Masqurade costume – dragon

For my 30th birthday I wanted to have one of those Halloween parties I always had as a kid. Lately I’ve had an internship at Gothenburgs opera house at their costume department. We’ve been working on Andrew Loyd Webbers classic “Phantom of the opera”, and in the “masqurade”-scene there is a beautiful dragon costume one of the dancers wore. So I thought…I NEED to be a dragon at my party! The typical “dress up”-dragon.


I started out with the head. Papier maché is an easy technique to use if you want something big and voluminous to be sturdy and light! I crumpled pages of newspaper and used masking tape to hold my shape together. Then I machéyed away with a flour and water mixture and strips of newspaper.


When dry, I cut the form in two halves and took out the taped, crumpled newspaper pages.


For the teeth I used Fimo clay! Just shape and bake!


I glued them in place with a glue gun to both halves.



For better stability and the feeling of gums I used “cloth maché”. Old cotton sheets and white glue.




I chose a greyish color for the gums since this was going to be an “ice dragon”.


My first idea of how this creation was going to attach to the head didn’t work out since the teeth came to be to heavy, but to my delight the top halve fitted my head perfect so I sewed on a wide elastic band to it…


…so it could sit in the nape of the neck.


Now it’s time to shape the face of the dragon. For this I didn’t use any maché technique, I just shaped some piece of newpaper and taped it down with masking tape.



Eyes of painted wooden marble.


Glued on some steel wire for holding up the fen-like things dragons sometimes have behind their ears.


When I was satisfied with the shape I went on with cloth maché again to get more details in the skin.



Time for paint! I started out painting the whole thing black.


…except the gums and teeth.


The rest of the colors I use I will dry-brush on to the skin. Don’t know if that is the correct term in english but this is how you do it…


…use a dense hog hair brush and put a small amount of paint on it. Brush the most of it of to a coffee-filter so theres no wet paint left on the brush. Then buff the paint that is left on the brush on to your object. This is a brilliant way to give life and depth to your 3D-project.


Here I’ve added some light blue and just started with white.



There, now I’m satisfied.


For the black painted wooden marble-eyes to get a decent iris I glued on a big color-shifting sequin that I drew pupils on to.



What could be better than sequins for scales? Using hot glue.




A quick sketch for the rest of the costume.


I started out with making a catsuit in the 90’s comeback material: crushed velvet!



There it is!


The dragon would want a belly!


You would like to use a lighter material with a lot of stretch so it won’t affect the elasticity in the suit when it’s sewed on.



For the scales I cut small pieces out of several different fabrics and glued them on with textile glue, or a glue gun would work just as fine. I also attached big sequins here and there.





Time was ticking so I had to plan where to put my scales, cause I sure didn’t have the time to cover the whole suit.


To finish the head (cause I wasn’t quite content) I made some extra big scales out of steel wire, some left overs from the scales for the suit and hot glue.


I also wanted to give it kind of like a horse mane so out of more steel wire I made something to fasten the “mane” to.


Long pieces of fabric I cut in thin strips.


And glued it to the back of the head with A LOT of hot glue.


IMG_9774 Drakex4


I didn’t work as much with the lower jaw (that’s why the uneven edges), I just cut an enough big hole for my neck to fit in, parted the back and put a rivet and a press stud on so I could close it.


Some crushed velvet inside (same for the head).





The dragon wants a tail. I cut out a good triangle-shape in the crushed velvet and sewed on strips of rigilene (polyester boning) like a skeleton. Sadly I forgot taking a picture when all the strips where sewed on.


You can see through the fabric that I sewed on several rigilene strips across the first one.


Need to be able to use the zipper so I sewed it directly on to the suit to one side and used press buttons on the other.


To keep the shape in place at the root of the tail I attached more rigilene in a star formation.


Here’s how it looks inside.



And here’s the party pics! Wished I had better ones but this will have to do for now. Next time the dragon will get wings and a pair of awesome feet!

Over and out!


