I am constantly on the lookout for costume ideas so I pick up pieces and bits at yard sales and thrift stores in hopes that I can use them one day.
This Corpse Bride costume started with the wig which I found at a yard sale for $1, and a boy's skeleton costume that I found for 50 cents at another yard sale. I decided Corpse Bride was my next costume re-adventure. I was lucky enough to have a friend who had an old 1980's wedding dress lying around that she had picked up at a thrift store, she was nice enough to just give to me. It fit me like it was made for me, so it must have been fate.
I used some puff paints that I had lying around in blues and silver and bought some cheap spray paint: blue, light blue and black. I also purchased $3 worth of sheer material off the dollar rack, and 2 bouquets of blue flowers at the dollar store.
The dress had a high lace neckline and a choker collar, and it had long puffy sleeves. I removed the lace and the choker so it had a low cut heart-shaped neckline, and cut the sleeves at the shoulder. The movie dress was sleeveless but I knew I would be wearing this to work so I had to keep a bit of modesty, so I kept the top of the sleeves. I could have cute the sleeves off completely for more accuracy. I re-purposed both sleeves into the tattered half-sleeved gloves and added some lace applique pieces I had lying around to make them pointed. I cut every edge, including the sleeve edges with scissors to form the ragged edges, and cut a few holes here and there in the train. I burned some of the edges with a lighter to add more age and texture.
The real transformation was from the cheap spray paint which I layered lightly switching colors each time, spraying the edges darker and blending into the interior of the dress. I sprayed all the edges: hem, train, sleeves, and around the waist. I followed that with some swirls with the puff paint.
It isn't visible in the picture, but I cut out a triangular portion of the rib-cage of the dress and replaced it with the ribcage section cut from the boy's skeleton costume. This is much more effective than trying to add plastic or stuffed bones, it looked completely real at night because I was able to line the ribs up perfectly with where they should be, and the black of the skeleton costume looked like it had depth in the dark.
I made one of the flower stems into a bouquet by wraping it in tattered fabric leftovers and accenting the flowers with some black spray paint. I made the crown/veil using a metal clothes hanger, shaped into a circle, and attached the flowers from the other stem using craft wire. I sprayed some black onto that so it matched the bouquet. The veil is the cheap sheer fabric that cut with scissors again to form the ratty edges and spray painted to match. it is attached with just safety pins to the crown.
I sewed a total of maybe 8 minutes just to make the gloves pointed and to add the skeleton ribs to the dress. Otherwise, this is actually a hand-UN-made costume - most of the work was in destroying the dress!