Saturday, October 2, 2010

"Go Dover! Move yer bloomin' a$%@!"

Old movies rock. I've watched Gone With the Wind a billion times (many times while designing the epic costumes). My Fair Lady is another major favorite. So with a theme like "Stars of the Silver Screen," how could I not include Eliza Doolittle as well? Looks a little challenging. Just a wee bit. But I gots skillz, mad skillz.

Here's a stolen movie image:

And here's my 3-year old version. Pretty close, eh?

No hoops for this one. But epic nonetheless.

Some notes on making realistic Halloween costumes for kids:

Use washable fabrics. Not drycleanables. You'll love the costume more if you aren't stressing about small people eating in it. And drooling chocolate on it. And spilling root beer on it. Hungry children aren't much fun. Let them eat without fear in the costume.

Use synthetics wherever possible. Or line with synthetics or soft fabric. There's nothing worse than a tired kid complaining about an "itchy" costume (well there are worse things, like running out of Snickers bars, but we're talking about costumes, not chocolate at the moment). Synthetics tend to give and are more comfortable -- and allow a little wiggle room for wiggling. The Ascot costume above is made with a white synthetic with a white strech lace on top, zipper down the back. The only problem was the "mermaid" skirt - little girl couldn't run in the costume (running is essential if you trick-or-treat and you have short legs).

Real props optional: The "Parasol" above is a long dowel spiral wrapped in ribbon with a sheer curtain gathered and tied around it. I couldn't find a tall, straight parasol, and I didn't need her taking some kid's eye out with the little pokey parts on a real parasol. For prop purposes, this was fine. And free.
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I guess a hat is a prop also, this one is made from one of those really bad 90's straw hats. Used the glue gun to cover with black satin at the crown, and white satin over the brim. Trimmed with ribbons & feathers & pearls from the miscellaneous box of crafting junk. I loved that hat. It was amazing.

Fabric stores are expensive. Many times you can find an equivialent fabric at the thrift store in the form of adult clothing. This will also allow you access to vintage fabrics without paying a premium. Kid costumes don't take too much yardage. Unless you're putting a hoop under it, of course. But for non-hoop costumes for people with short legs, you can get away with a little less.

Patterns are over-rated. I only say this because I am instruction-impaired. I don't look at the instructions at all anymore because when I do I end up ripping things out twice instead of just once. Don't follow my example. Do a little inventory on patterns you already have before you go to the fabric store -- can a pattern you have in the cabinet already be altered without too much effort to make what you want? I did  a whole roadshow one year with just three patterns. Just nipped and tucked, and used a variety of fabrics and trims. Because I'm amazing (actually because everyone was a cow, a sheep, or a chicken!!!!! oh, and a horse and an ox which, when they're really people, look just like cows.) Make the patterns you already have work for you. I used a long-sleeved blouse pattern for the dress above, and I was wingin' it from the waist down.

I'm sure I will have more splendid ideas as the month progresses. So ta-ta for now.

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