Is THIS Bliss?!

Lorina's Blog

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All Dressed Up, No Place to Go

Well, we HAD someplace to go, but it didn’t quite turn out that way. Last night, we got all dressed up for the pre-Halloween party at a local bar, and didn’t make it. It just wasn’t in the stars.

For one, I was tired and cranky. Call me an old fuddy-dud, but I wish bands started playing earlier. I’m normally heading for sleepytime by 10pm, not raring to just start partying. So that was already working against me.

Secondly, none of our friends were going. And the party was billed as a pre-Halloween clown-themed party. So we might have been the only ones dressed in costumes. Not that it would be the first time I was only one dressed up, but it’s a little awkward.

And… did I mention clown-themed!? I hate clowns. Poltergeist was the last movie to really scare me, and it wasn’t the tv people, the bodies popping out of the ground, the man-eating tree or the closet/portal to another dimension that really bothered me.

*shudder*

*shudder*

Also, I broke a dragon getting into the car. Poor Rhaegal, the green dragon, lost a wing. And I couldn’t detach him from my shoulder without taking my armor off, and I can’t take it off without help to undo the bra-type hooks in the back (or as Fritz calls them, “fucking combination locks!”), especially the ones at the back of my neck. And it’s nearly impossible to see them in the dark.

Nothing a little hot glue won't fix.

Nothing a little hot glue won’t fix.

Lastly, some crazy-ass mo-fo swerved into our lane and almost hit us head on. Seven hells! I can take a sign. We turned around and came home. There will be more parties over the next twelve days.

And I’m glad we did get all dressed up, because it was the first time seeing our costumes in their entirety, to work out any issues. And there’s issues that need work.

Khaleesi!

1) Maybe I’d be better off having Fritz carry my phone. Tying a little purse around my waist is a good idea for my ID and some cash, but my phone is colossal. Or at least swivel it around the back. But I don’t want an unsightly rectangular bulge on my bum, either.

2) The green dragon needs rethinking. Either keep him attached to the shoulder of the armor, but don’t put it on until we get there, or find another way to wear/carry him, so I can sit down in the car and put in a seatbelt.

Jorah and Daenerys

3) Fritz is significantly larger than me. The chest piece armor that seemed the right size holding it up to my short torso is way too small on his taller body. Guess we’ll need to eat more pizza this week to get more cardboard to make more armor. Darn!

4) Other minor tweaks, like cutting the sleeves of the “chainmail” a little shorter, maybe pinning some elastic to the bottom of his pants to keep them tucked into the boots better. Like stirrup pants from the 80s.

5) Don’t put on the sword belt until after we get there. You can ride a horse while wearing a sword, but not drive a car.

6) I now know why everyone had squires and handmaidens in the books. It’s damn near impossible to put on armor by yourself.

7) Never go blonde.

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Game of Thrones Costumes, Part Three: Daenerys Targaryen

I already posted about the dragons and my trusted knight, Ser Jorah, and now here’s the making of my Daenerys Targaryen (aka Dany, aka Khaleesi) costume. Warning, there’s a lot of trial and error, and a crapton of photos…

I'm basing it off this outfit from Season Two.

I’m basing it off this outfit from Season Two.

I'm basing it off this outfit from Season 2.

Here’s a little better detail of the armor.

I started… Well, I started by rummaging through the stockpile of fabrics and notions I’ve accumulated over the years. A lot of it is fabric my mom had bought at yard sales and flea markets. There was a light turquoise moire fabric, which seemed close enough to the color of the dress. And I have boxes of dress patterns from years ago. There has to be something that will be close enough for the dress. Ooh, and there’s a brown leather skirt from a thrift store that was mainly purchased for the leather, but it fits pretty darn good, so that will work for underneath. Ooh, and there’s loads of gold braid trim… that will look enough like the armor if it’s stitched on the dress, right?

And you know what? It did look pretty good, until I joined a Game of Thrones Costuming group on Facebook, and found this amazing blog by one of the members, where she made the armor from hot glue, and it looked freakin’ incredible. After seeing their work, I tore all the braid off the dress and started over.

Applying the braid... all the braid on.... all the braid ripped off again.

