Today we are time-traveling back to the summer of 2012 and my first professional costume project.
Wizards of the Coast commissioned me to make the costume Chris Perkins would wear while he presided as Dungeon Master over that year’s Acquisitions Inc. live Dungeons & Dragons game at PAX Prime. It was an honor and a geeky thrill.
The costume in questions? Dungeon Master from the 1980s Dungeons & Dragons cartoon.
Having never seen the cartoon, I embarked on a short binge watching session and a Google Image search to identify the components of the costume.
- Red cloak with full sleeves and gold trim
- Burgundy cotton tunic (ankle length)
- Red tabbard with silver trimmed edges
- Burgundy mantle with gold embellishments
Both the cloak and the cotton tunic were sewn from Simplicity 9887 (which doesn’t seem to exist anymore). I reduced the width of the tunic pattern and altered the front of the cloak to show more of the tabbard and tunic. The cloak is made from a vibrant red cotton velveteen. I wanted it to look sumptuous from a distance, but not shiny. I used gold crepe-backed satin for the trim. (I did not make bias tape, I just cut long rectangular strips on grain.) The under tunic was made with a basic cotton sateen.
The tabard was self drafted – it is two rectangles of heavy red satin sewn together at the shoulder seams with a circle cut out for the neckline. Silver crepe-backed satin was used to trim the edge of the tabbard. I attached this using similar methods to blanket or quilt edge binding.
The mantle is just a circle with trim from the upholstery department. The diameter is just an inch or two wider than Chris’s shoulder span. The edge of the mantle ended up curling a bit because I pulled the trim too much while I was sewing.
The amulet was my first “prop” accessory, but I still sewed most of it. I used a fabric-backed thin metallic vinyl for the “chain” and sewed a gemstone from Joann’s to the front. While it is not as authentic as a metal or even worbla, it worked at the time.
I bought an “old wizard” mask, cut off some of the beard hair and sewed it to a bald-cap. In hindsight, it seems silly to ask someone who already shaves their head to wear a bald cap. I think it would have been better to attach the wig hair directly to Chris’s scalp with spirit gum or fashion tape. But I was still very new to costuming and didn’t think of that.
Roll for Initiative…
It was very cool to see something I made on stage for the first time. I wish we had taken more pictures.
It eventually went up for auction at the annual Child’s Play Charity Dinner fundraiser. I hope the new owner is enjoying it.