Renaissance Halloween Costume Secret: eBay + Old Duvet + The Cat’s Toy (P.S. Read How I Made The Hat)

This is sewing. Cheap project, but still requires knowing how to use a sewing machine, read a pattern, cut fabric and follow instructions. Here’s how I made my Renaissance Halloween costume for about $70.

In college, I spent plenty of time at my sewing machine as an underemployed student. Frugality was ingrained in me. I rode my bike, hitchhiked to school, ate really cheap stuff, and found things to sew, like making skirts from bed sheets. What student needs more than one set of sheets?

Returning to sewing now is stretching my brain, and the !@#$%^ bobbin STILL gives me trouble.

But I was determined to reboot sewing skills by making a costume for background acting gigs. Quality stitchery doesn’t matter when it comes to being an extra. All that Central Casting cares about is that yours is a “non-licensed character costume.”  MY criteria was comfort, kinda cool and age-appropriate. While on jury duty in February, I met a fellow background actor and asked her advice on what to sew. Without hesitation, she said “Renaissance.” Brilliant!  Plenty of time to make it.

Now, don’t judge the authenticity of my Renaissance interpretation. This is a mashup of Italian, French, a few decades tossed together. Fits my needs, however. Here is what I did:

  • Costume pattern – $7 on eBay. First, I googled photos, which only served to overwhelm me. There are some PHENOMENAL Renaissance costumes out there. So then I googled “Romeo and Juliet,” much more helpful. From there, I scouted eBay until I found a pattern that would be forgiving in terms of sewing capabilities and detail.
  • The red fabric is our old duvet, super soft from years of washings. Thanks to Larry’s devil kitty youth engaged in snagging it, we have a new duvet. 
  • The gold sleeves are drapery fabric, bargain barrel $5 a yard at F&S Fabrics. The sleeve fabric needed to be soft enough to gather tightly with elastic, but have body to stand up.
  • Back to eBay for that black and gold trim. Plenty to choose from, I spent $8.
  • Thread on eBay a “lot” of 30 oddball spools, mix-match colors for $6 including shipping. The colors were close enough, you cannot see my purple thread on the red fabric.
  • Yup, eBay lace (just $2 because it was damaged – WHO CARES??), elastic and interfacing.  You have to be patient with this eBay process: searching, bidding, winning and getting it in-hand. Those together were about $15.
  • And now… my hatThat’s a plastic tennis visor ($3), covered via hot glue with a remnant of black satin ($5), large fake “pearls” hot glued (thrift store necklace $2). The gold braid was in my ribbon box, stitched that on by hand, then stole the feathers from cat’s toys.
  • The $7 long gray braid, of course eBay!! An Anime wig, the owner hated it after she cut bangs.  I have gray hair to begin with, thus my choice of that color.
  • Zipper down the dress back? Overwhelming… the idea of trying to install one was too much; I installed Velcro, plus a couple of hook and eyes.  When you work as an extra, porta-potties are a HUGE hassle, and Velcro is much easier to maneuver if I need to actually step out of the dress to use the bathroom.

So, about $70.  Add $3 for the necklace and $7 for the pearl cross broach and earrings = $80.


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Mrs. L October 16, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Wow, well done! And I love that you stole the feathers from the cat toys!

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