This weekend I did a little mini project - I sewed new sleeves for my Melisandre dress. Before I explain, let me give a little background to this cosplay.
Somewhere around 2014-2016ish, I had planned on making a Melisandre costume. She had been a goal of mine to cosplay, and many people told me throughout the years that I looked like her. Around that time, I bought a large amount red velvet fabric that happened to be on sale at the time, and found the perfect pattern. Well, time passed and I didn't get around to sewing the costume.
This brings me to the pandemic of 2020. Like the rest of the entire world, I was home and needed a project to do. During the pandemic, I would do at home cosplays and mini-shoots for fun and post them to Facebook and Instagram. The summer of 2020, I did two amazing beach shoots (I posted about one of them here) and wanted to do another shoot with the same photographer. I had an idea to do a Melisandre shoot in the snowy mountains, similar to the season where the character ends up at 'The Wall.' During the late fall and into early winter, I busted my butt and worked on the costume. I sewed the dress. I cast the gems out of resin. I made the jewelry/armor out of foam. I was ready for the shoot. Then, one of the most devastating things happened: My good friend Charlie died from Covid.
It was a week before I was supposed to go to the mountains to shoot my Melisandre cosplay. I didn't have the heart. I was too grief-stricken and depressed. Not only that, I had that gut-feeling that something would happen if I went. So I didn't. I never shot the costume properly. In my severe depression, I painted Charlie and gave the painting to his wife. I had known Charlie since I moved out to California back in the early 2000s - going to school with him, working briefly at the same art studio, and hung out a few times. We stayed in touch and talked with each other over the years. Though we didn't get together a lot, we both considered each other good friends. One thing about Charlie is that he was always telling jokes and making everyone laugh. His smile was contagious. I wanted to capture that in my painting. Because of the pandemic, his wife couldn't have a funeral for him. She hosted an online memorial, and my process video of me painting Charlie was used for the ceremony. I added special music to the video too.
Okay, how does this fit into the redoing the sleeves? Fast-forward to last year. I went to the local renaissance faire. I decided to wear the dress because I hadn't ever worn it before. The dress held up fine, then I washed it. Herein lies the problem: frayed sleeves. At the time that I sewed the dress in 2020, I ran out of fabric for the long bell sleeves, and had to use a different type of velvet to finish the dress because the original fabric I purchased years ago was no longer in stock. After I washed the dress, the sleeves were permanently wrinkled, and the seams were frayed all to hell.
After a visit to my local fabric store this past Saturday, I found a fabric that was very close to the original dress fabric (the part of the dress that didn't wrinkle after I washed it.) Today I did some seam-ripping, cutting new fabric, and sewed the new sleeves. It was a great moment to teach my daughter how to sew, as she's been wanting to learn. I killed two birds with one stone. I finished up earlier today, and here is the result!
Voila! I have my dress back in working order. I do hope to shoot this costume officially soon if I can get it scheduled with the photographer I normally work with (Red Sonja, the beach shoots, Mad Max.) Since there is snow in California (the most recent snowfall in the US right now), I am really going to try hard to do this shoot once and for all. I'll keep you all posted if I do.