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1  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Ugly, non-returnable dress becomes breezy tank on: April 21, 2014 07:58:48 PM
I have finally learned my lesson about buying clothes from Zulily-- it's way too hit-or-miss and nothing is returnable.  The last straw came today when I tried on this rayon chili pepper dress:
When I ordered it, I imagined myself zydeco dancing in a mud puddle at Jazz Fest, looking all cute.  In reality, it was an awkward, garish, maternity-style mess.  My 9-year-old daughter said it was "kind of ugly" and it made my boobs look "huge in a bad way."  Ugh.

Determined to salvage some part of my chili pepper zydeco fantasy, I set right to work.  I removed the skirt from the bodice, set aside the straps, and scrapped the smocked part on the back. I scanned my commercial patterns for one I could make with the (cheap, shitty, rayon) fabric I had left.  My daughter and I settled on New Look 6778.  I was able to use the original straps without alteration.  Here is the end result:
I feel like the volume of chili peppers displayed is much more reasonable now.  I may not actually wear it at Jazz Fest this year, but at least the ugly dress is transformed into something wearable. 

I hope others are having better luck with their Zulily purchases!  If not, know that recon is always an option.
2  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Re: Legolas, Elven Archer from LOTR-- complete with Orlando Bloom "wig" on: November 08, 2013 04:43:17 PM
That "wig" is brilliant!  Nice job on the whole costume!

Thanks!  I think the wig might really catch on with people undergoing chemo.
3  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Re: The BEST Gothic 60s Housewife: Lily Munster on: November 08, 2013 04:15:42 PM
I am in awe of that ruched cloak. I hope you find lots of opportunities to wear it.
4  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Legolas, Elven Archer from LOTR-- complete with Orlando Bloom "wig" on: November 08, 2013 10:04:55 AM
My husband is reading The Lord of the Rings to my kids, and my 7 yo son decided he wanted to be a kickass elf for Halloween. Because a little boy's Halloween is all about the weapon props, my son chose to be the elven archer Legolas, Prince of the Woodland Realm.  We studied stills from the movies and determined he would need the following elements:
  • pointy ears
  • long, blonde hair
  • fitted gray pants and henley
  • green/brown embellished jerkin (tunic)
  • vambraces (forerarm guards)
  • fellowship cloak
  • "greenleaf" brooch
  • quiver and harness
  • boots
  • bow and arrows

After a lot of thrifting and discount shopping, I was able to find the following items that could be used without alteration:  pants, shirt, suede booties, and archery set.  All the other items, I either hand-made or upcycled.

For the fellowship cloak, I used dark green wool suiting (thrifted $2) and McCalls pattern 2854.  I modified a thrifted leaf-shaped brooch with green marker and glitter mod podge.  For the jerkin, I started with a thrifted ladies' velour track jacket and added panels of olive moleskin fabric using gold metallic decorative thread.  I drew elvish designs on with a gold sharpie marker.  The vambraces were cut from embossed craft felt and laced with faux leather cord.

After exploring the options for diy elf ears, I decided to bake polymer clay with embedded wire cuffs.  I used photos from Etsy as guides for shaping the wire and blended two colors of clay to match my son's skin tone.

Over my son's objection, I made the quiver out of craft foam and gold duct tape, embellished with gold sharpie, gold leaf paint, and craft gems.  He wanted real leather, but that was not happening.  I made the harness out of an old vinyl belt, cut into strips and secured with decorative snaps to a buckle from a different thrifted belt.  The straps are attached to the quiver with brads. 

The biggest risk of the costume was the long, blonde hair.  I knew my son with be itchy and miserable (and probably heckled) if he wore a wig, so I made a conceptual wig out of light-colored, ribbed jersey knit.  I used an online tutorial for a "doo-rag," and modified it so that "hair" would hang down around his face and in back.  In the end, it was his favorite part of the costume because it was comfortable and it completely transformed his appearance. 

I tried to upload a photo where he is wearing the cloak and brooch in the school parade, but I couldn't figure out how to crop his classmates out and I don't want to post other people's kids' pictures without permission.  If I can get him to model it for me, I will snap a pic and insert it later.  As it turned out, Halloween was unseasonably warm here, so he didn't need the cloak for trick-or-treating.

Front view:


From the back:


Side view:


Even cuter than Orlando Bloom:
5  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Re: Superheroes in miniature on: November 09, 2010 02:07:18 PM
I love these pics, especially the serious Super J pose.  Did you use a pattern?
6  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Re: My baby food jar light fixture on: November 08, 2010 05:51:23 PM
"this rocks"
7  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Re: Lego guys! aka Lego Minifigures. on: November 08, 2010 10:08:01 AM
It's the drywall mud that is the risky stuff.  Ideally, you should wear a dual cartridge respirator when you sand it, but many people feel safe as long as they sand it wet and/or wear a regular dust mask.

Here's the NIOSH publication on it: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/99-113/, if you are interested. 
8  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Re: Lego guys! aka Lego Minifigures. on: November 08, 2010 04:38:05 AM
Whoa, crystalline silica!  Please be careful with that sanding!
9  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / The 2 Biggest Pests of 2010 - Bedbug and Stinkbug on: November 05, 2010 11:17:43 AM
Inspired by Isabella Rossellini and by life in the MidAtlantic region, I pieced slipcovers for upholstery foam and fitted them onto backpacks.  Here are the big bugs side-by-side:
Here are the individual shots:

Here we are wearing the costumes and enjoying an adult beverage.  Nobody in these photos smells like rotting cilantro.
10  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / Re: Kids Clothes from Thrifted Shirts (Pic Heavy) on: April 21, 2010 12:26:12 PM
You've inspired me.  I just bought the sienna pattern.  My daughter is at the top end of the size range, so I hope I am able to adapt it up.  I have a few t-shirts of my own that I've been hanging on to even though I never wear them.  Now they have new purpose.
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