Tag Archives: Wisconsin

Thrift to Fashion – Day of Wrong Edition!

Written by Laura Ulak

So your Mom calls you and threatens to throw out your old Prom dresses and while she is at it, get rid of all the old Christmas decorations.  You’re not sure your storage space is big enough to hold all of that stuff, and you wonder if you can you really USE any of it?

You bet you can!  And if you plan on attending the Minnesota Renaissance Festival on October 1st, you are one step closer to a fabulously crazy outfit!

October 1st is the Unofficial Day of Wrong at MNRF, now in it’s 2nd year.  Started in response to the very successful Days of Wrong at the Bristol Renaissance Faire in WI and several faires in California, this is the day to be as wrong as possible.

Want to get your Dark Lord, Jedi or Sith on?  Feel like going where “no man has gone before?”  That lovely looking 18th century dress in your closet feeling lonely because you have had nowhere to wear it?  Want to repurpose that military parachute and your old camouflage uniform into an Elizabethan?  Well, this is the day for you!

While actual employees of the fest do not dress up for this (unofficial) Day, plenty of Patrons do, and that is what makes it fun!  And it is a great excuse to use found items in your home, or to shop the thrift stores.  And with this time of year getting so close to Halloween, the thrift stores are FULL of fun things to wear.

Now back to those Christmas ornaments.  Got tinsel?  A tree skirt?  An epic Angel tree topper?  Put them together into a Christmas themed outfit like Maggie here did:

Not sure what to do with that old prom dress? Or that sparkly sequined fabric cape you had when you were 5 and that very cheap wig you wore to that crazy fraternity party sophomore year?  Dress up with a friend and go as a “Beauty Queen” and her “Bitter First Runner Up.”  Complete the ensemble with some Burger King crowns and handmade sashes and tell everyone that you “just want World Peace!”

Not really inspired by the inside of the house?  Check the garage and yard!  Grab a shovel, some acorns, and the bird’s nest your kid brought home from school and become the ARRR-bor Day pirate:

Halloween is right around the corner!  Grab your little sister’s curly witch wig and pumpkin sack, throw on a leather pirate bodice and some skulls and see what you can get for Trick or Treat!

Got old baseball jerseys sitting around?  Drowning in homer hankies and pins and stuffed versions of Joe Mauer?  Dress up as a Minnesota Twins Pirate.  Get yourself a black straw hat and with a few pins you’ve got yourself a tricorn hat!  (Also – the Gnome is out there all the time – check for her.  In this case, the Twins returned to the “gnome…”)

Lots of Christmas ribbon lying around?  Friends have extra ribbon they need to get rid of?  Dress up as a May Pole, or as May Day!

Your Angry Birds slippers looking a little worn?  Still hanging onto that ice pack and the hospital gown you got when you broke your shoulder?  Grab a TV guide and dress up as Sick Day.  Go around telling people that you aren’t contagious…

Did you catch the bouquet of silk flowers at the wedding?  Got some vintage tablecloths sitting around?  Dress up as a Pirate Bride and ask various patrons if they would be willing to marry you – for a few doubloons:

Feeling nostalgic about your glory days?  Not sure what to do with your cheerleading or danceline or band patches and buttons and jackets?  Dress up as Ye Olde Cheerleader or Band Member, etc.  If you have a friend who still has her pom poms from back then?  Borrow them!  Just make sure not to put your name on the back of your outfit or all day people will be calling your name – “HEY!  ERIN!”:

Did you find your old mesh gloves and rubber bracelets and Members Only jacket when you cleaned out your closet?  Grab a cheap blond wig, a Boy Toy belt and dress up like Madonna (bonus points if you recognize which video this is from):

Remember that the idea of using found items can work for Halloween as well.  All of the above ideas can easily be adapted for the annual party at the neighbors.  And it won’t cost you nearly what the guy down the block spent on his Frankenstein costume.