18th century wig

Last sunday I was given the opportunity to attend to an event with historical clothing as the given theme. Since we haven’t made whole outfits at school yet (Costume for stage and historical clothing – Tillskärarakademin, Gothenburg) we were allowed to borrow a few costumes from their collection. Mine was like a big pink caramel, an 18th century gown with petticoat and pannier, not entirely historical correct but more inspired by.

Off course I wanted to have that big poofy hairstyle they had but I realized my ends were to dry and brittle to survive tons of teasing and hairspray. I knew I had a few wigs somewhere in my belongings and when I found this purple one I just had to try to build one of those ridiculous hairstyles 😆

This is what the wig looked like at first! The classic 18th century high updo needs long hair in front and since this wig had bangs I solved it by putting it on backwards 😁
I started by cutting away several wefts of hair from the foundation where I wanted to place the “stuffing ” to get that superhigh style.
Looks like regular pieces of hair extensions!
My wig just had a few elastics as foundation so I cut out a square of tulle and sewed in place to have something better to attach my “stuffing” on to.
That will do!
First I made a little crown in corrugated cardboard…
…witch I filled with tulle…
…and wrapped the whole thing in more tulle. Use preferable a color matching piece of tulle or light and voluminous fabric. (I also painted the cardboard purple).
Sew it in place.
Now it is time for the fun part! Since this is synthetic hair I sugest you bring out your curling iron with heat control. With this wig I actually manage to have 170 degrees Celsius but start cooler and test what temperature your wig can take before melting. To protect your curling iron you can wrap some aluminum foil around it.
To attach the hair to my centerpiece I used regular spray glue! You can also try really strong hairspray but independent of what you choose to use I recommend you to have your glue gun at hand as well.
I used the hair I cut away for some more build up and teased it and then glued it to the base.
Then I continued to glue the hair upwards the stuffed centerpiece as before.
Now when the bangs ended up in the neck I curled it and put it in a short ponytail with a hair elastic.
And heres the result with decorations and all!




And me in the whole shebang!


Now good luck with your own wig projects, I hope I gave you enough inspiration to try it yourself! ❤️



Embroidered hood with pewter buttons

One of the most beautiful accessories to your 14th century outfit in my opinion, is a proper hood! It’s a very easy pattern to make witch let you have some more time for decoration!


My noble husband posing!

This is a pattern for a loose hood witch could be pulled on without a front opening. Draw a square with equal sides approx 30 cm, or measure on yourself how much you’ll need for your head to fit inside, especially if you’re not gonna have a front opening. Notice the fold at the top! Plan the cape/gorget and how long your liripipe will be and the face opening. For example the cape/gorget is 30 cm deep at the shoulder, my liripipe is a long one, about 1 meter and the face opening approx 4 cm. I also extended the back at the top with 4-5 cm and drew a nice curve down to meet up the neck. Also plan where you want to have your gussets, you will need one at the front as well if you want a buttoned opening. You could make one without gussets and just draw the back and front a few degrees higher, but then it won’t be as fitted. I suggest you try different versions by making toiles!


I made a dark green hood and chose to line it with a lighter green, both materials is wool. Of course I wanted to have a fancy dagging at the bottom. I made a templet to make sure they would turn out the same.


The gussets must have dagging as well. Make sure you measure carefully so the, in my case, leaves will end up even around the bottom of the hood.


The lighter green will not have dagging and it will be about 5-6 cm shorter.



Here’s the idea! I inserted the lighter green into the dark green hood wrong side against each other. The light green seams will show on a few places because of the dagging so I had to make sure they’d look good on both sides. I also made a few stitches in the gusset seam through both layers to keep them together and in place. Then I made a blanket seam with white linnen thread around the whole thing for prevent the woolen fabric not to fray (at least if it’s not milled), for decoration and to assemble the layers in the front opening.

I fastened the leaves on the light green layer with the split stitch I used for decoration. Hand dyed woolen thread in two different colors.



