I have a confession to make: I am a velvet junkie. I have a legitimate addiction to velvet. But I do refuse to pay $15/yd+ for the stuff. So one of my best sources for velvet – and a lot of things – is thrifting.
Thrift stores are excellent for velvet, because there always seem to be racks full of those plus-size floor-length velvet formal dresses that were in style about twenty years ago. (Maybe they still are, I don’t know?) I bought this 2XL black stretch velvet dress for a buck, with the intention of making a costume I’d been wanting to have since I was a kid – Odette from The Swan Princess.
The first thing to do was to take in the sides by a good amount, and create some darts in front and back. I also cut the straps down because the gown in question is off-shoulder. Then I used the extra fabric I had cut from the sides to create sleeves. All in all, the reshaping of this dress took me less than two hours. It’s not perfect; the sleeves have four seams and the left one has what was originally a bust dart at the wrist, all due to the piecing I had to do. But I think the result is quite nice, flaws aside!
The shoulder piece caused me some trouble. The first version I made was of a dark red satin I had in stash, and the problem was that the dress is stretchy and simply pulls on over the head, but the shoulder piece was not stretchy. The next day I was out yard saleing and happened across a very lovely red velvet dress – a girl’s christmas dress, by the look of it – and couldn’t pass up such a perfect match of fabric! So I scrapped the first shoulder piece and fashioned this one, which is not attached to the dress at all; it pins on around my shoulders (although the friction of velvet on velvet was almost enough to hold it in place without pinning at all.) The brooch is another yard sale buy; it started out as a pearl brooch and I gave it a makeover with some nail polish.
This weekend we had a most wonderful coincidence of a full moon on Friday the 13th – not just that, but a beautiful strawberry moon. So I threw this bad boy on and we went out into the night to get some pictures. I’ll have those in my next post.
Cost for this costume:
black dress: $1
red velvet: $5
All in all, a very cheap, very easy costume to throw together with great results.
I’d like this post to be the first I do of a series like this – refashion costumes being something I enjoy almost more than traditional costuming. Not only are they a good deal cheaper than going to the fabric store and buying yards of fabric, but I find them a nice challenge as well – taking something and making it into something else. So look forward to more refashion posts in the future!