Tag Archives: costume

Valkyrie Costume

Friday, September 26th, 2014

In Norse mythology, a valkyrie  is one of a host of female figures who choose those who may die in battle and those who may live. Selecting among half of those who die in battle, the valkyries bring their chosen to the afterlife hall of the slain, Valhalla, ruled over by the god Odin. Valkyries also appear as lovers of heroes and other mortals, where they are sometimes described as the daughters of royalty, sometimes accompanied by ravens, and sometimes connected to swans or horses. (read more at wikipedia.org/wiki/Valkyrie)

The Ride of the Valkyries  is the popular term for the beginning of Act III of Die Walküre, the second of the four operas by Richard Wagner that constitute Der Ring des Nibelungen. You have probably heard it many times on TV or in the movies. Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd even covered Ride of the Valkyries… listen on YouTube… now tell me,  you were singing “Kill The Wabbit, Kill The Wabbit, Kill The Wabbit ….” weren’t you!
(read more at wikipedia.org/wiki/Ride_of_the_Valkyries)

The Met in HD presented the Die Walküre in summer 2011. After watching that performance at Walk Festival Hall I was inspired for my next costume. The skirt from the Gray Lady costume I made the prior year would work perfectly and I spent the summer/fall going through my closets, jewelry boxes, craft supplies, and shopped yard sales and second hand stores for things that I could re-purpose for the costume.

My Idea Board:


For the black feathers in this project I found a set of black angel wings at a Halloween store that were cheaper than buying a bag of feathers. One of the first things I did to start making the headdress was plucking the feathers from the angel wings. Then I cut the wings off some pretty christmas doves. For another costume I beheaded some dolls, poked their eyes out, and stuck bullet casings into the hole where the eyes were. (See Shrunken Doll Heads) Hmmmmm….

Getting Started

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Click

I started with the Gray Lady Skirt and added a tank top from my wardrobe. I used the same black lace turtle neck I used for the Gray Lady costume.

I made some shoulder armor, a head dress, and the rest was accessories.

I used a belt to hike up the skirt to make it look more like a riding dress. Under the skirt is black boots and a pair of black denim colored leggings. The leggings had a metal looking quality and since it is cold where I live they kept me cozy warm.

Accessories are the most important part of any costume

I found some wrist cuffs in a discount jewelry store that fit the costume’s look. I made the choker from a vintage silver mesh choker and a broken vintage belt buckle. The silver colored purse is something I found in a clearance bin, I knew it would work with the costume. I added several pieces of jewelry from my vintage collection.

Raiding my wardrobe

Valkryie Top

The metallic shirt was one I had in my closet for several years, dangerously close to being out of fashion, it worked perfectly for the armor top. I wrapped it with a belt from a second hand store, and hung the purse from it.

Shoulder Armor

This set of shoulder armor is easy to make and cheap. When picking out your place mat be sure to find one with some texture to give the armor some interest. A place mat with lines following the circumference will make your mat easier to cut into even pieces.
Total Time1 d
Course: Costume, crafts
Cuisine: Halloween, Halloween Accessory
Keyword: Crafts, Halloween, Valkyrie
Servings: 1 Set
Author: TetonTrekker
Cost: < $3

Equipment

  • Heavy Duty Scissors
  • Heavy Duty Hole Punch
  • Binder Clips
  • Sharpie
  • Drafting Compass (if your place mat does not have lines)

Ingredients

  • 1 Round Place Mat Silver
  • 4 Shank Buttons (loop on the back of it instead of holes) Silver Metallic
  • 4 10" Pieces 1/2" Ribbon Gray, black, or Silver
  • 4 Safety Pins

