Saturday, October 30, 2010

EcoWeen: DIY Native American Costume

It's Halloween weekend! YAY! Being that I was raised in the Mardi Gras culture down in New Orleans, I get really into costume making, probably more then any other kind of sewing project. Back home Halloween is almost like a mini Mardi Gras and the costumes are always elaborate, lovable, amazing, hysterical and just plain wrong. It's a bar raised too high & it's hard to live up to... but I try.
This year I decided to make a Native American costume (I am part native american) with a lil' Clan Of the Cave Bear flare (cause I just finished reading the whole entire book series!), but mainly I chose this genre because I have been collecting feathers from my chickens, rooster, the wild turkeys, and a few brightly colored ones given to by my awesome friend Heather....

I started making the head-dress first because that was going to be where most the feathers would go and I was excited to use them! I did not use any kind of glue, tape or toxic products to get my feathers to stay in place. I decided to sew them directly (and carefully) to strips of black organic cotton fabric (locally made here in north carolina!)
I attached a small jaw bone to the center front, and hung more feathers and beads from strings that reach all the way past my shoulders. (Gives it major dramatic style!) The construction is really simple, and just ties in the back of the head.
The first thing I did to make the body or dress part of the costume was to trace a shirt I already owned and fit me well onto some paper, in order to make a pattern. I drew (freestyle) the bottom half of the dress and then cut out the full pattern...
This is the pattern without the sleeves ( you can make it with or without sleeves.) I planned on adding in sleeves because I knew the weather here in the mountains would be cold for Halloween.
I pinned the pattern onto the velveteen bamboo fabric and cut out the back side of the costume...
This is the tedious part:::: I then CUT the pattern into three panels to make the design for the FRONT of the dress.
Each panel will be sewn back together, but I cut them separately in order to tighten up the bodice in the front.
These are all the pieces that need to be sewn together (pic below). I used more black organic cotton fabric as the strips along the front bamboo fabric bodice.
I put all the pieces together and then cut out some black organic cotton arm bands to tie onto the sleeves. They are removable and I made it fringed by cutting strips into the fabric and pulling each fringe piece tight.
I also cut fringe strips into the bamboo dress at the bottom of the long sleeves, and at the bottom hemline of the dress!
You can never have enough. Period.
Once I got started with the feathers, beads and (real) bones it was hard to stop.
In fact, my cabin looked totally trashed by the time I was done with making this costume!!!!
THE END RESULT IS Fuckin' FIERCE!! ::::::::::::::

Drama, Character. It's what halloween is all about.

Fabrics by:::
The Bamboo Fabric Store, see here.
Near Sea Naturals, see here.


Wild Canary said...

LOVE your creativity! thank you for sharing with us! Hope you have an awesome time wearing it.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Thanks Wild Canary!
Wearing it was fun, i danced so much i lost some of the beads, but the feathers stayed in place. :)

Stephanie Rogers said...


Joan said...

What a gorgeous creature of Halloween you are!!

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Thanks Stephanie & Joan!!
Did ya'll dress up?
I think I like making the costumes more then any other part... even if wearing it is fun.