Did you know Halloween is coming up? I have been reminded of that fact on a fairly regular basis as my daughters (aka Social Butterflies 1 and 2) have various events to attend and costumes need to be made/procured.
For many years I made their costumes based on what they wanted to be at that moment,which often changed from day to day. My personal favorite is when S came to me and said “Can you make me a costume of ‘The Sun and Earth?’ and I thought about it and how much felt I would need and in the end she was Madeline in a big yellow hat and blue Rothschild coat.
I have made a clown, several witches, Lunette from The Big Comfy Couch, Madeline (x2), etc. There was a brief period of time during the end of elementary school and during part of middle school where they really wanted “store bought costumes.” I was happy to take them to Savers and buy over-priced and cheaply made costumes that were going to fall apart in 2 seconds because it meant I had some downtime at the end of October. And then they wised up and realized that I could help to make them stuff that was sometimes cooler than what everyone else was wearing. The bar seemed to get set higher and higher each year.
This year G fell in love with the Marvel Universe (and the Avengers in particular, as apparently Hawkeye aka Jeremy Renner has a nice butt) and decided on a USO Girl costume. I ran with this costume like I hadn’t with any other Halloween costume. I got a little crazy about the screen accuracy, is what I did.
Luckily my friend Kathy is all about screen accuracy and she has a group on Facebook called the Captain America Dancing Girls Costume Construction Group and she had links to EVERYTHING. Where to buy the shoes, cheerleader briefs, fishnets, flags, stars, gloves, fabric, etc. A lot of the fabric was from the Casa Collection at Jo-ann, so that was nice for me. Also, Kathy went to the Garment District in LA and offered to buy folks some of the sequined fabric there, so I got on that too. She then custom made the coordinating belts for anyone who wanted one. It was one of the easier costumes I have ever made because there were photo tutorials for everything, as well as patterns you could download and print out. Um, YEAH. The pointed collar? Already drafted in various sizes. I BIG PUFFY HEART KATHY KAYDEE AND HER FRIENDS.
So I ordered the shoes, the pants, the fishnets, the gloves, the stars, the flags (two in case one got broken), the belt, etc. and finally got off my butt to sew everything on Thursday, giving me till Friday at 5pm to finish. Which was cutting it a bit close, but I figured it would go ok. Little did I know that one should read everything several times before sewing, and I sewed EVERY SINGLE PLEAT backwards. So I spent an hour seam ripping 24 pleats before re-sewing them. That part? Sucked.
The only real alterations I made to the costume were to raise the neckline a bit for 17 year old modesty, and to raise the back so that a bra would comfortably fit underneath. I also put boning in the sides as 17 year olds tend to schlump and ruin the line of outfits. I kept the skirt and bodice separate, and sewed the petticoat into the skirt. I also used a very thin plastic buckram style canvas for the hat that worked incredibly well. I did not line the hat – I sewed it to the wig. G had pretty much gotten a buzz cut at the beginning of the school year and a hat would not attach to her head, so I bought this wig:
and I used the Vintage Hairstyling book that I own that is AWESOME and I turned it into this:
I have discovered that mullet and shag wigs are excellent for historical hairstyles. And for $16.99 if you screw it up it isn’t the end of the world.
The costume turned out really well and I am so happy with it. G is too. Something I did discover after getting her dressed and in the wig was that she looks SO much like my Grandmother in that costume. Actually, she looks a bit like BOTH of my grandmothers in that costume.
Behold the comparison photos:
The back view:
I actually hand sewed the pin curls and Victory rolls in front, and used bobby pins in the back in case we decided to have the hair down in back. Many liberal coats of hair spray were applied as well. The hat stayed on too, which was nice.
The sepia toned version:
And my personal favorite that we also changed to black and white:
If you want to make one of these costumes, check out the Captain America Dancing Girls group on FB! They meet up at various conventions and even performed at Dragon Con and I believe won “Most Patriotic” and marched in the parade under their own banner. G can’t wait to go to one of these and meet up with the other ladies!