It’s probably impossible to costume something that is cheap, easy to make, beautiful, AND comfortable…but I’m pretty sure I pulled it off (times five)! Before I learned how to sew, I had most of the pieces of Catelyn Stark and Littlefinger from Game of Thrones commissioned for my husband and I. I was very pleased with the screen accuracy, durability, and wearability of Catelyn Stark for Halloween and Texas Renaissance Festival during the fall and winter months. However wearing it to DragonCon in Atlanta in the heat of summer was stupid hot, and I did it two years in a row!
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This year our niece wanted to join our Game of Thrones group, so I decided to make her a dress inspired by what the “ladies” wear in Littlefinger’s brothel in King’s Landing. I used two old tablecloths that I’ve kept for the sole purpose of covering plants in the winter from frost, and a strip of fabric from an old curtain that is no longer being used for anything. Brittany’s dress turned out so beautiful (and ridiculously comfortable) that I decided to make one for myself out of two curtain panels and a curtain panel scrap. Then I made yet another one out of purchased satin fabric and curtain scraps for my friend who didn’t get her Ygritte or Sand Snake costumes ready in time. Well I had enough old curtains in my closet, and caffeine in my system, that I made two extra dresses for two more ladies we recruited…just for fun. And it WAS fun! So my husband, as Littlefinger, had a horde of “ladies” on his arms at DragonCon and we were super comfortable.
Since I wasn’t making dresses for specific characters such as Shae or Ros, I had a little room for interpretation. I started with a sketch and ended up pinning fabric scraps to my dress form. I came up with basic measurements that would fit any body size and shape, kind of a one-size-fits-all. I included a vertical strip down the center of each front side (and sometimes down the back side), both to extend the horizontal width of the section, and to add a focal point or pop of color. Each of the five dresses has different widths on that center panel, but the basic measurement of the front side is the same. I’ve included a simplified pattern above, but it is more of a guide.
I think you could really have fun making your own and changing it up a bit. Cinch the tops like you would a curtain. Pull the arm holes tight to the small of your back and pin in place with a safety pin (allowing a cascade of fabric to cover the pin). It should fit/feel like a halter top with a small cape in the back. Add a metallic or leather belt for fun (but pull the belt under the back panel). Wear them around the house even…they’re so comfortable. Enjoy!
Edited to include photos of the back of dress to clarify closure, belting, and cape drape (above). From left to right, these photos show:
- Dress without closure or belt. The purple/cream is the front piece, and the sage green/purple is the back.
- Pull the front around under the arms and safety pin closed at the small of your back (or wherever you prefer).
- See that the back piece naturally creates a false cape, or what I would call a cascade of fabric.
- Add belt of your choosing and cinch or buckle in the back under the cape drape. I personally prefer metal chain belts (Luna Sosano Womens Chain Belt) but I’ve seen lovely wide fabric belts as well.