Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dalek Dress Halloween Costume

 Halloween has been one of the most exciting times in our home.  The girls loved to plan for Halloween and preparations used to begin as soon as school got out in June!  Even though the girls are now teenagers, the excitement for Halloween is still there.
As you know, we are Dr.Who fans around here.  Ashley has made sneakers designed after Dr. Who characters, I made her an Adipose for Christmas one year and I made her a quilt based on the TARDIS.  This Halloween, she added to her Dr. Who collection and decided to become a Dalek.
Now, in the Dr. Who Universe, the Daleks are a huge recurring race of robots who want to destroy all races.  They say "Exterminate! Exterminate" and try (and fail) to outsmart the Doctor.  So, as you can see from the picture above, the Daleks are rather interesting, not humanoid at all.  This presented a challenge.  But, Ashley didn't want to look like a Dalek, she wanted to have a Dalek dress -- something reminiscent of the Dalek.
I pulled out my sketchbook and tried to figure out how we were going to do this.  First, I found a black and white image on the internet.  This would help me determine the parts that were crucial to capture the Dalek.  
Ash specifically wanted the three lights on the "head" and the plunger in the middle torso.
We needed to make the round nodules and the gold dress. Ashley had a request, she wanted the skirt to be in panels with 3 nodules on each panel -- kind of like pleats on a skirt.  So, with all that, I went to the fabric store and got some gold satin for the dress and some black satin.
I made a pattern from a piece of cardboard for each of the pleats. I wasn't sure how many I would need, but I measured around Ashley's waist and we came up with 7 pieces. She wanted the length to be just knee length.  So, I cut out 7 pieces of gold satin, 7 pieces of black satin for the underside and 7 pieces interfacing - all from the pattern.  I used the interfacing because I wanted the fabric to be stiffer than left untreated.  I wanted it to be able to support the weight of the black nodules.
 For each panel, Ashley fused the interfacing to the gold satin and I sewed that piece to a black piece.  We turned them inside out, so the "good sides" would show and I top stitched them.  We did this for each piece.  Then I measured around her waist and made a thick panel for a belt, with a velcro tie.  I attached the panels to the belt and we had the beginnings of a Dalek skirt!
Now, for the nodules. Originally, we were planning on painting styrofoam balls black, slicing them in half and gluing them onto the skirt.  But, we found that we needed 3 nodes for each skirt X 7 panels = 21 styrofoam half balls. The idea of slicing 11 styrofoam balls in half, was something I dreaded.  I happen to come across tiny round frisbees and they were the perfect shape already. They just needed to be sprayed black.  I did this and attached them with a hot glue gun.
Then for the plunger.  I didn't think that carrying around a prop would work well for the Halloween dance, so I thought of the collars that injured dogs wear to prevent them from licking their wounds.  I made one out of black satin and used interfacing on both pieces of satin to make it really stiff. I made a large circle, tracing a large round bowl for the size.  I cut the inside circle so her wrist would fit and put velcro on it to attach it.  This way, she could wear it as a cuff.  When I showed her my idea, she loved it and thought that wearing a black glove would complete the outfit.
Now, for the headpiece.  We found some empty clear plastic ornaments at the craft shop.  We bought 3 and a small pack of LED lights.  Ashley painted the clear ornaments with some matte medium that she tinted with acrylic paint.  When it dried it was transparent, but tinted orange.  Again, we used the hot glue gun to attach the lights to the ornaments.  I think hot glued this to a headband.  We left one unattached for the light on the forehead....

 And here is the Dalek dress and the DALEK!
 And here are the other views, including a smiling Dalek!  Exterminate! Exterminate!

(Jon helped her into her costume for the dance.  He tied the front light around her ponytail.)

1 comment:

Nik Kelly said...


Daleks are not robots, they are Cyborgs.

There's a blobby, one-eyed mutant alien wired up to the hardware.

No wonder they tend to be a tad grumpy !!