We were invited to a 50th birthday party recently. The theme was “dress in what we thought we’d be wearing today back in the 1960’s” AKA Retro Modernism. Now, this was a theme I could really get into. And I had to come up with outfits for both myself and my hubby. I started out gathering ideas on my Pinterest Dress-up box board.
My outfit started with a $50 silver wetsuit dress which I found at the Red Cross (thrift shop) store. The old lady at the counter was rather worried about my dress sense, but seemed to relax somewhat when I told her it was for fancy dress. It was way more than I’d normally spend, but the dress was just so perfect and I had to have it. I added a silver cage skirt, silver boot covers and a ray gun.
My hubby’s outfit consisted of some upcycled skiing skins, a quilted silver breast plate, $3 belt from the thrift store, a wig and bobbly things for his head.
Sorry about the crap images – light was low and smart phones were the only camera option. Read on if you want to know how I made them. Basic sewing knowledge is assumed.
So, first up we have the cage skirt. I’ve put a closeup so that you can see how I constructed it.
For cage I used 3/4 wide inch elastic for the waist, 1 inch wide ribbon for the verticals, 1 3/4 inch ribbon for the hoops, 1/2 inch cheap fashion boning, glue gun and silver spray paint. I found that the cheap boning doesn’t hold it’s shape if the circle gets too big, so I kept my largest hoop to a diameter of 22 inches.
I started with sewing the elastic to fit my waist. Then folded the wide ribbons in half and sewed along both sides to make channels for the boning. I then fed the boning into the channels and used a glue gun to secure the ends. Next step is to attach the vertical ribbons to the elastic and three layers of hoops. It’s really important to measure the gaps carefully so that the cage won’t end up wonky. I then sprayed the whole thing silver. Only problem with the spraying is that it took the pliability away from the ribbon – resulting in the ribbon not relaxing into shape. Next time, I’d take a bit of extra time to find the right ribbon colour to start with – or perhaps compromise on ribbon colour. But even with the added stiffness of spray paint, I was still quite pleased with it.
The boots (pictured above) were made with cheap stretchy silver fabric. To make a rough pattern, I wrapped my boots in cling wrap and then in duct tape. I then sliced the duct tape off the boots and flattened it onto the fabric
The resulting pattern was a bit too wide, but it was close enough to work with. I just kept reducing the width of the boot cover till I got it right. I used Sticky Dots to secure the top of the fabric to my boots. They give a good grip, but are removable.
My ray gun was really simple. It’s just a $6 water pistol from a toy store. The original gun was grey, pink, orange and green. I like the grey and the green, but the pink and orange had to go. I solved the problem by covering colours I liked in masking tape and plastic wrap and spray painting the rest black. It took a few layers of paint, but worked out pretty well. The sticker on the back is a bit of clip art which I printed onto sticker paper. The front end is an egg beater which was inserted and stuck in place with a glue gun.
OK, onto hubby’s outfit now.
His breast plate is made from cheap woven silver fabric which is very shiny and frays easily. It’s constructed using a solid front and two back pieces with a hole cut for the neck. Each piece is fabric top and bottom with cheap poly batting in the middle. I used a heap of pins to hold my fabric and batting sandwiches together and then quilted it all down. I guess the quilting was overkill, but I do love quilting and so quite enjoyed it. I then joined the pieces at the shoulders (with about a 25 degree slope so that it would sit well) and finished the neck hole. Just for a bit more overkill, I bound the edges with strips of fabric cut on the bias. The back of the neck should have velcro or a button or something to hold it together – but I got lazy and used double sided tape for the night.
You can’t see his pants in the photo, but they are a pair of vintage skiing skins with flared bottoms. These pants went out of fashion over 15 years ago but he would’t part with them. Until now. Bwhaha. I cut wide strips of bias from the woven silver fabric, sewed them into long cylinders, flattened them with the seam hidden on the back and sewed them onto the hem. Easy peasy.
Phew! I think that’s it. A lot of sewing for one night out – but it was a great catch up and we had so much fun.