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Posts tagged ‘costume construction’

Alien Costume

The ALIENS ARE COMING!

Alien costume

For our Christmas program, (yes, I said Christmas program) we need 9-10 Alien costumes (yes, I said Aliens) so I’ve been busy working on a prototype.  Here’s version #2.  The fabric is uber-light and stretchy, which gives the odd, arched shape when it’s stretched as the trim is attached.

I started with a sleeveless tank and shorts which I cut and sewed without a pattern.  I sew enough that I often don’t use a pattern on something this simple. I usually just get the right proportions by folding a t-shirt in half and cutting out the shape based on that.  Ditto with the shorts, using a pair of pants or sweats I already own.

The trim is simply round pipe insulation which is pre-scored so you can easily split it open.  <Home Depot guy, you rock!>

I cut it in half, hot glued it to the fabric. (IMPORTANT NOTE:  I stretched the fabric as I went along).

I tried spray painting this trim with neon green spray paint, but then the costume lost the cool color contrast between the green and grey (the trim just faded into the costume)  and the spray paint flaked off.  Badly.  in. a. big. mess.

I asked one of our Alien dancers to wear it at rehearsal one night, and it was comfortable, moved well, and because the trim is soft foam, it didn’t hurt or create a problem with movement when she rolled around on the floor for some of the choreography.

My boss (Creative Arts Director at Rocky Mountain Christian Church – Phil Christian) asked that the dancer’s faces not be visible, so I needed to make a head-piece of some sort that the dancers could see through, but would disguise their faces.

The first version of the costume was a TOTAL FLOP in my opinion.  I didn’t like the trim or the fit, or the helmet, which was based on a 1960’s flight attendants’ accessory made by Italian designer Emilio Pucci.

1960's flight attendant uniform was my original inspiration

I really disliked the first prototype.  It was very time-consuming, and inhaling melted plastic fumes is not my idea of a great way to spend the day.  I originally made the helm by using two dollar-store plastic serving bowls.  The bowls were clear, but I decided to spray paint them… they ended up looking like 1970’s green tupperware which was an early indication that this plan was doomed.

I cut out a face opening and a neck hole, figured out a way to “hinge” it with velcro so it could be opened and closed, hot-glued the seam, and added some tree tinsel.  Blech.  It just looked trashy, not cool – and we have some really cool young dancers on our “Crew-X” so I wanted them to look like Judy Jetson, not some spacey version of Elmer Fudd.  🙂

I wanted a scooped collar and waist piece, but without using stiff interfacing or corset stays it was a floppy disaster… Here’s the idea I abandoned…

The model is an awesome kid, but this costume?  No WAY!  Back to the drawing board.

See what I mean? Great kid, but the costume misses the mark.

I decided to abandon the helmet idea, and go with a simplified (and surprisingly less expensive) head-piece made of foam.  I used egg-crate foam; the type you use to pad a camping cot, which I already had on hand.  In this photo, it’s not complete, but you can get the general idea.  I assembled it from strips of the foam alternated with strips of the pipe insulation trim, hot glued together.  The final version is spray-painted neon green, but I don’t want to reveal the final product until the Christmas Program is over… so you can look for it in a future post.  Here’s the idea, though…

Using tulle to cover the face lets the dancer see out, but effectively veils the face.

These are a little more “Predator”-looking than Marvin the Martian-looking, but I’m hoping it will all come together in the final assembly of all the pieces.  I’ve added a collar to the uniform and am hoping to find some inexpensive leotards and tights in bright green or grey to complete the look.  The dancers are going to wear knee pads, which they will provide, and I will either make matching fabric covers for, or simply spray paint them.  Shoe covers are in order as well, because our dancers will be wearing athletic shoes, not ballet slippers.

I’ll post the final project when it’s all finished, but  thought this would be a good time to post the general idea since Halloween is just around the corner and my blog gets so many hits from people looking for costume ideas.

hugs, v-

Golf anyone?

The Golfer.

Brian D and I needed whacky golf outfits for our church’s family ministry program one Sunday.  (www.rushhourcolorado.com)  I used my go-to pants pattern – shortened at the knee. Elastic at the waist and knees. Added a matching green athletic shirt black socks, the actor’s own dark shoes, and a cotton “sweater vest” I got on sale at where else? Wally World! We had a golfer’s hat in the costume collection at the church (Rocky Mountain Christian Church, Niwot, Colorado).  And VOILA!

