That time I made a Lydia Deetz (Beetlejuice) costume

Every year, my firm has a big Christmas costume party. There’s always an overarching theme, and then each workgroup in the firm chooses their own theme within that for their costumes. Last year, the theme was ‘Wanderlust’ and my group went as Disneyland – so I made my own costume and went as Princess Jasmine.

This year, the overarching theme was ‘Cult Classics’, and my workgroup decided to go as Beetlejuice, the first really Tim Burton-y Tim Burton movie and one of my childhood favourites. Naturally, I decided to make my own costume again, and the result was this: my Lydia Deetz red wedding costume!

all the little happy things - DIY Lydia Deetz Beetlejuice costume

This is the outfit that Lydia (played by Winona Ryder) wears when she’s being forced to marry Beetlejuice at the end of the film, and for a DIY job, I think mine looks pretty good!

all the little happy things - DIY Lydia Deetz Beetlejuice costume

Here’s how I put it together.

The Dress

The distinctive feature of Lydia’s dress in the movie is the sheer volume of the skirt – layers and layers of fluffy tulle. I wanted to get that kind of volume without needing to buy a hoop skirt – but how to get the skirt puffy enough? The answer was layers! My costume was made up of three layers – the basic dress, a purchased petticoat, and a layered tulle overskirt. You can see the ‘layers’ of my costume a little better in the photo below.

all the little happy things - DIY Lydia Deetz Beetlejuice costume

The basic foundation of the outfit was a cheap red chiffon dress I bought from ASOS which had a little chiffon ruffle around the V-neckline. The chiffon ruffle was nice, but definitely not over-the-top enough for my costume, so I opted to add extra tulle ruffles to the neckline.

To add the tulle ruffles to the neckline, I followed this basic method to add strips of red tulle to a red grosgrain ribbon, which I then hand-stitched along the neckline of the dress. I used two layers (one stitched just above the other) to get the fullness I wanted.

For the skirt, I bought a tiered, multi-layered red petticoat from eBay, which I slipped on over the dress. Then, to add even more fullness, I made a tulle overskirt out of three layers of red tulle – the bottom layer was the full length of the petticoat, the middle layer about 20cm shorter, and the top layer about 20cm shorter than the middle layer. I gathered the layers of tulle separately, and then sewed them all together onto a wide red satin ribbon which tied around my waist.

Put on all the layers, and you get a fabulously voluminous red wedding dress, with no need for an inconvenient hoop skirt!

all the little happy things - DIY Lydia Deetz Beetlejuice costume

The extras: wig, veil and makeup

Once the dress was done, all I really needed was the wig! I bought this black wig, and then went to town with hair-cutting scissors, hair gel and bobby pins. I cut the fringe/bangs a lot shorter, then created the ‘spiky’ effect with the help of a lot of hair gel. Then I styled the rest of the wig by pulling half of the hair up in a super-high ponytail and spiking up the ends with gel, then randomly pinning bits and pieces all over the wig to make it look even wilder. I’m really happy with how it looked!

The veil was just some of the leftover tulle from making the skirt and the neckline ruffle, which I bunched together and hand-sewed to a comb.

As for makeup, for my trial runs I just packed on very light-coloured powder and deep brown eyeshadow. On the night of the party itself, my workgroup hired a face painter, who whitened up my face and added a dramatic eyeliner effect.

all the little happy things - DIY Lydia Deetz Beetlejuice costume

(P.S. Doesn’t my friend Eva look amazing?? She did all that body painting herself!)

Overall this wasn’t a very cheap costume to make – I’d estimate something around $80-$100 including all the fabric and ribbon, the wig, the original dress and the petticoat. It was also a ltitle bit time-consuming – making the ruffles for the neckline took the longest, plus it involved hand sewing which I hate! But I think that all the hard work was worth it – I’m really proud of this costume and I think my workgroup looked amazing together!

all the little happy things - DIY Lydia Deetz Beetlejuice costume

all the little happy things - DIY Lydia Deetz Beetlejuice costume

That time I made a Princess Jasmine costume

Aladdin has been my favourite Disney movie since I was a little girl, and Jasmine has always been my favourite princess. She’s smart, independent, sassy, and has a tiger for a pet – what’s not to like?

So when my workgroup decided to go as ‘Disneyland’ for our firm’s Wanderlust-themed Christmas party at the end of last year, I naturally jumped at the chance to fulfill my childhood dream of being Princess Jasmine!

Unfortunately, all the ready-made costumes available were a lot more risque than what I was willing to wear to a work function, so I decided to make my own costume!

all the little happy things - my DIY Princess Jasmine costume

all the little happy things - my DIY Princess Jasmine costume

I based my outfit on the recent redesign of Jasmine’s costume, since I figured it would look better with my colleagues’ ballgown-style Princess cotumes.

Here’s how I put it all together.

The basic outfit: top, pants, shoes and wig
The wig was a lucky find on eBay – it came pre-styled, which made things a lot easier! I did have to make the centre part in the bangs, which took a lot of brushing and a bit of hairspray, but it was otherwise ready to go.