The most common type of button for hoods seams to be the cloth button, if it even was a front opening that is. I chose to be a bit fancy and take the same sort of pewter buttons I used for my 14th c dress! Mind the stitching for the buttonholes so you don’t end up doing small blanket stitches. It’s important to get those small knots that appears when you do a proper buttonhole stitch! On this brilliant blog you can find more detailed instructions. They also shows how to do it if you’re left handed!


And there we have it! With my beautiful swan and all! It’s a replica from a finding, late 14th-15th century.



Women hose


This is a pattern I’ve taken from the fantastic book “The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant” by Sarah Thursfield. It has combined half-sole and side gussets and was fairly easy to make into a good fit! When you’re making a pair of hose you have to cut the fabric on the bias. This is very important for even manage to slip the heel through the ankle of the hose witch is the most narrow part.


Start up by making a toile. (Aaaaalways make a toile!!!) Cut out a big square and fold it from corner to corner and mark out the middle with a line. The line should run along the front of your leg, make sure that it stays there during the whole fitting.


Draw the edges back round your knee closely and pin it in place. Continue down the leg, over the calf and down to the ankle. It should be closely enough to stay in place by itself, but be careful over the ankle. If you pin to tight it will not come off over the heel.

Where the fabric begins to drag over the foot you want to make a snip over the anklebone and slice straight down. Ignore that my toile looks like I’ve sliced back towards the heel. This shows better how it will look:


For the sole you’ll take another piece of fabric with a straight edge on the straight grain. Place it under the foot, bring the straight edges up to meet the slashes and pin in place. Continue to pin the sole in place over the vamp and down to the toes. Make sure that all creases and folds smoothes out while pinning. Then make another one for the other leg.


Well, it doesn’t look much but in the end it will be brilliant! The curious fold across the leg is a little mishaps. I suggest you trace this first toile on to a new one to really make sure everything is right.


Sole in light grey wool!


The leg part pinned inside out down to the slashes. In this stage, carefully try it on for a bit of insurance.


And here you see the sole witch will hopefully fit perfect. But first you want to sew the back seam before you pin the sole in place.



Pin it, try it once more, make up and the sew it. When i sewed the seam allowance down I found it best to put the hose on for the shape. I also sewed the gussets in place by hand while still wearing them.



And so! A perfectly fitted and very comfortable hose! I really recommend you to do all those “to many” fittings and tracing over patterns several times. It is after all a garment you will walk pretty much in and you do not want to have any folds, creases or awful seams giving you a hard time 😉



1920’s Gatsby flapper outfit

R and me exchanged the “I do’s” for a couple of months ago, and we did so in the sign of Gatsbys era 1920’s. It was….well…I have no words. As the clichés; The best day of my life!

I wore several dresses, this one is for manage dancing since the entré-dress was going to have a small train, so off course I made a flapper dress. Here’s the idea..




This is unfortunately the first picture I have of the process. The pattern of the dress is very simple, only make sure that ALWAYS make a toil first. Here I’m attaching the chiffon part with the rest of the dress in best way possible. With such a material as chiffon that kind of lives its own life you need to tack it together before you use your sewing machine. I let the chiffon have a bit wider allowance so I can fold and tuck it under the allowance you can see through under the chiffon.


There! Tacked!



Had to cut the allowance for shaping.


Here you can se how I fold the chiffon allowance around and under the “dress allowance” using stab stitch.


Barely visible on the front. If I didn’t have a shiny fabric it wouldn’t have shown at all.


I used stab stitch for the armholes as well.


And it’s on!




Next is to create the pattern in front and back. First I drew it on paper and traced it on to the dress. Then I stitched a satin ribbon on top of the tracing.





Like so. Remember to press the ribbons well and hard after attaching them to make sure all the little wrinkles disappears.



The bottom part was kinda interesting to figure out. I started to simply cut out the arch shaped parts and replaced it with chiffon.


Because I’m going to heavy decorate this I don’t care how the seams look, it will disappear under the bling.


I could have been a bit more delicate on the backside but I’ll attach a nice ribbon here to both secure it and for the looks.

I attached the same ribbon as the one for the ornament on chest and back.


When you make this very sharp turns with a non-elastic ribbon you want to make sure to own a lot of pins. It will look nice when you press it properly later!


