Category: D.I.Y.

A Quick Story About a DIY and the Swan Dress

By Stephanie Lew, Buffalo Exchange Tucson

The costume of my dreams cost me:

  • 60 yards of tulle
  • A few scraps of felt
  • And hours and hours of unorganized labor.
  • Was it worth it? YES.

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Two years ago I set out to avoid the “OMG, she’s wearing the same thing as me!” Halloween disaster. So I spent days pondering over my options and there was only one clear choice. “You’re going to have to make it and it’s going to have to be AMAZING.” What to sew? The one and only Swan dress that Bjork strutted at the 73rd Academy Awards in 2001.

I’ll keep this simple, I have very little sewing skills. The extent of those skills were pushing a pedal and pulling the fabric. I started off by purchasing 5 yards of white tulle and a plain petticoat as the base. The petti had two ruffles along the bottom but otherwise it was a blank canvas. I sat down and started sewing the strip of tulle to the petticoat, shoving it in the machine so it bunched here and there. Soon enough all the fabric was gone and guess how far I had sewn? Yep, not even a full circle around the bottom.

This went on for about three weeks focusing a few hours here and there on it and many trips to the fabric store. Sixty yards later, I had the fluffiest crinoline I had ever seen. Its resemblance to the true Bjork dress was stunning; although I’m sure hers was much softer and more flexible. Next I had to get creative on how to make a swan’s neck and beak. I used a strip from a white sweatshirt, stuffed it and kneaded it around my neck. Lastly, I cut out a few geometric shapes to make the black eyes and beak.

It was at the moment of pulling it up and glancing in the mirror that the endorphins flowed freely. A rush of accomplishment took over and the proud new mother of a swan dress was born.  What’s the conclusion here? You don’t have to be a master of the craft to create your dream costume. You can take what little knowledge you might have and push the boundaries.

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This dress lasted me a good two Halloween seasons and this year I will be creating something new (to me). I hope you join me in your Halloween endeavors! Check back for my Halloween 2013 DIY costume.

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Stephanie is a connoisseur of shoes and small brass figurines. Born and raised in Tucson, AZ, she is the Art Director for Buffalo Exchange. Her favorite words include “Yikes” “Banana” and “Paradox.” You can see adorable photos of her dog here @StephLewPhotog