Where to find costume ideas and materials

Steampunk Costumes
Steampunk Costumes
Mad Scientist & his Clockwork Doll

As the calendar moves from August to September we head towards the last days of sun for a few months here in the Pacific Northwest. With the fall comes the rain, and for me that is the sign that it is time to start sewing costumes again. Having weather a touch too icky to want to go out makes it all the easier to get going on the next round of costuming.

Even though we haven’t seen the rain yet, I still need to get my sewing area back in order. We have already started discussing ideas for Halloween and Orycon this year. Nothing new for me this year, at least I don’t think so. However, my daughter will need a new costume and probably my son as well. For my daughter this year it is a belly dancing outfit that uses the same pattern mine does, but in different colors and without the vest and waist-cincher. As for my son I am not sure. Finding costumes for the nearly teen boy is challenging at best and downright impossible at worst. Especially when you have to rule out anything that involves a mask or face make-up. At least he tolerates hats these days so perhaps that might help.

Costume Ideas

Here are some links I get ideas from for costuming as well as some new finds that look fun. Perhaps these links will spark an idea of your own…

Patterns & Fabric

Once we get our ideas in place it is time to get patterns together and some materials to make our costumes with. In some cases I make my own patterns by using newspaper and the kids’ clothing to help with sizing. I have had mixed results by doing this. Likely that is because I am rarely being very precise when I take that approach. For better results I use a commercial pattern. For my husband and son I can usual use them as-is out of the package. However, my daughter and I are more of a challenge and it usual involves merging several different sizes of the pattern pieces together. Thankfully this has usually worked out for me quite well.

Here are some of the places I like to shop for patterns and fabric. I am sure there are likely some great options in your neighborhood (and if they sell online we would love to hear about them in the comments), but no harm in knowing a few more places to look.

What are your plans this year?

I would love to hear what your plans are for you and/or your kids for Halloween this year. Or for the next convention you are going to. Please share in the comments below.

Halloween Planning Session 2012

Me (at the breakfast table): Alright kids I know it is a bit away but if I am going to sew costumes for Halloween this year I need to start figuring that out soon.  So what do you want to be?

The girl: I want to be a Rainbow Dash.

The boy: I want to be something that goes with the Orycon theme this year.

Me (to the boy):I don’t remember what it is.

Me (to the girl): I am not making a pony costume, I could but it isn’t going to happen.

The girl: I could just paint Rainbow Dash’s cutie mark on my face.

Me: You are not going Trick-or-Treating with just some make-up on, not out of this house.  You need to come up with another idea.  It doesn’t have to be super fancy but you need a costume.

The girl: I will be a witch and use the cape I already have.

Me: That works.

The boy: Apocalypse something.

Me: Oh, yeah.  It is Apocalypse How ’cause of the whole 2012 thing.

The boy: So what goes with that theme?

Me: Well pretty much anything, all genre’s can have an apocalypse it is just the end of the world.

The boy: So a Cybernetic Monkey Butler would work?

Me: Yes a Cybernetic Monkey Butler would work

Cheap Sci-Fi Costume Ideas

While most of my costuming tends towards the elaborate and rather expensive, I also have made some pretty low-budget costumes as well.  Here are a few ideas for cheap Sci-Fi themed costumes.  I hope you find something here that you can use.

Mech Pilot: Decorate a helmet with a number or logo of your choice.  Find a tight fitting shirt and pants and decorate the shirt with a matching logo.

Homemade mummy costume
Halloween mummy

Mummy: Buy a white sheet at the second hand store and tear it into strips.  You can either sew or hot glue the strips to some old clothes you don’t care about anymore.  Put them on and wrap a few around your head as a mask.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mech Mechanic: Find a pair of overhaul and smear them with grease.  If you want to make sure it won’t rub off an anything then use a black sharpie to create the look of grease.  Use some black face make up or the black stuff that football players use to dirty up your face and hands.  Carry a wrench around with you.

Zombie: This is pretty easy to do, it just requires a bit of make-up and staining up an outfit you don’t care about anymore.  My favorite zombie I have done was wearing a girls dress from Value Village, had my hair up in pig tails and carried around a teddy bear I had used a red sharpie on and half removed its head.  Guess I should mention I am only 4’10” so could really pull off the young girl thing.

Cat Girl: Any cute outfit can go sci-fi/anime with the simple addition of cat ears and a cat tail.  No back story or justification required.

Mad Scientist: A white lab coat that has been stained up with a number of different colors.  To that blacken up your face and use copious amounts of hair spray to make your hair fly back, in that my experiment just exploded in my face sort of way.

I would love to hear your ideas.  Please share them in the comments section.