Applying the braid… all the braid on…. all the braid ripped off again.

I started making the armor using the cups and back strap from a bikini pattern I had in the vaults.

I started making the armor using the cups and back strap from a bikini pattern I had in the vaults.

Take two. I traced the pattern pieces onto paper, and used a sheet of glass from a picture frame (I don’t use the glass when I frame a painting, so I end up with extra pieces of glass) instead of a glue mat. A squirt of PAM cooking spray, smeared over the glass, makes it easier to peel the glue off. The pieces were then stitched together.  Once the basic bikini shape was made, I taped it to my dress form and used paper to draw the pattern pieces for the straps, back, collar and sleeves.

The back strap on the glass, and pieces stitched together.

The back strap on the glass, and pieces stitched together.

As I mentioned before, I’m thrifty. Beyond thrifty, I’m cheap. So instead of going out and buying more spray paint, I used the paint I had, which included copper that I used to prime the armor, then gold acrylic paint stippled on top.

And naturally, after painting it all by hand, I found a can of gold spray paint.

And naturally, after painting it all by hand, I found a can of gold spray paint.

I loved how it all came together, and happily moved on to work on Fritz’s costume. But earlier this week, I tried it all on together and took some pictures…. and HATED it.

I liked the armor, but I needed to make shorter straps because I have a shorter torso than my dress form. The boobs were too low. No big deal, just squirt a little more glue onto glass. But the dress just plain didn’t fit right. It was too short, too tight in the chest, too big everywhere else. And the fabric itself was too plain. Hmmmm….

Take three. I rummaged back through my box of dress patterns and found one a different one with similar seaming to Dany’s dress.  Previously, I Frankensteined (it’s a verb!) a couple different dresses together, and it didn’t work right. But this one… I just need to make the sleeves shorter, the v-neck deeper and adjust the length of the side panels.

It takes a weird eye to see this pattern (from 1993) and think,

It takes a weird eye to see this pattern (from 1993) and think, “That will be perfect for Khaleesi’s dress!”

I still had yards and yards of the fabric I used on the first dress, but I wanted to tweak it and make it look more like the fabric on the real dress. It looked vaguely like a giraffe print, so I did a google image search, and printed out a giraffe print on cardstock. Then cut the cardstock to make a stencil.

I cut out each pattern piece, then stenciled them.

I cut out each pattern piece, then stenciled them.

I used a metallic blue paint, so it would have a little shimmer, and stenciled lightly, making sure most of the paint was blotted off, because I didn’t want it to be stiff.

Crinkled fabric.

Even before the paint, the fabric was a little stiff. And Dany’s real dress was a little wrinkly. So I dipped the dress pieces in fabric softener, and scrunched them together, tied with thread, and hung in the bathroom, so they’d dry overnight. The result left the fabric crinkled, kind of like a broomstick skirt.

The finished dress, then the finished dress with the armor and the hip banding.

The finished dress, then the finished dress with the armor and the hip banding.

One thing Dany never had to worry about was carrying cash, her phone, her ID. So I used some fabric scraps to make a little bag inspired by my running belt. It’ll tie around my waist, over the skirt and under the dress, so it’ll be hidden from view. And my poor husband won’t have the carry my phone and lipstick.

Bag

Lastly, the wig. As mentioned before, I’m cheap, so I bought a white-blonde wig at Joann Fabric as soon as their Halloween merchandise went half price. That’s the nice thing about craft stores… their holiday stuff goes on sale before the holiday, not after. So if you ever need some props or makeup, check AC Moore, Joann Fabric and Michaels before heading to the Halloween Superstores.

I'm so happy Emelia Clarke, the actress who plays Dany, has massive eyebrows, so I don't have to worry about mine clashing with the hair color.

I’m so happy Emelia Clarke, the actress who plays Dany, has massive eyebrows, so I don’t have to worry about mine clashing with the hair color. I have to draw mine even thicker to match hers!

The wig was pretty awful at first. I had to add Dany’s braids, then it was ridiculously shiny. I read online that baby powder and liquid fabric softener can dull the shine on synthetic hair, and it looked much better after doing both. Dipping it in a fabric softener and water mix, then letting it air dry, also helped relax the curls into gentle waves.