Instructions

  • Cut place mat in half across middle.
  • Cut each half into 2 pieces along the curve, halfway from the center. If your mat does not have lines following the circumference, use a drafting compass to lightly mark the back of the mat.
  • Cut the outer half into 2 pieces along the curve, halfway from the center.
    If your mat was 10" the center piece would be 5" and the two outer pieces would be 2.5" each.
  • Position (stack) the pieces so the center piece is on the bottom, the outer piece is in the center, and the middle piece is on top.
    When the shoulder armor is finished you will be able to position the pieces as needed.
    Positioning the mat pieces
  • On each end of the shoulder armor use a sharpie to mark dots where holes will be punched, Making sure not to get too close the the end on the shortest piece or the mat may come unraveled. The holes should be about ½" apart.
  • Using a hole punch, punch 2 holes in the ends of each piece, on your marks.
  • Loop the ribbon through the button, then each ribbon end through the holes from the top. Tie the ribbon into a knot on the bottom of the piece.
  • Tie a safety pin to each end of the piece.
  • Before pinning to costume position the pieces by gently pulling the top and bottom pieces.

Notes

The ends are rough so I put a scarf over them.

I needed to make 5 headdresses for the flute section.

The headdress required a little research, and was the most time consuming part of the costume. I spent many mornings Googling photos to come up with a conceptual idea that would not be too complicated, or expensive, then went thrifting.

Valkyrie Headdress

This headdress is made from things you can find thrifting, or in a craft store. When choosing your belt make sure it will fit and overlap after you cut off the buckle end. The belt should have a style that compliments your Valkyrie costume. The 80's produced a bunch in this style.
Total Time2 d
Course: Costume, crafts
Cuisine: Halloween, Halloween Accessory
Keyword: Costume, Crafts, Dollar Store, Halloween, Headdress, Instructions, Second Hand, Valkyrie
Servings: 1 Headdress
Author: TetonTrekker
Cost: < $25

Equipment

  • Leather hole punch
  • Sharpie
  • Hot Glue Gun & Glue (or E6000 glue)

Ingredients

For the Headband

  • 1 Belt from Second Hand Store Black
  • Large silver color beads
  • 2 – 3 Feet Faux leather cord Shoelaces would work

For the Wings

  • 2 Silver-tone Western Collar Tips Be sure it has an adjustable shank on the back.
  • 1 Medium Bunch Medium White feathers
  • 1 Large Bunch Large Black feathers
  • 2 Silver flat Christmas dove or angel ornaments from the dollar store. Something that looks wing-like. Not brittle, you will be cutting them.
  • 2 Silver or metal tone 1" shank buttons. If your Collar Tips don't have embellishments.

Instructions

Make the Headband

  • Fit the belt to the your head marking the size with a pen. Cut the belts down to size, leaving a large overlap so the ends are near the wings and will be hidden.
  • If there are no holes, punch several holes into top end of the overlap.
  • Put back to head for size and hold the ends in place with one hand. Remove from head and put sharpie through hole to mark place for next set of holes. Punch holes on marks.
  • Use the leather cord to hand stitch the belt through the holes.
  • Add a few of the silver beads to the end of the cord to give it a finished look.

Make the Wings

  • Cut the wings off the ornaments.
  • Lay out all your supplies.
  • Stack feathers, collar tips, dove wing/ornament part, and buttons to get a mirrored arrangement for both sides.
    – Don't be too skimpy with the feathers or you wings will look more like a road kill.
  • Unscrew the adjustable shank on the back of the collar tip open to the max but not removing it.
  • Assemble your masterpiece. Stick the feathers into the collar tip and use glue to keep them in place. Let dry.
    – Be sure not to glue the shank in place.
  • Glue the dove wing/ornament part over the top. Let dry. If your collar tip has an embellishment, butt up raw edge against it and skip adding a button.
  • Glue a button over the rough ends of the dove wing on each wing to give it a finished look.

Attach the Wings to the Headband

  • Position the belt headband on your head and look in a mirror. Position the above your ears and adjust for looks. If you have a friend have them mark the spots, otherwise mark the spots one at a time. Put the mark where you will want the shank of the piece lined up.
  • Use the leather hole punch to punch a small hole center where your marks are.
  • Press the shank of the collar tip through the hole, if the hold is not big enough punch only one size bigger. This needs to be tight. Once you have the shank pressed through put your thumb on the flat side and screw the wing into it until it is snug. You can reposition the wings as needed, this is especially handy when storing.