Time for framing the gray ribbon with a matte champagne colored sequin ribbon.


On the other side of the gray ribbon I chose to attach a 2 mm round silver string.




And the upon the gray ribbon, some rhinestone chains in two different sizes.


The smaller one has a black colored metal where the rhinestones are attached into and the bigger one is regular silver colored. (The rhinestones is not AB)


Did the same to the gray ribbon for the bottom. Here I also have started on a beaded fringe a la flapper style! This took several hours and many episodes of different tv series.


I made a knot at the base of every beaded string. If one breaks it’s secured so the other ones will be intact.



Also made fringe at the bottom of the front and back ornament. All beads are made of glass.






Some more bling for the ornament!





Took a break and started to embellish the shoes! Used a textile color called Ackra-K  in “mother of pearl silver” to paint kind of rays and then I attached hot fix rhinestones in between. Typical flapper style!


When finished with all beading I felt the dress being a little empty so I started to paint “medallions” with the same textile color I used for the shoes all over the dress.


I made the shape in cardboard and painted around it to make sure they all ended up identical.



And off course some more bling.





There we go!


I attached some hot fix rhinestones at the chiffon parts as well for som fuller look.


I also had to have a proper headdress! I made one of some stuff i had laying around. I usually do…



I found an old diadem in metal that I could bend into a really good base! On it I attached thick metal thread to make it stable and have som more to attach rhinestone chains and other nice shiny things.





As I almost always do I design it as I go..



And here I am! Ready to do our wedding charleston dance that we wowed every guest with. It was friggin awesome! Actually….here it is:





Various historical underwear

I’ve made a proper linen underwear that goes to my 14th c. kirtle. I took the pattern from the kirtle for the sleeves and half bodice to get a good close fit but still with space for movement.

The sleeves are “Charles de Blois”-sleeves with the “elbow hinge” which allows better movement and your able to get rid of a lot of extra material that always ends up by the bend of the arm. HERE is were I found a good instruction how to make them. Since I can’t have buttoning (and it’s not period either) on my undergarments I added a gusset at the end of the sleeve.


This is awesome for holding up boobs! If you visit Katafalk you will get a tutorial of how to make a REAL medieval bra based on the Lengberg castle findings!

The skirt is just (on the vertical) the width of the fabric. Measure how much you need to be able to take a long good step, you don’t need much more width than that and then just pleat it together to fit the bodice. Just like the kampfrau gown.



Laced sides.


A closer look at the “elbow hinge”.




Meine frau also needs her underwear, shirt and skirt. Here is the skirt going on!

This is also just the fabric pleated together without gussets or anything. I measured 3 meters for this, an because this aught to be together with a short dress it had to be a bit shorter than the whole width of the fabric. It actually was enough with just the half. Pleat it all together to a simple waistband and then make a lacing for closure.


Apparently wood block prints was something that existed already in the 15th c. HERE is some examples from german. I made mine a bit plainer.

Regular wall-paint. You know the repaint-the-house-stains on your painting/gardening or whatever ruff job you sometimes perform-clothes? ^^ Waaaay much better than textile colors 😀




Naturally, for a proper 1300 woman you’ll need to fit your hair into something! Something everybody should have in their possession is a “cap of S:t Birgitta“. I have to apologize, I don’t have a picture of mine…but it is really simple to make. Visit Katafalks tutorial!


If you want to you can make a headband witch you pin your veil on to. This is really not necessary but it makes the veil a bit more secured on to your head!


This is a simple rectangular cloth for covering your neck. The real nun-style! You just pin it to the headband or straight into the Birgitta cap!


This one is a whole circle, I tend to use the half-circle more cause you fold this in half anyway, but with this you can create a nice “two-layer” effect just by not folding it straight in the middle.





Belly dance costume

The 13th of June I married the love of my life and this is one of the many costumes I wore under the evening. Late in the evening I wanted to preform for our guest with some bellydance and off course I needed a brand new belly dance costume!