 

Cheap and Easy Sci-Fi Convention Costumes

Costumes galore…

One of the aspects of the Science Fiction convention we go to each year, Orycon in Portland Oregon, is that people dress in all sorts of great costumes.  And while most of them are more inclined to be grouped with a genre, such as Steam Punk or Pirates, there are others that pick a specific character from a movie or television series and dress as them.  Depending on the movie this could be either super simple or terribly challenging to manage.

Here I will cover a couple ideas that have struck me this weekend that I think would be fairly easy to accomplish, even on a tight budget.  And for some of them the reference is back in time about 20 years and will make people have to stop and ask you who you are supposed to be.

The Jetsons

The JetsonsSo The Jetsons may be an animated cartoon, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use it for costume ideas.  Any of the family members, outside of Rosey the Robot, would be fairly easy to dress up.  You just need some clothing in the right styles which may be found at your local discount retail store or resale clothing store.  If it isn’t the right color don’t worry, just get it in the lightest version you can and use some RIT Dye to dye it the color you need.

George Jetson – White, long sleeved, high collared shirt with the collar up and added black cord for trim work; Blue pants that are tighter fitting, and a dark green, wide belt should do the trick.  Then just a matter of getting your hair the right color and a standard guys style.

Jane Jetson – A bit harder to manage, but a tighter fitting, flared skirt dress dyed purple and add a collar of starched white triangle.  Then a pair of purple tights and a center part medium hair do in light red and you are good to go.

Judy Jetson – A red sleeveless, short crop shirt with the added red, starched triangle collar and a pair of snugish red pants and you are good to go.  The hardest part of this one is the white, high ponytail hair – afraid I am not sure how to manage that one, but if anyone has any good ideas please share

Elroy Jetson – White t-shirt, and some green overalls complete with green shoe covers and you are almost there.  Add in a red, starched full-circle collar and the baseball hat adorned with the antennae and you are good to go.  Standard boy cut hair in yellow is the last touch.

Inspector Gadget

Inspector Gadget
From www.mycomicsandstuff.com

Here is another cartoon from my childhood that crosses over to the sci-fi realm, guess it isn’t too much of a wonder how I got into this stuff huh?  Since the setting of Inspector Gadget was modern day, at least for the 1908’s when it was created, the costumes are pretty easy to manage.

Inspector Gadget – A gray double breasted shorter length trench coat, if you can’t find double breasted then get single and replace all the buttons with a matched set to make it look double breasted.  You will also need a gray belt, and may need to add belt loops for it if the coat didn’t come with some.  A blue pair of pants, and some gray shoes.  Oh and don’t forget the dray hat, brown gloves and black fly-away hair.  Since you obviously can’t do all the gadgets you could pair it down to jazzing up the gloves with the Gadget Phone look and that should do the trick.

Penny – A basic T-shirt in red and you can add the white stripe or get a shit shirt and figure out dyeing it red in top/bottom stripes.  Then green pants and some red shoes, which may require dyeing white shoes or making shoe covers.  Then some basic blond pigtails and you are good to go.  If you could locate something that could be her watch or her computer book that would help the costume along to make it obvious you are in costume, especially if you had the computer book worked out.

That’s a wrap…

So ends another costume idea blog post.  I hope you enjoyed this way-back, flash-back to my youth as much as I did and if you get a chance to work out any of these costumes for your next dress-up event send me a picture and let me see how it turned out!

 

 

 

Ack!! Here comes the rain

Well it has happened, rain again in the fall just in time for the little ones to head to school today. And with the rain comes the realization that once again I am behind the 8-ball in getting these costumes done. I am half done with the hubby’s gentleman’s shirt, which leaves his vest and jacket left to go. Of course he will need to Steampunk them some after that, well even just buttons are something I am waiting for him to decide upon.

Then it is on to the Fairy Costume for my daughter which will be much simpler (I hope) then what I am working on now. She is going with the Tinkerbell costume from Simplicity, but is doing the water fairy (or so she tells me) but in purple. My son is not sure if he wants to be a stunt man, or his Lego Universe character (we are Beta testing).

And lastly there is mine, always put mine last so I don’t have to feel bad if mine doesn’t get done in time, at least everyone else will be doing good.

If anyone has some good, and reasonably priced places to buy gears, keys, watch parts, and other random accessories of a Steampunk nature that would be great!!

Pirate Family

Here you can see the costumes that we wore on our Trick or Treat session through the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  I did not make my husband’s pirate captain outfit, but I did make my wench costume as well as the kids’ costumes.  My daughters is based on a pajama pattern, and my son’s was made without the use of patterns.  She wanted to be a standard pirate kid, and my son wanted to be a “washed ashore, shipwrecked pirate”.  His costume is now being used for his Live Action events.

Of course we had to get our family picture with Disney’s primary pirates!!