I’ve always wanted to do a clownfish-in-an-anemone costume. And I found both halves of the costume at the same party – just not worn by the same person.
The anemone costume works quite well. I would worry about the balloons popping, but it seemed to hold up okay. The biggest challenge for me would be making sure that I could do basic party activities in the costume – mostly sitting down, eating, and using the restroom. But the effect is really good. I’m not as excited about the Nemo half of the duo, however.
This fish bonnet thing is fantastic. It’s made of soft foam rubber – which is how it holds its shape so well – and then is covered with shimmery fabric. I think it looks adorable, and love that the fish’s face is the wearer’s face. The woman who made it commented that when she wore it, she couldn’t hear. So I’d want to cut out ear holes of some sort. I’m also sure that I’d be whacking people in the face with it if I wasn’t careful.
But if you wore BOTH the anemone outfit and a clownfish-bonnet, you’d have the clownfish-in-an-anemone costume down pat. If it worked.
There were a few people dressed as jelly fish. They all had some sort of wide top – a wide-brimmed hat, or in one case a clear bubble-style umbrella, with pink streamers of tentacles hanging from the edge. Some people had lights on the top, also, which was very good. I like that this costume doesn’t really require anything other than a single prop – an umbrella or a hat – and yet is still very effective.
In the same vein, there was a guy dressed (and I use the term loosely) as a lantern-fish. My photo of him didn’t come out, but he was just wearing jeans and a grey t-shirt, but he was carrying a stick with a black dangly appendage from the top, with a glowing ball at the very end. Because the wand / stick looked SO much like a lantern-fish’s lantern, the entire costume was clearly a lantern fish. Very clever.
Once we had the main pirate garments and hat in place, we started adding different details to the costume to see what worked. The gold earring and eye patch were obvious, but the weapons load out took a little bit of strategizing.
First, I looped two long leather belts together to make an across-the-body holster. A cutlass was just slipped through a loop where the two belts met at the hip. My boyfriend really wanted to strap some pistols to the front of the belt, but I was skeptical until I actually saw the result. They are just held on with black elastic hair bands, but they really add to the overall look of the costume. That pirate looks locked and loaded and ready for action!
Also, he found a heavy leather belt with a big brass buckle in front. The rivets and tooling on the belt, and the brass, add to the pirate look. Overall, I was very pleased with the final effect of the complete pirate costume.
Now that I had the jacket and shirt, I needed a pirate hat. I have an old, foam tricorn hat, but wanted something a little sturdier, and nicer looking for my pirate costume. I googled around and found a tutorial that suggested buying a large women’s straw hat, covering it with fabric, and stitching the three sides up against the crown. I won’t go into great detail, but the overview is that I used spray-on adhesive to glue donut-shaped fabric pieces to the top and bottom of the brim. I then covered the top of the cap with fabric – also using adhesive – and wrapped the sides of the cap part with a wide strip of fabric. Almost like a very wide hat band.
I left a few inches all around the brim on both the top and bottom pieces. I should have just trimmed the fabric to exactly the size of the brim and painted or colored the exposed straw edge. Instead, I cut down the top piece of fabric to the brim size, and then folded over the fabric and secured it with hot glue. It looks great from the bottom, but the top is a mess. Fortunately, not much of it shows once the hat now that the three corners are stitched up – but I wish I had ended up with a cleaner looking job.
The trim is just hot glued on in a single, wide strip, after the sides are sew up and tacked to the cap part. I was looking for gold trim, but the burgundy works just as well, I think.
I had been looking for a pirate jacket for a long time. I wanted something in brown or black, with a fitted top, but something that opened up at the waist. So when I found this long coat, in a neutral brown canvas, I was thrilled.
I thought that I would have to put brocade or trim or buttons on it to make it pirate-y, but it turned out (after a lot of trial and error) that as long as the other pieces were in place, it needed nothing. And because I didn’t touch the jacket, it can serve in the future as a steam-punk coat, or a cowboy duster.
In face, I was really surprised at how quickly it went from being a pirate jacket (when worn with a tricorn hat) to a cowboy duster (when worn with a cowboy hat.) In this case, the pirate accessories and details really do make the pirate costume. The black pants turned out to be a critical piece. With jeans, the jacket leans toward looking cowboy.
But another other thing that pushed the outfit solidly into pirate territory was the flouncy cuffs. As with everything else, I first mocked up the sleeves by just stuffing some white fabric into the cuffs to see how lace or ruffled sleeves would look. And it was immediately clear that they would greatly improve the look.
I went looking for a white gauzy shirt that I could add sleeve ruffles onto. I was specifically looking for a white shirt with no collar, and ended up accidentally choosing a women’s blouse with a tuxedo-like front. It turned out that the front pleats also added subtly to the pirate look. All I did was gather some white fabric and stitch it on the ends of the sleeves. The overall look of the sleeves didn’t matter, since only the ruffles would show.
So here is the complete costume. I’ve got pages on the tail, the top, and the crown and make-up, if you’re interested in how the outfit came together. And I also made the costume for my date – the pirate.
At the same party, there were a few other aquatic-themed costumes that I took pictures of because I thought I might want to try them later. If/when I do put those costumes together, I’ll be sure to put the results on here.
A friend had a white and blue chunky necklace that she loaned me. All I did was attach a loop of wire to a shell, and hang it off the middle of the necklace. I could have done the same thing with a strand of pearls. And since I didn’t glue the shell on, it easily came off so that the necklace could be returned to it’s normal, usable self.
I wasn’t going to do any face make-up, but they had a make-up booth at the party and I let them put some color on me. They tried to make it scaly by using a mesh as a template, but it failed. The make –up was just green eye shadow, brushed on over a thin layer of make-up base to help it stick.
My favorite part, though, is that they used false eyelash glue to make three small dots below my eye, and then gently brushed on a little glitter. Those three dots came out so perfectly that I would definitely do them again. And they stuck so well that I needed to use make up remover several times to wash them off.
I have the tail and the bra for the mermaid costume. Now, on to the head-gear. I had a costume tiara, and used that as a model for the mermaid crown. First, I cut a length of wire from a coat hanger and bent it into a sort of semi-circle. I cut a hair comb in half, and hot glued each half of the comb to one end of the wire.
Then I twisted some strands of pearls around the wire. Using hot glue, I tacked the pearls in place about every two inches along the length of the wire. (I just poked the tip of the gun in between the pearls and glorbed a whole bunch of glue out. Nothing too elegant or exact.)
Finally, I laid out the shells that I wanted. I took the main, center shell and while wearing the crown, held the shell in place in front of a mirror. The first one I chose turned out to be WAY too big, so I was really glad that I “mocked it up,” even a little, before actually gluing it on.
I’m very pleased with the results. There were a couple of other accessories that fell into place to make the costume complete.