Ok, so the cost of the whole costume? Not counting the hours… about $12. Ten bucks for the wig, and about two dollars worth of hot glue for the armor, using a coupon. All the rest… the paint, the skirt, the fabric, zippers, clasps, thread, patterns, were supplies I had on hand. Total for both our costumes and the dragons? Around $25.

We’ll be wearing them tonight, so stay tuned for photos of everything all together.

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Game of Thrones Costumes, Part Two: Ser Jorah Mormont

I just found out yesterday that our favorite area bar is having their Halloween party tomorrow, not next weekend as I expected, so I’ve been going nutty finishing up the last minute details on the costumes. I don’t have any photos of everything all put together, but I will tomorrow.

Ok, so Ser Jorah, Dany’s exiled knight and advisor, perpetually friend-zoned.

Ser Jorah

I’m not being as precise with his costume as I am with my own, because, well… who the hell wants to wear THAT much armor? And why was he wearing all of it in a frickin’ desert to begin with?! So I’m just doing the neck and shoulder armor. And since I’m not a smith, it’s out of cardboard. More specifically, the lightweight cardboard from cereal, soda and frozen pizza boxes. Recycling at it’s finest!

It's not delivery, it's Ser Jorah!

It’s not delivery, it’s Ser Jorah!

For the neck and back pieces, I drew the basic shape by tracing the neckline and shoulder seam of a t-shirt, then cut it out of cardboard. The pauldrons (shoulder armor) were designed by folding, cutting, taping and tucking a big sheet of paper until i got the basic shape I wanted, then used that as a pattern to cut them from the cardboard.

wire

To be able to shape and bend the pieces, I glued floral wire between the layers of cardboard. That’s also why I added the banding to the pauldrons, to hide the wires. The rivets were dots of hot glue.

dots of glue

Then the pieces were spray painted black, with silver paint brushed over them. I wanted them distressed and worn, not perfect and shiny.

tada!

Tada!

The pieces of armor are held together with faux leather straps, hot glued in place. This is one area where even I felt a little too Martha Stewart-y… I made the buckles out of polymer clay.

Little Clay Buckles

Little Clay Buckles

It was out of thrift and the desire to save time more than anything. If I’d bought buckles, I would have had to drive about 10 miles and spend about $10. It took less time to make them and bake the clay than it would have just to drive to the fabric store. I cut the shape with a utility knife, then rolled the handle of my toy battle axe over them to give the embossed design.

Painting the sweater.

Since I’m not doing the full set of armor, I got a thrift store sweater and painted it silver to give the idea of chain mail. I cut the neckline and bottom banding off, and cut the sleeves shorter.

bracer

Looking at Jorah’s photo, I can’t imagine how he gets dressed on his own. He had all kinds of belts and strips of leather wound all over the place. I have a couple of belts I’ll be wrapping around one arm, and used scrap leather I trimmed off the skirt I’ll be wearing to make a bracer for the other arm. I glued strips of leather in a basket-weave design over a piece of faux suede, and used grommets and some cord to lace it up.

Not shown is a scabbard made from cardboard, covered in masking tape, and painted, which will attach to a belt and house a plastic sword I picked up a few years ago on clearance.

Spats

Lastly, the footwear. Since I don’t have the budget to buy my husband a kickass pair of knee high boots, let alone a clue where one could even BUY men’s knee high boots, I made spats that will go over his regular shoes and look like boots. Just measure the widest part of the calf, and the length and taper them a bit at the ankle. One seam up the back. I added some straps and some more clay buckles (so glad I didn’t have to run to the store to buy more!) so I can adjust the width if needed. I painted brown ultrasuede (because I already had it) with black acrylic paint for a weathered leather look.

Most the costume was made with materials and supplies I already had. I spent $2.49 for the thrift shop sweater (on half-price day) and about $10 on spray paint.

Poor Jorah never hooks up with Khaleesi on Game of Thrones, but after letting me dress him up like this, and especially after a couple $4 Long Island Ice Teas… the knight will get the girl tomorrow.

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