Friday, February 25, 2011


The first bunch of costumes that I made I didn't take any pictures of until they were done. Looking back, I wish I had, as there's always a new lesson to take from each project, and in every case there are tiny little painstaking details that no one ever sees in the finished project, but that I just had to do because I can't do things halfway. Nonetheless, I have my finished pictures and I can detail the things I remember about them.

My gypsy costume didn't really have a lot of sewing to it -- in fact the only piece that I sewed was the blouse, and that was already made up for my wench costume. I did actually sew myself into the top whenever I wore it though -- it had a tendency to ride up over my shoulders otherwise. So I wore a strapless bra and tacked it in four places to the bra when I needed to get ready.

The skirt I found at goodwill for $3. My husband pointed out that it didn't match anything in the costume but somehow it just worked. I had another option with brighter jewel-tone colours, but it didn't really work, so I'm glad I went with this one. I already had a bellydance coin scarf. It's the noisiest thing in the world. You can't move it even slightly without making a clamour that will wake the household. When I first wore the costume in university, I had random people calling out "jingle jingle!" wherever I went. I just tied a length of unfinished purple printed cotton over the waistline to add another layer. It's not even hemmed to this day -- I still just tie it off and tuck the ends in.

Aside from sewing myself into the shirt, the part that takes the most time is the hair. In the pictures you really can't get a sense of just how much is going on, but I've got a couple dozen braids, some of which are ribboned, some of which have bright wooden beads in them, some have both, some are plain, and one actually has a patterned scarf woven through the first few inches, them left to hang free. It's a really tedious process that looks fantastic in person but takes a couple of hours (it's at this point in my explanation that most people start to truly doubt my sanity).

The first time I wore the costume I basically decided that despite how awesome it looked, I would never ever put it on again. 3 hours just to put the thing on was a bit much. Of course, anyone who knows me is aware that such a promise would last exactly as long as it took me to decide that the costume was too wonderful not to wear again. So in fact, I've worn it at least three or four times, including a photoshoot wandering through woods that look wonderfully cozy and lush, but in fact the temperature was hovering at close to freezing the whole time. As always, the costume comes before my own well-being.

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