This has been a bucket-list costume for ages, yet I finally made it as a quickie last-minute version in less than a month. The occasion came about because Bella Donna Historical Performers were singing at the PEERs Bal des Vampires right after Halloween, and they decided that their costume theme would be around the Bram Stoker’s Dracula movie from 1992 directed by Francis Ford Coppola with costumes by Eiko Ishioka. SO OF COURSE I had to bust out Lucy’s wedding gown / burial gown with the crazy frilled-lizard ruff.
Only problem was that I had about 6 weeks to do it, and I was going to be gone for a long weekend due to my sister-in-law’s wedding and then a week in London for a conference during that 6 weeks. Meaning, I had just a couple weekend’s worth of shopping, sewing, and construction time, total. This required careful planning and narrowing down the costume to essential parts just making what was recognizable.
First up, obligatory Pinterest board of movie reference images. That’s where I could see she’s wearing a lace tabard with sheer puffy sleeves that end in a fitted foresleeve, the giant ruff, a pearl necklace with a center brooch, a wired headdress over a turban, fangs, and blood red lips. That’s all all I really needed.
Next stop, Amazon Prime, where I found a white maxi dress to go underneath everything, plus that pearl necklace, turban, and fangs. Then to Jo-Anns for a buttload of cheap lace with a horizontal pattern and another buttload of chiffon.
I made giant puffy chiffon sleeves and attached them to a super simple pleated lace tabard that I also added an overly long pleated chiffon train hanging from the neck in back. The ruff was the part that took the most time and engineering. I suspect the movie version was heavily wired, but I didn’t have that much time. Instead, I went the historical route and cartridge-pleated yards of the lace into a neckband and starched the ever-loving crap out of it — first, soaking it in liquid starch, letting that dry over night, then painstakingly setting the pleats with an iron, over a dowel, and hitting it with spray starch for good measure. The crispness lasted only about 20 minutes as I wore it. Maybe because the day was rainy, oh well.
The headpiece was dramatic but pretty easy to make. I cut long strips of chiffon, folded them over and sewed a casing, then scalloped them on the other side, and slipped white millinery wire into the casing. I made a ring of millinery wire fitted to my head and padded it with some white fabric, then I looped and bent the ruffle-covered wire around the head ring until it looked like the movie version. Lots of impact for not much work!
I used the Scarecrow brand small vampire fangs because they were cheap and available via Prime (I had custom-made fangs ages ago, but one broke, boo). Following the instructions carefully, I did get a good fit, even with my crooked teeth, they stayed in all night just fine. Makeup was easy, just Ben Nye clown white and a little Ben Nye bruise purple, plus my favorite Makeup Forever red lipstick.
At the Bal des Vampires, I acted as emcee for the singers, introducing their songs and handing out lyrics to the audience for the two singalongs. There was even one song that made reference to me, as Lucy, eating babies, so Karen helpfully brought along a prop for me to play with during their performance. It was loads of fun. And I had a great time wearing something that everyone immediately recognized!