Monday, 1 October 2012


Readers of my blog earlier in the year may remember that I make costumes for a local vocal school in Cardiff - Louise Ryan Vocal School as I did a series of blogs on Making the Costumes for Seussical the Musical. 

Seussical was zany and bright, with lots of characters from Jungle Animals to the Whos who lived in Whoville. And of course, The Cat in The Hat. 

I loved making these costumes -  especially the challenge of creating different costumes for all the different characters. Lycra is amazing - it comes in loads of bright colors, doesn't need hemming and stretches to fit! 

Well, next year's show will have not one, but three musicals - The Sound of Music, Les Miserables and We Will Rock You - with nearly all the 65 kids and young people in the cast needing costumes for all of these - I'd better get started then! A slightly different challenge this time - there will be less individual costumes as there are lots of nuns, soldiers, workers, poor, Ga-Ga kids, yuppies - who will need to have similar or identical costumes.  The colours will need to be more subdued than Seussical, but I still have to make each group stand out. 

I've been scouring the internet for inspiration - and discovered the wonderful Pinterest. Brilliant for keeping all my ideas together- I've set up a Costume Making Board where I have pinned images from the official shows and local productions, design ideas and links to web sites or shops where I may be able to buy clothes that can be adapted into costumes.   

One area where I can add a bit of colour is for the Lovely Ladies in Les Miserables - the prostitutes or ladies of the night that persuade Fantine to join them.  I am really keen on authenticity, but I wasn't sure if I wanted these ladies to be bright and gaudy in satin and lace like the original West End show, or whether I wanted them to look more like 19th century french whores by using pale chemises and bloomers. 

I thought I'd have a go at gaudy by designing a Les Miserables costume that would double up as an entry for a design challenge I am doing.   I'm a member of the Monthly Craft Challenge Design Team over on Creative ConnectionsThe Design Team works to promote the challenge through networking, blogging and of course through sharing their own design ideas on the theme.   

Why not pop over and take a look - the Monthly Craft Challenge is easy to join and we would love to see your entries - any craft / any media - whether it is metalwork or macrame, card making or crochet, felting or filo modelling - we want to see it all. 

October's challenge is Halloween, so for my entry, I designed a red and black "Lovely Ladies" costume that I think is just perfect as a Gothic Halloween outfit for a teenage girl.

As I am going to be doing lots of costumes, I recycle and upcycle where I can, rather than creating everything from scratch. I picked up a red satin corset and black gypsy skirt on Ebay - used but in great condition. I made a soft muslin blouse/sleeve and used lots of black and red lace. The skirt is hitched up to show some leg - essential for those Lovely Ladies. Just need to add some fishnets and button boots and a feathered hat!

I do like this look, and I think it will inject a vivid touch to the show against the drab costumes of the workers and poor. I'm going to use some other rich jewel colours such as turquoise, orange and purple, but I think I'll mix up the colours in the skirts and tops so they are less "matched" for the show. I am considering making them a little more tattered too, although I am thinking they could be re-used as burlesque or gypsy costumes for other shows if I don't tatter them too much.  

In the meantime, my daughter has her eye on this combination for a Halloween party! 


  1. Popping by from Fabridashery to wish you luck with CRAFTfest this week.

  2. Thank you Fabidashery - welcome to craftfest too. Great to find new supplier - love your shop