Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

Character Costumes for “KoS”

Beginning to document the magnitude of King of Swords (the filmmaking project Joaquin and I have been working on all summer), let’s talk about character costumes.

Ambitious plans

May 30 · We have a plot with many main characters and extras (Joaquin wants this story to be very Game-of-Throny). So costume sewing will be crazy, but we gotta start somewhere. This is my plan for the first two.

color pencil sketch of costumes for the king and his brother

First batch for the King

Jun 24 · Plans for Joaquin’s GoT-inspired TV show are very ambitious, so I’ve spent several days creating costumes for one of our main characters and villains: King Kristoff Balcan, played by Pillo.

1 Stuffed bear in tightly-fitted one-piece outfit
2 Stuffed bear in old-fashioned nightgown

1. I started draping a sloper for King Kristoff hoping that it would aid in creating patterns for the other outfits. The work was so involved, I decided that the test garment should serve a purpose beyond testing, and so with a bit of decoration I created a swordplay outfit for which we promptly wrote a scene.

2. Joaquin helped draft the pattern for this nightgown. Pattern making is quite a process and I’m no expert, so I wasn’t surprised that he got bored and looped around as an escape. He did participate though, and if nothing else learned that drafting patterns is not easy (and to him: not fun at all). And this garment helped me get started with the real mother of the project: The King’s trunk hose.

Stuffed bear in trunk hose and a fancy matching top
A royal outfit for King Kristoff!
Trunk hose—good Lord!—and a shiny matching top. Crown still missing (sigh).

Joaquin joins the effort

Joaquin was okay with my meticulously slow pace because the king required very good and professional outfits, but when it came time for him to contribute making costumes for the Shoduki twins, he decided to rebel against my methods and just cut and sew them the improv way.

white beany bears wearing costumes
Joaquin’s costumes for our Shoduki characters: Shadah Dalpuso (played by Light) and his twin sister Galía (played by Luz). Joaquin is making sure to make this culture extremely machista and he decided that the Shadah would wear the cheetah mask I made for Luz last Christmas. The plot calls for Galía to disguise herself as male in order to join some important fight. I loved his design with the cute ruffles—el recogidito, as he called it.

I think he did a surprisingly great job, this being the first time he attempts to sew any kind of clothes by himself. The style fits the earthiness of a culture that is close to nature (except for their very machista beliefs), and I was very happy with the experience he got:

  • designing
  • attempting to “draft” two basic patterns
  • playing with 2D material to create 3D volume (many lessons here)
  • stitching by hand (a little bit)
  • learning to use a sewing machine

The kid goes deeper

Jul 1 · My personal project has picked up a lot of steam but Joaquin is not going to let me quit on his project. So we’re currently working on character costumes, and the situation with these hot passions of both is good: Whenever sewing has been involved in the past, I’ve taken over. But not this time!

This time I’m involving Bollo deeply in this process. He’s enjoying it and today’s thrill was racing at full speed while stitching a hem with the sewing machine. Naturally I won’t trust him with the serger yet .

11-year-old boy using a sewing machinestitching fabric by handboy's hands carefully guiding fabric with pins through a sewing machine

Jul 3 · Introducing Rhegan Cardallion (played by Sochi)—our main character and hero. This is costume #1 sewn entirely by Joaquin; he’s going to need a few more outfits to match his character arc.

Stuffed polar bear wearing a brown hooded cape

Joining the villains

Jul 24 · After many days (or weeks?) patiently lying on the table covered with pins waiting for me to return to the task, Pumpum finally gets his costume. Meet Prince Richard Balcan, Duke of Saint Calvin.

blue stuffed monster wearing a fancy vest in front of a castle

1 closeup of the golden stitiching vest closure
1. Detail of Pumpum’s fancy costume. Those ties are crochet work with golden (polyester) thread, people!

For your warrior outfit, choose pleather

Aug 3 · This week I finished Rhegan’s very important warrior costume. Joey suggested a helmet, which of course when I started to make turned out more complicated than I was hoping for. So I’m taking a break and today helped Joaquin with the storyboard. We collaborated drawing. He needed a break too and loved my help.

polar bear wearing a Gladiator-type costumedetail of the costume's frontdetail of the costume's back
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