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Easy Last-Minute 1920s Flapper Costume

Become a flapper from the future in no time at all with this tutorial for making an easy last-minute 1920s flapper Halloween costume!

A classic retro style steps into space with this fun costume! 

  • Tin Foil -- heavy duty works best
  • Scrap fabric -- 1 yard (check the clearance bin or use an old sheet or oversized T shirt)
  • Clear packing tape and/or Scotch Tape
  • Scissors
  • Fabric Glue or glue gun
  • Sewing Machine or needle and thread
  • Stapler and staples
  • Measuring tape
  • Straight pins

Step 1: First, you’ll have to make the fabric slip that goes under the tin foil -- this will keep things comfortable and prevent potentially embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions. Wrap the fabric around your body and mark where it overlaps at the top. Sew a seam down the length of the fabric along this mark, right sides together, making a loose tube. Try it on and mark above the knee where you’d like it the hem to be, and where the straps should rest on the front. Remove the tube and cut it off at the knee mark. You can cut either end with pinking shears if you have them, or fold in a hem and sew it to prevent fraying  --  this is optional, however, as you won’t see frayed edges in the finished project.

Step 2: Make your straps from the scrap you’ve just cut off from the main piece.  Cut a three inch wide section and cut off the sewn portion so that you have one long strip. You can sew this into a long tube and turn it inside out, or fold it over into thirds and glue it together with fabric glue. Once complete, cut the long strip in two, one for each shoulder. Cut a long piece of foil that has a diagonal measurement two inches shorter than each of the straps. Place glue on the strap and lay it diagonally across the foil. Fold one side of the foil over and trim so the top layer is flush with the fabric edge.  Add glue to the underside and top of the folded over foil, then press the other foil flap across and trim. Repeat with the other strap.

Step 3: With the tube inside out, line up each strap with the front marked point from Step 1 from the underside and pin in place.  Stitch in place in a square shape for reinforcement on the fabric ends of the straps, making sure that the foil seam is on the underside. Lay the dress flat on the ground and pin the free ends of the straps directly across from the secured front pieces on the back of the dress, on the underside. Carefully try it on to make sure the straps are the correct length –adjust as needed. Stitch in place and turn your dress right side out.   

Step 4: Measure your dress all the way around. Add 3 inches, and cut a piece of tin foil to this length. Split it in half, lengthwise. Lay one foil strip on the floor, shiny side down. Place the dress on top with the hem two inches above the bottom edge of the foil. Slide your stapler in and attach the fabric to the top edge of the foil all the way around, flipping the dress halfway to get the other side. Take care to keep the foil line level. Continue through to include the overlapping end. For the other layers, the stapler won’t reach, so you’ll have to use fabric glue or a glue gun.

Step 5: Overlap your next layer of foil by two inches, and place a strip of glue across the front half of the dress along the top edge of where the foil will lie. Press the foil along this line, shiny side out. If you’re using a hot glue gun, use a scrap of fabric to smooth it out, as the glue and foil will be hot. Flip the dress over and finish with the back half, adding extra glue to the foil overlap. Continue cutting strips of foil and attaching them to the fabric in this way until you reach the second to last strip at the top.  For this one, fold the foil in by about an inch along the top edge, and then attach it to the top of the dress with staples as per the bottom strip. 

Step 6: Once all of your strips are attached, take your scissors and cut one inch vertical incisions around the bottom edges of each strip to make a fringe effect.  Your dress is done!  Shimmy into it -- you may need some extra packing tape here and there to patch it up as needed, or tuck some scotch tape in your purse. Wrap a strip of foil around your head as a headband and you’re ready to Charleston! Have fun!

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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