Dragon Queen

The design started with the skirt. I was inspired by the skirt that was part of the final dress in the Anastasia musical and I wanted to use something similar in my own design. While designing, it started to give off a dragon vibe, and I started using that in design elements because I like dragons. I then decided to challenge myself to make it, so I went back to my design, changed it so it was more doable based on patterns that I found and my skills, and started making it.

MaterialsDenim, tulle, netting, PLA, zip ties, modeling foam, cardboard, 2mm foam
Date Complete8/13/21
ProjectIndependently
DesignOriginal

Process

After I finished my final design, I started with the bodice mock-up. I used the pattern Simplicity 8130, used version B without the bow, and followed the instructions. I then began the mock-up for the skirt. I used a basic circle skirt pattern but didn’t sew the front panels together so it would be open in the front. I later had to pin it back more so you could see the legs better. After I got that done, I started with the hoop. I based the pattern on a circle skirt pattern and used three instead of the standard four panels. I cut these out of cardboard and scored along the ridges so they would curve. I then covered it in 2 mm EVA foam so it would stay in place. After I thought I had the shape I wanted. I then tried the hoop and skirt on and did not like the shape. I then tried to make another hoop that was very similar that I did not like, then I decided to make it one full panel instead of three separate panels, scored it, and glued foam on like before, and it worked perfectly. From there, all I had left to do was make the mock-up for the undershirt. I used Mood’s pattern “The Melia Blouse” and followed the directions.

I was happy with the mock-up, so I started with the real thing. I started on the skirt first, using a pattern I made off of the front folds from the mock-up. Doing this caused it to lay weird in the front, so I added small darts to fix that problem. I then started on the bodice. This is one of the first significant changes from the design to the real thing. Originally I was planning to make a corset out of wire, but after finding this cool netting fabric, I decided to use that on the bodice instead. I knew going into this project that things would change based on the fabrics I found because I finished the designs before I started looking for fabric because I didn’t know when I would start it. I got that done besides the closures because I wanted to test everything before fitting it. I then made the undershirt and only added three buttons at the top because I didn’t want them to get uncomfortable underneath the bodice. After that, I was able to put the closures on the bodice. Even with that, the bodice wasn’t fitting right because it was flipping down in the front. I did many things to try to fix it, including attempting to make a bullet bra (because I was working with a vintage pattern from the 1950s), but nothing worked. What I ended up going with were snaps.

After that, I got working on the accessories. I started with the crown, which is a plastic headband with zip ties wrapped around it that were later painted gold. I got that idea from someone in costuming I talked with earlier that year. Next, I made a necklace with a 3D printed piece that I designed. It is supposed to be a pearl because when I got the opportunity to go to China, I learned that dragons usually hold pearls for their power, and I wanted to use that in the design. The string was part of the seam allowance that was pinking sheared, and I put jewelry hardware on it. I then made the belt buckle that would hold up the rest of the netting around the skirt. The base was designed and 3D printed by me, and the dragon was made by modeling foam and a mold I got at Michaels. The shoes were shoes I already had made for a dance piece that I added the ribbon and jewels to. The leggings were a pair I already had in my closet. With that, the costume was done. There is armor in the original design, but not in the real thing because I couldn’t settle on a final design for it, so I figured I would stop where I was and maybe add it later.

What I would change:
A significant thing I would change would be the bodice because it just doesn’t fit right. I am pretty sure the cause of that is the pattern just doesn’t fit me, so I would probably try finding a new bodice pattern. I love how it looks with the netting over the denim; the fit is just what bothers me.