Updated: Oct 2, 2022
So you've finally taken the plunge and signed up for that volunteer position, or perhaps your next big venture is a themed party or event? All you know is that you need a costume stat and upon checking your bank account, moths exit with a pouf of dust.
Relatable, my loves. But guess what, you can absolutely do this!
Pulling off an affordable ensemble can be as easy as checking the pantry or even digging through the recycling bin. Even then, the necessities are rarely bank-breaking if you know where to begin, so let me start with a few go-to's to consider:
Time versus money
It's an honest question, right? How much is my time worth versus just buying something pre-made that might be worth the cost? If you are in a time crunch, it may be worth it to buy or find pre-made items for your costume.
An example: Say you need to have a cylindrical hat for your costume. You could either use an old coffee can or you can choose to create one from cutting something with a bit of stability such as foam board or starched felt. If you already have an empty can, you've saved on time going to the store, buying and then constructing one from raw materials.
What are your strengths? This is the chance to use ALL your skills and strengths and maybe try a few new ones!
If you are an amazing painter but can't sew worth a darn, it may be worth finding clothing that will work or can be very easily altered at a local thrift or consignment shop. Then you can use your painting skills to dye/paint or utilize those strengths for your accessories to showcase those mad skills!
Think in abstracts
If you have a general idea of what you are looking for, but sometimes what you are looking for just cannot be found or has a high price tag attached to it. What do you do?
Look at the shapes.. The colors... The style and aesthetics versus the literal elements of your concept of the costume. Instead of saying man, I need to try and find a bonnet! Perhaps you can cut up starched fabric to construct your own using an online DIY site? I highly recommend video DIY because you can watch and pause and re-watch every single step as you go along.
If you find a dress that LOOKS perfect, but isn't the right color, ask yourself, can you dye it? Can you paint it somehow? Is there a way to meet the stylistic needs of your costume concept enough to reflect that? There is always a way!
Accept that your idealized goal may not, and is rarely, the outcome reality, and that's okay! Sometimes I will think of the perfect plan for an ensemble, and by the end of it I'll look down and have an entirely different product. I know this seems frustrating at first, but it's actually kind of a secret part of why DIY is so magical... Think about all the problem-solving, all the new skills and tricks you may have tried to get from point A to point B. Think about those skills and how you can use them in your next project! Sounds pretty thrilling, right?
I hope these considerations are a good nudge towards your inevitable success! If you have any go-to DIY sites, please share your favorite ones below or if you're so inclined, feel free to sign up to be notified about my next blog... Costuming part II.
You got this!