Poison Ivy Costume Update

Tomorrow is Hallowe’en!

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I don’t have any pockets in my costume so I can’t promise I’ll be able to take many pictures but I’m sure that Chel will come up with a few and post them to her blog after the big night.

Here’s the finished get-up:

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I’ve got ivy crawling up my boots, which cover my gorgeously warm fleece tights;

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I have these wee gloves on my arms, which will do nothing to keep me warm, but will look cool next to the vine tattoos I’ll be adding;

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And my corset, to which I added elastic panels so I could breathe;

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And my hella gorgeous opera cloak, which my mother altered so the sleeves could be removed.

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The final product (minus makeup and tattoos – and sorry the pictures are terrible: I used a timer and the light is bad). I’m very pleased! Also I kind of feel like if my outfit were more purple I could do a pretty convincing Ursula …

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Work in Progress: Poison Ivy Hallowe’en Costume

It’s getting to be that time of year, folks. And the annoying thing about posting seasonal stuff on a blog where you don’t necessarily plan too far ahead is that things like Hallowe’en costumes can’t be posted until *after* Hallowe’en, which is a little lame. But at least they can be inspiration for next year.

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This year, the Pie and I are heading out on vacation and we won’t be home for Hallowe’en. The Pie has a tournament in Toronto that weekend so I’m teaming up with Chel and her friends and we’re doing a group costume: Batman, Robin, and assorted villains. I am unreasonably excited to go as Poison Ivy and join the group. This costume has taken a considerable amount of planning, so it may even top Wolverine as one of my best costumes to date.

I’ll show you what I have come up with so far and hopefully it’ll inspire you as well.

One of the issues with female comic book characters, especially those written by DC, is that they tend to come scantily clad. And I don’t want to show that much skin. There will be children in our group. And sometimes it snows on Hallowe’en in Canada. And nobody likes being naked in the snow. So part of the challenge was to take the traditional PI getup and make it a bit more … modest. Because holy Hanna that is just not my style.

I started off with the basic corset, in green, and I found one on Amazon that also had a wee skirt that came with it (the skirt is MUCH shorter than advertised but oh well).

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After strapping myself into it in a rather undignified manner I realized that the flimsy, slippery ribbons that made up the laces were all that was holding the whole thing together. And I have quite a bit that needs holding in. I could see one of them snapping under the pressure and having a disaster on my hands.

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So I replaced the laces, front and back, with a sturdier material: parachute cord.  Not only was I now more confident that the corset bindings wouldn’t spontaneously explode, but it was actually easier to lace up because there was more friction with the cord.

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Now I could lace it up good and tight and it wasn’t going anywhere. Problem was, this thing is made for people with smaller … assets than I have, and there was some danger of a spill (and there will be children present), so I had to wear a bra underneath to keep everything where it should be. And the bra peeked over the top of the corset. Not good.

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I had to therefore disguise the bra as best I could (because there was no hiding it and I was sure as shooting not going without). Fortunately for me the local Fabricland is about five minutes from our house, so I popped in and found exactly what I needed.

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I basted some trim and sequins onto the bra wherever it was exposed. I also put some more trim at the bottom so that it would blend in with the similar trim at the top of the corset. The sequins might be overkill but I love them.

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Right. I’m not hanging out anywhere now. This is good. But I’m so tightly strapped into this thing that I’m having trouble breathing. It’s not like I can simply loosen the laces – the whole thing will fall off. And it has no give whatsoever. I needed a bit of a release valve built into this to save my lungs. I bought some 6″ wide elastic from Fabricland as well, and I will cut out two of the back panels and replace it with four pieces of sewn-together elastic. This way the corset can still be as tight as it needs to be but my ribcage can also expand and contract as needed. But I had to go out of town twice for work (I’m in Indiana as I write this and as you read this) so it’ll have to wait until I get back.

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Then, there was the issue of hair. PI’s hair is red and long. Mine is short and brown. Normally I dress as a dude for Hallowe’en simply because having short hair makes it easy to do. This year I had to go to extremes. I picked up this wig for super cheap (thanks Amazon), and after an interminable wait it arrived.

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It’s been about ten years since I’ve had hair this long, or this red.

But how am I going to stay warm, you ask? Well I found a pair of green fleece tights and a pair of fingerless green elbow gloves and those are going to be very handy.

And then there’s this. This is an opera cloak hand-sewn by my great grandmother about 100 or so years ago. I used to play dress-up with it all the time and amazingly it’s still in beautiful shape. It hasn’t fit me across the shoulders and chest since I was about nine years old, however (my great-grandmother being one of those tiny elfin type ladies). After some consultation with my mother we decided to remove the sleeves to give me some more room to move around. She’s working on it as we speak.

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I have some other grand plans including temporary tattoos, fake vines, and lots and lots of glitter. I’ll keep you posted about how they turn out!

Rubber Grips (or, my husband is a genius)

Have I mentioned to you recently that my husband is a genius?

Well he is.  I swear.

When I came to visit him in St. John’s I discovered that a good many of our condiments and jars had rubber bands twisted around their lids.

You know, the nice thick elastics that you get from broccoli and other greens at the grocery store.  The same ones they use to keep lobsters from trying to kill you.  We keep them because they’re handy for stuff.

The reason the Pie puts the rubber bands on the condiments is to make the lids grippier so that they’re easier to remove.

How genius is that?

Simple Sewing Machine Cover

I used my sewing machine for the first time in a long while the other day.  It was so dusty that I had to clean it or use a lint-brush removing the dust from that which I was sewing. It took me forever, too, getting into all the little nooks and crannies and whatnot.  What a pain.

I remembered seeing something from Martha Stewart about this a while back.  Use a tea towel to make an easy cover for your sewing machine.

This particular tea towel was a gift from Hen in Sweden.  It makes me feel cheerful to see smiling vegetables.

Measure your towel on the machine first, to see that it will fit.

Cut four equal-length pieces of elastic.  You could use ribbons or twine as well and tie a bow if you wanted. 

Tuck under the end of the elastic (or ribbon) and pin it to the hem of the towel.  I pinned one at the bottom and one about a quarter of the way up the towel.  I did the same to the other side.

Sew the elastics to the hems.  You can of course use your machine for this but I did it by hand.

Fold the towel in half so that the bottom and top hems line up.  Tuck under the loose ends of the elastics and sew them to the opposite side of the folded towel.  Tada!  A cover in five minutes.