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Posts tagged ‘Costumes’

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.


Shakespeare in the house!

For Oct. 3rd’s Rush Hour, I need to come up with quick-change Shakespeare costumes for both campuses.  I’ve decided to go with an oversized “pirate” shirt, you know, puffy sleeves, simple neckline… very loose, black knee-length pants, a big low-slung belt and a fun Shakespeare-ish hat.    Here’s the pattern I chose for the shirt.  I found fabric for $1.50/yard at my fave discount store “Wally-World”. Woot the fact that it is October and cheap fabric is readily available for Halloween! 

Simplicity pattern. click to enlarge.

I liked this design alot!  I even tested it out sewing it in pink and purple cammo material… which of course I will use for my “V” character later in the season.  Adding in a pink “Hanna Montana” fedora.  Yes, I’ll post pics later.

 I also need to make some human-sized computer costumes.   Aaaand, with some slight modifications, we’ll re-use the purple Captain Individuality” costumes for a new character… “Captain Moxy!” 

This shirt SO reminds me of the “Puffy Shirt” episode from Jerry Seinfeld!

Jerry's "Puffy Shirt"

Stay tuned for updates and pics as the project progresses.  

hugs, V-

Litle Girl Dresses for Ethiopia (Pillowcase Dresses)


My Rush Hour friend Heather, who plays Cammie at our Fredrick Campus, suggested a dress-making project to support orphans in an Ethiopian community. Check out this link to understand the scope of what the Howletts are trying to achieve.   http://thehowletts5.blogspot.com/   

Here’s a link to the pattern I chose to use…    http://sewingmamas.com/b/downloads.php?do=file&id=17  I made 6 dresses like this.   

 I was a little concerned about how the dresses would be laundered, and how the ribbon might hold up. I decided to try THIS pattern next… http://freshlypicked.blogspot.com/2008/03/pillow-case-dress-tutorial.html  because the ties are sewn in as elongated casings on the sleeves.   

Fabric and ribbon!


Aleah (my daughter) and I went shopping for pillowcases which we first washed, dried, and ironed.  

We washed, dried and ironed the cases first.


We wanted to launder the fabric before beginning so we could pre-shrink and check them out to see if the would hold up long-term.  We didn’t want to send dresses that would disappoint little girls by raveling or shrinking the first time they were washed.   

After learning they have an outdoor latrine, we weren’t sure about their access to laundry facilities and an iron for pressing clothing, so we tried our best to think about those things while choosing our materials.  



... sew ...


Thread some ribbon...


... and VOILA!


These were constructed using the method found at the first link we listed above.  After making several of these using the simple design, I was ready to move on to the more challenging pattern, which I thought would  be longer-lasting and a little more rugged.  I used the pattern found at the second link above, and the dresses turned out to be SOOOO cute!  

We added some ribbon trim to the dresses made with solid fabric, just to give them a little extra cuteness.  🙂   

Thanks again to my friend Heather for the suggestion!  And thanks to the Howlett family for all you do!  

Hugs, V-

Camel Jumpsuits (for the legs of the camel)

For Scott and John to wear under the camel suit, I made a couple of jumpers.  They are basically overalls with elastic at the knees and ankles.  My intention was to give them shoulder straps, but time didn’t permit, so I just pinned the front and back of the “bib” part to their own t-shirts to hold them up. 

how I cut out the camel jumpsuits (click to enlarge)

The pattern I developed was basically a pair of SUPER HIGH WAISTED PANTS!  HAaahahahaha! 

I added elastic to the ankles and the knees and bloused the fabric out around to cover the elastic.  I tied the elastic around the outside. I know, I know, but  I TOLD you I ran out of TIME!  😀 

The proportion worked best for us to put John in the front and Scott in the back. Experiment with your actors in the suit to find the best fit for you.

Camel – The body frame

Here’s one of the more complicated steps to constructing the 2-man camel suit.  This entry describes the construction and assembly of the frame.   

