Air-bending and Fabric Alchemy

My increasing involvement with tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) and cosplaying has irrevocably altered how I digest books, movies, and video games. I am constantly cataloging character attributes that can inform my D&D role-playing or I am judging the feasibility of recreating a character’s attire for the next convention season.

As soon as we started watching The Legend of Korra, the sequel to Nickelodeon’s popular series Avatar: The Last Airbender, I started taking costume notes. Originally my plan was to debut Korra at PAX Prime 2012. Other exciting projects got in the way and she was pushed back to Emerald City Comic Con in March 2013. So with five weeks before ECCC, it is time to start sewing!

Source: Nickelodeon The Legend of Korra Press Site,
Source: Nickelodeon The Legend of Korra Press Site,

Costume Design

Based on concept art and screen shots from the television series, Korra’s costume has 6 major components:

  • pair of baggy pants (blue-gray) with a relatively loose/low crotch
  • navy triangular “apron”
  • brown (suede) “skirt” that ties in the front and is edged with white fur trim
  • light blue fitted shirt*
  • arm bands and hair wraps*
  • fur-lined boots

(*I have not decided whether I want to create her Season 1 or Season 2 shirt and arm bands.)

Source: San Diego Comic Con panel via,

Over the past weekend, I fiddled with my commercial and self-drafted pattern collection and created patterns for the pants and the two skirt-like components. After I make the muslins next weekend, and confirm they work, I will tell you more about these patterns. There is still a question of where to add pockets because I will need to be able to carry money and my phone around the convention hall. Right now, the side seams of the navy skirt seem to be the best place for pockets because the suede wrap will conceal them.

Anticipated Alchemical Components

Potential Stashbusting

  • Microsuede curtain (also used for iPad case)
  • Navy cotton twill (left over from one of my first sewing projects, a messenger bag made in 1999)
  • White faux-fur (picked up from a meet-up group fabric swap with the intention of being used for medieval costumes)
The beginnings of Korra
The beginnings of Korra

Required Fabric Purchases

  • Blue knit/lycra for top (possibly dance costume material)
  • White knit/lycra for top trim
  • Navy knit/lycra for arm bands
  • Gray twill for the pants (I have a suitable fabric in my stash, but not enough of it)

Accessories & Notions

  • Fur lined boots (store bought) augmented with brown fabric stripe
  • Buttons or snaps to keep the pieces connected and in place
  • Elastic for the hair and arm bands

Additional Requirements? Well, I may need to do some push ups before March. Korra is a strong girl, and these noodle arms of mine don’t do her justice. I think I am going to start right now.


4 thoughts on “Air-bending and Fabric Alchemy

  1. So far it looks like you have a great start! I just went to a local mini one day con and there were so many inspiring costumes. I can’t wait to see the finished product!

  2. I’m reading through all your archives and enjoying your geekery immensely! I totally know what you mean about how playing tabletop RPGs can really inform your media consumption!

    I loved ATLA but have yet to start Korra…I just wanted to let you know I laughed out loud about noodle arms not doing justice to Korra. I’ve got noodle arms too and felt the same way when I thought about cosplay opportunities!

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