This is the costume I’m currently working on (as of September 2012). This is a simple but pretty dress that some commoners wear in Skyrim. For some reason whenever I see a character wearing this dress, it catches my eye. Maybe its the pretty blue. Anyway, I wasn’t inspired to actually make this dress until I did the Dragon*con ’12 parade and met Starlightslk, who was wearing another version of a commoner dress. To the non-Skyrim obsessed nerd, it was just a simple peasant dress. I AM a Skyrim obsessed nerd, however, so not only did I appreciate the reference, but I was very impressed with her execution. It was so well done and accurate, I couldn’t help but keep asking questions about it. Here is a nice picture I found of it from the parade on Flickr.
Seeing this made me really want to do my favorite commoner dress. It just so happens that Anime Weekend Atlanta is coming up in a few weeks, so I plan on wearing it there. I know there’s a good chance no one will know what its from or even care, due to the anime-ness of the convention, but oh well. Maybe I can charm some people to take pics. :) I also plan on wearing my Lydia costume in the contest since I didn’t win anything at Dragon*Con, so we’ll see how that goes! (I’m new to the contest scene, so I’m not sure how okay it is to enter a costume into more than one contest, not sure if it makes me look like a jerk or if its a pretty standard thing…) Anyway, the commoner dress will be an easy comfortable costume for me to wear when I’m not dressed as Lydia. (I’m not 100% done with this one yet, so I’ll update this post later when I finish. I’ll update the publish date so it goes up front.)
So I took screenshots and studied it carefully to figure out how I’ll do the pattern. One of the aspects of sewing I want to improve is pattern making, so this will be good experience. It looks like the outfit consists of a simple white wrapped smock, an open front skirt, and a tunic with a matching simple sash/belt. The shoes will just be my canvas Toms, which look surprisingly like actual shoes from the game.
I went to the fabric store and got the materials. I was looking for the cheapest white cotton fabric for the smock and ended up picking out this neat off-white cotton/muslin with little speckles in it. I felt it looked more like it was from the game, especially considering its supposed to be all dirty and stained. This would allow me to not have to mess with it too much. For the main fabric, I scoured the store and the best I could find was this light blue polyester blend. It had the right texture and was a steal at less than $2 a yard. I could have gone all around town looking for the perfect fabric, but this is supposed to be a quickie just for fun/practice dress that’s not competing in anything. I didn’t want to spend too much time and money on this. I did end up buying some fabric dye though. The dye was super cheap, and this could be a learning opportunity. So I cut a small swatch and tested out the dye. I watered it down a bit and didn’t let it soak too long since the dye was too vivid. Also I was hoping the polyester in the fabric would help prevent the dye from being too strong. Luckily it turned out pretty well. Its a bit too pretty of a blue compared to the game, but good enough for me. If this was for a contest or something more important, I’d add some dark grey dye and possibly a bit of green to get the right color.
Unfortunately when I went to dye the rest of the fabric, I messed up. I had three yards, so I cut it into three one-yard pieces to make it easier. The first one I put too much dye in and it was way too blue. I tried to bleach it lighter and it turned purple! Sigh. For the other two swatches I was so afraid of adding too much dye that it ended up lighter than I wanted. At this point I gave up with the dying. Like I said, quick dress, no one will know, might be weathered/dirtied up anyway, etc, so no point in worrying about it.
To make the tunic I needed a base since I’m not great at pattern making. So I got a cheap $3 small fitted t-shirt and drew the lines I needed on it. Then I cut it out and placed it on the fabric, leaving extra room on the edges for seams. Then I sewed everything together and added lining, resulting in a pretty good looking top. I also got crazy and added embroidery to it, though you can’t really see it due to the lightness of the fabric. Only major mistake I made is that I didn’t allow room for my hips (doh!), so you’ll see in the pics at the bottom of the post that it looks squished around my hips.
At this point, I’m almost finished with this outfit. I made the skirt by taking a long piece of the blue fabric and hemming it, then sewing a waistband with the leather string threaded through so I can tie the skirt on. In the source it looks like there are 2 layers. Due to my dying blunder, I didn’t have enough fabric for this. So I just sewed the hem really wide to at least have the lines on there. I also sewed the belt and put some grommets in for lacing. As this point all I have left to do it the decorative stitching and the grommets for the tunic!
I also considered whether or not I wanted to weather it and decided not to. Again, this is a quickie dress; accuracy not needed. I figure if I end up doing one of the Jarl outfits from Skyrim [link when I make it] for the D*con 13 contest, I might return to this dress to practice weathering techniques.
So AWA is over, and I can post that this costume is done! I finished it a week or so before AWA but got too busy to blog about it.
Pictures! Click to view full size.