Tuesday, September 2

Making A DragonCon Costume: The Big Show

Previous Project Littlefinger Posts:
Sew Very Doomed
Another Adventure
Test Case
Idea Collision
Poncho Paint 
A Needle Pulling Thread
Done and Did 

Before you read this, you can see the photo album.

Back? OK.

I had no idea about a lot of things.

I had no idea how popular Littlefinger is. I was shocked by how many people flocked to the costume. They were eager and polite. They were giddy. It was heady stuff, and I thank them all.

I had no idea how strong the resemblance was. The more I look at the photos, the less I see it. But it got some folks off-guard (two attendees were literally speechless), and many people said they did double and triple takes. Whoever suggested this to me at the 2013 convention were right as rain.

We got to the show Friday night after work. We normally drive into Atlanta and check in to the hotel. We race to the Sheraton to get our badges so we can walk in the next morning's parade. Then we eat, satisfied that the day is done. We crash in the hotel room and start early the next morning. That's our routine every year.

But I wondered about the costume. I wanted a test run with my seams and knots. Whatever fell apart could be fixed before the parade, and I'd rather it fail that night than in front of thousands of people. I tucked The Countess into bed, changed, and slipped out of the room and toward the convention. I figured I'd get deep into the Marriott (cosplay ground zero) before anyone noticed the outfit.

I got one block, and I posed for pictures half a dozen times before I made it to the Hyatt.

I had no idea how popular the show is across demographics. The diversity of people who knew the show and the character genuinely delighted me. I live in a small mountain town. It's homogeneous. Everyone looks like me. Atlanta -- obviously, thankfully -- is a much wider spectrum of humanity. People who had nothing to do with the convention stopped me on the sidewalks and in restaurants. Even the ages of GoT fans were across the board. I was simply unprepared. It swelled my heart as much as all that walking swelled my feet.

The Countess and I walked in the parade Saturday morning with the GoT folks. I love doing the parade. I love high-fiving the kids sitting on the curbs. I love calling out costumed spectators. I love waving to the folks on the balconies. Then I love hitting the air conditioning in the Marriott when it's over. We went back to the hotel to change our layers. I packed about five pairs of black slacks and many more pairs of undershirts and socks and underwear. I needed them all throughout the weekend and a few bottles of baby powder.

We grabbed a light lunch and went back to see the costumes. My convention experience mostly involves a lap of a few hotels. I went to the indoor Game of Thrones photoshoot that afternoon. So many folks showed up that it was moved outside, and it was well-orchestrated madness on the Hilton steps. (Chaos is a staircase.) I left a little early because of the heat. We ate dinner and went back to the hotels to sight-see. I escorted her back to the hotel and walked on my own until around 2 that morning. My feet were destroyed. Next time I have to bring multiple shoes too.

We slept in Sunday before dropping by the comics alley to see writer Kelly Sue DeConnick. I promised her a few months back that I'd swing by in costume. We then hit the vendor area. The line for it was out the door on Saturday, but, Sunday morning, we walked right in. The Countess found some costume items for next year with the help of some friendly and patient costume dealers. I found some toys for our son. We shopped alongside celebrities (Grant Imahara, Sam Witwer, Karl Urban) and let them be; I considered this their off-duty hours. We grabbed a light lunch before walking about then ate supper and walked more. I called it a night around 2 again and made it back to my bed on what was left of my feet. I was snowblind from all the flash photography.

It was heavenly. The attendees and employees and guards and wait staff were patient and kind and encouraging. The atmosphere was perfect this year. The stars aligned.

And the costume, mostly, held up. I had some frayed threads, but nothing dropped off. There are tweaks we can make to the basic design, but nothing to replace. I talked to a much more experienced cosplayer about potentially contributing to a costuming forum, and that is astounding to me to be in that position. Some folks remembered me from the previous year, when I was in a totally different costume. I've had good luck. I've worn three costumes that went over really well in my years at the convention: Shipwreck, Gordon, and Littlefinger. I've had a lot of help with each from The Countess, and I bragged on her costume work whenever I could. I also got a lot of photos of my son's favorite characters. I showed them last night, and he practically levitated. We'll take him soon. Maybe next year.

I wonder what costume I can make for him.

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