Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Costume 2: Black Swan

For the second installment of HauteMess Halloween How-To's, I used your sidebar votes to determine costume #2.  By popular demand, I will share the secret to creating your very own Black Swan QueenMess!  But please, I demand that you listen to this song from the movie while reading: Clint Mansell – Perfection

As you may recall, I created both the White Swan and Black Swan costumes for an outdoor Amazing Race in Cincinnati this past August. I didn't take pictures during the creation process - so my step by step instructions may suck. (sorry!)  However, if I can do it, anyone can!

I wanted to win a costume contest with a truly authentic look, but I didn't want to spend more more money than the best costume prize was worth. Most pre-made tutus were expensive and American Apparel hates curvy girls, so this $75 skirt barely covered my ass cheeks.  After trying on a too small skirt and scratching my head trying to figure out my "tutu size," I said "FUCK IT! We'll do it live."

Here is how YOU, too, can make your very own Black Swan Costume for less than the cost of one embarrassingly small American Apparel Skirt. (I had a Jo-Ann Fabric coupon so I only paid about $20 for craft supplies, $2 for white cream makeup, $15 for new tights, and I owned almost everything else.)

HauteMess Halloween Costume #2: Becoming Black Swan

  •  2.5 Yards of BLACK Tulle
  •  Braided elastic band as the tutu waist band - measure your waist and make sure you buy enough to cover the size of your waist plus 4-6 inches.  Because I am too cheap to buy a closure so I just used the excess elastic to tie a bow as the closure for my tutu.
  • Glitter Foam Paper in BLACK
  • Glitter Foam Tiara - Any color will do, you are basically buying this for parts. You will use the tiara to trace on the black foam paper and the plastic coil to fasten your new black crown.
  • Feather Decor - I found a semi-circle black feather spray at Michael's Crafts, and it sits behind the tiara perfectly, adding a spray of feathers at the top.

THE TUTU (a.k.a. the next Two-tu hours of your life...get it? 2 hours? HA!)
I referenced a few websites with tutorials on "No Sew" tutus. Other people may explain better than I do - feel free to google it.  Every housewife in America also seems interested in this craft! :)

Step 1: Cut the tulle into strips about 2-3" wide and 36" long. (this was long enough to create the look in the picture at the top.  You can adjust the size of your strips to match your height & coverage desired)  Remember, you can always cut it shorter if you need to later, you can never make it longer!

Step 2: Place elastic waist band on your clean work surface (personally, I just used my lap while watching TV) and cut elastic to the length of your waist PLUS 6-8 inches. Measure 3 inches in on both ends of the elastic - you want to keep these empty because you will use these "tails" to tie the tutu closed when it's time to wear.

Step 3: Get ready to tie a million knots.  Starting 3 inches in from the tip of the elastic, tie your tulle strips in a knot around the elastic. (to save time and add fullness, I doubled up and used two strips per knot)  The knot should be tied in the middle of the tulle strip so that the remaining tails are equal in length.  These tails will be the approximate length of your tutu.  But, keep in mind that as the tutu fills up, it will get shorter.

Step 4: Repeat about a million times, or until you run out of tulle. Place the knots fairly close to each other, evenly spaced.  You can always slide them around on the elastic if you need to tighten them up.  Make sure you leave enough space at the ends of your elastic.  I caught up on Entourage while making this.  It is a really mindless activity once you get started, so pour a glass of wine and turn on the trash TV!

(TIP: to break up the monotony, I alternated between cutting and knotting by only cutting about 10-12 strips of tulle at a time and tied them immediately.)

Step 5: Once you are done, simply tie the elastic tails in a little knot/bow around your waist.  Move the strips of tulle around to evenly space as necessary.

(TIP: If you want it to look just a wee bit shorter without cutting anything, just scrunch your tulle like an 80s perm. See below for the "scrunched" version)

Step 1: Remove the coil from your foam tiara and set aside. (you will use this later)
Step 2: Lay out the black glitter foam sheet, glitter side down.
Step 3: Position the foam tiara on the foam paper flat, and trace around the edges.
Step 4: Cut the tiara shape out of the black glitter foam sheet.
Step 5: Poke small holes in black tiara that mirror those in the original foam tiara.
Step 6: Take the coil and thread through new holes in the black tiara. (TIP: I would pull two full coils out on each side to make it secure)

Step 7: Use hot glue gun to secure the feather decor to the back of your tiara so that feather stick out above the center.

  • Black bustier/tank top/tube top - your choice how slutty you want to look
  • White tights - I chose to buy new tights for this costume, so I went with Capezio Dancer tights from Amazon.
  • Bloomers/shorts - something to go UNDER your tutu. Again - you choose your own adventure here!
  • Ballet flats - I have some pink ballet flats that I just plan to wear next time (since last time we wore these with running shoes for the race) 
  • OPTIONAL: Feather Boa - this can be fastened to your arms to create a "Becoming Black Swan" look from the final scene of the movie. I plan to thread mine through the spaghetti straps on my tank top and with elastic hair ties around my wrists
MAKE UP - Make up is the final touch that make this a BLACK SWAN costume and not just some chick in a tutu.  I used this YouTube tutorial with White Cream makeup (found in the Halloween aisle) and other cosmetics I already own. Bonus: If you accidentally poke yourself in the eye with an eyeliner pencil, the red eye effect will only add to the authenticity of you costume. (true story)

GOOD LUCK!  Let me know what you hope to see next!


  1. Love it!!!!  I want to do this so bad!  I'm running the Hobooken 5K saturday morning and you kind of inspired me.  

  2. Are you on Twitter? Anyway, you are featured in my blog post today!

  3. Did you do it??  How'd the race turn out?



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