Mine was almost identical to this only mine was orange where Brian’s is green. My orange golf shirt was cheap, I raided my husband’s closet for a black sweater vest and I had the socks and shoes already.  For a prop, I also added a “Big Bertha” type driver to mine to punch up the silly factor.

I had a 3-foot caddie we like to call the “Hoblin Nobbit.”  It was his first Rush Hour performance and he was absolutely AWESOME!  Good genes, I guess… his mom plays Sam and his father is a brand new Storyteller this season.  I think the golf bag we asked him to carry was taller than he is!

FORE!

hugs, v-

Knight Costume

Sir Ted of the Round Table

We need a Knight costume for Rush Hour, so here’s what I came up with.  It’s a simple brown cotton tunic and a tabard.  I cut the tabard trim out of brown fleece. That’s also what I used to cut out a graphic for the tabard (which I top stitched on).  I chose to use a sword for the tabard emblem … very Biblical y’know. Sword of truth.

Thanks to my awesome husband for modeling this for me after a long day at the office.  He’s such a good sport.  He would NOT however, agree to model the matching renaissance princess outfit.  Something about … posting that on the web ….  mumble… not wearing a dress… grumble… <snicker>

Evel Knievel Costume

My inspiration

Rock on, E.K.

This week, we needed 2 Evel Knievel costumes.  Lets just say there were tricycles and a huge styrofoam ramp involved. I didn’t have a ton of advance notice (about 2 days) and I needed to make two sets, so I Googled, I simplified, I sewed, I puffy-painted, and then I spent the rest of my time whipping around the lobby of the Fredrick RMCC Campus on a child’s tricycle (thanks to our facilities manager at the Fredrick campus, Lloyd,  for raising the handle bars for me!)

By the way, lets just get this out there… I’m an admitted Evil Knievel fan.  We used to watch his stunts live on TV and it was a BIG EVENT around my house when I was a kid.  His talent was combining athleticism, fearlessness and showmanship … just like me riding my trike around the church in full E.K. regalia.  (BwaHA!!!  Just kidding, just kidding, don’t write any “V, that’s inappropriate” comments.)

The simplified costume emphasizes the bell-bottom pants, the red/white/blue trim on the shirt, and the cape.

Anyway, to make the suits, I sewed some oversized white suits (I didn’t use a pattern, which is probably all too obvious!).  I based the outfits on some oversized hoodie/sweats outfits I made a while back.  I went for a larger size so they would fit other (men) actors if needed in the future, so they could be worn over normal clothing, and so we could move around in them easily for our incredible stunts!  BEFORE I sewed all the pieces together, I attached trim, made the bell-bottom pants inserts, etc.

I attached (machine stitched) the cape to the shirt.

For fabric, I picked up some $4.99/yard white woven cotton/poly blend – it’s designed for lining curtains, but was the only white I could find at the local hobby store that wasn’t too thin but was within my budget.  For two suits, I bought 8 yards.  For the 2 capes and trim, I bought 2 yards of red and 1 1/4 yards of blue.  A large bottle of white fabric paint was more than enough for the stars.

Classic E.K., bell-bottoms and stars.

It took several hours for the white fabric paint to dry… then it was off to take a nap to try to fight off this miserable cold I’ve come down with.  I’m just sorry I got sick and missed the opportunity to see my friend Donna riding a trike around the Niwot campus, because she’s comic-hosting there this weekend.  Look out Rush Hour, V’evil and D’evil Knievel are IN THE HOUSE!!!

hugs, V-

Placemat Jacket How-to

Well, this was an interesting project!  The script called for a coat made from the month’s giveaway which were some paper placemats.  I first ironed the paper to some very lightweight interfacing to keep the paper from tearing as I worked with it.  I tried sewing it, but wound up using good old duct tape to hold it together and to outline and emphasize some features like pockets.  My  fellow RH co-host Donna was my model.  🙂

Hot glue, a few buttons, and a magic marker helped add some detail.

After sewing the sleeves on and turning it right-side-out, the interfacing began to tear between the placemats. PLAN B! GET THE DUCT TAPE!

The finished product

Ironing the placemats to some iron-on interfacing

It was pretty flimsy with just the lightweight interfacing to hold it together, so Donna and I re-inforced it with good ole duct tape.

By connecting several of the mats together to make "fabric", I cut out pieces to sew together for the jacket.

Biblical Costume – simple, knit, unfinished edges

Couldn't resist the silly pose. Notice the unfinished selvage gave the edges a rustic look.

