Recently a small horde of folks descended on my home to attend CONvergence, a local Sci Fi/Fantasy Con that is 7 blocks from my house. The lovely Grace was roped into participating in a Masquerade entry (more on that later) and consequently wound up attending with some of her high school friends. She planned on re-wearing her Clara costume, her USO Girl costume, etc., but she REALLY wanted a Daenerys costume from “Game of Thrones.”
I found fabric that seemed suitable and stamped it with gold spray paint. Grace didn’t like the finished product, so she decided she wanted to try to do it herself. The original fabric was a silk chiffon, but that seemed rather pricey and we were under a deadline, so I found a crinkled cotton voile/gauze that was the right color and mimicked the original very well. Grace used some gold scrapbooking ink and stamped the fabric over a number of days. Then she ironed it to set it and washed it.
Almost all the ink washed out. This was rather unfortunate, but also a good learning experience for Grace in costuming – not everything works out well the first time.
I went to Dick Blick and got some fabric paint (and more sponges) and she re-stamped and re-ironed everything. I actually think this finished version is nicer looking than the previous one.
As for shoes, I had a hard time finding a screen shot of her feet, so Grace bought some woven sandals from Target and painted over the silver finish with a gold leafing pen and sealed it with nail polish.
For her hair we re-used the White Queen wig, last seen as Reinette’s hair at Gallifrey One in February. It is a bit curlier than the original, but it was free and the color was pretty close. I explained to Grace that the original hair looked to be crimped, and she doubted my assessment. I assured her that I had lived through the 80’s and was well versed on what crimping was.
Because Daenerys is the Mother of Dragons, I decided she needed a dragon egg. But the idea of carrying around an egg all day seemed rather silly if it didn’t have a function other than as an egg prop, so I decided it should be a purse. I bought a coconut purse off of eBay as the base. I hot-glued a paper-mache half-dome on top for more height, and covered the whole thing in Fimo Air-drying clay.
However, I really had paid no attention at all to the clay I bought. I had naively assumed that all clay was air-dry, and so when I needed more clay to cover the join between the two pieces, I grabbed some Sculpy and added that. (Everything was also hot-glued in place for additional stability.) I found out at Dick Blick that the Sculpy needed to be oven baked which was not going to happen now that there was hot glue. By sheer luck I had grabbed the only package of Fimo that was air-dry, so the rest of the egg was already drying just fine. I removed the Sculpy, bought and added more Fimo, and set it aside for 2 days to dry.
When it had dried I drilled through the interior holes again to make space for the cording, and then primed and painted the egg with the same gold I was using on the belt. I sponged a bit of the gold fabric paint on it as well to add a bit more dimension and coordination with the dress and then sealed it with a clear coat. A strong gold cord weaves through both pieces to hold the pieces together.
It was just large enough to hold a lipstick and some cash, but not big enough to hold an iPhone. After using it all day at Con, Grace lost only one scale. I rather like the thumb prints on the scales, as it makes it look more weathered.
The belt was the biggest headache (literally) of the costume. I went through several ideas of how to make it (leather? Worbla?) and finally decided on hot glue. I found an amazing tutorial on Pinterest where another costumer had made the same outfit and used hot glue. It was GENIUS. The hot glue was easy to use (although stinky and headache inducing), and if a section needed to be redone you could cut it out and re-glue it. Also? I know this seems rather intuitive, but hot glue is HOT. I am missing sections of skin from my fingers from touching the glue, hitting the gun, etc. Be more careful than I was.
I made a pattern from a belt I saw on Pinterest and laid the hot glue down on a silicone mat over it.
It was very easy – do a section, wait for it to cool, move it down, and do another. It took several hours, but the end result was very strong and pliable. I made the shoulder sections in the same way. At the edges I added a double row of glue for more stability.
I primed the pieces with Krylon paint for plastic. One thing I discovered after priming that couldn’t really be seen on the plain glue was the little bits of strings that were everywhere from doing touch-ups of the glue. I wound up figuring out a better way to do the hot glue to avoid this (take your finger off the glue trigger, wait, and then press the tip on plain silicone to stop strings from forming), but I still wound up cutting out and clipping off lots of little glue strings and bumps.
I spray painted the plastic with 24K gold spray paint, and then sealed it with a Krylon sealer. The gold did rub off a bit during the wearing, but not so it was terribly noticeable. The sealer also took away the shine and made it more matte looking.
I was unhappy with the middle section and the edges (and the shoulder pieces were too large), so I wound up cutting these sections out and re-doing them, re-painting, re-sealing, etc. The end result looked better. I did find out afterwards that hot glue comes in COLORS. We could have just done the whole thing in gold and saved ourselves the headache of painting it. Ah well, live and learn.
The belt was laced shut in back with gold cord. It blended in fine and the belt stayed put all day, despite bending, sitting, etc. It never broke, never melted, nothing. It was great stuff.
The beads that hang on the belt were random beads I bought at Michaels that resembled those worn by the Khaleesi on the show. The colors are not screen accurate, but as I learned from my German portrait reproduction, that stuff can get very expensive very fast, so we went with Good Enough. I strung them on gold beading cord and then laced the cord through various parts of the belt. The cording blended with the belt very well. The beads stayed put the whole day.
In assembling the dress, I used this tutorial for inspiration. For modesty’s sake I did build the gown on a low-back strapless bra. The dress is made of 5 pieces – 2 in the front, 1 in the back and 2 for the “cape”. All seams were rolled on my serger. I sewed the 2 front panels together and tacked them down around the bottom edges of the front of the bra cups. The fabric on the sides were also tacked down for several inches on the back sides of the bra. The low back piece was gathered with elastic and tacked down on the bra so as to have even fullness above the belt.
The shoulder sections were heavily gathered with my ruffler, and then sewn onto rectangular wire frames made with florist wire. The cape in back was sewn together leaving a “V” at the neckline. The top edges were gathered in the same way as the front, and sewn onto the other end of the wire frames. The wire frames were bent to fit the shoulders. They seemed the best option to be able to stay in place, as all the other reproductions of this costume I have seen seem to have the pieces sliding off the shoulders due to not enough shape. The weight of the drape in back pulls the shoulder pieces into place. I stitched the gold hot glue pieces onto the wire frame with gold thread. The benefit of hot glue is that you can actually stitch through it if you need to, and it doesn’t compromise the stability of the entire piece.
The belt holds the rest of the bodice/back fabric in place, and either side of the cape is tacked into place just below the armpits.
We used about 6 1/2 yards of 54 inch wide fabric, and this seemed to be correct in terms of giving the proper amount of fullness. The bra attached inside gave additional support, and security in case anything ever moved.
It was actually a fairly basic outfit to sew, it was just the prep-work of the hot glue and the stamping that took up the most amount of time.
Grace said it was a very comfortable outfit to wear, very lightweight, and she really enjoyed it. She wasn’t even 10 feet out of the car towards the door when someone put down the stuff they were unloading from their car and asked for her photo, which I took as a good sign. She was one of the only people there wearing this costume, and the most screen accurate, which was what she was going for. She wound up getting a Khal Drogo necklace, and bought a little dragon to put inside her egg, which was pretty adorable.
She said it was nice that for the first time she could say, “I made this with my Mom.”
In the future I think I would like to tack down the gathers at the waist in front in order to stop the fabric from riding up or moving around, and I need to paint over the wire frames with a gold pen, otherwise I really wouldn’t change anything else. Except maybe using gold hot glue…
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