First, a disclaimer. Almost every single picture of Cleo from NYE looks decidedly awkward. I’m not sure why, I can’t even blame copious amounts of alcohol.
While Christmas and Thanksgiving in summer time confuses me deeply, ringing in the New Year at an open-air seaside cantina while swathed in cotton cheesecloth makes so much sense.
My inner over achiever hates the costume-y quality of my Cleopatra.
But– I had a great time, I was comfortable and had many compliments from fellow revelers. I call that effective costuming.
I started with a long white dress. Visions of complex pleating, draping and tiers played through my mind, and with two days to the party I felt paralyzed by indecision. Then I thought, “shirr it, stupid”.
I sketched the schematics on a cocktail napkin:
I sliced some fabric from one end to make a really wide strap. Then I folded the main fabric in half lengthwise and found the point halfway between the cf and sides. I seamed the strap piece into a tube, then cut two straps the length from below my breast to just over my shoulder.
This was no precision job.
I realized I needed a little more bust engineering besides shirring. I created a casing for a 1″ wide piece of elastic, and cut the elastic to a length which fit snugly around my ribcage.
Then I shirred.
I made some straps for the back, pleated the front straps into it, and viola. Caesar pointed out he could see my nipples through the cheesecloth. Dang. I interlined the front with some natural colored cotton jersey.
Then I made a necklace from findings at Spotlight. I basically grabbed anything that looked ok, dumped it on the table at home, found some pliers and made a necklace.
I spent hours working on a gold cardboard crown that ended up looking like my daughter made it. I rigged up a gold bead headband instead.
After that, I ran out of steam. I threw sparkly trim around my waist and used some bangles for armbands.
Caesar made his own “laurel” wreath, he’s pretty handy. I slapped together a tunic and some purple ribbon on a 4m length of poplin.
Some drunk idiot though the was Moses. Moses.
This was the best Cleo wig I could find. I decided to embrace my pallor and not mess with bronzer. Bronzer tends to make my skin look dirty rather than tanned. I had fun with the makeup. I used a wet brush to make bright turquoise shadow stick all night.
Funny- I had the thought I’d chop up my Cleo gown after the party to make breezy sheer blouses, but I like my costume! I feel cool and graceful wearing it, and don’t need to wear a bra. I can’t exactly wear it down to the grocery store but it works for around the house.