Friday Favorites, Episode 28: And Now for Something Completely Different!

I’m hoping that next week, I can get Friday Favorites back to its usual format. The last couple weeks have been nuts on weekends. But since today is Halloween (and I have nothing to dress up for this year, sniff sniff!) I’m doing things a little different this time– a retrospective on some of my favorite costumes that I’ve made!

(Warning: VERY picture-heavy post coming up!)

The first comes to you from my junior year of high school–the first serious costume I made. At the time, I was completely obsessed with the updated version of Romeo + Juliet (and no, it wasn’t because of Leonardo DiCaprio– I just loved the combination of the Shakespearean dialogue and the modern beach town mafia setting!) And one of my favorite things about it was her angel dress from the masquerade. So this was my 16-year-old attempt to copy Prada… I sewed the dress from two layers of a white cotton, and made a velcroed sash to turn the princess-seamed dress into an empire waist. The hard (and most fun) part of it was the wings– they took forever! I used cheap fairy wings from Joann’s, dissected them and re-sewed them together to change the shape, and then completely covered both sides with white craft feathers that I’d hand-trimmed to the correct shapes and then hot-glued onto the wings. I no longer have the dress (gave it to a friend, as you’ll see later, because due to some proportion changes in college I could no longer zip it up!) But I still have the wings.


Moving along to mid-college, because while I did have a couple other costumes in the high school/beginning of college era, they were all kind of last-minute thrown-together and not really that memorable or cool. So now we skip forward a few years to the beginning of my obsession with Lord of the Rings, which started when I read through all three trilogy books and finished just in time for the first movie to come out. And I’ve been hooked ever since. So the next major costume I made, naturally, has that sort of feel to it. So this is my elf dress, which I made from Simplicity 9891— with some major alterations. The first was, I changed the shape of the sleeve to be more fitted down to about the middle of my upper arm, and then flare from there. The second is the silvery panel in the middle, which I added because after sewing it together, I realized I couldn’t zip it up past my ribs! (See previous mention of proportion changes.) But this was a good change, because I think it added more interest. The third was that I just had a silver strip at the top instead of a drape, because that sheer was too stiff to drape. This picture is me at the Maryland Rennaisance Faire.

And a closer-up view of the top taken behind my house. Can’t see it, but the silver panel and the tops of the sleeves are also hand-painted with swirly designs.

And every elf (or fantasy heroine wannabe) needs a cloak, so this is mine. It’s made from a green fine-wale corduroy and lined with some really nice dresss lining. That sort of sagged past the hem, so it’s tacked up kind of oddly in spots. But when I’m wearing it with a dress, you can’t really see that. (Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten to wear this to the Ren Faire yet– it’s been too warm every year, or we went as pirates. This was going to the the year, but then we got rained out last weekend and now the Faire is over for the year. Oh well…maybe next time.)

But of course, the LotR-based costumes were not done. Eowyn is my all-time favorite character (with Faramir being a very close second), and so my next costume was an attempt to make one of hers.


My biggest challenge in making the Shieldmaiden Dress was that I did it straight from promotional pictures that were released during the second movie, but the actual costume didn’t show up till the third. Part of me wishes I’d waited a bit longer, because the first time I was watching Return of the King, I kept noticing all these little details on the dress that would have made it so much better! But overall I’m pleased. The underdress was drafted by me, from a historic costume pattern book and based on a 15th-century chemise (with some seriously modified sleeves). It’s made from bleached muslin. The vest/corset was also drafted by me, but using a t-shirt that I chopped up as a pattern. It’s suedecloth with hand-sewn on gold trim. If I had opportunity to wear it again, I’d be seriously tempted to remake the chemise, because I never was totally happy with it. But I do like the vest.

And here’s a better view of the back.

Next major movie costume inspiration: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. But since this was for pirate day at the Pennsylvania Ren Faire, I thought it would be more fun to play Jack Sparrow than Elizabeth Swann! (Now, later in the trilogy may have been a different story, since I do like her more Asian-inspired Pirate Queen getups!)

This was a very mix-and-match costume. The coat was made from one pattern (out of mostly velveteen, but with a piece of car upholstery fabric to replace a piece I cut wrong!), the shirt from another (out of more of that bleached muslin), the pants were already in my wardrobe, the hat was felt and I think taken from online directions. The boot tops are my favorite– figured those out on my own, out of thin vinyl, and over top of a pair of boots I already owned. I also refashioned the sword out of a flea-market find that was all shiny-silver but the perfect style! So I “antiqued” the hilt with paint and spray-painted the scabbard black. Also made the baldric from vinyl and a thrifted belt-buckle. (Which I’ll have to redo sometime, because apparently I lost it after last year’s Halloween party!)

Later on, a vest also got added, made from some polyester stuff that was horrible to sew on, but it was a quickie job for PA Ren Faire Pirate Day Take 2, because it was roasting hot. (And yes, that is my angel costume, which my friend N borrowed from me for the party! And she now owns the dress.)

Back to LotR for the next one. This time, inspiration came from Eowyn’s coronation dress, but I made it in green instead of yellow–partially inspired by her green dress and partially because yellow is a pretty awful color on me.

Yes, mine is more foresty and hers is more olive, but that’s what was available in the crepe-backed satin that this dress is made out of. It was based more or less off McCalls 4490, which I modified to smooth out the neckline gathers and split the skirt up the front. And then I just made a long underskirt to go under it. The sleeves are fully lined in the lighter green, and the back is laced up.

The belt (which is sewn onto the dress) is also hand-beaded, and the sleeves have beads on the dividing line between the lighter and darker green. A very time-consuming costume, but totally worth it. (And washable, thanks to the fabrics!) So this is one of my Ren Faire staples.

And this is about where this blog comes into the picture. My first Halloween on here was the year of The Wizard of Oz, where some of my friends hosted a party where each of us came as a pre-set character. And since the movie is slightly lacking on female roles, I was the Scarecrow. (It was either that or a flying monkey, and we had no scarecrow.) So I blogged about the straw… but the rest of the costume never made it on here, so here you go.


My costume was mostly thrifted/refashioned– the hat and shirt are as-is, I added some patches to the pants, the hood was refashioned from a turtleneck, the belt is just some braided yarn, and the boots are thrifted, but ones I had before and wear as everyday ones.

As you can see, we had a very creative group!

And of course, there was last year’s also-almost-entirely-thrifted/refashioned fairy costume. But I like this picture better than the one I posted.

So that’s that. And now I just have to hope that N does have that New Year’s costume party she wants to do, so I have an excuse to make something new!!
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5 thoughts on “Friday Favorites, Episode 28: And Now for Something Completely Different!

  1. I love the LOtR costumes! Thanks so much for sharing them. By the way I’ve been lurking your blog for quite a while now, it’s actually one of the first sewing blogs I started looking at before I started sewing, so I thought it was about time I said hello. 😀

    Like

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