September 3rd, 2012
04:41 PM ET

Costuming at Dragon*Con: Be brave

Sewing is not for the faint of heart, or any other body part.

There's an incredible potential in fabric. It's easy to dream up beautiful possibilities for a few yards of alluring fabric. But, as soon as you press the foot pedal on the sewing machine, an irrevocable commitment has been made. At that point you can easily ruin the fabric and all that potential. And you can injure yourself doing it.

In total, I  started with 22 yards of fabric and a pile of rabbit fur scraps that I was going to turn into the outfit of a Heian-era Japanese fox demon. And anything could go wrong.

In the frenzy of stitching together long swaths of the costume's robes, I could accidentally catch my finger in the path of the sewing machine's needle (something of an ultimate fear for every person I know who sews). Or the sewing needle could hit one of the hundreds of straight pins holding yards and yards of fabric together, break and fly off God-knows-where, poking someone's eye out. There was a good chance I could end up bleeding all over this costume.

Luckily, the worst thing to happen was  stepped on a pin. It hurt, and now I have a small, bruised battle scar near the arch of my left foot to remind me of Dragon*Con 2012 and Tamamo no Mae.

As I started working on my costume, I made no assumptions about my ability to actually create the version of the costume that exists in my head: A Heian era (the period of Japanese history that lasted from 794 – 1185AD) court lady with nine red-tipped fox tails emerging from the train of her robes.

Check out iReporters' Dragon*Con costumes

I know how to use a sewing machine and follow a pattern, but I am far from a seamstress. I know what historic Japanese fabrics look like, but I also know there are no modern recreations of those silks and linens available at the local Hancock Fabrics. I know that an accurate version of a Heian era outfit consists of 12 large robes, layered on top of each other, with an undergarment robe and pants, to boot; but I also know that Atlanta, Georgia, is not the best place to wear 12 robes in the summer.

There were bound to be people on the internet who've been in similar circumstances, I hoped. So I took to Google to find their stories and figure out how to maximize my comfort and the finished product. FULL POST

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Filed under: Dragon*Con • Dragon*Con