Sunday, September 21, 2014


Last spring, I bought myself  a pass for September's ComicCon. And me, being psychic or psycho, decided that Paul McGann would be one of the announced guests and that I should make a costume to wear to meet him. At first I pondered an Eighth Doctor costume. so I watched his minisode for inspiration.

That's when I decided I could create a costume of the Sisterhood of Karn, like this character Ohila.

Knowing that this wasn't the first appearance of the Sisterhood of Karn, I took some time to watch The Brain of Morbius.

There I discovered a lot of variation in the costumes. Each Sister had slightly different robes and a different breast plate.

Then I had to ponder--did I want to copy Ohila, the Head Sister in the video/picture above, and try for an exact duplicate, or be a more generic Sister, and allow myself some variation in the costume? I decided to allow myself some variation, and just started making a set of red robes.

For fabrics, I had two sources. One was a stack of red t-shirts, procured at a thrift store for $9. The other was a bolt of red crepe, procured at a ballet warehouse sale for $8. The fabric was a remnant from Carmina Burana costumes, and had about four yards remaining.

Using the crepe, I made a long red skirt, and some overrobes.

Then for the breastplate, I used a red velvet tank I'd bought with the t-shirts. I cut and hemmed the sides, and embellished it with gold beads and gold fabric, also from the warehouse sale. 

Midway through the summer, and midway through the creation process, ComicCon officially announced Paul McGann as a guest, so my efforts seemed definitely worthwhile!  As ComicCon approached, I was still in the process of embellishing the breastplate.  I had allowed myself a lot of time, but I was dealing with a family crisis during the final weeks, and I found myself engaging in distractive behaviour instead of being productive.  As the day approached, I realized I was going to have to accept what was currently finished.  I later learned I should have started from the bottom rather than the top. My hair hid the top, and left the unfinished bottom portions prominent.

I also needed a headdress. I had considered making a hood from one of the t-shirts, but as the time approached, I decided to try using a skirt I'd made earlier in the year, and with some hair clips, found that an excellent head dress.  

Additionally, I ordered blonde hair extensions to give me the same effect as the Sister pictured above. To my disappointment: the grey in my hair lowered the contrast and you couldn't really see the blonde. You can see--or not see--the blonde in this eyes-closed shot with my brother at the ComicCon. I had a difficult time hiding the blonde extensions, so I wound up putting braids and red strips into my hair to hide the attach-points. I kinda liked the batty-lady effect.

And here's the back, with the skirt as headdress.

So. After all that work, I was satisfied with the work done on the costume, but eventually, a little dissatisfied with the whole experience. I don't really feel good in red, and I felt red, blobby, and shapeless in the costume.

And then, I wore the costume into a photo op with both Paul McGann and Colin Baker, the Eighth and Sixth Doctors. Colin Baker was making cracks about the costume, and called me Red Riding Hood and inquired after the health of the wolf. They took the picture just as I was self-consciously laughing at his comments. I asked if my eyes were closed, and they said, "No, no, you're fine."  But then when I retrieved the picture, my eyes were barely visible. I looked round, double chinned, and kinda like a laughing Buddha.  I didn't know what to do and I went off to meet my brother for the photo shoot shown here, having a good cry along the way.

My unhappiness with the photoshoot might have influenced my happiness with the costume. After seeing the picture, I was pretty miserable about the whole thing, and I wasn't all too happy for my brother's photoshoot.

Afterwards, I gathered my courage and went back to the photo op area. I complained about the eyes-closed incident. The man said, "Well, technically your eyes ARE open." but he did give me a voucher for a new photoshoot, and I left that awful photo with him.

This meant that at the next photo op, I wouldn't be wearing my costume, but I'd decided I was at peace with that. I had fallen out of love with the costume and didn't want to ever see it again.

The reshoot was a resounding success. I love the results. I'm so glad I got a replacement.

I'm not quite so disenchanted with the costume anymore. But I don't know if I'll ever wear it again! If I do, I'll certainly finish the breastplate beforehand.

PS I showed my daughter a snap taken of the hated photo. She usually says, "MOOOOM, you look FINE" or "No, Mom, you don't look like a psycho-killer." But when she saw the pic, she cracked up and couldn't stop laughing. I felt validated. The photo really did suck.

1 comment:

Lady D said...

I think it looks fab. And the hair with ribbons etc. gives it a different twist.
i think if your worried about making it look more flattering you need a sash or belt tied round the smallest part of your waist to add definition.