Monday, March 25, 2013

How To Make A Daenerys Qarth Gown

This post has been a long time coming! I will make you wait no more :) For the purposes of showing you how I made this costume, I made a second dress in the dark blue fabric. (The original dress was made in the same fabric as used by Michelle Clapton in the actual show.)

How to make a Daenerys Qartheen Gown

(but not the filigree parts!)

You will need:

Approximately 6 metres of fabric
Approximately 25cms of 1"in wide elastic
Needle for hand sewing
Sewing Machine
Spool of thread to match

Dress form
Roller hem foot** (highly recommended! Practice first if you've never used one before)

See how I painted the golden pattern on the fabric learn and why I did my pleating why I did.
Contact me or leave a comment if you want to know who I commissioned the filigree pieces from.

My dress is made from four rectangles of fabric. The fabric widths that I am going to share with you are what worked for my dress. I am happy to share with you the sizes of the rectangles, however the good news is that it is not necessary for yours to be identical!

My measurements are as follows:

And that is my pattern! Easy as, 1-2-3-4! The dark blue fabric that you see in this tutorial is a polyester chiffon, and as such it was very easy to put the fabric to size. Just a small snip and then tearing and it did not warp the fabric and remained on the grain. 
The silk chiffon fabric I used in my original dress (the same fabric as used in the show) was the devil to cut, and I hope to not have to go through those terrors again!

Once I had the pieces at the sizes I wanted, that is when I printed the fabric with the gold paint and sea sponges.

For the sewing the edges of the fabric, I cannot recommend highly enough investing in a rolled hem sewing foot. This gives the fabric a professional edge (think hems of white business shirts or sheets!)

Rolled hem as it is being sewn
I was fully expecting to pay $25+ dollars and was pleasantly surprised when it only cost approx $12 from my local Janome sewing centre (the former price was one I saw on eBay... It does pay to shop local!).

All of my exposed edges of fabric have had the selvedge's trimmed away and then sewn with the rolled hem foot. The side seams of the dress were sewn as french seams.

Onto piecing the dress together...!
The front two panels were sewn together approximately 34cms from the top of the dress. I sewed then a 2cm seam allowance to the hem of the dress. The larger seam allowance allows the rolled hem to be unseen when wearing the dress. I can elaborate on this further if need be, but I hope it makes sense.

Note the centre front seam as discussed above.
Next I pleated the fabric at the shoulders. I did this first by determining the width of the shoulder pieces and then pinning the pleats in place before securing them with a 1.5cm long stitch.

As you can see from the pictures above, I wasn't overly concerned that the pleats did not all line up at the top edge (I put it down to it being a lot of fabric to pleat and that I don't think it is that big of a deal). For the dark blue dress, I was working with a very narrow strap; but for the faithful reproduction of the dress had a wider width so it was not as difficult to get the pleats to look decent.

Next some hand sewing is in order!

Preparing to hand sew...
As above, the seam allowance was folded once over and then hand sewn to the shoulder pieces.

... and hand sewing all finished!

Now the back of the dress happened a little differently. Because I didn't want too much bulk at the back of the dress for the cape, I used only one width of the fabric, and created a split. What made the decision easy was that I only had 6 meters of fabric to work with. I might have completed this the same as the front way if I'd had an extra two meters!
So you can chose to do it the same way as the front if you wish. And so if you do wish, repeat the above for the back!

If you are like me and had to use the one piece, read on...

First I carefully* (*read: cheated a bit) cut down the centre of the fabric to the depth I wanted and used the roller hem on the raw edges.
Then I pinned the wrong sides of the fabric together and sewed a dart, catching the raw edges from the split. I also trimmed it back a bit. Next I pinned the right sides of the fabric together and sewed a 2nd dart being carefully to fully enclose the first one. This is what it looked like when finished:

This is hopefully how the back of the cape will look when done
Now you can sew the shoulder pieces to the back of the dress. I thought I was being really careful until this happened:

I know. I can't even.
I had to unpick and try again. Luckily this did not happen with the first dress! This is what the dress looks like at this stage from the side:

A little revealing if you stopped here!!
Next, a think casing was made in the piece that would become the skirt or back of the dress. In my version of this dress, the back of the skirt is attached to the front of the dress at a height where it will cover your backside - creating the actual dress. The cape is then sewn into the seams of the dress. I will talk again on this shortly...

I chose to use a nice thick elastic for this waistband. A length of elastic was then cut (approx 25cm) and threaded through the casing. I secured it with machine stitches at the sides to ensure it was not going to slip out.

