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Topic: The Last Tsars  (Read 7583 times)
Tags for this thread: costume , tsar , halloween_costume , craft_challenge_44_entries  Add new tag
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« on: November 07, 2012 07:40:45 PM »

I normally don't go all out (at all!) for Halloween, but my best friend informed me that this was the year to go as the Romanovs. He's been working on his costume for years; I had about a month. But since this felt like quite an honor, I really had to turn it out. And, if I do say so myself, we looked awesome. LOTS of people took our picture when we went out and about.

I'm only entering MY costume; his is also awesome, but he did it all himself.

Here's us!

(Edited to add: here's a full-length picture of my costume! The train is up on my arm; I sewed a loop in it for mobility.)

And here's who we were going for (Nicholas II and Alexandra were the last Russian Tsars, overthrown in the Russian Revolution in 1917):

The dress was a little tricky to figure out; official Russian court dress was, apparently, very specific. Tight slightly off-the-shoulder bodice, an overskirt open to reveal an underskirt, and those curious split sleeves. There's also the jeweled crown called a kokoshnik, in that Russian halo shape--and married ladies have a veil attached to the back of the crown.

I started with these raw materials: A cheapo Goodwill wedding dress I had used as purchased, for a costume a few years ago:

... A pile of bling (from H&M, thrift stores, and craft stores), and a pile of other wedding dresses (used-by-the-pound store):

After hacking apart all those wedding dresses, I saved the bodice from the original dress, made an overskirt out of the skirt of one of the dresses, and made an underskirt from scratch. Here's the dress sans sleeves:

The sleeves were hard to get my brain around -- unTIL I found a tutorial for something unlikely: a dress from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies! The *top* of the sleeves, and the split, was just perfect; they only somehow needed to be way longer and pointed at the bottom. Lots of self-drafted pattern trials later, I came up with my final product:

I also made the the (important) jewelry myself, of which I was very proud: I cannibalized a homemade choker to make another pearl choker, and I frankensteined a bunch of necklaces and pendants together to make that Blingtastic necklace:

The first "Halloween" (ie, Saturday), I was crownless ... BUT the next morning I found the one thing I needed, that I didn't even know existed -- Flat Aluminum Floral Wire! Who knew?!? And it was just the thing to build a crown with. Genius!!! Thank you, Cliff's Variety! You truly DO have everything I need.

I made a form out of cardboard, and then built the crown around it, using that awesome flat wire. The pearls on top, I made out of pearl fimo, built around head-pins; I also used glass pearl beads, faceted gold glass beads, some gold glass seed beads, a thrift store rhinestone necklace basically un-changed, and lots of thin beading wire. The veil was a piece of the tulle overskirt of the *original* wedding dress (which handily had beaded lace motifs on it) -- I just cut it off and clipped it to my hair.

Pearls in progress: Aliens? No, going into the oven.

Crown in progress:

On Ma Haid:

Ready for my Xtreme Closeup:

Thanks, everyone! ;o)
« Last Edit: November 12, 2012 08:17:44 PM by mandanak - Reason: to add full-length picture » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2012 08:21:09 PM »

OMG! You deserve a Faberge' egg for this amazing costume!
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2012 10:59:56 PM »

Wow!  Great job!
please excuse her for the day, its just the way the medication makes her...
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« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2012 04:13:40 AM »

Fantastic costumes.  Amazing that you managed that sofisticated look in such a short time. 

I think my cat is sending me subliminal messages...
Ruler of the Roost, Protector of the Progeny, Conqueror of Comestibles, Chieftain of Chores, Consort Extraordinaire, and Crafty to Boot!
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« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2012 04:34:05 AM »

Wow! Just.... Wow! speechless....

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« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2012 12:44:35 PM »

Thanks, guys! ;o)
I'm so glad you like it! It was a labor of love. I was kind of obsessed and worked like crazy, and I must say I'm pretty pleased with how it came out. Especially the crown ... the first construction attempt (not pictured here) was a Hot Mess. Yeesh. And as a typically low-maintenance, shy-and-retiring kind of person, it was pretty exciting to get all fancied up, and have random people on the street stopping us to take our picture, and telling us how great we looked, and yelling out excitedly who we were (we didn't really want to tell anyone, so we made them guess, and a surprising number of people guessed right!)

I learned a lot of unexpected things from this process, so if anyone has construction questions, just ask! I'd love to share!
Happy November! ;o)

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« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2012 12:54:19 PM »

You've inspired me to want to go disassemble a mass of wedding dresses!!

seriously...that is awesome, in the original "awe inspiring" meaning, as well as the 80's overused groovy meaning.

Reclaiming my Crafting heritage one stitch at a time.
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2012 02:16:27 PM »

Do you have a full length picture of you and your friend in your costumes? Please post it! I'd love to see you in all of your magnificent glory!
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« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2012 05:52:16 PM »

Yes, do retrieve the full-length photo and post it! I knew who you were instantly from the thumbnail, which is a sure sign you've hit it exactly right. The court gown is very good, and I would never have guessed it was cobbled together from old wedding dresses. And that crown is a work of genius. Flat aluminium floral wire? Really? Shocked I hope you win!


« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2012 07:44:55 PM »

Phenomenal job! Seriously, one of the best complete costume ensembles that I've ever seen.
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