Speaks With Costumes

We’ve received our character sheets for Once Upon a Tombstone, so I can say that I’ve been cast as Speaks With Nations, a Native American. (No surprise to anyone who might have peeked at my Pinterest.)

I actually already have a Native American costume, created for another Western LARP (Redemption: High Noon at the Devil’s Luck.) But I was never totally thrilled with it. My mother actually sewed a basic dress shirt out of tan faux suede and sent it to me. I took it, and using fabric glue (I didn’t have access to Mr. Sew-and-Sew, my sewing machine), I glued on trim, feathers, beads, beaded rosettes, and fringe. The fabric glue was a pain to use- never using that again!

Not bad, but I kind of wanted something a little more elegant looking. And maybe a little more authentic. (Definitely gonna wear that necklace again, though.)

So I started searching online for more Native American dress, and I found the stuff that’s a sort of natural off-white color, with less trimming, appealed to me the most. Here are a couple of my favorites:

I didn’t really have a plan for this costume, except for a few doodles. But I had no pattern, and didn’t want to ask for help for another costume while my Cottington Woods costume wasn’t completely done. I think this might be one of the first costumes I’ve sewn completely from scratch, without any help at all and no pattern.

Which is actually why it’s kind of a hot mess.

First, I went to Joann Fabrics today for fabric and trimming and took a wild guess at how much of everything I’d need. I think I got too much. We’ll see. Then I came home, lay the fabric out on the floor, and promptly wished I had an extra pair of hands, more tools, and a dressmaker’s dummy. I didn’t do any real measuring… this is not something I would recommend. The shapes of the Native dresses I’d liked were very simple- no darts, no tailoring… everything was basic, and loose… I figured there was a wide margin of error. A lot of it reminded me of the Greek chiton I’d made, which was pretty straightforward.

Well… that was maybe half true. It took me a few times to get the sleeves working, especially since I had this grand idea where instead of creating the fringe as its own piece sewn into the hem of the sleeve, I’d leave a huge piece of the sleeve itself hanging and cut fringe into it. As it happens, I didn’t quite create the fringe at the very bottom of the sleeve, so the weight pulls the hem at the shoulder down (which is a bit odd looking, because I was trying to recreate the overlapping hem, as seen in the second dress above.) I also cut the fringe of the bottom way, way higher than a meant to (I might add some fabric to cover that.) And the fabric frays far worse than I expected it to.

Well, live and learn. I’m still kinda proud. Here it is, mostly finished. I still want to create a belt and a bag to match.

The fringe needs to be evened out, I have to decide what I’m doing with the trim, if anything, and that’s obviously not the belt I plan to wear. I might have added fringe to the edge of the sleeve, but I didn’t want it in my way while shuffling through character sheets and cards.

What do you think? Better or worse than the Redemption costume?

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About Fair Escape

I've been LARPing for years in all different styles, including both boffer and theater. I love classic LARP but I'm always happy to try something new. I have a sort of "gotta catch 'em all" attitude towards experiencing LARPs. I'm currently serve as a board member of NEIL, a member of proposal com for Intercon, the largest all LARP convention in the US, and as en editor for Game Wrap, a publication about the art and craft of LARP. I was also con chair of Festival of the LARPs 2017, and I'm on staff for NELCO, the first all LARP conference in the US. I'm
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