Monday, January 19, 2009

DIY: Organic Fairy Costume

I know it's totally not Halloween... but in my home town of New Orleans an even bigger more flamboyant holiday is about to happen, MARDI GRAS! Growing up in the crescent city culture has given me a deep appreciation and maybe a little bit of an obsession with colorful, fun and sexy costumes- like the kind you see down in the French Quarter and along the parade routes. The native people of New Orleans will spend an entire year hand crafting some the most elaborate costumes in the world - stitching in every bead and sequin with great pride and love.

My Mardi Gras fairy costume is made of 100% organic cotton scrap fabric that didn't cost me more then $10 and although the project took some planning in my mind it only took one day to put it together! (Watch the How-To VIDEO on YouTube here, for more pictures and fun music...)

First I made a paper pattern to cut out the bodice with - make sure to measure your chest, waist and hip for this. After cutting out the bodice measure the length of the back and front bottom portion, so that you can use this to guide the length of the fairy skirt.
The skirt will consist of layered scraps cut approximately the same size each, then sewn to a long thin (1 inch wide) strip of fabric. This will make it easier to attach to the bodice after your done.
I wanted my costume to be extra dramatic by making matching wrist bands and a neck band- you can sew them in the same exact fashion as the skirt above! I didn't make any kind of clasp to close them, but just tied them onto myself since it blends into the scraps.
The back part of the bodice can be made into a corset top which I added a few inches of extra black fabric to the back middle - this is so you can tighten or loosen your costume as you put it on, or if you change weight (cause I want to enjoy this one for a long time!)
To add the corset ties, I cut tiny holes and used a safety pin to run the "laces" through. The laces are just stretched organic jersey cotton fabric.
Lastly I made two tubes open down the front for my legs and repeated the lacing pattern, in order to create faux boots!!! Cute!
This last pic is my 'in character' interpretive fairy pose! ;)
Good fairy or bad fairy? You decide.


Liberty said...

my god girl you are awesome! This was one of the first things I saw online today and it cheered me up so much! Fun feeds the soul. :-D

The faux boots are brilliant and the lace up the back adds SO much and ties it in with the laces on the faux boots. Too clever!

Thanks for making my day :-)

p.s. have you found a sewing machine oil that doesn't cause MCS reactions? I am stumped in my search for that. React to my sewing machine even when in the same room as it when it's turned OFF let alone on.

The Oko Box said...

Oh thanks so much Liberty! Glad i could spread some smiles :)
You know my sewing machine really stunk bad when i first got it, mainly the plastic (it was a gift and was given brand new) ---> the oil still smells, I am reptty sure it's what I smelling when I think "what is that f**ked up skunky smell on this thing", but for some reason I don't react harshly to it.
Maybe if we figure out the exact function of the oil, we can figure out something natural to replace it with so you can sew!!! Like I wonder if a coconut, olive, or almond oil would work too. That would rock!

Liberty said...

You totally spread smiles and I hope lots of people see this one :-)

My machine is newer too. The plastic smell is okay now but the oil is a real stinker. I joined a few sewing machine forums to find out if I could use oil and the overwhelming consensus was NO WAY
I guess people have tired and it so badly damages the machine eventually that it is generally unrepairable.
I'm doing some reorganising and should have a room to put the machine in by spring so then I can just sew in there with my mask on without contaminating the air in the rest of the house. I haven't even used the machine yet! For shame!
I'm really looking forward to trying some of the projects you posted.

Colleen said...

Lovely! I think good and bad are blurred at Mardi Gras anyway, right? Much like some revelers' vision.
Was just down in NOLA last night, going back for Mardi Gras!

The Oko Box said...

lol- Fun Colleen! Have you been before? I know baton rouge has a little mini mardi gras in spanish town... but what happens in New Orleans is unreal on a mass scale.

Magnickal said...

I've typed and erased a few things about this costume now. Having a hard time formulating a sentence that would be totally appropriate for your blog...

.....I like it! A lot......Well done!