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Topic: Costume Closet Essentials?  (Read 1619 times)
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« on: March 09, 2010 03:21:15 PM »

Hi, crafty costumers!  I feel like I've finally gotten to a point in my sewing/crafting ability where I can start building a real, quality costume closet.  I had one as a kid, a mix of store-boughts, cast-offs, and home-mades, and I could put together costumes for just about any occasion.  Now, as an adult, I'm trying to figure out what staples to start with, that would be useful on multiple occasions.  My first big project is a new Ren Fest outfit, fully reversible.  Those pieces all ought to be fairly open-ended.  (Reversible full skirt, reversible side lacing bodice with detachable sleeves, chemise).  And my next project is a steampunk outfit.  However, I was wondering what costume basics you guys like to keep on hand?  Or do you find it easier to make one whole outfit at a time?

Sewers are for ninja turtles--seamstresses are for sewing Wink

My wist!  http://www.wists.com/aislynn
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2010 10:54:34 AM »

I like to make full outfits, but then use the pieces separately to create more as necessary. For example, I have a Mad Hatter costume (with straitjacket) and a White Queen costume (with petticoat) made specifically for those characters. I got a third costume out of it by combining the wrinkled petticoat and the straitjacket. For me at least, it's easier to have a clear idea of what I want the full outfit to look like when making/buying the pieces. I can't foresee what kinds of costumes I may need so it's harder to think of what might be "basics".
On that note though, petticoats always come in handy I think no matter what kind of costuming you do (character or historical). I also keep wigs on hand, though I don't make those  Cheesy
Your pieces sound pretty flexible so far.
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2010 11:49:56 AM »

I get a lot of my fabric when friends and family randomly give it to me so i end up making what i can with what i've got. For example, some red offcuts became a cincher and a reaaaaaaally large blue sheet (i think was used in decorating cos it was covered in paint) became a corcle skirt and later a matching blouse. I also have this horrible habit of never being satisfied with things once, so I never sew on decorations unless its a must, that way I can use painty circle skirt for a pirate zombie underskirt, part of a blue goth costume, tack lace onto it for a dance costume and just keep rolling with it. It's fun to just make generic little things to stash away cos you never know when inspiration might hit you and you find you've got just the thing already tucked away.
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2010 08:51:17 AM »

Shoes. Shoes and boots, despite my weight fluctuations over the years, have been the one thing I've managed to hold on to and be great finishing touches or jumping off points for a huge variety of costumes I've made and assembled.

My go to, will never throw them out, wear only very occasionally shoe wardrobe:
- Black, kitten heel, lace up, pointy toe ankle boots. Semi Victorian, worn for witches, gypsies, period outfits and  generally evil characters. Bought new in 1988 my senior year in high school Cheesy
- light brown leather ballet flats (replaced actual ballet shoes that were ancient). Anything where being barefoot would be ideal but isn't practical. Was super happy to find these at Target a few years back as they are minimal but have more sole than actual ballet shoes. Highly likely you could get some ballet flats at discount retailers right now as they are 'last season'.
- brown suede slouch boots. another holdover from the 80's that has come back recently. These are great for woodland creatures, animals, Merry Men and the like.
- sparkly silver high heels. classic shape and coverage. My current pair is actually Life Stride with added glitter so they are comfy as well as good looking. Great for any type of movie star, flapper, or sparkly character.

- totally lucky find: baby pink satin, chunky platform heel, ribbon tie at the ankle round toe, sexy-as-all-get-out shoes. Got them at Ross for $3 about 6 years ago, brand is Chinese Laundry and they look like something out of Manga. For three bucks I couldn't pass them up.

Shoes I'd add to my wardrobe if I find them/ feel like making them/ quit gaining weight:
- thigh high black boots, possibly with a chunky high heel. At my current circumference these wouldn't look to great on me, meh.
- a white or cream version of my black pointy toe boots.
- really good quality rhinestone high heeled sandals, preferably on clear plastic base. I see them every winter when all the formal wear comes out, I just can't justify the expense for minimal use. Maybe I'll get lucky and get invited to something fancy sometime soon and I'll have the excuse to finally but a pair.

« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2010 09:21:08 AM »

Oh, shoes is a great point Penlowe! I have such a variety of shoes I don't even think about them when building a costume... there's sure to be a pair that works. Staples for me are pretty similar to yours actually: black maryjanes (can add shoe clips or ribbons for different styles/periods), black knee high boots (evil, dark, sexy characters), rhinestone chunky platforms (disco, movie stars, etc), simple white shoes with a low heel (angels, ghosts, brides, etc), and an almost nude colored pair (for those characters who would be better off barefoot).
These aren't separated from my every-day shoes, but they get used in costumes more often than any other pairs and I don't think I'd be able to put most of my costumes together without one of them.
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2010 07:50:30 AM »

Thanks Smiley

I'll add another that may already exist in you set up: a good corset, preferably plain black and well fitted.

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