Saturday, February 13, 2016

Creating a Costume

My husband and I are big fans of Las Vegas--we were married there.  
This year we are celebrating 20 years!

Have you ever been to the Rio?  It is such a fun place with a Mardi Gras atmosphere, which I tried to duplicate here.  Look up Rio Rita and you'll see my inspiration.  She is even pictured on some of the casino chips!

I  spent about 3 weeks drafting a pattern to designing my hat!  What an undertaking, but I'm really pleased with the final results.  

I did make a simple muslin of the dress to ensure a good fit before using my purchased fabrics.  I definitely see the benefits of working with a muslin and also working slowly and checking fit with each new pattern piece addition.

To get started, I used this McCall's pattern to create my bodice sloper. 

 It was just a starting point, because as you can see, I had to cut the bodice at an angle on the bottom.  The pattern is for wovens and utilizes a zipper at the center back too.  Since my dress is made from a knit, I made a full back bodice piece with encased elastic at the top.  I used a method I learned making many sundresses for my girls when they were little.  I also lengthened the bodice straps so they could be tied instead of fastened at the neck back.

Below the bodice, I used nude mesh for the midsection.  I laid my bodice piece on top of pattern paper and extended my dress design from there.

For the skirt, I measured my waist and hips and drafted a pattern that was widely curved at the hips and then narrowed it at the lower edge.  I used the same piece for both front and back.  Once those pieces were cut, I laid my skirt at the bottom of my mesh pattern piece to determine the angle I needed to cut at the skirt top.

After the side seams were sewn, I rounded the slit side edges.  It's hard to see that with the ruffles in place, but this opened up the skirt more at the bottom and helped to give me a proper curve to attach the bottom ruffle to.  All ruffles were sewn with long basting stitches and gathered by hand.  That took a painfully long time. 

For my hat, I cut off the bill of an old ball cap I had.  Next, I covered it with the velour and  sewed it to the edge of my ball cap.  I did break one needle in the process when I was sewing through the Velcro. 

 Next, I hot glued the fruit to the top of the hat.  I was careful not to over do it with the fruit because I didn't want a neck ache hauling around a heavy hat!  The strawberries are incredibly light weight and were also a good way to hide the glue used to hold everything else in place.  Then I used a rectangular-sized piece of velour to tie up and around my hat.  It is a little bit of a balancing act with the fruit cap while getting everything snug and tightly tied.  For ideas on how to tie a turban, I found plenty of you tube videos.

For my small sleeve, I measured my arm and cut a rectangular piece of velour, leaving extra to attach Velcro.  Then I cut 2 of each color of my nylon spandex.  I sewed each color set together and then inserted a shorter length piece of 1/4" elastic at the bottom seam between the fabrics.  This gave it the poof I needed.  However, it is one heavy little ruffle!  I enclosed the outer seam with FOE.

For my long sleeve, I used a sleeve from a knit shirt pattern I have.  Then I simply chopped off the top portion of it, made a couple straps, which I then attached to a key ring.  I made one more strap to attach at the top of the key ring with a loop at the end. One of my bodice straps is then fed through this loop to keep my sleeve in place.

I used my Sihouette Cameo to cut out silver HTV for applique designs.  I also glued jewels around the top front and back of my skirt, as well as the bottom front and back of my bodice.

My necklace is a strip of velour folded with edges turned to the inside and zig zag stitched down.  Then I glued some jewels spaced one inch apart, fastening with a hook and eye at the back edge.

Materials Used 

Dress:  Purple Panne Velour 
Neon nylon spandex and nude mesh 
Jewels & fabric glue
Silver HTV for applique designs

Long Sleeve:  Key ring, silver HTV for applique designs, silver sequins

Ruffle Sleeve:  neon nylon spandex, 1/4" elastic, Velcro

Hat:  Ball cap with bill removed
 Apple, pear, banana, grapes & strawberries
Pink & Purple feathers

So now I have a great costume to wear and it would be perfect for any Mardi Gras celebration!   I will get good use out of it and perhaps my girls may want to wear it one day when they are older.  

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley


  1. Wow, Shirley!!! What an awesome and fun costume.

    1. Thanks Pam! It was fun to make but I'm so glad it is finished! Back to my routine-type sewing. :)

  2. Your costume is so fun and bright! it is sure to be a hit at the party! I think it was so great you were able to take your vision and transform a pattern to fit exactly what you wanted!!

    1. Thanks Kristin! I'm just so relieved I could make it. I think I had a lot of luck going for me with this project. I don't think I would ever want to try to make it again. LOL


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