Merida's spunk and lack of table manners speak to me. As an added bonus, she's a ginger archer, and, well, I’m a ginger archer.
For this cosplay, I found some perfect teal wool blend fabric on eBay for 1.99 a yard and stocked up. I started by drawing the pattern right onto the fabric with a washable colored pencil, then started assembling it, taking it in as it went. The ruffles in the sleeves and neckline were made by gathering a double layer of chiffon and then stay stitching it over some cream muslin. I already had the cream chiffon on hand, so the entire gown cost me less than $20 dollars to make, once I’d bought a long enough zipper to get me in and out of it, since it was pretty fitting. I also sewed in godets – extra triangles of fabric to broaden the skirt – which were an experiment in patience and I initially hated. Now that I’ve run around in the dress, I’m really glad I have them; they made climbing trees a breeze.
For the wig, I’d initially ordered two cheap (15 dollars each) costume wigs on eBay, planning on doubling them up for extra volume. Unfortunately, the seller shorted me a wig, so I was on my own. I bought some long wefts from Arda in fire orange and started by using some of them to fake a lace-front hairline. This was achieved by hot-gluing some extra lace to the inside band of the wig. Then I stabbed hair through the lace from the wrong side and glued it down – no time to ventilate! The left over wefts were then sewn in all over the wig. Once that was done, the wefts, which were significantly longer than the base wig, were curled using sponge curls in all different sizes, then set with boiling water poured from a kettle.
With my curls all in place, I dyed the wig with its new wefts using the FW ink method. I combined a few drops each of Flame Orange and Scarlet and did the dunk (rather than spray) method to save on time, though it definitely took more ink that way. Also, I didn’t rinse it nearly as well, and it rubbed off a bit on my dress both times I wore it…thankfully the dye came out of the fabric with a little dabbed warm water.
I debated making Merida’s bow and quiver, but I wanted something functional and already have my own equipment, so I just decided to stick with what I was comfortable with so I could actually do some shooting. My arrows were also made by me and are 28 in. cedar with a 11/32 diamter, cut to size, filed with self-nocks, stained, sealed, and fletched.