Welcome to the next in what’s becoming a long line of Game of Thrones Cosplay How-Tos! There’s just something about the ladies of Westeros that we keep coming back to, so today I’m here with a Margaery Tyrell Cosplay Tutorial. If you missed the first three installments you can find them here: Justine as Margaery, Kris as Sansa and KG as Dany.
Today I’ll detail my biggest project yet. After making the first three dresses I was ready for a challenge. I wasn’t quite ready to make a Disney Princess ball gown (though it’s totally still on my cosplay wish list) but I wanted something that would be more difficult. It was time I tackled Margaery’s wedding dress from her wedding to Joffrey in Season 3. The dress itself isn’t particularly difficult but there is so much detailing that it certainly qualified as a challenge!
Let’s start at the beginning. Here’s the dress I was about to tackle:
Definitely a bit more intense than my previous one, right!?! Before I begin, I’d like to say that this is easier than you think it’ll be and it’s totally possible to do cheaply. The entire outfit can’t have cost me more than $100.
Early on I decided I wanted to make my dress a bit more metallic in colour. I looked at a number of different cosplay versions online and my favourites were always the ones that had gold, silver and/or bronze throughout. I like the white and grey of Margaery’s dress but I wanted a bit more pop. Also, I’ve seen versions where cosplayers have added green for the vines or leaves. I’m not a fan of this; I instead kept things neutral with metallic accents.
Like all cosplays, this started with a trip to the fabric store. I think Kris, KG and I have pretty good luck when it comes to finding fabric, but this might be our biggest steal yet. We spent hours looking at fabrics in the upholstery section. There were a number we liked but they were all so expensive. I wasn’t ready to pay $20+/m…so we kept looking. Eventually this lead us to the discount section. There was one that was almost perfect, except under certain light it appeared a little more yellow than white. But it was $8/m and then HALF OFF! A large black stain ran down the edge of the fabric (explaining why it was so cheap), but I figured this would be easy enough to work around. I decided to buy it. At this point I wanted to do a test run of the dress with some cheap fabric; I didn’t have a full pattern and this would be the first time I’d made a full train. I thought this fabric would be perfect for that, and if it happened to work out I’d consider using it for the rest.
The next step was crafting my pattern. I realized the top of Margaery’s dress is very similar to the top of Dany’s Qarth dress (which I had conveniently just made!) or at least it was close enough that I could use is pattern with a few adjustments. Top: Check. Then I added some extra pattern paper I had lying around and drafted the skirt. I attempted to make it quite fitted throughout the torso but then have a big skirt. The trickiest part was the train. I made it quite large from the start, knowing it’d be easy enough to shorten. As this was all coming together I decided this was going to be my dress. I was nailing the test run!
Soon it was just finishing touches: I tightened up the body a bit and lowered the neckline in typical Margaery fashion. I made the back lower than the original pattern. I also had to make the train shorter and thinner when I realized I was making a wedding dress to wear to a Con, not to walk down the aisle in. I struggled figuring out how I was going to get in and out of the dress. In the end I decided to put a zipper up one of the sides and some snaps to secure the top around my neck.
Next came the vines. We found some twisted thread stuff (I’m not entirely sure how I’d describe it) on sale and I grabbed 4m of 4 different colours (dark brown, light brown, cream and grey). This was probably to worst part of the entire experience. For each vine I took two colours, twisted, and sewed them together. I then pined the twists onto the dress in sections to make sure each vine was in the correct place. Next I hand sewed them to the dress. This was very time consuming (I think I watched the entirety of The Mindy Project just doing this). Hand sewing is the worst – I’d much rather be at my sewing machine. Eventually I had used all 16m. The only section where I didn’t use dual-colored twists was the strands that went down the skirt in the back.
I say the vines were the most time consuming, but I probably spent more time making roses. The main difference is that I actually came to enjoy making roses, it was bound to happen when I had to make 270 of them. Again I took a trip to the fabric store and bought an abundance of grey and white fabric from the discount section. I think in the end I had 3 different greys, 3 whites, excess fabric from KG’s Dany skirt, excess fabric from my Belle shirt and excess fabric from this dress. Each fabric was slightly different in colour & texture and when put together it was an excellent mix.
So how did I make these roses? First I watched a couple of youtube videos and then I tried different strategies for a few hours until I finally got it right. It definitely took a while to get the correct ‘rose’ shape. When I started I was making them too nice. As it turns out, they don’t need to be perfect… You want them big, and you want each one to have some character. I made a handful before Kris, KG and I took our road trip to the Yukon this summer and when KG suggested I bring my rose making supplies with me I jumped on it! I sat in the back of the car and sewed roses for hours on our 21 hour drive there and 21 hour drive back. By the time we got home I had used all of the fabric I brought with me. At the end I was probably making about a rose a minute! You don’t need to know the amount of times I stabbed myself with the needle or how sore my hands were by the time it was all over.
When I was done I had 270 fabric roses that now needed to be attached to my dress!
I started by hand sewing a few roses down the back of the skirt along the vines. I quickly realized that the smaller roses worked best for this. I also realized shortly after I started that it would look better if I started attaching roses right at the top of the skirt; start with a few at the top and then have them increase in abundance as I worked my way down.
Next came the skirt. I started at the edge of the skirt in the middle and then worked out and up. The triangle took shape early on. It was fun to pull in the different colours and make a design full of different textures and colours. There were times where I struggled with too much grey or to much white in one area. In the end all of the roses made a large triangle on the back of the dress.