Notes

When I purchased these, I had no idea what their original purpose was,  they were in a lot of jewelry and crafting materials I picked up a few years prior at a garage sale.
They turned out to be Western Collar Tips, what every well dressed cowboy would wear. They had a 1960’s look and the wide end was hollow.  One side had an adjustable knob on it, all it needed to attach to the headdress was a hole in the leather, the other side had embellishments that I removed.

Full Lenth Skirt for Halloween Costumes

Transform a second hand store formal gown into a skirt for your Halloween costumes.
It takes a little imagination and vision to find the right dress to work with. When picking out your dress think about color and texture. Lighter fabric colors can be dyed, but synthetics don't take dyes well, so if you need vivid color it is best to find a dress that already is the color you want. You will want layers and some flair for drama.
If the dress has embellishments, inspect to see if they can be removed without damaging the fabric.
You will be cutting off the top so if the dress has a high waistline, it will drop. Getting something a bit larger works well, and if you are dropping the waistline the sizing will change. do't be too picky on exact size. When sizing hold what will be the waistline to you waist and make sure the length is to the floor (or appropriate for costume). If the dress is a larger size than you are it will be tailored down.
When shopping, don't pass up a good thing. When you see something that will work, don't leave it for later to find something better. Second hand stores have a high turnover and chances you will never see that dress again. My biggest miss was a perfect tattered wedding gown for a future Bride of Frankenstein costume. Several years ago I was shopping for pirate costume parts and passed on the dress. BIG MISTAKE! I have yet to see another as perfect.
Total Time3 d
Course: Costume, crafts
Cuisine: Halloween
Keyword: Instructions
Servings: 1 Skirt
Author: TetonTrekker
Cost: < $30

Equipment

  • Dress Form (if you have one)
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Rubber Gloves (If dress needs to be dyed)
  • Sewing Machine
  • Sewing Scissors
  • Straight Pins

Ingredients

  • 1 Full Length Formal Gown Color appropriate for costume.

Optional

  • 1/4 Yard Satin or equal fabric Color to match final color of Skirt

If your dress needs to be dyed:

  • 2 Bottles Rit Liquid Dye Appropriate color

Instructions

Clean Dress

  • Hand wash your dress with some gentle detergent. If you don't have a large basin, use your bathtub.
  • If your home machine has a gentle cycle and you trust it, use your washer. Do not use the laundromat, if the last person to use the machine overstuffed it or washed oily cloths you may get some transfer to the dress.
  • Rinse well and drip dry. DO NOT PUT IN DRYER.

Deconstruct Dress

  • Remove any zippers from the dress. Leave all hooks, snaps, etc.
  • Remove all decorations and embellishments from the dress and save for later.
  • Cut the top off dress above the waistline leaving as much fabric to work with as possible.

Dye Dress (if needed)

  • Follow the directions on the bottle to dye your dress, using rubber gloves to keep dye off your skin.
  • Dye all the pieces you cut off and the fabric embellishments you removed from the dress so it is a match if you need to use them later.
  • Hang until thoroughly dry.
  • Wash dress same as above.

Optional Tie Sash for Waistband

  • Use extra fabric to make 2 long ties to tie around the waist.
  • Cut to desired length and a little over than twice as wide as you need.
  • Fold in half with right side in, and iron flat. If your fabric is thin you can add some iron on backing during this step.
  • Sew edges together leaving one of the short ends open.
  • Turn right side out and press with iron.

