BUILD: All Hands on The Aiel Maiden

Aiel Maiden from Robert Jordan's 'Wheel of Time' book series. | Image by Dim Horizon Studios

Aiel Maiden from Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’ book series. | Image by Dim Horizon Studios

My re-purposing passion only took me so far when I wanted to build an Aiel costume based on Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” book series.  This costume is the result of several friends pitching in to make it happen.

I was lamenting to my friend Jonathan over lunch that I wanted to make an Aiel costume, but hadn’t gotten my head around how to make the spears.  Jon started quizzing me on what kind of spears (how long, what type etc.) and finally said “I can do that”.  And true to his word, he went home and spent a couple of weeks woodworking and pondering to produce three excellent Aiel spears for me.  Best friend ever!

Now that I was gifted with swell spears, I was obligated to come up with the rest. I found the perfect (and I mean perfect) fabrics for the cadin’sor, but without sewing skills, I’m still sitting on go.  Happily, another friend joined me on the journey and together we found a simple pattern and together we cut it, she sewed the big bits, and I hand stitched the rest. Go team!

Using the left over fabric, a wire headband and some safety pins, I fashioned the cowl.  I ran part of a wire coat hanger through an old black cotton scarf to make a veil that would draped quickly and properly across my face.

I found some cheap boots, poked holes in them with an ice pick, and made some simple laces so they’d resemble Aiel boots described in the literature.

I still needed a hide buckler (shield) to complete the outfit.  I found a round wooden lazy susan platter at the thrift store and  a brass bowl. Using some suede from an old pair of pants, gorilla glue and some upholstery nails… I assembled a decent shield the night before DragonCon 2010. Sadly, when I was smacking the shield with a hammer – to give it some battle damage – I smote it in half.

Aiel spears hand-crafted by Jonathan Gardner

Aiel spears hand-crafted by Jonathan Gardner

Blood, and bloody ashes.

More Gorilla Glue and some tears bound it back together before the convention started the next day.  It was first time I wore the Aiel to a ‘Wheel of Time’ track event, it was my introduction to an army of fantastic fellow fans who have since become my dear friends – both in Wheel of Time fellowship and costuming clanship.

I’ve since been included in several fun Wheel of Time photo shoots which have only amplified my appreciation for the world. Every time I wear it, I think of the friends who helped me do/fix the parts I couldn’t. The Aiel Maiden has since been my “go-to” garb for the past few years whenever I want to celebrate my enthusiasm for the marvelous world that Robert Jordan created and Brandon Sanderson carried forth when Jordan died. Many hands touched this one costume along its journey – and I’m grateful for every one.

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