The below picture shows the back of the dress being pinned to the front. in order to line things up to my liking, I first sewed these two seams before going back to sew the cape into the sides of the dress with a second seam atop of the original stitching.

But Sonia, will you please tell me what a French Seam is?
If you are not familiar with a French seam, you might be wondering why the wrong sides of the fabric are being sewn together. It's because a French seam is sewn in two steps. The first is at approximately 1cm, then you trim the raw edges to approx 5mm. You then turn your garment inside out (don't forget to press!), and sew a second seam that captures your raw edge. 
What you need to be very wary of is making sure you do not capture any of the first seam's raw edge in your new seam. Because if you do it will stick out the sides of your dress once you've turned it back the right way and trust me that this will not look very pretty!
With that in mind, you might like to do a 6mm second seam. Give yourself a larger seam allowance if you are concerned with the finer details.
French seams are recommended on fine fabrics that will fray if not finished or to avoid using an overlocker which doesn't always suit your fabric choice.

Back to the dress.
When sewing the cape's seam, I wanted to make sure that it joined into the dress a few cms below the top of the back of the skirt. I hope this illustration from an earlier post can better show you what I mean:

See how it joins in below where the belt actually sits?

From here - eyes on the prize! You're not far off the finish line!

Once the side seams are finished, try on your dress - preferably with your belt, so it cinches in and will sit on your body like the finished garment. From here, determine the length the dress will be. As I used my dress makers dummy set to my height, I didn't need to do this to get the garment length. (But I did try it on and grin like a champion! haha)

From here, make any necessary adjustments to your hem length. I then sewed the hem of the dress with the rolled hem foot. With the cape, I left the ends square (ie: no rounding into a curve or anything) and sewed the edges again with the rolled hem foot. The train drapes out behind the dress approx 35cms. You can opt for this to be shorter, or even the same length as the dress itself if you don't want to worry about it dragging on the ground (I was constantly carrying mine and let it down for photos).

And there you have it; this is how I made my dress! Are there things I would do differently? Yes, I think so. At this stage I have made 3 versions of this dress, so I've changed things up slightly along the way with all the new things I learnt along the way. 

I hope I have been nice and clear for you... But if you have any questions at all... Please do not hesitate to ask and I will do my best to answer for you!

Finally... Some photo spam! ;)

Because I would like to know if this tutorial has helped you at all, I would love it if you leave a comment! Please be kind to this old girl (hey... I just turned 21 29.)

PS... WINTER IS COMING!!! (Woo, 6 more days and counting :D)


  1. I think I may love you! Thank you ever so much Sonia! You rock! Can't wait to make it!

    1. haha! Thanks for helping to get me there Susie :D Please let me know how you go with it because I can't wait to see what you come up with!!

  2. very nice dress Sonia!you are so creative!

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Anastasia!

  3. I love this! If only I was good at dressmaking, I may need some help... Haha.

    1. Thanks for your kind words Bec! It is not that difficult, so if you're not able to sew it, you might be able to recruit a sewer friend?? :) Good luck!

  4. Teronia (Tara) BayonneMay 1, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    I inherited some thin unidentifiable fabric in a coordinating print and solid, I think I know what to do with it now. And I love Daenerys

    1. So glad to inspire you! I would love to see what you create when you are finished :)

  5. hi,

    tell me, I do not understand why you cut two identical pieces of fabric for the front of the dress? do you do this to double the fabric to make it less transparant? or have you used a piece for the left side of the front and the right side of another piece and you sewn from the waist to the bottom of the dress?

    thank you :)

    1. Hi Melanie, thanks for your question! The idea was to have a wider piece of fabric for pleating at the front. It is not doubled over, but there is more volume in the front.
      And you're right, they are sewn together in the front from the chest down.

      I hope that makes sense! :)

  6. How did you create the hanging stones?

    1. Hi TJ, it was made by using a selection of beads that I felt suited, and jewellery making supplies. That included chain, lobster clasps, jump rings and eye pins. Jewellery making tools were also used, but the name escapes me sorry. The good news is it was pretty easy to make. Would you like to see a tutorial? :)

    2. That would be fantastic.

  7. How tall are you? I would like to make this dress but as I am 5'11" I always worry about the length of dresses, i just need to know if i need to cut some longer pieces! Thank you!

    1. Hi Michelle! I am 5"6 :) good luck with your dress!

    2. Thank you :), ill just add a few cm to the length of the two front front panels. Fingers crossed i pull this off!

  8. I am attempting to make this dress myself but am a little confused by the pattern you used. so the front is two pieces of material sewn down the center? then the back is one the starts at the small of the back and one for the cape?

