Under-the-sea Costumes: Home Stretch

We’re almost there. I’ve been working on our under-the-sea costumes for about three or four weeks now. Thursday was the first day that I had several hours of uninterrupted time. What a rare treat to have an afternoon dedicated to getting my creative juices flowing.

Things were humming along with my dress but then I hit a snag. The original plan wasn’t working, or more accurately, I didn’t like it. The overskirt looked bulky, not the smooth, draping look I was after. Furthermore, the layers of sequined panels, reused from part of a thrifted child’s dress, looked messy. What to do, what to do?

gardener of the sea skirt

Overskirt, front panel, seaweed and gardening tools

I went to bed in a funk. It’s a bit of a let down working on something for so long, only to have it disappoint you. The next day I realized the problem: the outer skirt, removed from an extra-large dress, was simply too much fabric. With that sorted out, I removed the original waistband from the skirt and redistributed the fabric more judiciously. Rather than keeping the gathering uniform all the way around, I lined up the side seams of the dress with the over skirt and created a box pleat in the back. Now the skirt flows but without the bulk. In the front I stitched just a few inches of the overskirt to the waistband, then let the excess fabric fall in waves down the front. Much better.

costume details

Costume Details

gardener of the sea

Gardener of the Sea Dress

After removing the sequined fabric from the front of the dress, I replaced it with a panel of material I’m using for the cape. I had just enough left over to make the panel without compromising the flow of the cape. Serendipity! It’s all trick of the eye, as the panel is only 14 inches wide but it works.

With that sorted out, it was time to add some bling. I cut three narrow strips of the cape material, then stretched them to capacity. This created a curled edge and a distressed finish. The idea is to suggest seaweed.  After sewing the strips to the front panel, I added a few green glass beads, some jewelry findings and tied a few knots in the ends.

One of my thrift store finds is an aqua eyeglass lanyard. I sewed that to the front panel as well, and attached my tiny spade key ring. I bought it at a clever shop in Victoria, Canada.  I hope to add another gardening tool but that’s still working itself out in my head.

What’s Left:

My cape: It’s almost done, but I need a pair of buttons and a bit of elastic to attach it to my dress.

Headpiece. I’ve been gathering bits of material and some netting. I’m trying to make something that I can attach to a hair band.

Gloves. I’m still working out the details, but I have the material and a general idea of where I’m going with it.

Mike put the finishing touches on his helmet this weekend and it looks great. He glued bits of moss, some gold jewelry findings and just a hint of glitter. It looks a bit menacing to me with the full mask, but he likes it and that’s what counts.

Guardian of the Sea Mask

Guardian of the Sea Mask

I finished his cape on Thursday, trimmed the tunic and added a few small touches. His costume is essentially done with one exception: I need to sew loops on the cape so it’s removable.

Guardian of the Sea Cape

Guardian of the Sea Cape

Guardian of the Sea Tunic

Guardian of the Sea Tunic

We attend our first of three Halloween parties next Saturday, so with my busy week ahead, I need to carve out time for these last details.

No-Candy Countdown:

no candy countdown october 20

Candy-free Countdown

As my 31-day, no-candy countdown continues, I’m enjoying the feeling of being more in control of my food choices. I hope those of you joining me on the journey are feeling positive as well. Please let me know how you’re doing in the comments below.

Pumpkins on Parade:

pincushion pumpkin

Pincushion Pumpkin

Nothing reminds me of sewing more than a bright red pincushion. Today’s pumpkin should feel right at home.

Thank you for the additional suggestions for pumpkin dress up. I’ll be working on a few of them later this week.

13 thoughts on “Under-the-sea Costumes: Home Stretch

  1. Dearest Garden Goddess of the Sea, you will positively be floating through those parties. It looks so flowy. Have you had it on and spun around in it? Or maybe run leaping around your garden with your magic sceptre? I’m so amazed how you can take things apart and whip them back together again into something totally different. With no pattern !!! You rock.

    Mike looks pretty dashing in that helmet. It’s hard to look menacing in aqua. Tis’ the colour of Peace and Love, LOL. Everything is very creative. I wanted to use my sewing machine the other day and just couldn’t get the tension to work. It was tangling everything underneath. I need an update.

    You’re Calendar is filling up with so much success. It’s really a month of celebrations in so many ways. You’ll be one keen lean garden queen xoxox I’m excited 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ll echo everything Boomdee said – it is all looking so very wonderful – I really want to see the two of you all garbed up, standing by some water or dappled in lighting that suggests water ……… I think it is going to be so eye-catching!

    Whoo-hoo on all the happy faces and feeling empowered – it is such a great thing isn’t it! For me it has always been less about the weight and more about how the body feels and the elevated and serene mood that keeps me off sugar.

    Oh, and the pumpkin – surely all the aqua loveliness calls for a mermaid pumpkin to celebrate the costume unveiling …………… ?


  3. Myohmy, the two of yuo will be a magical vision!!! The Stars of the Evening. The dress is dream,(how I looove that frabric!) the helmet very dashing, just perfect and may I add, the Garduian of Sea has quite the sixpack too…no wonder with all that running around under water…and eating no candy!


    • Thank you!!!! That one piece of shimmering blue fabric was a real find. Almost two meters of it at a thrift store for under $4. It’s fun to dress up in something completely different from the usual day to day.

      And if you can’t make your own sixpack, by all means by them. 🙂

      Do you celebrate Halloween?


  4. My goodness, Alys, you’re so talented. Sewing has always been something of a mystery to me – and there you are constructing and reconstructing something amazing from your mind’s eye. I’d love to be a fly on the wall when you and Mike walk into your first Halloween party this weekend. I think all other party goers will be placing orders with you to make their costumes next year! Can’t wait to see you both dressed up! xoxoxox


    • Thank you, Dani. I would say the same thing about crocheting. And look at what you turn out. Gorgeous, gorgeous things that look effortless.

      Thank you for your sweet, generous comments. It will be fun to see what everyone else comes up with. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I know you are super busy. It means a lot to me. xoxoxoxo


  5. The draping on the back of your dress is soooo lovely!
    And I love that you even though frustrated when you went to bed, you woke up with the solution. So clever!
    and I just love that pincushion pumpkin, Alys!
    Good for you on the No Candy!
    I’ve been doing my core exercises and weights daily (well except for the 2 days in Pittsburgh). I even downloaded a yoga for extra, extra beginners. Oh and it is too funny to see my doing that!! 🙂


  6. You and Mike will win all the costume contests without fail. They are both magical. I love the fabrics you used. Isn’t it interesting how when you have a problem and walk away or sleep on it, the solution finds you. The pincushion pumpkin is my favorite so far. Love it.


    • I thought you might like that pincushion. It’s such a sewer’s thing.

      I’ve come to trust in the power of a good night’s sleep. It improves moods, memory, and overall health. I’m paying more attention to that.

      Thank you for your vote of confidence. Once I had one aqua piece it was easy to shop for the rest. I only picked up items that matched. The purple dress was $9. The fabric pieces were each under $4. Better than I could ever do at a fabric store.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate you so much.


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