Faerie Crafts and Hobbies

Making a costume for Empire for under £30: Part 1, Planning


I really love the idea of this challenge. People spend so much on LARP costumes when there really isn’t any need to do so if you can sew. Even if you can’t sew, you may well be able to persuade someone else to do so for you, if you ask them nicely/ buy them dinner/ provide lifts etc. The original not official guidelines were

“Guidelines for the costume challenge (as eagerly awaited by some people) 
We at Mandala are planning over the weekends of the 18th to 20th January to attempt to make a costume that is acceptable for each culture of Empire foe around £30 each.
We will be avoiding using stuff we just happen to have in stock but more using stuff we have sourced for the challenge.We will try and keep a photo diary and post up updates on how we are doing over the day (I expect on the Mandala Facebook page)We may well scavenge some materials before hand not just that weekend. and that is about it. What we would like is for other people to join in and do something similar either on the same weekend or if not do it another time and share your experiences, where you found things, how much it actually cost you. It may well be we find we can not manage this and if so we will share this with you as well 🙂 “

I only plan on making costumes for the Brass Coast, which is what I will be playing, and more specifically for my own character. I will also not be doing everything in one weekend because firstly I am often busy at weekends and secondly my Fibro does not play well with sewing and cutting all weekend

So, the first thing I did was get out all my patterns and look through them. I had a load of patterns already and many are available for free on the Internet anyway. Just do a search for “Bellydance pattern” and take a look around – most of the patterns that I will use are available for free if you want to trace them out on brown paper or print them out and sellotape the pieces together.

For fabric I went to Walthamstow Market at the weekend. Shown around by a couple of lovely friends I was in shock at how cheap the fabrics are compared to anything I can get in Cambridge. Velvet at £2/m instead of £20+. silk chiffon and shantung for the same, thick emroidered organza in the most incredible shot colours at £3.50 which would easily cost 10x that much in John Lewis, normal chiffons, satins, cottons and other fabrics at £1/m. I may have gone a little mad and bought a *lot* of fabric.

Now I need to work out how to translate that into “under £30”.

Simplicity 5359 will form the basis of my costume. This is a pattern I already owned and used, so cost = £0. I want to make the harem pants, the longer skirt, the belt with overskirt panels, the waistcoat, the veil

Moroccan Burnoose. There is a free pattern for this here – but I am not sure I can get this one done within cost, will need to be creative for this

Simplicity 2941 for the belts, again a pattern I own for other purposes. I promise faithfully never to wear tops like that.

If I get the materials, the Butterick 5580 may also be used for pouches, braces etc. If not, I will be using it for normal costume making

Tonight I plan to measure and photograph all the material I have, and include what it cost, so that I can keep track of project costs in this.

I also have a vague idea for trying to do a costume for under £10, but this depends on Freecycle/car boot sales/ friends

So, if any friends have old broken jewellery, fabric in colours from deep red to bright yellow (basically fire colours), old curtains, even white wollen blankets they no longer use (can be dyed and used for cloaks or floor coverings for tents) , anything like that I will gladly take it off your hands 🙂 (Response to this from my LJ where I posted this originally has been amazing. Friends are digging through things they no longer need and are willing to donate which makes me think the “for under £10” thing is a go, so I will post about that too


3 comments on “Making a costume for Empire for under £30: Part 1, Planning

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    December 14, 2012

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    December 18, 2012

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This entry was posted on December 11, 2012 by in Costumes, Empire and tagged , , , , , .


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