When the Student is Ready, the Costume Will Appear


Usually, around February I decide I should do a Halloween costume.  Then I forget.  About three days before the holiday I scrounge around and find my old black velour cape and my witch’s hat, and call it good.

Not this year.  No. This year I had a Plan.  A Goal.  A Costume.

I went about the process in a strange manner, typical for me; I started locating props first.  I had a vague idea that I wanted something “steam-punk.”  Or, well, what I thought was steam-punk, anyway.  I browsed steam-punk websites and looked at spyglasses, fancy fake guns, goggles, etc.  I didn’t really find what I wanted, but in a catalog I came across a cool pair of lace up boots.  Perfect!  On a costume website, I found a gorgeous Victorian hat, which I promptly ordered.  There!  I had feet and head taken care of. And that’s what matters, right?

Then I ordered an authentic Victorian pattern from another website.  I had forgotten one vital detail; that I sent my sewing machine to Goodwill a year ago. This created a speed-bump.  Well, more of a road-block, actually, since by now I had purchased material.  I debated buying a new sewing machine.  Sometimes, though, you just have to be honest with yourself.  If I bought a sewing machine, I wasn’t going to use it more than once a year.  That is not a good investment.

So, in desperation, I looked around for a seamstress, and found Dianne.  We are getting down to the wire on the costume, and it looks like I will have it sometime Saturday afternoon, for a Saturday night party, but it will be done.  And I’m guessing this will be a costume I can wear more than once.

When I said it was “steam-punk” I was thinking of Victorian sensibility with a degree of inventiveness and feminism that really wasn’t in play during the era.  When I went to the handcar regatta, I quickly realized that with one or two exceptions, “steam-punk” costumes for women mostly mean black bustiers and calf-length tulle skirts, with big guns and metallic gauntlets, and goggles.  Okay, that won’t be me.  I look more like Amanda Peabody from the Elizabeth Peters books; a “lady explorer” in a fitted jacket with leg-o-mutton sleeves, a full, split skirt for riding, and a hat.  Pictures will follow.  I promise.

When the student is ready, the costume will appear. Soon, a little more on my “character.”

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