Luxurious Burlesque Female Ringmaster Costume
I have been making my own costumes since the age of twelve. Some have them have been cute, some have been not so complicated, some of them had been really good, but halloween 2013 was a special year. I have always loved the circus, loved the lights, the glamor, and the excitement. I knew for a year that I wanted to be a ringmaster and wanted a really glitzy costume! I at first thought I wanted to make the jacket with the tails, then I ran across a gorgeous example of a burlesque skirt, which gave me the idea to have a ruffled lace bustle instead of the tails. I looked through alot of patterns and tutorials for the bustle and decided to make a wrap around satin red skirt with black lace. Pinterest is a wonderful place to get ideas to adjust to fit what you need. One pin gave measurements which were roughly one rectangle for the underskirt and 3 more to gather to make the bustle. Each bustle rectangle a little longer. I measured my waist and doubled the length for the underskirt, then did half the length of my waist plus a few inches, then five less for the next ruffle, then five less once again for the smallest. Each of the rectangle ruffles i cut in a curve on one end.The waistband was made in the length to roughly fit my waist and simply was a rectangle folded over and sewn. I gathered each ruffle by sewing a long stitch on my machine and pulling one of the strings. I simply laid all the layers one on top of the other, folded the waistband over and stitched them all together at once. Let me tell you, I have never broken so many needles! Well, you live and you learn. I used a simple double metal belt buckle and gold glitter ribbon to make an adjustable waistband for the wrapskirt. The bottom of each ruffle and the underskirt were simply hemmed under with lace sewn directly on the hem. This was the most difficult and complicated part of the costume, so glad that was done! For the vest, I went to goodwill and found a form fitting plain black vest. I made the shoulder pieces out of a cereal box, silly I know but it was a thin cardboard to give it just enough stiffness to stay flat on my shoulders, I cut a 3″ by 4″ rectangle that I cut into a half circle on one end. I used scrap red satin from the skirt and hot glue to cover the cardboard. I of course wanted to make it more glitzy so I added some of the gold sparkle ribbon and edged it with hand sewing a gold fringe to hang down over my shoulders. Next I simply cut the vest at both top shoulder seams and attatched each of the new shoulder pieces by sewing on each side of the cut vest. I think a ringleader has a certain military essence so I added lots of gold buttons and hot glued gold rope into a military like pattern on the front. Now I of course needed a mini top hat. I simply used a sheet of black thin foam which I glued some fancy black felt to, before I cut it. I cut a small circle (about 3″), a big circle (about 5″) and a rectangle long enough to go the diameter of the small circle. I hot glued all 3 pieces together, then stiched along the top seam of the felt on the crown of the hat. I attached a clip with a small piece of felt underneath then added feathers and ribbon, so adorable!! Now with my main pieces made, I needed accessories. I bought a pair of fingerless gloves and added gold buttons, bought a shiny red tank, a black corset, some thigh high striped tights and black knee high boots. I still felt as though I was missing something. I work at a casino so I couldn’t bring a whip, so I thought ah ha! A megaphone!! I of course wanted to make it myself. I bought some plastic grid that is on the aisle with the yarn. I formed it into a cone shape, tied thread in certain places to hold the shape the used glue on the seams, I made a handle the same way, once the basic shape was made and glued, I hot glued red and white sparkly stripes, remember the glam!, I chose red and white stripes because it reminded me of a circus tent. I edged it in the same gold rope I used on my vest. My costume was complete! Finally after two months of work! I had big hair and sparkly glam makeup of course. I had been talking about it with the girls at work for a while, and they couldn’t wait to see it. At the last minute I added a feather boa to the front hem to make it even more burlesque. My customers and my coworkers alike gave me rave reviews! It was a hit, I have had many requests to help others with their costumes. It gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling to receive compliments on something that I genuinely love doing! I will continue to make my own costume year after year and I always attempt to top what I did before. This year I did top it with my “big top” idea and lots of hard work. Im already planning next years, I have visions of shells and sparkles, starfish and a tail, see you next year!