This is actually my very first attempt making a belly dance costume and here are my first thoughts:

2014-06-19 21.18.36


I got the idea of taking organza and making lots and lots of spirals to create a kind of “ruffle” with the skirt. The fabric for the skirt have been lying on my desk and waiting so I already knew I would use it. It creates a wonderful effect while you do hip shimmy!


Usually the bra-part is covered with tons of rhinestones, gems, trimmings and what not so the cups need to be sturdy to be able to hold all that bling up! My solution was to steal a corner from R’s wrestler mat (if that is what it’s called). No he doesn’t use it for wrestling on, he to actually carves in it for various crafting.



It is sort of a more dense kind of foam. That is probably the best description I can give you. You will need a material that is at least 5-8 mm thick, lightweight, and easy to cut in to. This one is perfect.


I took the measurements from a belly dance costume I already have that I find works good on me. Though for my next belly dance bra I will probably take the measurements from a regular bra that I’m comfortable with instead and maybe make it a bit wider on the sides. It depends on what design you’re going to use.


The mat was easy to part through the middle as well! This mat is about 2 cm thick, and I couldn’t have that on my boobs ^^ so I used a bread-knife for cutting. Worked very well because of the thin and serrated blade! But for next time I definitely will carve it down even thinner. I went with only  a bit under half of the mat (ca 8 cm) I could’ve gone down to 5mm, and that’s because of the padding you will have to use if you have size A (european measure) like me.


Like this! 


Some darting will be needed for the shaping of the cup!



Superglue is you best friend when it comes to this!


I angled the edges for a better fit.



And there you go!


To soften the shape even more i glued on some wadding.


And then you can use a regular glue gun when you cover the cups with fabric for your desire.


For the straps I chose a fabric with no stretch. I found some waste of compact wool cloth that I covered with the black fabric I used for the cups.



Further on I had to figure out witch way was the best to make the ruffles for the skirt. I made three tests. This one is a long strip of organza cut on the bias. Then I’ve used black fishing line for the edges. Simply fold the edge around the fishing line and zig zag over it.



Next one I also cut on the bias but fishing line only on one side.



Then it became more obvious what I must do! First make a pattern that looks like this and cut out in your desired fabric.


Then attach fishing line to the outer edge. Don’t forget to zig zag the other edge to, only without the fishing line. If you want to you can stretch that edge a bit when you zig zag it to make it a bit more straight so the fishing line can make that nice curl around it easier.


This took awhile…


I wanted to be able to remove the ruffles for only using the skirt occasionally  so I cut out a 1 dm wide organza strip witch I attached with several small ribbons to the wrong side of the skirt. (I would recommend using hooks and eyes instead, cause there will be some stress on the ribbons)


Then I pinned the ruffles with some overlapping to the strip…


…and then made a quick seam over it!






The ruffles will hang out almost at once so remember to make them approx 20 cm shorter from the start. (If you’re unsure I suggest you make a test and pull it to see how much it will hang out)








The base is done, now on to the fun part! The bolero is made in mesh with hotfix rhinestones that I’ve attached myself.



If you really want to be sure your decorations stay put, you should really sew them on. I use “invisible” nylon thread.


You can use “Gem-tack” to, but it doesn’t work with certain plastics that can be on the backside of cheaper acrylic gems.


If you really want to use rhinestone chains or other gems witch have these little metallic spikes holding the gem in place, I recommend not using to much veils and other props witch can easily get stuck. In the end I actually didn’t use the bolero because of the mesh fabric got stuck in the bra the whole time.










Only your imagination…




I bought a big brooch on eBay for putting between the cups!







The black ornaments with rhinestones witch are attached to the shoulder straps is easily done with a narrow tube of fabric were you use quite a lot of seam allowance. Turn the tube inside out so the seam allowance become the “stuffing” for the tube. Then try to slide a piece of wire into it, then you can shape it as you like! I embellished mine with some hotfix rhinestones.





Here’s a better pic of the spirals..


And that’s that! It was extremely fun to preform, the audience was awesome! Hopefully it soon will appear some pictures here with me in the finished costume.

Peace out!