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Showing posts with label fascinator. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fascinator. Show all posts

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Fancy dress costumes on a budget!

axolotl hair band

I’ve always loved to dress up. Costume parties and fancy dress have been the top of my priority list since 1995. Part of the appeal to me is the bit where I get to decide who or what I’m going to be. And yes, I often go as inanimate objects. I once dressed as a matchstick to go to an ‘M’ themed birthday party, and one fateful Hallowe’en in my first year at university, I went as a treasure chest. Make of that what you will.

When deciding what to dress up as, I often feel like the process should go like this:

1. Decide who/what to be.
2. Source costume and props.
3. Dress up.
4. Go to the party.

Unfortunately, unless you’ve got tons of money to spend on expensive ready-made costumes (boring) or you are going to the party dressed as a modern day civilian (even more boring), the process of preparing for a fancy-dress party is not as smooth. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make a really effective and wearable outfit for yourself with minimum effort. I’ve found, over the years, that you can make almost any costume using clothes from around the house, scrap pieces of felt, and headbands.
Now let me be clear – I am no cosplayer. I am forever in awe of those who spend months crafting their hyper-accurate TARDIS costumes to go to conventions and gatherings, or learn intricate makeup techniques to become mythical creatures. And in addition, (although this goes without saying...) I am not a professional costume designer. My incredibly talented friend Eleanor Bull is, and her fancy dress costumes always trump everyone else’s, as far as I’m concerned. When we were little, we used to make all sorts of magnificent costumes out of scarves, sheets of fabric, old clothes, bits of cardboard… And it’s that kind of boundless, unselfconscious creativity that I think we should harness when creating costumes (and in all getting-dressed endeavours!).

Children in fancy dress

The key to a good costume, for me, is all in the headdress. Not only does a headdress bring a well-curated outfit together, it can also make a completely non-fancy-dress outfit into a costume! You can basically make a hat out of ANYTHING, which means the possibilities for easy costumes are endless. Going to a zoo themed party? Hot-glue some plastic animals to a headband! Want to dress up for a summer themed party? Put your hair in a bun and wrap some tiny bunting around it! You’ve got to think outside the box a bit, but I know you can do it.
I’ve made my fair share of really simple headdresses over the years. Some have been a little bit more labour intensive than others, and some have been more effective than others, but they were all fun little projects!

axolotl costume idea
cute ginger cat girl
cat man costume headdress

Animal headdresses are probably the easiest to think of, and they can be some of the easiest to create too – especially cat ears. That said, I made a unicorn headdress once that didn’t work at ALL. My top tip there is to keep the ears/axolotl gills/horns/whatever head appendage small, to avoid any embarrassing flaccid headdress incidents.

bacon hairclips

For my Eurovision party this year, (Eurovision is my favourite religious festival) I was Denmark. I came up with a ton of convoluted puns and ideas (Cover myself with gloves and go as HANDS Christian Andersen…) but eventually I decided to go with a red and white dress (Denmark’s flag colours) and a couple of (Danish) bacon themed hair clips (see above). Like almost everything I make, the hairclips were made of felt, sewn and glued, and fitted to hair clips.

What you need, to make an impromptu headdress:

1. Felt in a variety of colours. You can buy selections very cheaply online or in fabric shops.
2. Glue (you could use a glue gun, or UHU glue, or any other strong glue)
3. Hairclips, hairbands, headbands etc. You can get the little flimsy plastic ones so cheaply and those are perfect for this kind of thing.

Optionally, you could also add glitter, sequins, plastic bits of tat (I’ve been known to glue a plastic tea set to a hat…) and ribbons to your arsenal of headdress-making gear. Let me know if you’ve ever made any awesome hats or headdresses, or tell me about any awful pun costume ideas. You can comment down below or tweet me at @candyowlgirl. And tell me if you’d like to see more costume ideas and more detailed tutorials in the future. :)