For the Night is Dark and Full of (T)errors

I am proud to say that I went all out for Halloween this year. After more than a year of planning and postponing and sewing on and off, I finally finished my Melisandre costume. I have to say, I went through a lot of drama along the way. The sheer number of hurdles that this project presented should have put me off of costume making, but now that the finished product is in front of me I’m determined to make a costume every year. I posted earlier that my goal for next year is to be skilled enough to make a civil war era dress. I feel a lot more confident about that goal now!

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You might notice there is some bunching where the bodice and skirt meet in the front. One of the many issues that plagued me as I was making this costume.

Artist rendition for reference.

If you are not familiar with the Song of Ice and Fire book series, which is now a show on HBO called Game of Thrones, I’ll give a little background on the character I chose to portray. Melisandre is a priestess who worships a fire god. She has red hair and eyes and dresses completely in red. While she uses very powerful “black” magic and is often pitted against fan favorites, it is difficult to characterize her as either evil or good since her background and intentions are shrouded in mystery. She also gives birth to an assassin shadow baby (not included in costume).

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Back detail

I chose a medieval costume from Butterick as my pattern to match the era of the show. At Joann’s I was able to get the required 9 (!) yards of red crepe satin. I made both the dress and the cape.


B4377: Red Crepe Satin Medieval Dress and Cape

  • Size: 6
  • Fabric: Dark red crepe satin
  • Lining: The bodice, sleeves, and the hood of the cape are lined with red fabric lining (awful cheap stuff, but it did the job)
  • Notions: Invisible zipper, black ribbon for corset-style tie in the back, gold clasp for the cape, bias tape to line cape, grommets and grommet fastener
  • Adjustments: No adjustments to the pattern, except where I messed up and had to try to fix mistakes.
  • Would I recommend it to other sewers: Absolutely. The issues I had with the pattern were mostly user error.
  • Techniques used/learned: Or rather, techniques I need to improve on. Sewing a “v” shape, putting grommets into fabric (they all popped off), sewing bias tape, installing an invisible zipper, attaching and ruching sleeves.

I still have to go back and finish hemming the cape. I didn’t have enough lining for any part of ┬áit other than the hood, so instead I attached bias tape to the edges. I bought very thin bias tape so it was a hassle sewing it, and I must have done it wrong because it’s coming off in places. Another major issue I had was using the grommet fastener. I just could not get the eyelets to stay on the fabric. More likely than not, I’m just not using the fastener correctly.

I’m going to go back and fix the errors that I made soon, and post how I troubleshooted the issues.