Our Middle-School program needed a Jesus robe, so we whipped this one up in about 20 minutes.  My friend Caroline is married to Keenan, the director of that program (also the actor who played Tyler at our Niwot campus for several years).

Caroline picked out a couple of yards of white, double-knit fabric that has some GREAT rough selvage edges.  (The “selvage” is the factory-produced edge of the fabric which usually doesn’t ravel. )  The fabric also had a metallic thread running through it which we thought would do well under theatrical lights.

I wouldn’t try this technique with any type of fabric that wasn’t heavy and very stretchy. Fleece would work.  Terry cloth.  But keep in mind, sleeve inserts were invented for a reason, lol.  This fabric was perfect for this approach though, and we were going for a rough, hand-sewn “biblical” construction look, and we saved a TON of time doing it this way. 

click to enlarge.

My model, Caroline, looks like "Friar Tuck goes to Heaven" Is that Monty Python Gregorian chanting I hear?

If you need a pattern, I suggest “see & sew B4326” which I picked up at my local Wally World discount store. 

The instructions above are for how we made this hooded robe WITHOUT a pattern, but having recently made several of these hooded pullovers from this pattern  –  I had recently honed my mad skills at hood-making (lol). 

With the right fabric, this approach would work for producing massive numbers of angel or hooded shepherd robes for a kids choir for instance.  The sewing is so easy, you could fly through these in no time.

To raise the hem off the floor, just blouse the top of the robe over the belt.

Sewing together two long strips of fabric made a rough, unfinished belt.

If they are too long, cut a belt out of left-over fabric. Tie it around the waist and blouse the fabric over the belt until the hem rises far enough off the floor.

hugs,

v-

The Information-ator

Brian IS... the Information-ator

This year, Phil had added a fresh new take on Rush Hour to mix things up and add some variety. We have a new format to add to the standard song/welcome skit/character sketch/Word Segment/song/etc… format. 

I dunno if this is Phil’s brain-child or came from the 252 curriculum folks (see glossary) , but twice this season, we have taken an entire RH production to talk about FAITH SKILLS. 

At Rush Hour, we believe with all our hearts that what happens in the home is WAAAAYYY more important than anything we do on the RH stage.  So on a Faith Skill week, we give the character actors the week off (Vinny, Mrs. F, Cammie, Gordo — those are our character actors).  Instead, we get the crew, vocals, and the comic and credible hosts to lead the audience through a series of hands-on discussions and activities so they can get some practice using these faith skills. 

The first week we did this, the Faith skill was about sharing our faith.  “Who Can You Tell.”  That’s when we used the Shakespeare costumes, etc.  We also had a bit using an “information-ator” costume.  It had a couple of important features.  #1 it has to look computer-ish.  #2 It had to look like a contraption the co-host made.  #3  It had to somehow prevent the co-host from being able to tie his/her shoes.  Because it was a heavy-duty costuming week for me with 2 complete Shakespeare outfits to sew, and TONS of lines to learn, I went with a simple poster board design for the Informationator.

Just slip hands thru the pipe-cleaners and spread fingers to keep the keyboard on the hands.

The keys on the keyboard are fun-foam.  Pipe cleaners poked up from underneath hold his hands in place on one finger and his wrists – loose enough to slip his hands through, tight enough that he just has to spread his fingers out for it to stay on. 

Headpiece construction - click to enlarge

The “screen” is made from poster-board, decorated and hot-glued to a girl’s plastic head-band.  I then attached the headband to a visor for stability.  I twisted some pipe cleaners around mine to get my sunglasses to stay with the visor. That way I could put it on in one quick movement.  Brian’s sunglasses are nicer, I think he put his on separately.  🙂

CDs, net and silver ribbon. Just because.

It needed a little more movement and goofyness and flash, so I took some black tulle (petticoat netting) and hot glued some silver ribbon and some CDs to it.  I sandwiched the net between pairs of cd’s and put the hot glue on the cds, not the net.  I used real cd’s but you could use fun foam, cardboard, poster-board, etc.  I folded the net in half and cut a slit in the net for the actor’s head.  Not that it was crucial to the design, but I did hot glue some cd pairs right on the shoulders next to the neck slit.  They were vaguely reminiscent of epaulets, and did two things… 1. Made it easy for the actor to find the head-hole.  2.  Reinforced the slit in the fabric so it didn’t rip.  Easy-peasy.

It was a good design for a quick change and it fit my schedule better than a head-toe Iron-man costume complete with real computer parts fastened to a spandex jumpsuit.  Although the spandex and computer parts would have rocked!

hugs, v-

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