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?

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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