The frame was constructed of PVC, padded, and covered with felt.


 I made the frame of the camel from PVC (that white plumbing-tubing available at hardware or home-improvement stores).  I used long lengths of 1″ pvc.   Heating this stuff in your kitchen is very do-able.  When it reaches the right temp, you can easily bend it with your hands.  A hack-saw made the necessary cuts, or you can heat a kitchen knife (this will ruin the knife!) and “melt” the cuts.  


                        Do not inhale these fumes!    

                        Melted plastic will give you nasty burns if you are not careful!   

                        This stuff will catch on fire, can leave icky melted plastic on your stove, etc.    

The original design.


                        You need to heat all sides of the tube for it to bend correctly.  Just heat the bottom, for instance, and the tube will “warp” as you apply pressure to bend it.  Then, instead of being a nice “flat” curve, it will dip down, or rise up, and the bottom of our camel will be uneven.   

                        PVC pipe comes with “joints” and “curves” you can buy.  I went the cheap way and bent it using heat, but alternatively, you could cut the PVC into the correct lengths and glue on elbow joints for the curves.  This would mean more time and expense, but you would have a much neater end product than my camel.   

I used duct tape to connect the various pieces to each other.   

Cover all this with padding, and then fabric. Padding the frame (I used an old blanket) will soften the shape some.  I hot-glued the fabric over the frame. WHEN GLUING ON THE FABRIC, LEAVE GAPS IN THE GLUE FOR ACTOR HANDS TO GRIP THE INSIDE OF THE FRAME.  My frame was actually sized so that the actors fit comfortably, but snugly inside the frame and the rear frame fit over the actor in the back, making the entire frame supportable by just his shoulders.   

NOTE:  I added straps of fabric to the inside of the frame for the front actor, like suspenders to make it easier to keep the “cage” of the body level.  It’s one thing to hold it all in place standing still, but when you are dancing with a partner and nearly blind inside it, the level of complexity rises and the actors’ concentration will shift from cosmetics to survival!  

 For the final outer layer of fabric,  I used 60″-wide lengths of camel-colored felt that I got on sale. (Most fabric comes on bolts that are either 45″ or 60″ wide. )   

NOTE:  this frame and the “skin” of the camel are the parts of the project that I would re-design.  I never did like the way the front “Chest and neck” just floated around loosely like a skirt.  With more money and time, I would have designed the frame this way…  

A new approach.


The new design would have allowed me to have an elastic or draw-string neck opening that could be slipped right over the hard-hat and under the loose edge of the faux fur that covers the neck… resulting in a smoother neck and chest that looked more camel-like.   

Well, the NEXT time we use the camel… he’s in for an overhaul.

Camel (or elf) shoes

Here’s how I made the shoes for the camel.  Our camel’s name was Aladdin, (what ELSE, right?)  so I made his shoes stereotypical harem guard shoes, with curved toes.  I did resist the urge to put tassels on the points!  

This same design would work well for elf shoes at Christmas.  Or do them in Blue for a Genie, for instance. And I think a Smurf clog has this same shape.  

hugs,  v- 

click to enlarge

Camel – Putting a good face on it.

The images below will walk you through the general idea of how I made the head of the camel for Very Merry Rush Hour 2009.   

It requires 

  • scissors,
  • hot glue,
  • faux fur,
  • brown and red spray paint,
  • a sheet of thin fun foam,
  • about 16″ of fringe or feather trim,
  • and 1″ foam (the kind used for upholstery, found at most fabric stores). 

The basic idea is to roll the edges of the thicker foam into a nose shape, cut out detailed features from foam, add some spray paint, build the eyes and ears, and cover with faux fur. 

Have fun!   v- 

Shaping the nose (click to enlarge)


shaping the rest of the head (click to enlarge)


See the separate entry for info about attaching the head-piece to the neck and hard-hat. 

hugs, v-

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