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The Emperor


The Emperor was the second costume I've ever made, and I got the idea from my drawing of the same name.

The mask was the first I've made using Nightlyre's plastic mesh technique. Basically, the skeleton of the mask was formed out of black plastic mesh (white mesh is harder to see out of). I "sewed" the sections of mask together with yarn (string works better). I made the lower jaw separate from the rest of the head and loosely attached it to the head so that it could move up and down freely. I connected two pieces of yarn at the base of the lower jaw that would fit in front of my chin and beneath it, allowing the mouth to move when I moved my own mouth (a pretty nifty effect). Granted, I was new to this, so the mouth didn't move all that much, but it still impressed people. I cut long, thin triangles out of the black mesh and sewed them to the mask to make ears. The tassels with beads were sewed to the ends of the ears at this point so my horrible sewing job would be covered up later. The crinkled black...things behind the ears were cut out of mesh, covered in aluminum foil, and painted black (not something I would recommend unless you want that crinkly look).

Once satisfied with the skeleton of the head, I covered it with black cloth and sewed it on with thread (by hand), leaving extra to hang down the front and back to cover my neck. I used felt for the green and yellow scales, the inside of the mouth, and the underside of the ears. The spikes are made of styrofoam painted with white acrylic paint to strengthen them (didn't help much, really). The teeth are also made of styrofoam. The beard is tinsel-like stuff, and the barbels are made of black and silver string. I bought the eyes at Hobby Lobby; the earrings and bracelets were in the discount bin at Wal-Mart for only a couple bucks.

The hands are $1 brown jersey gloves with the first two and last two fingers sewn together to make three-fingered hands. The claws are white-painted styrofoam that I glued on; the scales are green felt sewn onto the gloves. The feet are made in the same way except I used cheap black slippers as a base. As you can see the styrofoam tends to break easily, so in the future, I used Sculpey to make claws, horns, and teeth.

The clothes were absurdly simple. I always like to wear normal clothes underneath my costumes so I can always carry around my usual assortment of keys, kleenex, cell phone, etc. So I wore a black turtleneck and black jeans under four yards of black cloth (with a hole cut in the middle for my head) and two yards of red cloth (same hole). I added the yellow dragon with felt and glued all kinds of fake shiny jewels befitting an emperor. If I were to do this costume again, I'd fold over the edges of the clothing and sew it down so that the fraying edges aren't visible.

The stick I got at a renaissance fair in New York. For a regal costume, I would recommend a smooth, elegant staff instead of a walking stick like this. But it was all I had, so...there ya go.

People seemed to really like this costume, especially since the year before I had made a poorly-done purple dragon. And I won the sci-fi club's costume contest again. Hee hee. The biggest problems with this costume concerned the mask. I covered too much of the lower jaw with felt, so my breath tended to fog up my glasses; and I sewed the neck cloth too tightly together, so I had a very difficult time getting the mask on and off. Other than that, though, the costume was fairly comfortable and fun to wear.

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