Ghilan’nain Cosplay Write Up

So i keep coming back and straying from this blog. Terrible at committing to it really. However Sydnova has now come and gone and I’m left with brand new projects to start so I am vowing to myself that I’ll write about these past three costumes before I begin! (side glance at the half finished Marian Hawke cosplay write up i’ve promised for so long)


Ghilan’nain is one of the elven pantheon from one of my favourite game series, Dragon age.
We originally had a group planned but life gets in the way and theres not always a whole lot we can do about that other than be understanding and remember this is a hobby for FUN. (Pushing others to exert themselves mentally or even physically to essentially play dress ups is not okay!)
I still decided to wear my cosplay on the Friday as I had still put in a rather large amount of effort, and living so far away from most conventions I wasnt sure I’d get another opportunity to wear it before other cosplans came into the picture.

Now onto the costume!:

The Inspiration

“One day, Ghilan’nain came across a hunter she did not know. At his feet lay a hawk, shot through the heart by an arrow. Ghilan’nain was filled with rage, for the hawk is an animal much beloved of Andruil. Ghilan’nain called upon the goddess to curse him, so that he could never again hunt and kill a living creature. Ghilan’nain’s curse took hold, and the hunter found that he was unable to hunt. Ashamed, the hunter swore he would find Ghilan’nain and repay her for what she had done to him. He blinded her first, and then bound her as one would bind a kill fresh from the hunt. But because he was cursed, the hunter could not kill her. Instead he left her for dead in the forest. And Ghilan’nain prayed to the gods for help. Andruil sent her hares to Ghilan’nain and they chewed through the ropes that bound her, but Ghilan’nain was still wounded and blind, and could not find her way home. So Andruil turned her into a beautiful white deerβ€”the first halla.”
β€”From Codex entry: Ghilan’nain: Mother of the Halla

Bittersweet, isnt it? I love Biowares knack for sneaking such folky details into the wide world of Thedas. It makes it such an easy task to immerse yourself into their world by having this history lying about.

As with most cosplays I start, I looked at fan art for reference. This was particularly important with Ghilan’nain as she doesn’t actually have an in game design other than derelict / rotting statues.

these three images were my biggest inspirations for the overall look: snow white and delicate.


The Design

I originally planned for a wrap style dress, however it changed quite drastically when my mum brought home a wedding dress she’d seen in the thrift store window – it was extremely small (half my size) with an enormous over skirt. I ended up being able to use the fabric from the main dress to turn into a top/front skirt and sewing the overskirt back onto it.


Original design

The Construction

This actually went together quite quickly funnily enough.
First I made the bodice pattern using my pattern blocks. I had to factor in the minimal amount of fabric I had to use (the base dress was teeny weeny), so an empire waist was the way to go. I would have liked to have avoided a giant seam in the middle, however I did end up covering it with the waist cincher later on.

The base dress also had a few beaded / sequinned motifs I managed to unpick and use on the costume too, (they’re also all over the skirting too, which I thought tied it in nicely!)


the base before lace was added


Beading details

The over Skirt was incredibly easy, I quite literally just sewed it onto the waist line of the base, as it had been on the original gown. The cincher seemed to cover any possible problematic parts so it wasnt a huge fuss at all !


The waist cincher I patterned myself, I put some boning in it as well for extra structure. The beading was the only truly strenuous part of this piece, I used Ghilan’nains vallaslin (face markings) that are used in the actual game for the design!


And all together:


I had lace left over from the bow from the original dress, which i put on the neckline and I think it really tied it all in!! I also added some strings of beads along the bottom of the cincher. I wasnt too sure about this since it did cover the motif (also beaded) but at the end of the day I think it as a nice little touch. you really only notice them in the sunlight.

After making the outfit itself, I still had plans to do tights / armor however as mentioned earlier, I did run out of time!
I took some photos in my back garden to celebrate the completion of the larger part of the cosplay and I had a lot of feedback encouraging not having anything underneath at all!



The skirt is HUUUGEE


A make up test: which i completely forgot to refer to seeing as I forgot to put freckles on for the convention *face palm*

The End Result


Photo by Thomas @ Magic Missile Studios


Photo by Thomas @ Magic Missile Studios


Photo by Thomas @ Magic Missile Studios


This entry was posted in bioware, bioware cosplay, cosplay, cosplay tutorial, cosplaying, costume, costume design, costuming, craft, dalish, dragon age, dragon age cosplay, dragon age cosplay tutorial, dragon age inquisition, elf, elven, elvish, ghilan'nain, sewing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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