Tuesday, November 8, 2016


If you recognized the word in the title, you must have read Sara Raasch's Snow Like Ashes. The heroine of this trilogy is a feisty sixteen-year-old orphan named Meira who grows up among a group of refugee fighters after their kingdom is laid waste and enslaved by a megalomaniac Enemy King. 

She is battle-trained (but not allowed to actually fight, for reasons the book reveals later) and wields a chakram as her weapon of choice.  

Meira herself is never pictured on any of the covers (although the chakram is), and there wasn't a whole lot of conclusive description in the books of her outfits, so Emily designed her own look for Meira. All we had to go on were that Meira's kingdom was winter-esque and she had white hair.

Here are her sketches.

We pulled together several different elements to bring those sketches to life. These are the ones we sewed. First was a silver tank top, fitted with contoured side seams and back darts.

Next was "leather" chest armor. We debated between pleather (more realistic) and fleece (warmer and more comfortable) and fleece won. This was a fitted sleeveless half-bodice with an invisible zipper extending halfway up the back seam. Look - you can still see the chalk marks! I started some decorative saddle-stitching because the whole thing was so bland but gave up when I realized it did not improve the look in the slightest.

This is the skirt, inspired by icicles and frozen waterfalls. Emily wanted it like a tutu, with a waistband and bunches of nylon chiffon (or whatever it is that pettiskirts are made of). The bunches were cut as flat rectangles or squares of different sizes, with the longer ones at the sides and shorter ones toward the center front and back. One corner of each was secured between the layers of an open waistband which fastens around the waist with hooks and snaps. Set sufficiently close together, the bunches form a continuous-looking fabric.

Here is the ensemble. 

We later added a strip of brown knit fabric around the waist for a sash, and from which to hang the chakram.

And now - the chakram! It's cardboard (and therefore the best part of the costume)!

Very easy to make - just a circle with the center cut out, leaving a wavy handle. I stuck two layers of cardboard together (I cut a chakram shape out of each layer first, then glued them together). For added strength, I positioned the flutes of one layer at right angles to the other layer.

Then I paper-taped the edge to cover the corrugation and give it a smooth finish, like a real (but blunt) blade. By "paper-tape", I mean that I cut a strip of kraft paper (a grocery sack is a perfect kind of paper to use!) of the exact width of the double-layered chakram, and glued that all around the circumference.

It makes a really good frisbee, and flies beautifully (and does not kill).

Here's the final set (missing the brown sash, which I forgot to include in this shot) - the brown jacket was from Target, the grey gloves were Simplicity from JoAnn, and their light blue fingerless inserts were also from Target.

Funny story: Emily went trick-or-treating with two classmates, both of whom are avid readers like she is. One dressed up as Cinder from Marrisa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles and the other dressed up as (are you ready for this?) a character from a book she wrote herself. I cannot tell you enough how fantastic that is.

Meira, Cinder and Non-Commercial Character From Private Story are relatively unusual Halloween costume picks and therefore less recognizeable by most candy-supplying households, the girls thought. So they took their respective books with them in case they were asked to identify themselves. People reacted with astonishment to see the books sitting with their candy in their loot bags and asked, "Which house gave out books?"

Now wouldn't that have been an awesome candy-alternative? Trick or Treat! War and Peace, anyone?


  1. My daughter also went as a book character. She went as Celaena Sardothien from the Throne of Glass book series. She wears all black with a red cape and everyone thought she was Little Red Riding Hood!

  2. My son actually got a book! Beverly Cleary's Runaway Ralph. It is obviously old and used, the kind of thing you would pick up at a used book store for fifty cents. Love it!

    The same son also has the challenge of wanting costumes of obscure video game characters that no one recognizes. He is happy with it.

  3. I would have been the happiest kid alive if books were given out on Halloween.

  4. This is great! I'd love to see Cinder, too.

    Two of my boys went the obscure-literary route as well. It was a thrill when an adult recognized one character.

  5. Wow! So wow!! For the design(er) and for bringing that design to life! Fantastic!

  6. What a cool costume! We give away books at my house. It is fun to watch the kids pick them out!

  7. Oh my, I recognised her immediately!
    Emily, you have amazing tastes in books! And your costume, and design, is amazing!

    And Laura K, Celaena Sardothien!!! It's another of my favourite books!
    Next year, I am totally dressing up as a book character! (we don't really do halloween in France, but who cares!)

  8. Your girls are so creative and talented. You've done an exceptional job. You should be proud.

  9. That is awesome. The costume, and even more (sorry :-) ), the girls and their ideas !

  10. lol at War and Peace as a trick or treating gift.

    I love the costume - great work designing, Emily, and brilliant sewing, LiEr - as always.

    Emma is writing a book write now for the junior version of NaNoWriMo. She has over 10k words. Unfortunately I think she is set on Hermione for next Halloween - she has been waiting and waiting to turn 11 to dress up as her favorite heroine.

    I do need to look for these books for her, as they sound just her style.

  11. your girl is very talented like her mom and it's beautiful costume!

  12. Fantastic! My kids also chose to be characters from one of their favorite books, Zita the Spacegirl. My 8 year old was Zita and my 6 year old was Robot Randy.

  13. Amazing job! My kids went as video game characters so I had to make their costumes as well. Inspired by you, I had them make their own accessories. They turned out awesome! I'd have loved getting books and so would my children.

  14. What a talented young lady! I love her outfit. The talent & imagination of the 3d young lady let me know my older years will continue to be filled with talented ladies in every field imaginable.

  15. I am stunned by the beauty and precision of her sketches!


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