Adventures in Costuming; Fire Keeper – Dark Souls III

When I first saw the promotional video for Dark Souls 3 that featured the Fire Keeper, I was immediately intrigued. Upon release, I put off buying the game for a couple of weeks while I studied for a state exam that was crucial to my career, listening to my friends scream and curse their way through the game. When I finally did download the game onto Steam, I was almost immediately derailed by my sudden decision to make the Fire Keeper for AnimeNext. I had been selected to judge the performance portion of the World Cosplay Summit US Preliminaries and wanted to make a new costume for the event. I was also in the process of planning a trip to Jerusalem, and a short weekend trip, so my time was very limited. This costume would prove to be as maddeningly frustrating to complete as the Dark Souls 3 gameplay itself.

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After some deliberation, I ordered ten yards of a charcoal grey polyester crepe from Mood Fabrics, a package that the USPS immediately delivered to the wrong address. My attempts to intercept it were in vain, and it was ultimately sent back to New Jersey before being redelivered to my address. This set my progress back by at least a week. A portion of the lace that I had ordered for the dress from China was marked as delivered to my address and promptly lost by the USPS.* All attempts to recover the package have failed. I reordered the same lace, paid for EMS shipping, and received the package only days before AnimeNext due to the seller charging me for EMS and sending the package standard.

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Once the charcoal grey polyester fabric was delivered, I began drafting out the costume using a modified Butterick Pattern B4827. I had hoped that I would be able to manipulate the fabric to give it a heat distressed look, and was very successful in doing so by heating the fabric at high temperatures. The hemline of the skirt, cloak, and sleeves were all distressed in this manner. The costume was then airbrushed with various shades of browns and greys to give it a weather, singed, and ash covered appearance. It was perhaps the most fun I’ve had making a costume in years. The chance to make what would have been a beautiful medieval gown and turning it into something tattered and aged. The dress was worn over an altered bodysuit from We Love Colours and airbrushed with a faint lace pattern to replicate the in-game look. The arm wraps are suede lamb skin leather.

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My favourite part of this costume is of course the mask.The base is a Worbla covered foam. Wanting to make the mask as intricate as possible, I used metal instead of Worlba to create the designs, and spray painted silver before giving it an aged patina with acrylics. The mask is inlaid with a Swarovski aquamarine crystal.

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The wig is from Wig Is Fashion and was styled into a loose fishtail braid before being bound with leather.

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I finished this costume almost a week prior to AnimeNext despite all the shipping setbacks and my own travel, making it one of the fastest costumes I’ve completed, and also one of my favourites. While I was only able to wear it around the convention centre for about an hour before I was called into judging, it was pleasantly very well received from a large number of Dark Souls fans, many who asked it they could level up, went through the motions when taking photos, and I was even chased up the escalator by a very charming Solaire cosplayer for a photo. Praise the Sun.

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Photography courtesy of Joseph Chi Lin and PhotoNinja.

* 3 months later we hear a knock at our front door around 11 PM on a Friday night. My husband goes to answer it and there waiting on our doorstep are the two lost packages which had been misdelivered back in late April to the wrong address. I can only figure that they were placed in a vacant mailbox and when the new tenants moved into our building they were kind enough to finally deliver them to our address.

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