I currently live in Milwaukee, which is the home of the Miller Brewing. Company.  I was on a brewery tour with my family when my dad told me the story of my grandmother and her bowling team.  He said that in the 50’s, she was on a team called the Miller High Life Girls. Her entire bowling team had made the miller high life girl costume and wore it each week when they played.  I loved the vintage look of the costume and the idea of paying homage to my late grandmother, which inspired me to create this costume.

This is a 3-piece costume, which consists of a dress, a coat, and a hat.  I did not have a pattern for the costume. So I used the Google image of the High Life Girl to design my costume and select materials.

Constructing the Miller High Life Girl Costume

The first thing that I constructed was the dress. This was done by sewing together 2 different red dresses that I found on clearance. The skirt of the dress needed to be large. So I sewed together the skirts of the dresses to give the most volume that I could while blending the pieces to make it look like a cohesive dress.  The black and white bodice of the final dress was actually the inside lining of one of the red dresses. This I removed and used to replace the front.

The Coat

With regard to the coat, this was a 3rd red dress.  I actually opened the back seam of the dress, which became the front of my coat.  I hemmed the coat to fall about 1 inch above the last stripe on the dress. Then I used the extra fabric from the bottom of this dress to create sleeves for the coat.

Adding Details

Once the dress and coat were constructed, I spent the majority of the time adding the detail to both of these items.  I purchased yellow fabric. Then I sewed it into 1-1/2 inch strips which I used to create the stripes on the skirt of the dress as well as to line all of the edges of the coat.  I also used this same yellow fabric to add the 1 inch trim to the hat. This I sewed by hand.  Next, I added the gold buttons to the coat and the elastic to close around them.  I then added a gold ornaments over the elastic to make the coat look more polished.  The last thing I added was the gold braided rope that went around the bottom of the coat and sleeves.

Making the Moon

I wanted to make sure that my Miller High Life Girl costume was recognizable, so I decided to create a plush moon as a prop to go along with my costume.  To construct the moon, I purchased yellow fleece which I sewed into a half moon and stuffed with polyester filling.  I intentionally over-emphasized the roundness of the half moon out of concern that people might think I was holding a banana. Carting the moon around was fun because people liked posing with it and some started using it as an over-sized neck pillow.