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Ben McSweeney AMA ()
#1 Copy

botanicaxu

Could you give us some clues about how the two lines of buttons on Vorin havah actually look like? I find it hard to imagine correctly. (When designing this costume, has Brandon got some in-world reference?)

Ben McSweeney

The cut of a havah is similar to a cheongsam through the torso, with full sleeves and skirts falling from the hips. Beneath the slitted outer skirt are many thin layers like fine silk which interweave to create a sort of accordion effect. This would (I think?) allow the dress to fall at a sharp angle from the hip when still, while expanding to allow a full range of leg movement. The buttons run from the throat down to the waist, following a line from the jaw down to the collarbone, curving out to follow the bust and then down the line of the torso. I don't think there's a rule for the number of buttons, but when in doubt remember that "10" is significant to the culture. Frog buttons are legit, I think.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#2 Copy

Questioner

Miscellaneous questions about safehands. So the women are described playing instruments, are they just instruments they can play with one hand?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, often feminine arts are one-handed arts, but you got to remember that one, a lot of the darkeyes will wear a glove instead, and number two, the safehands of some of the more utilitarian dresses are built with something like an oven-mitt glove on them, underneath, so you can grab things and stuff. So Shallan, she can grab her sketchbook with it and draw. But yes, feminine arts are supposed to be one-handed, so they would, y'know, try to play these it would be one-handed.

Calamity Denver signing ()
#3 Copy

Solarpunk Gnome

I just came home from a Brandon Sanderson signing here in Denver and got the chance to ask him a few questions about the havah....

My main concern was the attachment of the replaceable hem as it is mentioned in several places in the Stormlight books.

Brandon Sanderson

Brandon said that the hem would be a continuous piece attached to the underskirt, or as Ben/Inkthinker called it, the accordion (perhaps it’s an accordion skirt?). This hem piece is not easy to change according to Brandon, so it is probably sewn on and not attached with buttons or some other simple fastener. It is a simple enough operation that it is done with relative frequency, however...

Brandon also confirmed my suspicion... that due to the difficulty in finding fabric that is an exact match for something bought another time/place, people often purchase replacement hems in contrasting colors.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#5 Copy

Questioner 1

I've been trying to figure out how to... make an Alethi dress with a safehound pouch without the hand being all bulky.

Questioner 2

Yeah, or looking like it's amputated.

Brandon Sanderson

There are people online who have done them and they look good.

Questioner 2

Yeah, I've looked them up. The problem is when you have the thing there, and because your putting things that are about the size of a marble, it ends up looking like there's a clump.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah, it does. It does look-- it looks odd to our eyes. It's natural to them, if that makes any sense, but if you make it a little bit tighter, also we found that helps.

Questioner 2

But what it be unreasonable for it to go really long, because I was thinking that would be kind of pretty.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah you could totally do a really long one.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

In Mistborn there's no flowers or anything. So how do they get dyes for their dresses and things?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on the dye. Some come from animals like snails. Some are metallic. Or, metallic is the wrong term. From minerals like lapis and things like that. There are a lot of non-floral dyes out there, even in our world. And they had extra resources in that.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
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Questioner

I had a question about how the Alethi women exhibit their wealth through their dresses. So I know there’s embroidery in the fabric and the fact that you're kind of disabling one arm? But besides that?

Brandon Sanderson

So gemstones, like well cut gemstones and then fill them with Stormlight. 

Questioner

Oh ok, but they're round, so...

Brandon Sanderson

No no, not the spheres, the actual stones. Gemstone rocks will still hold-- The sphere is just the way to make sure you don't lose them, you can make any sort of jewellery or gemstone, in your hair or anything like that, glowing would be how they would show off their wealth.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#8 Copy

Questioner

What kind of embroidery is it [on Alethi women's clothing]? Is it like flowers, patterns?

Brandon Sanderson

No no, it is a lot of things but the Alethi's don't do the flower thing as much... It's not really an Alethi thing, floral patterns. So you are seeing a lot of designs and hatchings. They may look a little Arabic to you. Or the glyphs and things like that you will see worked in but very stylized.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
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Questioner

I have a quick question about the uniforms in Skyward. Is there a specific color for Skyward flight?

Brandon Sanderson

Not for Skyward flight. They are all using the same jumpsuits, and things like this. By the second book, they probably will have... once they kind get ahead of it a little bit, they can start doing things like painting the ships. But in this book, really, you're basically wearing a jumpsuit--

Questioner

It's blue, it's unceremonial.

Brandon Sanderson

Mmhmm.