Instant Period Costumes

No-sew costumes

Just in time for Halloween. A trade secret from professional costume designers: throw out your sewing kit. The way to make quick and dirty costumes is to scrounge for old clothes, cut them up creatively with your scissors, and then instantly reassemble the pieces using a hot glue gun. No measuring, no patterns, no threads. The glued clothes hold up remarkably well. Since you can even wash them, it works for local theater shows. Now that you know the secret, you don’t have to buy this book — except if you want a whole bunch of cool recipes for recombining thrift-store bargains into pretty convincing period fashions.

-- KK 10/29/05


A glue gun and glue are the most important tools you will need. With them, you will be able to place fabric where you want, embellish your garment without sewing and seal raw edges. A glue gun produces a versatile substance that dries quickly, is washable and is a great time-saver.

I've tried several types of glue guns over the years. When they first came out, they were all "hot" glue guns. When I was beginning to wonder if I had any fingerprints left, I found the Magic Melt glue gun, which is a low-temperature gun that works just as well. It can still burn you, but it doesn't go through three layers of skin. It dries more quickly than the hot gun and is washable.

The one drawback to using this type of glue is that you cannot wash the garment in anything but cold water and either hang it to dry or use your dryer on air fluff. No heat! The glue will let go.

Directions for making Romantic Man.

For making Restoration Women: I located three dresses, which when put together make a beautiful Restoration gown. I threw all three dresses in the washer with a a mixture of brown and red dye to get the unusual color. Because the gowns were made of different fabrics and had lace on them, I achieved several shades of the same color.

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