Monday, September 26, 2011

Bustle and flow: Cemetery Walk Costume

The first official costume of the season has been completed! I volunteer at the local history center and I was asked to help out with the annual 'Cemetery Walk' that they do. It is a pretty cool guided history tour with actors at some spots. Both the actors and guides dressed up. This year's theme was 'crimes and crimefighters' and it was really interesting. It turned out to be a gorgeous day as well and as weird as it sounds the cemetery was really beautiful. But then again I am the weird girl who actually really likes cemeteries.

Problem was I needed a costume and fast. After some research I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to to. A recent problem I have been having is going out too soon and buying a bunch of supplies before I look and see what I already have. Being a pack rat/border line hoarder I had MORE than enough stuff for this project (with just a few bought fill in supplies) and it was a good de-stash project. We have so many clothes and dresses at our house that we are sure we are going to find that 'perfect' project for. Well I found it this weekend and had a blast making a brand new costume that will hopefully serve me many times over (as opposed to say my care bear costume...don't know how I am going to squeeze some more use out of that one!).

On to the costume....

Pretty much ALL of my ideas for this came from two old Threadbanger videos. This one is all Steampunk outfits but the layering idea was super inspiring.  The other is a 'Sweeney Todd' episode that I have watched a ton of times, it begins with a great interview of Colleen Atwood (LOVE HER!) and ends with an inspired outfit.

This costume was made in 3 days with an $8 total cost. Yay for being creative!

This is the first dress. Too tiny but cool fabric. Skirt will be used for bustle.
 It already has some cool shaping to the back that I am just going to use.
 Second dress from stash. Long jersey type. This is going to be pretty much my top layer.
 Some pinning and sewing and we have a top! No cutting involved, if I needed too I could take out the stitches and it would be exactly where it started from.
 The only supplies I bought.
 Stash dress #3. Another too tiny dress that no one actually ever wore. Took out the zipper from the back, detached the bodice from the skirt, saved the frothy layer for another project and used the satiny underskirt for my ruched layered skirt.
 Old wedding petticoat from the costume stash. Used a ton of times. These things are like costume gold.
 Hat I made from felt, the feather I bought and random scraps from the sewing room. No sewing here only hot glue!
 Putting it all together:

Step 1: Put on (now gray) petticoat
 Step 2: Layer overskirt. This was also dyed gray in the same dye batch as the petticoat. Added a drawstring waist and ruching all the way around.
 OMG I LOVE GRAY!  This was my first diy dye job ever and I am in love with the results. Love love love.
 Step 3: Layer on bustle. This is a skirt that I sewed to a black ribbon to tie in the front. Added just a couple of rows of ruching to give the front some shape and then I added all the 'poofy stuff' from the original dress under the back to make the bustle. Historically accurate? Not so much but cheap yes!
 Ba-donk-a-donk shot for ya. Also I do not recommend driving in a bustle.
 Step 4: Layer on the jersey tank dress from earlier.
 Step 5: Wiggle into 'corset'. Made from the bodice top of the black and white dress. I was too lazy/time crunched to make it a lace up corset in the back to I just added a few rows of black elastic.
 And done! I added a black shrug that I made about a year ago since it was chilly out. I pinned on my hat and wore some fingerless black crochet gloves and was pretty adorable. I was going for 'victorian mourning wear' but everyone thought I looked more like a saloon girl. Whatever. The costume was a big hit either way!
I think my favorite thing about it is that since it is all separate pieces and each piece is either drawstring and or stretchy that this costume can be mixed and matched with different pieces to make a whole new look that will fit a variety of different sizes. I loved the dyeing process and sort of want to dye everything now! It was a lot less intimidating than I thought it would be.

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