It’s finished! I spent all of last week putting my skills to work and constructing my Game of Thrones Melisandre costume for this year’s Motor City Comic Con. Generally, I like to tease what I’m going as and post after attending MCCC, but I put more work into this costume than any of my previous cosplays, so I’m not really concerned about timing this year. Plus, I’m just so excited to share!
Alright, so in my last post I briefly talked about the fabric and the ‘ruby’ jewel (her necklace will be a separate post) I bought. As a refresher, here’s the photo.
I used my slopers from college, when I was heavier. The funny thing about these slopers is that they’re from when I was 10 pounds heavier than I am right now, but I had to make a lot of adjustments to make them fit correctly, which is kind of encouraging because I’ve been beating myself up for the past 4 years for gaining weight – but that’s a story for another time.
The first thing to note about this dress is that it’s basically a floor-length wrap dress, which is great because there’s no zippers involved, just ties. I initially drafted it with darts, but after looking at photo stills from the show, I noticed her dresses actually had princess seams, which honestly made everything easier. Praise be to the princess seam gods for saving fabric!
Since it is a wrap dress, I extended the center front piece several inches toward the center, to allow for appropriate coverage so my tits and hoo-ha don’t fly out, and also because that’s how Mel’s dress looks in the show.
After drafting the patterns, I laid them out on my fabric and extended the pieces 47 inches from my waist – an extra 3 inches longer than my waist to floor measurement. This is for the hand-sewn hem I did. I also flared them out in one direction each, to add volume to the dress. I didn’t flare them out in both directions because I didn’t want to waste fabric and also because this dress doesn’t need THAT much volume.
All of the pattern pieces have a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
These are NOT set up according to how they’ll be sewn together.
For whatever reason, I decided this dress needed a lining at the top – it really doesn’t, in retrospect, but school taught me to line everything, so I did. I used the same pattern pieces as I did for the dress, but I didn’t extend them past their size.
Sewing everything together was a tricky and slow process for once in my life. I usually rush into sewing and mess something up, but I kept my mess-ups to only 1 this time around.
Anyway, as you can see in the photo below, I sewed only the ticked parts at first, while the dress was still “flat”. After sewing those parts together, I flipped the dress and attached the dress at the shoulders and the lining at the shoulders, before then finishing up the un-ticked parts. This ensures that you can an easy sewing process because if you sewed everything up at once, you’d have to do some weird tube sewing things that are more work than they’re worth IMO.
Here’s my initial try on photos, without sleeves, and then after I attached sleeves. You can see it’s kinda baggy and loose prior to adjustments, especially above the boobs. There’s a lot of excess fabric there.
I pre-adjusted my sleeve pattern from my original sloper because I’ve lost quite a lot of weight in my arms. These fit nearly perfectly, but I did have to tuck a little fabric in on itself at the armpit area on the sleeve.
A couple notes about the sleeves:
- I originally designed them to be square in the drop, but decided I’d taper them off into points instead. Mel’s dresses in the show seem to have to the square kimono style that Michelle Clapton seems to love way too much. I’m personally not a fan of the weird mixture of English medieval and Japanese styles, so I tapered mine.
- Her sleeves in the show are floor length, mine are not.
- Mel’s sleeves also feature a white ‘hem’ of sorts. Mine do not, although I could go in and create the illusion with a simple straight stitch.
1. How the sleeve looks with bias.
2. The lined inside of the sleeve.
3. Hand stitching the lining to the sleeve.
4. Serged armpit
I made bias strips instead because I love bias strips for their versatility and also because I wanted really nice clean edges. I ended up being to handstitch the lining around the elbow because of the way I sewed it in. I also serged the armpit after I sewed it with my sewing machine for overall bulk reduction and cleanliness.
I also lined the neckline of the dress with bias.
I did not extend this bias all the way down, however, and instead opted for doubling over the edges and stitching them down.
While I didn’t take pictures of this, I DID attached a sewed up bias piece that wraps around my waist about 5 times to a spot at the waist that meets with the slightly extended bias on the part of the wrap that overlaps so I can tie the dress shut. I also attached bias to the inside of the dress – like you might find inside a robe, that keeps the underlapping piece in place.
After that, it was just final adjustments, including stitching the hem by hand. I didn’t want a visible hemline. In the photos below you’ll see:
- Preliminary final photo. No adjustments made, no safety pins to hold anything in place and no snaps sewn in yet. This was just a fitting to see what I needed to adjust.
- After serging off excess fabric at the chest and securing a closing point for where I’d place a snap.
- Final shot after sewing in a snap. I haven’t decided yet, but I think I might sewn another snap on for extra security. I puffed my chest out a couple times and it snapped open, so I gotta be careful.
So that’s about it. I’m really excited! I have to figure out the mechanics of making the necklace and then I can post about that too. I ordered prescription colored contacts from Desio that I’m hoping and praying get here in time.
I’m also trying to decide whether I want to try texturizing the dress. You’ll notice that Mel’s dresses have subtle designs – mostly texture – and the fabric I used is flat. I’m going to get the point across of who I am regardless, but it’s just a thing that bothers me. Oh, and shoulder pads. Her dresses are structured in the shoulders.
I also need to order red extensions eventually. I was planning on braiding up the yellow part of my hair (if I decide to continue with multiple colors) and attaching extensions but we’ll see.