Daenerys Targaryen Cosplay
(Astapor dress from Season 3)
In this post I will be walking through the various stages of how I went about creating my Daenerys Targaryen cosplay from Season 3 of Game of Thrones.
This is her Astapor dress, along with the accessories she has at this time, along with a Drogon prop.
Dress & Cape:-
First step in this costume was finding the right fabric in the right colour - from the reference pictures, her dress and the outside of the cape is a royal blue colour, with the inside lining of the cape being a pale gold. I decided to go with silk as my fabric of choice, due to it's ability to be dyed to the perfect shade, it has a nice drape to it, and will be comfortable for all day wear.
I ordered a pale gold silk for the lining, and a light blue silk for the dress - which I then dyed royal blue using Dylon fabric dye.
I made my pattern so the dress would be a simple wrap over dress, with the cross over chest straps and shoulder smocking made separately, and stitched on after.
After my initial draft, this is what I had, the basic shape of the dress pieces.
I used a single layer of lightweight interfacing inside the band that acts as the collar, and wraps over at the front, as I wanted to ensure it held its shape and didn't wrinkle. I did the same with the sleeve pieces, to keep them in shape too. I cut each piece out of the silk fabric, and also out of a deep blue cotton which I used as the lining.
I stitched in some darts in the places shown in my planning sketch, in the bodice front and back pieces, and in both the skirt pieces. I started out by marking them with tailors chalk, and then did a tacking stitch to hold them together whilst I tried them on. Once I was happy with the fit, I machine stitched all the darts into place and did the same for the lining.
Next step was to stitch all the pieces together and attach the lining, as well as ironing the interfacing into the shoulder pieces. After assembling the pieces and adding in a zip, this is what I had. Next step was to create the dragon scale panels that she has decorating her torso.
First off, a massive thank you to Mrs Farrell, she was one of my secondary school art teachers, and if she hadn't shown me one of the books she had, which contained almost every kind of smocking technique and how to create it, I would have no idea how to go about making this! I used a technique called 'arrow smocking' to do this. I took a long piece of the blue silk fabric, and drew on a dot every 1cm with a yellow tailors chalk pen. I repeated this so I basically had a 1cm grid on the fabric, but without the lines. Next, using a white tailors chalk pen, I drew on where my scales would go. This step isn't necessary, and I usually don't bother with this step, but in the interest of explaining how to do this style of smocking, I have included it. I drew the scales two dots by two dots, leaving one dot in between each point.
Next was to sew them. To do this, take a medium length piece of thread in a matching colour to the fabric, and don't have it too long or it will knot whilst your working and drive you mad. Next, start your stitching at the farthest right point of the triangle on the far left bottom [I do this because I am right handed, if you are left handed, start the stitching on the farthest left point, on the triangle on the furthest right bottom], then do a quick stitch to hold it in place. Next, do a very small stitch, small stitches are key here, from the starting point, to the point on the left of the triangle, keeping it loose do a small stitch at the bottom point, then back to the starting point, keeping it loose all the time. Next, gently run the needle over the inner triangle you've made to make sure its all going towards the back of the fabric, then pull the fabric taught - this will bunch the fabric up, and create the shape of the individual scale - now you need to do a simple stitch over the centre of this point to secure it. Now do a small stitch to the dot one above where the previous starting point was, keep this stitch loose, then do a small stitch over the same point to lock it down. Now repeat the same steps as before. You alternate between creating the scales, doing a loose stitch up, then creating a new scale, all the way to the top.
If you are like me, and find seeing something easier than trying to work out how it should look from my awful description, here is a video I filmed of me creating my scales:-
Once the panels were done, I ironed them so the scales were flat, folded in the edges and pinned them onto the dress wherever I wanted them to be, then stitched them down. At this point the dress is done.
However, I decided to amp up my dress a bit, and after looking at the dress she wears at the beginning of season 4, I decided to add in a bit of the detailing from that dress. I found some gold beads which were very similar to the ones on her dress, and hand stitched them onto the sleeve edges and shoulder panels - then used pieces of black Italian tubular mesh, which I stretched out and stitched onto the shoulders, chest and band.
The cape was made using Butterick pattern B4377 - the outer was made from the same blue fabric, with the gold silk fabric for the lining. I made my cape shorter than the pattern version, so it stopped level to my butt like hers does.
Final step was to create the clasp for the cape, which I did with Fimo and a safety pin. I moulded the shape with the Fimo, baked it in the oven to harden it, painted it when it was cooled, then hot-glued the safety pin into the back of it. Et voile!
I had made a smaller Drogon for my previous Daenerys costume, and it was amazing to see the reaction it got at expos and conventions, it was a real conversation starter, so I really wanted to make a larger Drogon to use with this cosplay.
The teenage Drogon in the Astapor scene in season 3 of Game of Thrones is what I was aiming for, when Daenerys is about to hand him over to Kraznys as payment for the Unsullied army. I needed him to be about knee height against me, with a wing span of about 4ft. I made the body out of cardboard and newspaper, and attached two pieces of rolled up paper for the legs. This was covered in parcel tape to hold it together and give me an idea of its shape. It was then covered in paper mache.
The rest of Drogon was made the same way as Bloodwing was for my Mordecai commission, with wire for the wings, padded with newspaper, then covered in paper mache for strength. Cotton canvas was used for the wing membrane, and fimo clay was used for the teeth, claws and spikes.
I made the head by scrunching up a ball of newspaper, making sure it was half the length of the body - then I covered it in a layer of brown tape - I then covered this in about 10 layers of paper mache, making sure each was dry before moving on to the next. Once all the layers were done, I cut through where I wanted the mouth to be and pulled it open, removing the taped up ball inside. I spray painted the head with a white spray paint to cover the newsprint and give me a plain base to work off. I then glued in the teeth I made earlier, and attached the eyes I had laying around the workroom. These eyes are glass with a demon snake eye style painted into them, and they worked perfectly for Drogon. I used a mixture of wood glue and pink paint to make the gums, and finished them with a layer of PVA glue to make them look shiny and wet.
Next step was to create the neck, this was done with a few strips of 4 inch long wire. One end was glued into the bottom jaw of the head, and the other was glued into the middle top section of the torso. This was fleshed out with more newspaper and masking tape, then secured with a few layers of paper mache. All I had to do was attach the head and secure it with another layer of paper mache.
Only thing left to do was attach all the claws and spikes, then paint him in varying shades of red and black. After the paint had dried, this is what I had created.