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Adventures In Costuming - The Prayer Flag Dress

Updated: May 26, 2023

Things don't always go perfectly to plan...

This is not the way I wanted to start this post. In fact, it's the exact opposite. I had HIGH hopes & expectations. At the start of the day, of my event, it began well enough and I was in great spirits for how the day would be. However, it devolved quickly, into it was not all going to go as planned.

My preparations for the day didn't go as planned, everything fought me, tooth and nail. The overall outcome though was good and the day turned out, in many ways, better than I'd hoped for. What did I do to combat the cascade of things going sideways and my mind falling apart as a result? I'll explain by going through the series of events and I'll follow it up with my solutions and tips for whenever you may face a similar situation.

To start, I did my hair first. I usually do it last because you can't put your costume on over your hair, but this costume didn't require going over the head. As far as my typically uncooperative hair goes, it actually mostly behaved and my hopes were slightly bolstered. The braided and taped crown of hair would provide for a cute hairdo that was up and out of my face, the wind and should stay in place most of the day. Only one of the braids made me tape it twice and I call that a win!

Secondly, makeup. It fought me. I didn't grow up putting makeup on and have had no teacher, so I've had to teach myself over the years. Eyeliner is always a challenge. You'd think, having been a painter in the past (specialized in lettering) that I'd be able to delicately apply liquid liner to perfection, but Nooooo. Instead, I usually use a crayon style eyeliner that goes on with slight pressure, so I can ease my eyes into being tortured. Anyway, I won the battle, but with much effort.

The next battle, the actual war you could say, would be against my own mind. "But, I thought you were going to say you fought the dress." Well I did that, too...

At. The. Same. Time.

This image is a poor angle to really see what's going on, but this is me, sewing an adjustment to each shoulder strap while wearing the dress. At this point I'll back up a tad in the story. I was already completely dressed and was just feeling uncomfortable. The bra that I used for draping on my mannequin was showing. It was not supposed to be showing. I'd built it around the straps directly on the mannequin for the express purpose as to not have bra straps showing. My husband suggested a different bra and that worked (having a different style on hand was a bonus). The fit was still off though and I felt so uncomfortable. Like everything was hanging low and exposing me too much. It was a low neckline, but it fit better in my test fit before setting the straps. Why didn't it fit now?

At this point I started to unravel. Holding it together by a thread (see what I did there?), I decided to re-set the straps. I was in the dress and knew I'd have to test the fit again, so I sewed it while wearing it. In hindsight, I should have just sewed it off body, but I wasn't thinking clearly anymore. I was beginning to feel thwarted at every turn and like it wasn't meant to be. On top of it all, I'd forgotten to bring the jacket that went with the dress, so I'd have to wear a mismatched sweater jacket until it warmed up.

Everything just felt so out of control and wrong.

"This dress is too floofy, too exposing."

"I'm going to be uncomfortable all day."

"If I don't wear it, I'll let everyone down who put their prayers on a flag."

"What if I just tear off the skirt and wear the top with my jeans, carry the flags?"

"I'm such a failure. Why doesn't this fit right?"

"I'm afraid everyone will think I'm so weird and no one will recognize or understand the concept."

"Why did I think this was a good idea?"

Well, because it was! After breaking into tears, sewing through it, more tears and a pep talk from my man, I forced myself out the door!

From here I can say it was easier, but it didn't really start feeling that way until we were well into the Animal Safari, distracted from my mind, and I began to relax.

After the Safari and on our way to Everest I started getting recognized, people who understood, smiled, complimented and throughout the rest of the day the momentum built. People chased me down for photos and to ask me about your prayers. It was an overwhelming success!!!

How did I step out the front door though? How did I recover and not give in to my fears? How do you move forward when you feel paralyzed?

Tip #1 - Have a good support system --> When you are breaking down, call your best friend to talk you through the situation, or have a friend with you to help snap you out of it. Someone who is gentle, but firm and won't let you give up.

Tip #2 - Try everything on before you go --> I mean EVERYTHING! All parts of your costume, down to accessories, jacket, glasses, jewelry, etc. A test run-through. This will help you remember to pack and bring everything and will show you if anything needs adjusting. If it does need to be adjusted, try it on again! Don't just assume it will be right this time.

Tip #3 - Bring an emergency repair kit --> If I'd forgotten to bring this, I would not have been able to fix it and there would have been no recovery from my situation. Take it with you to the event, too, just in case something snags, rips, etc. I rarely have things like this happen, but the peace of mind that I can fix it if it does happen is worth carrying it along for the day.

Tip #4 - Be kind to yourself --> Remember that you are not alone! Remember that what you imagine isn't the way it will be and that if you don't try, you won't get to see or experience all the day has to offer. So walk through the door and go out on that adventure!

We all struggle and we all have good and bad days, with many in between that are a mix of the two. Lean on your friends when you are in need. Ask for help!

Go out and take the leap of faith into the unknown, for the rewards are great!!

Until the next great adventure, happy sewing! Happy costuming! Happy travels! You never journey alone!!

With love & many prayers!

- Kristen

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