This year H asked if I could make her a dragon costume for Halloween. Given that I’m usually banned from using contrasting thread for top stitching because it’s too jazzy I was pretty thrilled by her choice. Initially S wanted to be a dragon too but once she realized a dragon slayer costume would come with a sword and a helmet she was keen to swap her allegiance.
To make the cape I used exactly the same method as I did to make owl/bird wings for my nephew last year. (The tutorial is available here) The only difference was that once the scales were all sewn on I finished only the top edge with bias binding. The middle edges were sewn straight on to a 3-piece spined tail. Then I cut a semi-circle in the middle of the top edge to attach the hood.
The wings are made from black polycotton and the scales from 3 different shades of shiny polyester. The tail is made from an odd piece of coated black jersey which I printed with fabric paint scales and stuffed with wadding. To create the printed scale effect quickly I used a sponge to apply paint over some mesh foil to create lots of little circles.
I used the same material to make the leggings. I drafted the pattern to create spines down the backs of the calves by drawing round another pair of leggings and moving the single leg seam to the back of the leg, adding in triangles along the seam which were stuffed with wadding after construction.
H printed the scales on a slightly-too-small long-sleeved black t-shirt using the same method described above. We made the cardboard horns together by cutting out small strips of corrugated card, creating a series of tubes decreasing in size and sticking them together using a glue gun. We then wrapped the whole thing in masking tape, pierced two small holes in both horns (for threading with elastic later) and painted. The trick to giving them the illusion of more texture is to paint them a darker colour, leave them to dry and then over paint in a lighter colour with very little paint on the brush so it is only picked up by the raised surfaces.
When the horns were finished we strung them on a piece of elastic so they could be worn like a headband. To attach them to the hood of the cape I added 4 buttonholes so the elastic could be threaded in and out of the hood.
S’s costume was a pretty simple make by comparison. The tunic part of the costume was made quickly using a lengthened version of a Rowan Tee and some quilted silver knit fabric. Initially I made the neckline in the same fabric as it was quite stretchy but as it turned out, nowhere near stretchy enough for S’s large head, so I cut the neckline wider and used super stretchy grey cotton ribbing instead. One set of curved triangular shoulder armour was inserted in the shoulder seam, with the other set in slightly and sewn on by hand.
The helmet gave me much more trouble and ended up tighter than I would have liked. The construction was actually fairly simple using the 4 pieces shown below but applying the stretchy silver lame over the curves proved frustrating. The felt horns were sewn on by hand at the end.
For the sword, I cut the basic shape out of hardboard and then handed it over to the girls to
collaboratively argumentatively apply papier-mache and paint.
Happily both girls loved their respective costumes and their play fighting didn’t get much more hostile than a leaf fight.