My Costuming Go-Tos: Deseret Industries and Hot Glue
It was almost time for the most important event of the year: the neighborhood Halloween potluck. I was determined to show up in style. None of this wear-a-bathrobe-and-curlers-in-my hair-and-claim-my-costume-was-lady-who-just-woke-up nonsense. Nope! Not this year! My two teenage daughters and I were going as characters from Call the Midwife, one of my favorite BBC shows. My daughters had never seen the show, but somehow (through bribery or threats, I forget which), I talked them into dressing up with me.
The look I was going for was 1950s nurses. The characters wear blue dresses with collars, belts with silver fasteners, red cardigans, and red pillbox hats. If you’ve seen the show, you know it’s a very stylized look—and super cute!
Now I don’t sew nor do I own matching blue dresses, red cardigans, red hats, and blue belts. So, what to do? Go to Deseret Industries, of course!
How do you do it?
First, start with your general color scheme. I started by looking for dresses by color instead of style. Then you find styles that are close enough—it’s ok if they’re not all the same.
Second, find the easy stuff. Red cardigans are fairly easy to find. And black slip-on shoes are quite common as well.
Third, get creative. Red pillbox hats are not something you often find in the store. So I bought three baseball caps and a large red T-shirt. At home, I cut the rim off the hats and used hot glue to cover the hats with the material from the shirt. (Pro tip: I use hot glue in all my costuming.) Then I cut up one white shirt and glued it to the dresses as the collars.
With just a little hot glue, $35, and some creative thinking, I had three costumes! I bought a few embellishments from the craft store, and WAH-BAM! We were a hit at the potluck.
Deseret Industries also made my 10-year-old son’s Halloween costume dreams come true! Like his mother, once an idea settles in, he can’t let it go. With a $10 trench coat from Deseret Industries and a plastic bucket that formerly held cheese balls, this little guy ALMOST stole the show from us . . . almost.
So, you might be thinking that my costume shenanigans would come to an end after our glorious debut at the Halloween potluck, but that’s where you would be wrong, my friend. Little did I know, my neighbor (who came to the party dressed as lady-who-just-woke-up, might I add) was on the lookout for a costume designer for a play she was planning to put on that summer.
In January, she asked me to be the costume designer for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I had never outfitted a cast in costumes, and I wasn’t sure where to start. But my Halloween costume training kicked in, and the first place I went was Deseret Industries. I always check DI first and fill in the blanks later.
With the help of treasures from Deseret Industries, I was able to construct costumes for the lead fairies: the fairy king Oberon and his sidekick Puck.
Puck’s costume is made entirely of pieces I found at Deseret Industries. Her pants started out as a fur blanket! I found someone who could sew, and she repurposed the blanket into furry little woodland pants for Puck. I made Puck’s neckpiece from T-shirts that I shredded and jazzed up with hot glue, leaves, and liberal amounts of glitter. I used those same t-shirts to make the braided strap for her satchel.
The belt around Oberon’s chest is a $1 DI find, and it worked perfectly to hold his shoulder piece together. The green belt around his waist was made from a blanket we cut up. We used this blanket in several other pieces in the show. (Thank you for your valiant service, Mr. Green Blanket.)
I also outfitted our group of mechanicals (a humorous band of actors in the play). They were all clothed in pants-turned-into-knickers that I snagged for $4 apiece. Their bags, fake food, wooden forks, fur collars, and other various costume pieces were all purchased at Deseret Industries as well.
Whether you’re looking to costume yourself or a troupe of actors, I would advise that Deseret Industries be your go-to and first stop when it comes to costuming. (I will also mention that while searching for costume pieces, I found several shirts I bought for my own personal use. They are darling and I wear them ALL the time! Score!) I love that with a little creativity and perhaps some hot glue, you can affordably make all your wildest costume dreams come true at Deseret Industries!
Jill Bearden is a full-time mom and part-time floral designer. She loves participating in community theatre and has both acted in and directed many shows. She is now a costumer as well! Jill also loves crafting and spends many hours listening to audiobooks and gluing things together. When she isn’t crazy busy, she enjoys sitting in her family room with her kids and husband, making up silly songs.