The inspiration for my costume came from my love of vibrant colors and beautiful detail. What better costume to capture than a peacock? I had this crazy idea to convert my wedding dress into a costume and that’s where it all began. My goal, when creating this costume, was to have something that could hold up and withstand dancing, turns and spins as I knew I would be joining my dance group for Halloween to do some two-stepping, polkas, waltzes, line dancing and fast dancing. Because of that, I was limited to something that didn’t obstruct my ability to spin and turn, so no elaborate feathers sticking up in the back or on top of my head.
I started with my 25 year old wedding dress. It was a dated, white, tea-length dress with three rows of polyester ruffles and puffy short sleeves. The first thing that I did was dye it blue. The lace bodice part of the dress took the dye very well, but the polyester ruffles only turned a faint pastel blue. Since there was no way of getting them to the vibrant blue that I had anticipated, I had to move on to plan B, cut the skirt off and add my own. I cut the skirt off, leaving just a few inches hanging from the bodice. Using a rich, black satin fabric remnant I created the skirt and just sewed it over the existing skirt and onto the bodice on the front, the sides and part of the back. Stretchy black material was used to put in the back to connect the satin material to provide some give in the tight skirt.
I cut off the puffy sleeves leaving the elastic that connected the front to the back and covered it and the sleeve holes with black satin ribbon making spaghetti straps.
Since I knew I couldn’t drive with the type of back I was going to create, I needed to make the back part detachable. I again found some satin fabric remnant (royal blue) and measured from the waist to just above the floor, because I didn’t want it to drag when dancing and the width was about twice as wide as my back side. I added a hem all around the back piece. It was also important that it would mount securely on the dress, because I knew it would be heavy and didn’t want it to fall off. I tried multiple types of hook and eye clasps, but the best thing that worked was small pieces of elastic sewn into the fabric as button holes that hung on coat buttons that were mounted on the back of the dress. There were about four buttons on each side.
The detachable skirt was made using 5/8” ribbon, 6” glitter tulle rolls, 6” organza rolls, metallic eyelash yarn, feather boas and peacock feathers. The colors were neon green, turquoise, royal blue, purple and black. I sewed strips of ribbon lengthwise on the back in the various colors, reinforcing the center of each and spacing them out from top to bottom. I tied tulle, organza, ribbon and yarn to the sewn on ribbons. I cut up the boas and added them in between with safety pins and then randomly sewed five peacock feathers throughout. I put clear finger nail polish on the cut ends of the boas to prevent them from fraying. Once complete, I folded in the excess fabric to cover up the stitches and safety pins and pinned it in place with a few safety pins.
The piece above the skirt was made with a half round piece of black felt, five peacock feathers and loose black feathers. I put the elastic button holes on it for mounting to the back of the dress too and put two more buttons on the dress to hold it. The peacock feathers were evenly spaced out and sewn on, then covered with a strip of black felt. I then hot glued the black feathers on top to hide the stitches.
The finishing touch was the bow to cover up all the buttons. It was made from purple satin remnant fabric and had the same elastic button holes on it and was also detachable.
The costume was finished up with feathers sewn to the front of the dress and colorful ribbons tied to the back of the spaghetti straps. I also added chiffon black fabric on the sides of the arms. I found a necklace with dark blue stones, tied on a purple ribbon and clipped on a black feather accent. I put two feather clips in my hair that were turquoise and purple and didn’t matter if they got bumped when dancing and then added some large earrings and sparkly fishnet type hose. I got to wear the costume to three events. When I wore it for dancing I wore my black cowboy boots, but when I wore it to the office and another party, I just wore some black dress shoes with it.
The reactions that I got were incredible. Words like ‘creative’, ‘great job’, ‘amazing’, ‘gorgeous’, ‘awesome’, ‘way cool’ and ‘great imagination’. And lots of people took pictures of the back. The costume got honorable mention in the contest at work. It was beat out by an employee that was retiring and another employee that dressed as the retiree. It held up to three events and lots of dancing even though I left trails of glitter and feathers everywhere.
This project provided a great sense of accomplishment for me. I am recently divorced and while I was married I had given up some of the things that I love like dancing, sewing and being creative. This project brought those things back together for me and enabled me to once again enjoy those things. I hope you like this creation as much as did.