  9. Question about the belt. You said in your previous post that you used used bracelets. Did you restring the bracelet sections with elastic, or did you use some other method to make the belt closure?

  10. have you posted a tutorial for this or do you have a pattern maybe?

  11. have you posted a tutorial for this or do you have a pattern maybe?

  12. Can we have your measurements exactly? Just so we know how much to take off or add on in accordance to our own heights and widths!

  13. I second that last comment! If you could share your measurements with us (if you don't mind) that would be great. so height, and then bust, waist and hip measurements if possible?

    Also, can I assume that you used the 136x112 pieces for the front, then the 115x112 for the back and the 190x112 for the cape? Why is the cape material so long?

    sorry for all the questions, and thank you for this amazing tutorial!! I'm in the process of making my own dress now and you are literally a life saver!

  14. I second that last comment! If you could share your measurements with us (if you don't mind) that would be great. so height, and then bust, waist and hip measurements if possible?

    Also, can I assume that you used the 136x112 pieces for the front, then the 115x112 for the back and the 190x112 for the cape? Why is the cape material so long?

    sorry for all the questions, and thank you for this amazing tutorial!! I'm in the process of making my own dress now and you are literally a life saver!

  15. I second that ask! Is there any way that you would be ok with providing us with your measurements? (height, bust, waist and hip if possible) so that we can use those with your fabric sizes to figure out how we need to tweak them for our own measurements?

    Also, are we safe to assume that the 136x112 pieces were the two for the front, the 115x112 was the back, and the 190x112 was the cape? why did you make the cape so long?

    Sorry if you get a duplicate for this, I submitted my questions before but I don't think they went through. I did want to thank you for putting this together for everyone and for being so thorough! I'm working on my costume now and this tutorial is an absolute life saver!!! lots of love from Chicago!!

  16. I have a technical question about how you sew your chiffon fabric. I have cut out all my pieces (using your measurements that you gave) and I had some extra fabric so I did a test run with it...lets just say it did not go well. It's as if my seam is bunching up and it looks horrible. Any tips? I haven't gotten the new foot you mentioned, but I plan to buy it soon. Any suggestions? Thanks!!

  17. This is Brillant! I'm going to attempt this for Halloween. Is there a tutorial for the shoulders/belt?


  18. thank you soo much for posting how do tailor this dress!! i´m so glad, because i really want to taylor that once!! :)))
    how tall are you? because of the sizes you mention?

  19. Looking to make my own Qarth gown this year and had a question - the polyester chiffon at the store seems SO sheer. The dark blue looks like it was too. Does the bunching/gathering of the fabric make it so the dress is wearable without flashing the world? Or should I plan on something underneath it? Figured I'd try to ask since you have made it already! <3

  20. Using chiffon, did you have an issue with the dress being transparent? Did you have to line it or wear a slip?

  21. Using chiffon, did you have a problem with the dress being transparent? Did you need to line it or wear a slip?

  22. I would like to know where you got your filigree pieces from, or if you can suggest an alternate way to make them

  23. Is the pattern with or without hems? Also, I agree with the above, measurements would be useful if you don't mind!

  24. I used your pattern and made a mock up last week and yesterday made my actual dress. It is looking great! Thank you so much for this tutorial! I looked all over the pattern books for something that would look like her dress and nothing did so I was so happy to find this page!

  25. Hello and thank-you for the pattern! I wanted to ask about the width of the pieces. You've got each as 112cm, so that's 112cm for each front piece and 112cm for the back piece? I'm starting to put my pieces together and am worried because after sewing the front pieces together it looks too big. How did you come up with that number? I was thinking about reducing it by taking my hip measurement and diving it into thirds. would that be about right? And of course giving a few extra for hems and movement...

  26. How did you get your widths in relation to your size? I don't need to know your measurements, just how you figured out what you needed? hip size plus hemming room divided in thirds? I've started sewing my pieces together and the front just seems too wide but I don't want to cut it too small and ruin it...

  27. Would you be willing to make one to sell. Love to buy one.

  28. Thank you for your very helpful series of blogs - I can't wait to get started! Would you mind emailing me the links for your friend who made the belt and shoulder pieces? I am also in Brisbane.

  29. Hi Sonia,
    Many thanks for your inspiring blog.
    I was wondering if I could get the details of where you got the belt and shoulder details.

  30. I will make this for until August and it will be my first try to do sew something by myself (exept my school experience^^). So I hope I will get it. Thank you! :)

  31. So making this for Halloween! Mind me asking how long it took?


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