Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tarred and Feathered

My kiddo decided a couple months or so ago that she wanted to be a peacock for Halloween.  I looked around online for costumes, but the pre-made ones just didn't strike her (or my) fancy.  Turning to the ever-awesome Pinterest for help, I found a few different tutorials on how to make a peacock costume.  Between the 3 tutorials that I liked the most, I was able to piece together a plan for how I was going to pull this off, even with my limited budget & skill.

The Supplies
First, there were supplies. A friend at work happened to have a bunch of peacock feathers left over from her wedding, so she gave me a huge bundle.  For the rest of the costume, I made myself a list of supplies I'd need, but ended up deviating from it just slightly.  My plan was to put makeup on Trin's face, make her a headband or clip using some peacock feathers, make the feather piece, buy her a blouse & skirt that coordinated w/ the costume, and that would be that.  However, I decided to have her wear a pair of black leggings she already had at home and make her a tutu to wear over the leggings b/c it was too cold for a skirt.  While at the craft store buying the tulle for the tutu, I came across a beautiful & perfectly coordinated face mask.  (Which also happened to be on clearance. SCORE!)  I grabbed the mask & ditched the headband idea b/c between the feathers on the mask & the feathers standing up behind her head, the headband would have been too much.  I think I ended up spending just under $30 at the craft store for:

  • 3 rolls of 6"x25' tulle (2 in blue & 1 in green)
  • 1 elastic band
  • 1 feather boa
  • 1 face mask
The first thing I did was make the feather piece b/c it seemed like that would take the most time.  (Tutus are so easy to put together!)  Holding a piece of a cardboard box up to Trin's back, I drew the shape of one of those folding hand-fans on the cardboard then cut it out.  I used the cut-out as a template to cut a 2nd piece of cardboard so that I could sandwich the feathers between the 2 pieces.  I set 1 piece of the cardboard flat on the ground, with the half-circle part of the "fan" on top & the tapered side on bottom. I used a box knife to cut 2 slits about 3 inches apart at bottom-center of the cardboard & threaded a thick black ribbon through them.  The ribbon was long enough to tie around my daughter's waist b/c this was what I used to hold the feather piece on.  Before I started gluing anything, I arranged the feathers.  I'm glad I did that b/c I had expected them to all be straight up & down, but most of them curved slightly left or right, which meant that I needed to use their natural curve to arrange them so they didn't look funky.  I put the left curving feathers on the right-hand side of the cardboard, the right curving feathers on the left-hand side, and the straighter feathers went in the middle, making sure the "eyes" were all facing up.  Once I was happy w/ the arrangement, I moved them aside & started gluing.  I glued just a couple feathers at a time until I had the whole thing finished.  Once it was done, I hot-glued the hell out of one side of the 2nd piece of cardboard & placed it on top of the feathers to sandwich them in.  When it was dry, I flipped over the feather piece so the "eyes" were facing down, and hot glued the feather boa over the cardboard to cover it completely.  
Once the feather piece was done, I made the tutu.  There are a bajillion and one no-sew tutu tutorials online, so I'm not going to bother going through step-by-step instructions.  Google it, suckas.  

All-in-all, the costume ran me about $35 b/c I had the black ribbon & leggings on-hand, the feathers were free, and I bought the shirt at our local Goodwill.  As costumes go, that's not a bad price.  Also, I put this whole thing together in 1 night!  The feathers took about an hour or so to arrange.  Since I used hot glue on the feather piece, it dried really quickly.  The tutu took about an hour to make, as well.  (Never let it be said that nothing can get done last-minute.  I am Queen Last-Minute, thank you very much!!)

Not only was this my first time actually making a costume, but it was cheap, pretty simple to make, and my kiddo loved it.  I figured it was unique enough that people would think it was cool, but I didn't anticipate the reaction it actually got.  My mother in law snapped about 20 pictures of it in all different angles and while we were out trick-or-treating, it got lots of compliments from various people.  While Trin was trick-or-treating with us, a lady asked if she could take a picture of her costume.  When Trin came home from trick-or-treating w/ her bio-dad, he said they weren't able to stop at many houses b/c 6 or 7 different people asked to take pictures of her costume.  It's one thing to think you did a good job on something, but it's really cool when strangers even admire your handy work!!  I just might try to do more homemade costumes every year. :)

My pretty little peacock

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