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Topic: Suggestions for Cave Woman Costume  (Read 965 times)
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« on: May 17, 2011 12:19:24 PM »

My best friend does some fund raising each year via a costumed pub crawl. I have attended 60's, 30's and this year was 20's. I have to say it was awsome and I will post a completed costume later.

Next year is Cave man/woman themed and I want to be prepared and not wind up in the same short, low cut, lepoard print dress as every other gal. I find those outfits very phony and dont really want to go there.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
L.P.

P.S. I do have access to real animal hides and likley some fur if needed.
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Alexus1325
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2011 12:13:32 AM »

How bout going whole-hog Paleolithic? If you're not daunted by a total of about 3000 pages, Jean M. Auel's "Earth's Children" series is PHENOMENAL. 30 years in the making, research that took her to cave sites and museums all over Europe, a bout of cancer = 6 amazing books about an admittedly fantastical heroine in the midst of the Wurm Glaciation 30,000 years ago. Her most recent and final volume, "The Land of Painted Caves" just came out at the end of March. I haven't read it, but I'm DYING TO!

http://www.jeanauel.com/books.php

Ahem, let me collect my composure here... It's the number-one compendium of European Paleolithic cultural information. Some of the conjecture she used as a basis for various things in the older volumes has since been proven sketchy or even false, but I'm sure that the same will be said for various information contained in the newer volumes (she claims creative licence for a LOT of interesting things). That said, it took four years to write the first novel, "The Clan of the Cave Bear." Auel is HARDCORE about her research.

For practical stuff like weapons and musical instruments, check out PaleoPlanet:

http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/

Not much about clothing, but LOTS about every primitive skill you could ever hope to master Tongue

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Aside from all that, I can make some suggestions that are realistic and not corny in the least. Depending on how you go about this, you can still be gorgeous and alluring, and entirely convincing. Alot of these suggestions are from Auel's work, but I also studied anthropology with a special interest in ancestral ('primitive') cultures.

Use natural coloured suede hides (browns, reds, oranges, tans), either just one colour or patchworked with different colours in a geometric pattern of some sort to make a dress. The style and shape are up to your personal preference, eg one shoulder, square neck, boat neck, pointed hem, rounded hem, asymmetric hem, etc. If you patchwork, you get bonus points for making the shades and shapes create a figure of some sort, like an animal that is special to you (must be subtle enough that only the most discerning and observant will notice it). Use artificial sinew or natural coloured upholstery thread for sewing. You need to overlap the edges of the hides, not do a "traditional" seam. Make your dress tighter than you think it should be but still loose enough you can bend over and move. The dress has to be tight because you're going to spend a few days breaking it in so it's comfortable at the party. Just wear it around the house and it'll stretch and shape to fit you.

Get some fringe action going, either as a long fringed belt, or make the dress floor length and fringe it up to your thighs. You could even make an armband of leather that is fringed.

Wear lots of jewellery made with natural materials, like shell, bone, and stone beads. Using sisal twine to macrame a couple of bracelets is a very good idea Cheesy You'll want an amulet or large pendant that is supposed to be symbolic of something important. A headband and strings of beads braided into your hair are possibilities. Don't use metal anything if you can help it. Don't be afraid to apply beads right to your dress in a geometric pattern or to complement your patchwork. If you keep the dress simple, a beaded collar covering most of the chest will give the impression that you're a wealthy woman who's extended family lives in comfort. Same with jewellery: the more ornate your jewellery is, the wealthier you are, because you have time to sit around making all this or have enough to trade with the people who made it, (a principle borne out in 'primitive' societies the entire world over).

http://bohemiansoul.com/products-page/what-sold/sold8/ (headband)
http://zulutaxi.com/index.asp (there's some amazing stuff here!)
http://www.etsy.com/transaction/29808741 (headband)

Red is known to have been a sacred colour, thought by most to represent fertility and the bounty of the Earth.  Paleolithic burials often have powdered red ochre on the bodies, and Auel uses the suggestion that it is symbolic of being reborn into the next life, covered in your Earth-mother's fluids. You'll want to use red in some small but significant way, such as a bone talisman rubbed with red colouring, or a bloodstone or jasper bead as the focal point of some piece of jewellery.

Centre-seam moccasins are very similar to footwear found during the Neolithic in Europe.

http://www.nativetech.org/clothing/moccasin/mocinstr.html

That's about all I can think of for now. I hope that was helpful, and I'm so looking forward to seeing your finished costume!
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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2011 01:57:24 PM »

I cant believe you said "Earth Children!!!" Im currently re-reading Shelters of Stone so I am all prepped for when I get my hands on the last book! I cant wait!

That is totally what I have been thinking about for this costume and why I dont want to do the skeezy lepoard print. I feel like it would dishonor Ayla and the books!

I did Cultural Anthropology and part of the reason I connect with Anth so much is because of the E.C. series.

Your comments are wonderful. I knew I would take a lot from the wardrobe of Ayla and friends but was unsure how to actually build it all. You have give me great insight and inspiration.

I will for sure post the final product and I hope we both get to read "The Land of the Painted Caves" very soon!

You are awesome Smiley
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Alexus1325
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2011 10:59:21 PM »

BWAHAHAHAHA! That is too awesome! AH! I can't stop laughing, this too hilarious a coincidence!

I've been dying to make a paleo-outfit for a loooong time, but I doubt anyone up here would "get it." They'd just think I'm wearing a Native outfit, which is disrespectful if you're not actually in the culture. I think there needs to be some sort of Earth's Children convention Tongue

Can't wait to see what you do!!! I'm so stoked for you Cheesy
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2012 07:32:43 PM »

Hey there!

Its been a while but Im fully onto working out my costume as it is a few months away. A friend found me a ready made kind of bohemian/cave costume but I have decided that I am just not the ready made costume type. Every year I have made an effort to be true to the vibe of the theme rather than "costumish" and this year will be no different. I will endeavour to make a tunic type dress out of some leather looking fabric. I might put a slit and laces in the front so I can get it on. It will be sleeveless for ease and either straight at the bottom or diagonal. None of this jagged bottom of dress stuff.

I am toying with the idea of mixing up some paint from the rocks we have here and doing a few subtle "cave paintings" along the bottom. I think it would add a lot even if it is not accurate. I will make some jewelry from bones and teeth that I have on hand here at home. I will wear some kind of moccasin type shoe even if I need to build it myself. No leopard print high heels for me!

And the hair. I was looking for a messy or dread wig that I like (i have secretly always wanted dreads) but cannot find one I like so I think I will just get some super cheap extensions for under my hair and then make some faux fiber dread pieces to place randomly in my hair.

If anyone had any thoughts I would love to hear them. Especially yours my fellow Earth Children fan!

L.P.
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Alexus1325
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2012 10:47:04 AM »

AWESOME!!!!!!! I adore the idea of painting the hem! You're gonna be the chicest cavewoman at the fundraiser Tongue

If you still need ideas for making footwear, here's my two favourite moccasin tutorial websites:

Paleoplanet Moccasins 101

Native Tech Moccasin Types (click the pictures for more details)

And some additional resources I found with Google's help:

A Woodsrunner's Diary - excellent description of making centre-seam moccasins

Inquiry.net - Ojibwe pucker-toe moccs and Sioux side-seam moccs

Dave Mott's centre-seam moccs

Hummingbird-in-the-garden's mid-South pucker-toe moccs
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