the Miss Persephone pageant

inara shrug

From left: Inara, Mal & Sir Warrick Harrow

I have assembled and/or made many costumes over the years. When I was little, my mom did not buy ready-made costumes for us. She would help make or assemble one, depending on our creativity to come up with one. This set me up for life, as I still can’t stand store bought costumes. I’ve worn costumes like “the bubble gum stuck to the bottom of a shoe” (solid pink with a shoe glued to a headband on my head), Mara Jade (assembled from Goodwill finds), Darth Hassenfuhr (a Sith Lord I made up), the entire universe (dress made out of solar system fabric), Hobbit maiden, Pirate / Tavern Wench, and most recently a bounty hunter who specializes in imprisoning Wookiees and selling them into the slavery of the empire. I feel a back story is important for any costume, especially when it’s a generic character I made up.

My sewing skills have been steadily improving lately, so when I heard about the Browncoats Ball hosted in Phoenix this year on October 5, I knew I wanted to do an official cosplay. I had my eye on a few different costumes. In the episode Shindig there is a fancy ball like the one I will be attending. Captain Mal Reynolds accidentally challenges Inara’s date/client to a duel for what he feels is insulting her honor. I thought my date could pull off Sir Warrick Harrow, so I decided to make the purple dress Inara wears at the end of the episode.

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Original pattern, before my modifications

While shopping for my friend Jill’s dress, I also was looking for mine too. I picked out a pattern that was not necessarily my favorite, but on sale for $1… I had to alter the neckline to match Inara’s dress, but otherwise the pattern was reasonably close to Inara’s.

At my local discount fabric store, SAS, I found plum taffeta for $2.99 a yard. I had leftover lining from my purple Tavern Wench dress, so that worked out well. The dress turned out to be pretty simple, with few minor hitches. Sewing the entire dress only took about 4 hours. After that, I just had some accessorizing to do.

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Accessories that will have to do… for now…

Inara’s dress in the movie had subtle sparkle around the neckline. I bought gold fabric paint, but when I tried it on some scrap fabric it didn’t look right. That’s a problem I still have to tackle… The dress has 8 teardrop shaped jewels spaced evenly about 3 inches below the neckline. I found some on Ebay that were relatively inexpensive.

In the episode, she wears an antiqued gold bracelet that widens around the wrist with a jewel at the center, which is attached to a delicate chain that runs up to a matching antiqued gold ring on her middle finger. I ran out of time to order anything online, and couldn’t find an inexpensive replica. I did find a ring that matches a bracelet I already have, so I think I will just wear those until the next time I wear this outfit.

Inara also wears a choker-style necklace with beads that resemble bone or tarnished bronze dropping from the necklace down her decolletage. Again, I ran out of time to order anything online, but I was surprised I couldn’t find beads resembling them at my local craft store. However, I have a really cool brown necklace that is not entirely dissimilar, so I will end up wearing that to the Ball.

And with that, my costume is complete. I still have 2 days before the Ball to do the finishing touches. Until then, my free time will be taken up with beautifying myself & Jill and finishing every last detail!

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