Someone suggested that we recapture a bit of our lost youth by dressing up and going on a pub crawl across campus. In Nottingham this traditionally requires visiting 14 bars in fancy dress and drinking in each one. There is a separate blog for the event itself. This is a blog about how I got totally engrossed in preparing my costume, to the extent of doing nothing else in my spare time and even taking some last minute days off during the week to work on it.
First was the choice of character. This wasn’t too difficult really as I have always enjoyed dressing up as a knight and mock sword fighting so I decided to go with King Arthur. After a bit of online research and some movie watching, I had a pretty good idea of what the costume should look like and what I would need. In addition to your usual crafting supplies I purchased the following:
- MDF for the shield
- A plank for the sword
- A sheet to make the tunic
- Some yellow ribbon to trim the tunic
- Silver and gold foil card for the crown
- Various paints
Here are some pictures of the ingredients:
Wood for the sword and shield
Paints for the shield, sword and tunic. Gold and silver film for the crown. Iron on bonding for the tricky bits of the tunic.
I traced a pattern from a costume I found for sale online and scaled it up and printed it out. Took a couple of attempts to get one the same size as me(!)
Testing the fabric paint that is going to adorn the front of the tunic.
Marking the pattern onto the cloth.
The front of the tunic cut out.
Various stages of painting the sun on to the tunic with the fabric paints.
The finished tunic. Not shown: hours of stitching, and falling back on the iron on adhesive tape when my crappy sewing gave up!
A close up of the sun and the trimming detail on the tunic. Technically it should be split up the front where the yellow stripe is but I didn’t have time to do the extra hemming.
This is a life-size blank that I made for marking out the wood.
Using the blank to mark the shield shape on the MDF. At the bottom is the wood that will be the sword.
Cutting out the shield after marking from the blank. I used a panel saw and then rounded the edges with sandpaper.
Ordinary white house paint was used to give the shield its white base.
Yellow paint similar to the fabric paint to make the sun outline.
Various stages of adding the face details. I don’t like the way this looks close up but it looks quite good from a distance.
Handles on the back of the shield are strips of leather from a dog lead. They are glued into loops and on to the shield with contact adhesive.
The sword was pretty simple, I cut the wood to length and marked a narrower part for the handle. Not having any kind of jigsaw, I drilled holes along the inside of the wood around the grip and then used a panel saw to remove the unwanted wood.
Now to do the same on the other side and smooth off with a rasp and sand paper. Doesn’t have to be neat because it is going to be wrapped later.
To make the point I just cut the end into a triangle and finished off the edges with a rasp and sand paper.
Shaping the sword actually took a large portion of the time as it was much more difficult than expected to bevel the edges to make it look less like a plank of wood. An electric sander would have been very useful but I didn’t have access to one so it had to be done by hand. In the end I didn’t put as much of an “edge” on it as I would have liked due to lack of time. The handle was wrapped with string that was then painted brown to look like leather and the whole thing was painted grey to give it a metallic look. I also made a cross guard but it kept falling off.
The crown was assembled from silver and gold card cut to a template I worked out from pictures on line. The end results weren’t quite symmetrical but it worked out OK.
At the last minute I agreed to make a costume for Liz to go as a witch. This involved painting a plastic funnel to look like it was rusty metal and making a strap-on yellow nose out of paper and masking tape. This was actually a lot more difficult than it sounded but still a lot simpler than the Arthur Costume. I was aided by the fact that the more comedically fake it looks the more authentic the witch costume is!
Pictures of us wearing our costumes can be found on the crawl page.