Construct Skirt

  • Fold the excess fabric to create a waistband. If your fabric an be ironed, iron flat. Pin in place. You may need to trim some fabric at this time.
  • Pin the optional tie stash to the waistband.
  • If your dress did not have enough excess fabric to fold down either use the fabric you cut off or get some satin fabric of an appropriate color from the fabric store and fashion a waistband by cutting a long wide rectangle. If the fabric is thin you may want to add some backing.
  • Sew the waistband with a machine, making sure all the raw edges are turned under. This can be done by hand for a cleaner look.
  • Hand sew some hook and eyes to close the waistband and opening where the zipper was.
  • Trim any strings strings from the skirt.

Notes

These instructions assume you have some experience with a sewing machine. If you have any questions please ask in the comments.

This gown was used to make a Vimpiress costume.

Dress for Gray Lady & Valkrye Costume

This pink dress dyed nicely for my Gray Lady costume.

When the Jackson Hole Community Band passed out new music for the 2011 Halloween Concert it included Ride of the Valkyrie, perfect! Everyone in the flute section dressed as Valkyries along me. I also wore this costume for the 2013 Halloween Concert.

Holly Balogh, Myself, O'Anne
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Norma, Holly Balogh, Student, Myself, Student Nancy, O'Anne, Sammy

The Gray Lady (Ghost) Costume

Thursday, September 18th, 2014
My Gray Lady Inspiration

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays so in 2010, when the Jackson Hole Community Band planned their 1st Annual Halloween Concert for the Kids, I started planning my costume right away.

I found this costume at my favorite Halloween shop, grandinroad.com, but did not want a purchased costume, I prefer to make my own.

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Back
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Front
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Cut off top

I found this dress at a second hand store for $15. The skirt fabric was perfect, and it had some weight so it would flow nicely. It was a little small around the waist, and the waist line was too high, but with some imagination it would work perfectly.

I cut the top off to drop the waist line and folded the extra fabric over to make the new waistband. I had to remove the zipper so i used some hook and eyes i had in my sewing stash. They looked a little funny but when the costume was dyed it gave it an out of the grave vintage look.

I used 2 packs of black Rit Dye powder ($4.78 + tax) to dye the dress, what a mess!! [note to self: never buy the powder again]. I dissolved the dye in hot water before I put it in the washer but I still got some dark splotches on the satin. They are near the bottom but it was OK (it’s just a costume) I’m not sure if I suck at dying fabric or if the satin had food stains that did not come out when I washed it. The color came out very close to the color I was looking for. I dyed the scraps in case i need them to build the new waistband.

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Full Lenth Skirt for Halloween Costumes

Transform a second hand store formal gown into a skirt for your Halloween costumes.
It takes a little imagination and vision to find the right dress to work with. When picking out your dress think about color and texture. Lighter fabric colors can be dyed, but synthetics don't take dyes well, so if you need vivid color it is best to find a dress that already is the color you want. You will want layers and some flair for drama.
If the dress has embellishments, inspect to see if they can be removed without damaging the fabric.
You will be cutting off the top so if the dress has a high waistline, it will drop. Getting something a bit larger works well, and if you are dropping the waistline the sizing will change. do't be too picky on exact size. When sizing hold what will be the waistline to you waist and make sure the length is to the floor (or appropriate for costume). If the dress is a larger size than you are it will be tailored down.
When shopping, don't pass up a good thing. When you see something that will work, don't leave it for later to find something better. Second hand stores have a high turnover and chances you will never see that dress again. My biggest miss was a perfect tattered wedding gown for a future Bride of Frankenstein costume. Several years ago I was shopping for pirate costume parts and passed on the dress. BIG MISTAKE! I have yet to see another as perfect.
Total Time3 d
Course: Costume, crafts
Cuisine: Halloween
Keyword: Instructions
Servings: 1 Skirt
Author: TetonTrekker
Cost: < $30

Equipment

  • Dress Form (if you have one)
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Rubber Gloves (If dress needs to be dyed)
  • Sewing Machine
  • Sewing Scissors
  • Straight Pins

Ingredients

  • 1 Full Length Formal Gown Color appropriate for costume.