This is where the fun begins. It was at this stage that I discovered my hot glue gun. Each rose was individually hand sewn on, BUT I then went back and reinforced a number of them with hot glue. I also took this time to fill in any gaps in the skirt with some extra roses. I was also sure to glue each of the roses along the edge onto the skirt to more thoroughly secure them. 270 roses were attached, and goodness with that the dress became a lot heavier!
Next came the leaves. I went to Michael’s and bought a number of cheap bouquets of fake flowers that had nice leaves. I wasn’t too picky except they had to be the size I wanted. I don’t know how best to describe the size but they were rather ‘normal’ in size, not too big or too small. On this trip I also bought some gold, silver, and bronze paint. Back home I separated each of the leaves from the the bouquets and placed them on a garbage bag. Then I started painting! I split the leaves quite equally between the three colours. After one side dried I flipped them and painted the other side. This whole process was hardest with the silver paint; a few more extra coats were needed on these leaves. After the paint had dried I added a layer of sealant to both sides.
Once the leaves had dried it was time to attach them. I bought fabric glue for this BUT it was very early into this process that I realized hot glue was the way to go. The fabric glue wasn’t drying instantly and that’s what I wanted. In attaching the leaves I first laid them out a few sections at a time. I don’t think you can really go wrong as long as there are some bunches of different colours and textures. I did look at the original dress and a few other cosplays that I had stumbled upon for ideas but mostly I just started attaching.
Down the vines in the front I chose to do a couple clusters of two or three leaves and then the odd one leaf in smaller areas. On the top most of the leaves are attached to the outer vines. At the bottom of the bodice before the skirt starts there are two clusters of leaves on the hips. I then attached a number of leaves down the vines on the front of the skirt. On the back I attached a number of leaves to the vines on the bodice and then even more going down the skirt. My words of advice are to start and then just go with the flow! With hot glue it’s just a large craft project.
Next was attaching thorns to the dress. I bought 100 pointed silver metallic beads on eBay for $5! It was a steal. Each of these was hand sewn onto the dress. It took me a few tries to figure out how I wanted the spacing… I had them too close for a while. I used many of the beads to simply fill in the gaps left by the leaves.
When I was at Michael’s I also bought a few metallic rose jewelry pieces for an extra detail. I ended up using three different rose designs. I added each of these to the dress, again using hot glue. I think they worked well where the bunches of leaves came together. These matched the thorns quite well.
The final step was adding a couple fabric roses to the sides. I sewed and hot-glued three roses to each hip as the last detail. These were attached over where the zipper is and I ended up placing two on one side of the zipper and one on the other side. When the dress was on they fit together perfectly!
And suddenly the dress was done!
The next big thing I needed to tackle was the hair. First, Kris had planned on making a crown for me but instead she just happened to stumble upon a version of Margaery’s crown at a local Halloween shop! What were the chances?!? It was perfect. I had a set of hair extensions from the last time I was Margaery and I bought another set just for this. So much fake hair! I always choose not to use a wig, so hair extensions are the way to go. I also bought two bun inserts to get the height I needed.
I first center parted my hair and curled it, then loosely followed this youtube tutorial. Mainly I used this to get the bun insert attached to the top of my head and initially cover it with some of my own hair and a few sets of extensions. Next I needed help. This is where Kris came in. She likes to say she can’t do hair, but this was more of a craft project so she jumped right in. Essentially, what came next is attaching the large pieces of hair extensions to the back of my head and using the smaller sets to cover the large bump on the top of my head. Finally she used the pieces of hair on the side of my head and a ton of hairspray to bring this hair straight up to cover anything else that shouldn’t be showing. Then there was a lot more hairspray, pinning my bangs back and attaching my crown to the front. And ta-da! I had Margaery Tyrell hair! Surprisingly it wasn’t painful at all; all of the pins and the majority of the extensions were attached to the bun insert and not my actual head. It was a bit heavier than my normal hair though and that took a little getting used to. So much hair. So much fake hair.
For shoes I just wore a pair of white sandals I previously owned. I know Margaery wears white boots during her wedding but I decided sandals would be more comfortable to walk around in all day.
I debated buying Margaery’s necklace online but then decided I was too cheap and instead found an alternative version at Claire’s. I couldn’t exactly carry a purse with this outfit so I reused the basket I like to carry around when I’m a Disney princess, because baskets are cute and convenient.
And just like that Margaery was complete and ready for Edmonton Expo! The best part was naturally all of the pictures we took. This is only a preview, I promise more will be posted in the upcoming weeks.
Getting ready that Saturday was a process, but overall things went more smoothly than I thought they would. The dress held together perfectly and I only lost one rose. There are only a few little things I need to do to prepare the dress for its next outing. Mostly some of the roses along the edge of the skirt need to be cleaned. I also want to see if I can manufacture a clip or a hook to the back so I can hook the skirt up to make it easier for me to move in busy convention halls. I got pretty good at throwing the skirt over my arm when there were a lot of people around. Overall, I think it was all quite successful ?ﾟﾘﾊ
I hope you find this tutorial useful. I guarantee it’s easier than you think it’ll be – it just takes some time. Let me know in the comments if you have any additional questions about this Margaery Tyrell cosplay! And stay tuned, I wasn’t the only one to get a new Game of Thrones dress…
Thanks for reading!
– Justine Alyssa