Day Sixty-six 11/2/2009
Dress: Red with white leaf or flower petal pattern Dress
Purchased From: Reverie
Year or Era Purchased: Summer 2009
Accessories: Black tights, black mary janes, knit Phillies hat
Hair and Makeup: down and wavy, usual makeup
I still wasn't feeling one hundred percent this morning so I slept in until 9:30 and then putzed around the house for two hours before starting work. I did manage to do an insane amount of neglected dishes and a load of laundry. This whole dress thing definitely requires less laundry. I worked, grocery shopped and got my food loving self to the gym before coming home and making an amazing and soul warming dinner of potatoes au gratin, green beans with slivered almonds and vegetarian lemon/garlic chicken. Wicked yum. I totally fatted my way through two servings.
I wore a red dress today since the Phillies are playing. I am simultaneously blogging and watching the game right now. The dress is from a cool vintage store on Girard Avenue. I drive by it all the time but have only been in once and I got this dress and the squirrel brooch from day one. I've been waiting to wear this since it's long sleeve and today's weather was kind of perfect for it. My knit hat was a freebie at one of the games. Also good for today's weather. I paired the outfit with black tights and shoes because it's one of my favorite looks.
I don't know if I have it in me to go over every detail of the costume construction but I'll give it a try. I started out with a punching balloon and paper mached at least 5 layers on it before attaching layers of paper towel for padding and then a layer of duct tape for structure.
I paper mached a few more layers on top of the duct tape as I needed to paint some of it and glue fur to other parts.
The nose and horns are also made of paper towels wrapped with duct tape and then paper mached with several layers, followed by a paint job. The eyeballs were made of a styrofoam ball, sliced in half and painted yellow with black.
The mouth was constructed of cardboard, painted with white cut out teeth glued to it. I also used a sharpie to add some mouth details. I attached all of the facial features with liquid nails because "amazing goop" craft glue does not in fact bond whatever, last forever as it claims. Since the fabric store only had white faux fur I had to work with it. I tried dyeing it with two packets of dark brown but that only turned it a purplish grey color so after I attached the fur to the head with liquid nails I used fabric paint in black and brown and painted the fake fur until it resembled the color I wanted. I ran out so I wasn't able to get it exactly as I wanted. I stuffed the inside of the hollow head (the balloon deflated mostly on its own and then I satisfied my urge by popping it) with newspaper and glued batting to the rim to help close up the large gap. I then used extra fake fur and finished stuffing it enough so that it sat on my head properly. My original design used a batting helmet inside with the head held up a bit and my face visible but that made the head shaky and unstable so I nixed it and that's when I realized it was comfortable and looked better without.
The legs were made from a pair of cream colored textured tights and I painted a scale pattern on them with a stiff brush using a mix of black and brown fabric paint and then quickly dragged the brush through each of the scales. I bought at pair of slippers at Target and painted the same scale pattern on them with white and black fabric paint. I then made sixteen stuffed "claws" using felt, stuffing and embroidery thread. Eight of the claws were sewn onto the slippers, a feat that was extremely painful since the slippers were thick and I kept poking myself with the needle. Ouch.
Using a dress that I already own (the one from day forty-four) I traced the dress onto a piece of orange fleecey fabric with chalk and then cut it out. Since there was no way I was finding a sweater in orange/yellowy stripes I had to buy two types of fabric and sew stripes onto the dress. Luckily my friend Kristin has a sewing machine and she showed me how to use it. I did hand sew the dress stripes on one day when I was waiting for Easter to be done at the vet, the rest was sewn using the sewing machine. Michael is more proficient in sewing machines than I am, thank goodness, because he was able to help me when Kristin went home and let me borrow her machine. I sewed the dress and it fit well, yay. Since I haver never made a dress from scratch (and yes, I realize this was not made well, but whatever, I made it) before I knew I would not be able to conquer sleeves so I opted for extended arm warmers. I sewed their stripes on with the machine and then sewed them together, also with the machine. They almost lined up perfectly but I opted to keep them detached in case it was super hot and I wanted to remove them. I then hand sewed the claws onto the arm warmers. I also sewed two brown felt paws onto them. Looking back I wish I had changed the claw/arm design a bit because they kept flopping around. If I could do it again I would have inserted some sort of flexible wire into the claws or changed their placement. Oh well. My tail was made with more fake fur, dyed but not painted since I ran out of fabric paint. It contained a piece of 14 gauge romex wire and was sewn directly onto the dress. The wire wasn't actually strong enough to bend the tail into shape but I think it gave it something extra oomph.
When all was said and done I spent about $100 and 35 hours on the costume. I didn't use all of the supplies and I overbought fabric by about $20 but I was able to help a friend with her costume by supplying her with fake fur and I will make a cat bed with the remainder. It looks like polar bear fur so I might buy a white teddy bear and try to make a funny little bear rug/bed for the cats. We'll see. For now I'm going to try to get my house and life back in order! Okay, I guess I was able to go into detail, and I guess the Phillies just won too! Word!