The Costume I Should Hate But Don’t

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”.

Of course.

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.


17 comments

  1. Great job on the costume(s)! It is amazing what you can do with a few cheap materials and some imagination. Your eye makeup looks pretty amazing – I hope you're not wearing that around the house too!

  2. Love the idea of wearing this around the house! How much fun that you ended up liking it so much — and think what it will do for your housekeeping!

  3. Thanks so much! I did make the necklace, but found the whole thing tedious so I doubt I'll try it again. I'm wearing my dress right now, making salsa. :)

  4. Pingback: 1925 Sunhat and Trash Wars- Help a Sista Out « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

  5. Pingback: Time Out to Sew a Summer Dress « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World


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