I didn’t have the time or inclination to make Jasmine’s curled-toe shoes, so I just bought a cheap pair of gold glitter flats from K-Mart for $9.

My lovely friend Katy helped me make the top and pants – we spent a good day working on this together!

all the little happy things - my DIY Princess Jasmine costume

We bought a lot of turquoise satin, some pretty foil-printed organza, turquoise thread, elastic, a zipper, some big blue rhinestones and a metre or so of wide, stiff gold pleather trim.

To make the top, I got a plain white strapless crop top from ASOS, dyed it turquoise, then bunched and sewed the organza to make the sleeves. I covered the stitching in the centre with one of the rhinestones, backed by the gold pleather to make it look like it was set in metal.

For the pants, Katy made a quick pattern for the harem pants, with a V-shaped waistband. We stitched the organza into the waistband for the overskirt, and added in a zip to the centre back to make it easy to put on. I added another of the rhinestones to the centre of the waistband to finish it all off.

It took a long time (and a lot of trial and error!) but by the end of the day, we had made a Jasmine costume!

Accessories: necklace, headband, ponytail holder covers
To make the headband, I started out with a cheap fabric headband from a discount store. I covered some of the gold pleather with leftover satin, and glued it down onto the headband. Then I glued on more gold pleather and the last big blue rhinestone – easy!

The ponytail covers were made with more satin-covered pleather and some stick-on velcro dots.

The necklace was a bit of a score – I found it on sale in Myer, and when I went to the register, it ended up costing only about $3! I love unexpected discounts!

all the little happy things - my DIY Princess Jasmine costume

The cost of all the individual elements of this costume added up to over $100, which made it the most expensive (and time-consuming!) costume I’ve put together so far. But I think it was definitely worth it! I felt like an actual princess, and I got a lot of very flattering comments about my costume from my colleagues during the party. I’m definitely hoping that I will have an opportunity to wear it again sometime – I absolutely loved being Jasmine!

all the little happy things - my DIY Princess Jasmine costume

DIY Wonder Woman costume

One of my colleagues got divorced recently, and to celebrate she decided to have an ‘anti-hens night’ with a bunch of the girls from work. The theme: superheroes! I love the theme and I love costume parties, but the difficulties were that a) it’s the beginning of winter and female superhero costumes are not exactly cold weather friendly; and b) I can’t wear regular ready-made costumes because they’re always much too big. So I decided to make my own Wonder Woman costume!

all the little happy things - my Wonder Woman costume

Here’s how I put my outfit together.

The basic outfit: jacket, top, leggings and shoes
I lucked out and managed to snag the red satin top on eBay. Then it was just a matter of gluing down some gold sequin trim, which I also bought from eBay.

The rest of the outfit came together with star print leggings (another eBay steal, and I figured they would be a much better option for a winter evening than a miniskirt!), cute red heels (because I didn’t have the money to buy a pair of red boots!), and I borrowed a gold cape from a friend to add to the overall superhero look and feel.

all the little happy things - my Wonder Woman costume

Accessories: logo brooch, belt, bracelets, headband and lasso
To make the brooch, I printed out a picture of the Wonder Woman logo and used it as a template to cut the shape out of red glitter foam. Then I used some leftover gold sequin trim to fill in the details, and glued on a couple of brooch pins to the back.

I picked up the gold bracelets on sale from Lovisa and modified them slightly by making them a little tighter and sticking on a couple of stars made from red glitter felt. The belt was a loaner from a friend, and the ‘lasso’ is just a long length of gold elastic cord.

I don’t really like wearing hair accessories, but I knew I had to figure out some way to make a Wonder Woman tiara. I couldn’t find anything sufficiently crown- or tiara-like that I really liked, and those types of hair accessories never seem to attach well to my head, so I decided to make a soft headband. I bought the glitter elastic from eBay and cut and stitched it into two headbands. Then I cut a star out of red glitter foam and a matching star out of red felt, then glued the stars together with the elastic headbands sandwiched in between. Voila! A substitute tiara!

Altogether it only took me a couple of hours to make or modify the different elements of my costume. Here’s the final breakdown of costs:

Top: $16.39
Leggings: $6.31
Cape: borrowed
Shoes: already owned
Belt: borrowed
Gold sequin trim: $3.20 for 5 metres
Red glitter foam: $1.50 for 1x A4 sheet
Red felt: already owned
Gold elastic cord: $4.40 for 5 metres
Gold glitter elastic: $2.60
Brooch backs: $3.00 for 4
Bracelets: $14
TOTAL: $51.40

This was a pretty simple and fairly inexpensive costume to throw together, and I had a lot of fun making it. And the party itself was heaps of fun. Throughout the evening, people kept stopping us to chat and take photos with us. As a group of about 10 superheroes out in the city on a Saturday night, we made quite an impression – we definitely had a ‘girl power’ vibe going!

all the little happy things - my Wonder Woman costume
Spidergirl and Wonder Woman!