At first I started making hats and scarves (after all, what is a being from the North Pole if not one that requires warm clothing?) From there I must admit that I went with the more obvious fabrics first, red tartan and other fleeces, with two exceptions - the first being my Elf-On-Strike hat! Not working to a brief I confess this was more inspired by the fact it was the first of the Christmas pieces I was attempting, right at the beginning of November and so I was not overly in the festive spirit. This is the first time I have attempted large scale hand embroiders, I was embroidering on fleece so I used multiple embroidery threads and a bodkin to make sure the embroidery was substantial enough to last without warping the fabric.
From hats I wanted to make full costumes, so I decided to start with elves - not the everyday interpretations but something a little bit different, and special. Having to do it to non-production specifications was interesting, I am so used to thinking about the production requirements when making a costume! I decided to do the elves out of synthetic fabrics with a lining.
Thinking of what makes an elf - the colours, red and/or green are synonymous in the UK at least, so that was a good jumping off point, as well as a bit of sparkle, it is for Christmas after all! So I started with basic shape designs, then chose my fabrics according to my self imposed budget. I had spare calico that I used to draft a basic pattern also helped by my borrowed dress form!
Another fun skill I got to learn from this was how to make frogging from cord. This is an incredibly difficult and fiddly process, and I must admit that if you can get exactly what you need online, it is worth the extra expense! However if you can't wait, or you just can't find the right colour of type of frogging you need it is possible to make it, just be prepared to fail miserably the first few times no matter how many different how-to's or tutorials you try online! In the end I knew the basic shapes I wanted and just ended up working with the cord until I figured out a way to make them that made sense to me and that I could work with.
Above - one of my first elves right before I added the buttons
A fabric that in theatre I have never actually gotten to work with before is fleece, stage lights and hot theatre's not being overly conducive to hot costumes! However it is by far one of the easiest fabrics I have used, and I loved making this Nutcracker inspired costume below.
My Nutcracker, 1