiful," but I disagree. You are beautiful and you have created amazing outfits to a character we love so much. You brought Julie to life with your outfit. You talent is amazing and your thought process for creating the clothing is awe-inspiring. Thank you - you brought a huge smile to my face. I wish I could sew and create like you! You are sharing your joy in Julie and I love it.

Again, THANK YOU!!!


What about making the black dress Andrea describes for her "date" with Raphael in Gunmetal Magic. The one when they break into Anapa's house looking for his tooth. I have it on my Nook, and the description starts on page 112.

Wonderful job and design - What a lovely tribute to House Andrews. Wishing you continued success on your mad skills and talented imagination.

What a ridiculously awesome project! Those pants are so well done, the welt pocket looks fantastic and the fit is spot on! Love how you married so much creativity with your technical skills to create secret cosplay! Really cool to read your blogpost about the process

Thank you!

Fabulous work! Thanks for adding your thought process to explain your choices. I can relate to the search for just the right fabric and pattern and fit is always an issue. Oh the rabbit trails and hours involved in the "hmm, I wonder" thoughts when we see something or read something that attracts our interest. I've made everything from fitted flannel diapers for my first child to a down parka to a zippered water draining bag for duck decoys. You have peaked the interest of the BDH we will be waiting to see your next creation!

The talent that went into this…amazing! I especially appreciated all the thought you put into each of your choices (design, fabric, etc.) Like every other member of the BDH (Book Devouring Horde) I would love to see your take on other outfits from any Ilona Andrews books, Kate Daniels or otherwise.Thank you so much for sharing!

The passion that goes into your work is inspiring, this is really brilliant! Well thought out and beautifully made! As a card-wielding member of the BDH I must say well done, you are awesome!

A whole new level of creativity and bringing one of everyone's favorite characters to life, again.
I hope you had lots of fun putting this amazing set together. Thank you for sharing it with us.

A whole new level of creativity and bringing one of everyone's favorite characters to life, again.
I hope you had lots of fun putting this amazing set together. Thank you for sharing it with us.

This is so awesome! I enjoyed how you walked us through the entire project. You put so much thought into this! I love it.

So thorough and well done. Your creativity and detail are apparent. Kudos and thank you for sharing.

You nailed it. I think you did such a good job. I really admire your intention with the fabrics and the desire to keep them natural fibers. And thank you for your links to the patterns.

Thank you.

Squeeeeal. I love history bounding because neat odd clothing I can actually wear...and other hx clothing folk recognize bits of. Now, i can Fiction bound. Ty ty ty lovely makes!

OMG Fiction Bounding is now a thing!

I love all the books and characters like you and wanted to say well done. You showed your love for Julie with amazing creativity and a lot of talent! You did an amazing job. I hope you realize how amazing you are, thanks again for sharing. I wish much happiness apon you

I love the homage to Julie and the Ilona Andrews series. You're very talented!

A BDH member :)

I strolled over from the IA blog. Awesome work and 100% agree that fitting pants is a miracle. I can't sew straight lines for my life (I'm a lefty which I think is somehow interfering but I haven't tried hard enough to figure it out). You have talent. I loved the natural fiber rule. I ponder my clothing fiber content more than a non-sewer probably should.

And if i may, youth fades, beauty is subjective and unreliable, but talent is unmistakable and yours to grow!

What a great post. I love your creativity.
I made a Mountain saddle bag from Emmaline this year too and now I’m going to think of Julie when I use it!


Those pants are EVERYTHING! Smart move using ThredUp, aren't they the best!!
And yes: Julie will ALWAYS be Julie, this brief (LOL, years long) stint as Aurelia be darned.
Thanks for the fun, from another BDH lurker.

Such a great job! I'm very impressed.

You did an absolutely beautiful job and you are also quite beautiful. A lovely tribute and your talent (I have tried to sew. I'm pretty good at making book bags--the square ones with no detail) is amazing. Thank you for blogging it and sharing it with us. I love capes, natural fibers and hidden pockets!

You did a fantastic job! But what I enjoyed as much as your creations was hearing the reasons behind your choices, why this and not that. That was fascinating to me. I also really appreciate the links and for being honest about how practical the outfits were in the real world.

I'd love for you to do Andrea next!

I’m another BDH lurker who wandered over to see your Julie. I love your outfit and all the thought that went into it. I also learned a new (to me) term in History Bounding. I’m totally sold on Fiction Bounding too, thanks to your fine example.


I totally love your creativity! Amazing work!

Amazing work, very inspiring. Thank you for sharing!

Another person that got send over from the IA blog, agree with others, this is amazing!

Also going to add, do not worry about plastics. In a universe where you can make leather out of mythical creatures, I like to think Julie got gifted a potion bag made of something powerful that could resemble plastic.

You are beautiful and talented. Being young is for beginners. Weathered with knowledge and skill are very attractive. You have created a unique outfit. Love the pocket placement. The cloak has pockets?

Please don’t photoshop you. Your story is unique and full of amazing ancestry.

Ilona Andrews embedded a link to your page on her blog, & I am so glad I clicked on it! You have completely captured Julie’s style with your sewing. As a child, my Gran sewed/created a few outfits for me based on my favorite books. I wish I had inherited her skills with scissors, thread, & needles.
I enjoyed reading how you thoughtfully created Julie’s look,
PS. As a crew member of the Metal Rose, I don’t think there is anything odd about buying a metal flower from Etsy.

Wow! So much thought into the material as well as the fit and detail and I love the photoshoot ‘tone’ . ( I found the link via the IA website)

Wow! This is amazing. Wonderful work. I think it's impressive how you stayed so true to the KD world, Julie's character, and her plan to be incognito.
I also now know I need to get a cloak and a metal rose. :) #teammetalrose

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