Accessories are what make the outfit, and what often make the cost of your costume go up.  If you can use items found at your home, the thrift store or your Mom’s house, it will go a long way towards meeting that budget.

So stop looking in your closet with frustration and start looking in there with inspiration!  Hope to see you out at MNRF on October 1st!

Please post in the comments with any additional tips and tricks!


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What I Entered Into 2010 Costume Con

by Erin Schneider

A Brief Explanation, AKA What the heck was I thinking?

A few years ago, my friends and I developed an interest in costuming; primarily costumes appropriate to wear to our local Renaissance Festival.    While discussing noble or court gowns, my best friend (Laura Ulak) and I found ourselves standing in the printed cotton aisle at a discount fabric store.

Laura – “I should totally make an Elizabethan out of camo fabric (she had been in the Army).”

Me – “If you do, then I get one in Packer fabric.”

Laura – “I don’t think that would be a wise choice for a Minnesota Ren Fest.”

Me – “Damn the Vikings!  Whatever, I’d DO IT ANYWAY.”

Laura – “It’s your funeral…”

I might be paraphrasing, but that is essentially the scope of the conversation.  At that point, Laura and I, along with most of our costuming friends, decided we needed Twisted Historical costumes.  But where would we wear them?

Fortunately, Kirk Johnson of the Bristol Renaissance Faire told us about their Day of Wrong.  Laura and I immediately planned a trip to the Faire for the summer of ’09.  And I started work on my costume.  It debuted in August of 2009 to mostly positive reviews, except for a few bitter Bears fans.

I would like to dedicate this costume to my Grandma Schneider, a diehard Packer Backer, and Laura Ulak’s Grandma Grace, who taught her how to sew.

Title of Costume:

Green Bay Packer Elizabethan Court Gown

Name and address of the person responsible for the entry (or the spokesman for a group):

Never you mind.

Name(s) of designer(s) and maker(s):

Drawers – pattern by Simplicity, made by Erin Schneider and Laura Ulak

Farthingale – pattern by Margo Anderson, made by Erin Schneider and Laura Ulak

Partlett – pattern by Laura Ulak, made by Erin Schneider and Laura Ulak

Corset – pattern by The Elizabethan Corset Generator, made by Erin Schneider

Bodice – pattern by Alter Years, made by Erin Schneider and Laura Ulak

Underskirt – self patterned, made by Erin Schneider and Laura Ulak

Overskirt – self patterned, made by Erin Schneider and Laura Ulak

Sleeves – pattern by Laura Ulak, made by Erin Schneider and Laura Ulak

Hat – purchased at Rybiki’s Cheese Shop at the Mall of America.  Decorated by Erin Schneider

Earrings – designed and made by Ashley Walton

Girdle – created from gold football-shaped beads, buttons, a bottle opener, and a shot glass by Erin Schneider

Brief identifying description of the costume’s historic period, geographic origin, social class and so forth. This description should include the historic basis for the costume:

The late 15th century, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First.  Country of origin is England, social class is Noble.  In short, this is an Elizabethan court dress made from modern, licensed sports team logo materials.

This would also be the point to notate any substitutions of historically accurate materials used:

I used 100% cotton, a natural fabric, for the construction of the garment, however, the pattern is not period appropriate.  I used plastic cable ties in the corset instead of metal.  I used hoop steel instead of reeds in the farthingale.  Accessories are completely made of artificial materials.

Bibliography of sources:

Janet Arnold, Patterns of Fashion

Jean Hunnisett, Period Costume for Stage and Screen

Juan de Alcega’s Tailor’s Pattern book of 1589

Herbert Norris, Tudor Costume and Fashion

Ninya Mikaila, The Tudor Tailor

Margo Anderson’s online List Serve

The Green Bay Packers and the State of Wisconsin

And the outcome?  I won Most Humorous Presentation.  Adding to the honor and GLORY of the Minnesota Society of Costumers.

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