Optional

  • 1/4 Yard Satin or equal fabric Color to match final color of Skirt

If your dress needs to be dyed:

  • 2 Bottles Rit Liquid Dye Appropriate color

Instructions

Clean Dress

  • Hand wash your dress with some gentle detergent. If you don't have a large basin, use your bathtub.
  • If your home machine has a gentle cycle and you trust it, use your washer. Do not use the laundromat, if the last person to use the machine overstuffed it or washed oily cloths you may get some transfer to the dress.
  • Rinse well and drip dry. DO NOT PUT IN DRYER.

Deconstruct Dress

  • Remove any zippers from the dress. Leave all hooks, snaps, etc.
  • Remove all decorations and embellishments from the dress and save for later.
  • Cut the top off dress above the waistline leaving as much fabric to work with as possible.

Dye Dress (if needed)

  • Follow the directions on the bottle to dye your dress, using rubber gloves to keep dye off your skin.
  • Dye all the pieces you cut off and the fabric embellishments you removed from the dress so it is a match if you need to use them later.
  • Hang until thoroughly dry.
  • Wash dress same as above.

Optional Tie Sash for Waistband

  • Use extra fabric to make 2 long ties to tie around the waist.
  • Cut to desired length and a little over than twice as wide as you need.
  • Fold in half with right side in, and iron flat. If your fabric is thin you can add some iron on backing during this step.
  • Sew edges together leaving one of the short ends open.
  • Turn right side out and press with iron.

Construct Skirt

  • Fold the excess fabric to create a waistband. If your fabric an be ironed, iron flat. Pin in place. You may need to trim some fabric at this time.
  • Pin the optional tie stash to the waistband.
  • If your dress did not have enough excess fabric to fold down either use the fabric you cut off or get some satin fabric of an appropriate color from the fabric store and fashion a waistband by cutting a long wide rectangle. If the fabric is thin you may want to add some backing.
  • Sew the waistband with a machine, making sure all the raw edges are turned under. This can be done by hand for a cleaner look.
  • Hand sew some hook and eyes to close the waistband and opening where the zipper was.
  • Trim any strings strings from the skirt.

Notes

These instructions assume you have some experience with a sewing machine. If you have any questions please ask in the comments.

This gown was used to make a Vimpiress costume.

Dress for Gray Lady & Valkrye Costume

This pink dress dyed nicely for my Gray Lady costume.

The Veil

For the veil I used a crocheted table top i got at a yard sale several years ago, for probably under a buck. It took 1/2 bottle of black liquid Rit dye. I used some hairpins and a pretty feather headband to hold it on my head.

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Black Veil

This vintage looking black veil is perfect for Halloween costumes. When picking out the table topper
Total Time1 d
Course: Costume, crafts
Cuisine: Halloween, Halloween Accessory
Keyword: gray lady, Halloween
Author: TetonTrekker
Cost: < $3.00

Equipment

  • Rubber Gloves

Ingredients

  • 1 Medium Round Cotton Crocheted Table Topper 22" diameter
  • 1/2 8 oz Bottle Black Rit Dye

Instructions

  • Follow the instructions on the bottle of dye.

What makes a costume stand out is the details:

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I dyed the flowers when I did the dress.
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I used the flowers and ribbon I cut off the dress for embellishments. I purchased the scarf new.
Accessories
Makeup
All my costumes get a cool, coordinating purse.
Fingerless Gloves, and Polish
These gloves were from my 80’s wardrobe. I wore them our dancing in the “Madona Days”. Funny how my 80’s accessories migrated to my Halloween supplies.

I spent about $25 on the dress and dye and $60 on a tank-shirt, scarf, and bracelet. I added a black lace turtleneck, vintage earnings, and fingerless lace gloves from things I already owned. It came out nicer than the store bought costume. (click pictures to enlarge)

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I wore this costume for the 2010 Halloween Concert and the 2012 concert at Walk Festival Hall, Teton Village.