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.
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.
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.
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.
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, “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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.