Posted in Costumes, Finished costumes

QUEEN IN THE NORTH also known as the Ravenna dress

Hello my dear readers,

let´s have  a crazy and magical trip to world where everything is allowed and where there are no borders of what is real and what is possible.

Are you ready?
Because this world is crazy as hell. And leaves you questioning your sanity!

Welcome to the world of Changeling: The lost.
I had the opportunity to NPC for the second run in Prague, playing a very badass raven Beast, spymaster and kick-ass biatch called Ravenna (to read about Changelings and stuff, go here).

ravenna
KRA-KRA, BITCHES! New queen is in the town.

Basically it is very well thought LARP set in the urban surroundings with a tons of very colorful costumes in contrast to the not so happy setting (Changeling being mainly about coping with being snatched away from your family and changed to something…else. All the characters were humans once. But no more!)

And you know me – I so love costumes and make up; so this was a must do!Not to mention I love playing bitches! I must have been one in my previous life.

It is one of my most favorite ensemble I´ve ever done, because… well, it turned out great and even better and I actually had tons of fun with the project.

It´s a blue and gold dress with a grey coat with blue/gold lining and feather collar. Who is not in love with some serious feathery awesomeness, hmm?

I was ill at the time, so I had almost 3 weeks to finish both – dress and the coat. So some of the details were hand stitched properly and it just looks divine!
But first of all, I needed the wig – which was happily purchased in an Otaku shop and I adore it. I´ve always wanted a proper lace-front wig and this one just does the trick.

So with the wig in the pocket and few make-up tests I was ready to start the dress.

Since I´m a huge fan of Game of Thrones and especially certain Targaryen lady´s wardrobe, I´ve decided to do a GOT inspired costume.

I purchased McCall´s pattern M6941 (here), which is definitely Daenerys inspired costume. I wanted to go for the opening on the back, which is to die for (and will show the crows on my back, teeeheee!)
I also had a quite a lot of (almost) Daenerys blue dupion lying around, so I´ve decided to give it a call. I was scared ***less to cut the fabric, but what to do with lot of nice, blue fabric, if not a beautiful dress.

The story of the blue dupion is very funny. I´ve purchased it in local store with silken products and historical brocade (here) in the winter 2015 with the aim to make it a Dragon Age mage costume for summer 2016 LARP.

Sadly the LARP never happened and it was lying around and just catching dust. So I just thought to give it a try (because it is just the right color, you know? The Targaryen blue!)

I´ve drafted the pattern on a dummy fabric first, because I really had the luxury of enough time. It always ends with the me fitting like crazy, because the size of the pattern never fits 100%. I have enough space for another of pair of boobs and half of a rugby player attached to my ribs.
At that time it was quite funny ordeal, as I had no sewing dummy, so it was all about “pin – try on – not scratch yourself – re-pin – try on”. Very tiresome process, if I may add.
I might have ended with the neckline being too low, so I had to add the golden fabric to have the dress less booby!

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Which was most likely to happen, if I was to fight in the dress. And hell yeah, I was fighting in that dress, so boo-yay for amended neckline!

I also had to do a bit of research, as the dress is a crossbreed between the following ones (for certain reasons like the front opening of the skirt, the sleeves…)

So I´ve ended drafting some of the dress patterns by hand and purely luck.
The skirt was made from golden and blue  synth. brocade and synthetic silk, which I´ve actually used also for lining of the bodice to add the solid feel (as the dupion is very soft)
All the colors go very nicely together. I´m not a big fan of bright color schemes (which makes the pink and green ball gown and the pink taffeta one of the brightest dresses I have) so the Ravenna dress was also intended to be very reserved but expensive looking.
As Ravenna was supposed to be in love with all things expensive and sparkly.

I had a lot of issue to cut the dupion, because not only was it one of my most expensive fabric, but i was not  100% sure I´ll have enough fabric. So I had to commit such atrocity like not following the warp and such. You have to position, baby! Yeehaaa!

 

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All nicely cut out and also underlined wit corset interfacing to hold the shape better.

Unfortunately I don´t have the process itself documented. Once I started to sew it went pretty quickly, the dress was finished in two days with lot of coffee breaks and time to sleep.

The long sleeves were add just not because I loved the white Daenerys dress with them, but also for my comfort. I wanted bare arms, but also something to cover my non-existing biceps (If you know, what I mean).
The sleeves are underlined with the gold/blue brocade to match the rest of the dress, duh!

I´m still not quite happy with the very plain bodice and the plan is to add the distinctive scales Daenerys has on her dress, but it´s a project for the future (I mean, the dress itself is very pretty, but I just want this one extra cherry on the top to make it AWESOME and make people go WOW!)

Also, looking at the lower hem, it will need some serious repairs!

It´s coat time!
I has in mind something interesting, as I had a tons of fluffy feathers lying around from the time I planned the Dragon Age costume (purchased here, and I really recommend to visit this shop, I have only the best experience). Nothing says raven more than feathered collar, right?

I had very heavy cotton twill in just enough length for the coat and blue/gold synthetic brocade I used also for the dress to do the magic.
What I learned from this experience is that you can do the fitting without a dummy, but it takes lot more time to do so. And oh boy, so many pin cuts and scratches one could imagine!

I used McCall´s pattern M6818, which is done after Evil Queen´s attire from Once upon a time (here).

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Again, I´ve encountered the issue with fitting the bodice. Apparently with bigger size comes everything bigger and girl just can´t have smaller wait then bust. I again ended up with too much excessive fabric under the bust and in the side seams.

Which is for me the most horrible work ever, so I just do not enjoy this par as much as the other parts of sewing. Actually I swear so much during the whole process of dress making that my husband usually asks why I do it, if it´s such martyrdom.

Well, the results are totally worth it!

 

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Almost finished bodice…

I had quite lot of time to do the lining all by hand, so it can be said it´s so far my most precise work. I actually still loathe hand stitching, but sometimes it´s really necessary in order to have everything nicely done, no unnecessary stitches showing on the fabric, right?

The feathers were bought on a lace, so it was easy to stitch them onto the collar in stripes. It creates this very impressive silhouette with lion-like mane.

I´ve also worn this costume to Carpathian Conclave for the second day. I´ve added a fur stole to the dress to have this “diva-like” feel, which is not entirely fantasy. As there was a huge guy on the “Iron throne” present (with the throne made of swords on set) I really felt like a Queen in the North.
And hey, I snatched the hunky guy on Iron throne, so, basically, it´s very good term to use.

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Ravenna with the horrid bitch face she had all the time.
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More of the make-up and wig close up. I was wearing huge black contact lenses and it was killing me.
Budapest By Night
The coat and the dress in the action. The awesome guy is Attila (yaas, gurl, THAT Attila)
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Close up of the dress, I´ve added small raven skulls on the ribbon on the neckline. Also, still very low neckline, but at least it´s not THAT low as before!
Budapest By Night
Don´t you just love the sleeves? I certainly do!
Budapest By Night
One with the fur stole – me making horrid faces again. I just can´t keep them faces straight, bitch!

 

Pictures from the Prague Changeling LARP and the Carpathian Conclave, courtesy of Budapest by Night, Zsigmond Kostály (kostyal.hu), Milán Mikó ( Miko Milan Photography) and Szilvia Petka.

XOXO, Rael

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