Friday, August 17, 2012

This Years Costume (Cleopatra)

This iconic costume is what I have set my mind on...but lacking the time and money lavished on the original, I have to make due with simple materials and my limited skills.
Here was the beginning of my project...with a hoard of purchased materials and a rough idea of how I was going to assemble everything. At the very beginning, I customized a styrofoam head to have the same cranium size as myself. Then I crocheted a black cap and added things to it.

I had first intended to do goldwork with French Wire on the front, but after searching all over town for it, I found only one store that sells French Wire and it's damn expensive! So I crocheted little arcs out of gold metallic yarn and sewed them in place. I added some leaf shaped glass beads also.
I am lucky enough to know of a great leather supply place downtown where I purchased some gold leather. I made the three rows of "feathers" out of it. I also used real Lapis Lazuli beads with little rectangles of the gold leather to save time instead of beading with gold coloured bugle beads like it seems to have been done on the original.
After some miserable failures with papier maché, I decided the best way to make the cobras for the crown would be to make one, make a mould and cast the rest. I used two great products; JOVI air drying clay and Siligum Silicon moulding compound. Sorry I don't have photos of the progress, but above are the results.

I attached them to a ring of wire using a papier maché paste and allowed them to dry. By this time I had also begun the most time consuming task of making the gold bugle bead "feathers". They're driving me crazy! I haven't finished the second row yet, but I'm working on them.
You can't see them very well, but I had made my vulture head and cobra head out of papier maché then spray painted them gold. They will be attached to the front of the headdress.

Here is the finished cobra crown.....far from perfect, but with Hallowe'en fast approaching, I'm going to have to settle for less. I've just begun the process of carving the big "sun-disk-Isis-feather" out of balsa wood that will fit onto the top, but no photos yet.

As for the feather cape....this thing has driven me crazy right from the start. First of all, I looked at gorgeous fabrics that could have done the job, but they were selling from $98/yard and up. I figured with the right width of gold metallic yarn I could crochet one. I began this in December. At first I did a mesh stitch that just ended up looking like a sparkly fishing net, then I did a bit more research online and discovered the wonderful "Crocodile Stitch". I fell in love with it! I unravelled the entire thing I had already crocheted and began again....that's right. Began again. By this time it was around April or May. This is what I now have, but the bad news is the "wings" could be longer and the place where I've been buying this yarn has run out of this colour, so I'm embellishing the edges with fluffy gold yarn and hoping that will add the better length.
Here is a closer shot of the Crocodile Stitch. It uses quite a bit of yarn, but it looks really interesting. Not really like feathers, more like scales, but I like it. I also have a hoard of gorgeous gold sparkly fabric waiting to be sewn into the dress, but that should take the least amount of time.

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