Sunday, October 21, 2012

Designing a Tattooed Lady Costume

Last time I shared how some thrift store shirts and sharpie markers were used to create a strong man costume. Today, I'm showing how a thrift store shirt, sharpie markers, and an old pair of knee high stockings became Lydia's Tattooed Lady costume.

This costume is also constructed from several thrift store pieces. You can read all about the dress by clicking here. Again, the bulk of the outfit was one really good find, in this case a blue and yellow adult size long fancy shirt.

Last year, the dress was intended for an event where I was supposed to be a ring leader. Lydia was going to be a mini-me match of my outfit. That event never happened. At the time, this dress was a little big for Lydia so I thought it could wait a year.

At some point I decided that Lydia could still just be a pint sized ring leader for Halloween this year, OR we could change it up and she could be Lydia the Tattooed Lady from the old Groucho Marx song.

And so began the hunt for tattoo lady inspiration. Once again, I found the tattooed dolls of Mimi Kirchner, and once again I am in love with what she creates.

Thankfully the dress making and idea finding was finished long ago, so all I had to do this year was make the tattoo stuff. I did have a set of store bought tattoo sleeves as a back up plan but I really wanted something a little more tailored to Lydia's size and look.

I actually used an old pair of knee high nylons for her sleeves! I just cut off the toe part and it was the perfect length for her arm! In the first picture she has the nylons on her arm, but the color was such a good match it is hard to see. Then I inserted a piece of paper under the nylons to protect her skin and drew my tattoo designs with a sharpie marker. Remove the paper and the tattoo is on the nylon sleeve and not on Lydia's skin!

I used this image of a tattooed lady for specific ideas and clear line drawings of tattoos. I borrowed the idea of her snake twisting around one arm, a bird and some flowers. I also discovered that I could stretch the nylon sleeve over a paper towel tube to draw the designs without making the four year old sit still for hours.

Here is one of the only pictures I have of the chest tattoos. The original dress was a little low in front, so I added a panel of flesh colored knit from a thrift store shirt ( it was actually scraps from Joshua's strong man skin). On the chest panel, I drew her name, a flower, and I even put a bird on it!

For the back, I cut out a large part of the original dress and added another flesh colored panel. This was the last part that I decorated and I am really proud of my tattoo skills here!

Here is a close up of the back of the dress details, which were still drawn with sharpie markers.

We will go and have some professional pictures taken next week, but I posed Lydia in our yard to get a few pictures with natural light. Here are a few of my favorites!

And finally we got a few pictures of Lydia with her daddy, the crazy mentalist from the side show.

I even got in front of the camera for a picture with Lydia and the ring leader. So now we just have to figure out which circus character Lydia's Aunt wants to be and the whole crew will be ready to go.... And I will be ready to rest.... Or start planning next year's pirate theme!

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