So this is a little bit out of order. I actually made my Jessie costume first, thinking it would be the easiest of the three I was attempting. So the alien was the second one in the series.Jessie is a great character, but I admit when I made this I'd only seen Toy Story 2 once, years ago. But since the only other female characters in the movies were Andy's mom (yawn) and Bo Peep (yaaaawn), there wasn't much choice.
Here's Jessie. She's a rootin' tootin' yodeling cowgirl, and a part of Woody's Roundup gang. Her costume is alse deceptively intricate, if you're going to be serious about doing it correctly. I gathered the parts before attempting any of the costume, visiting our local Goodwill for the shirt, Michael's for the felt and rickrack, and Wal-Mart for the wig parts.
I made the wig first, by cutting the bill of a red ballcap ($2 on clearance at Wally World) and hot-gluing lengths of red yarn to it. I seriously underestimated the time this would take (and Jessie has an enormous head, so the amount of red yarn needed to get the proportions correct was almost the whole skein). Instead of the hour or so I thought it would take, I spent 4 times that gluing the yarn and my fingers to the cap. I blew through half a season of Torchwood (nice anagram) on Netflix while I made it. Oh Jack, you're such a dreamy freakshow.
Here's how the wig looked, and I looked in it, at 3am. Note undereye circles, lack of makeup, and shifty-eyed distrust of all alien life. The wig is suprisingly comfortable, and with the addition of a festive yellow ribbon, looks much like Jessie's beautiful yarn full of hair. (That's a Buzz Lightyear quote, btw, not me just switching words around) I look like fresh hell in this picture. The addition of concealer, freckles and superhigh arched red brows really helped the presentation for actual Halloween festivities.
The shirt was the next evening's activity. I looked at a still from the movie and cut yellow felt to match the shape, then hotglued it onto my $3 Goodwill button-down. Then I added red sparkly rickrack and ribbon in the correct pattern. The cuffs were a little more difficult and required actual sewing in addition to the generous dollops of hot glue. And my favorite part of the whole outfit was the fringe on the cuffs. I know it was just felt cut into fringe and sewed on, but for some reason it was just the right touch to made it feel authentic. The buttons were wooden round things I picked up somewhere (a junk drawer or box, I can't remember), and glued safety pins on. Fancy fancy.
The belt buckle I got at the Goodwill for .50. It was attached to a wonderful molded plastic belt that only reached about halfway around me, so I ripped it off an stuck it onto a belt of my own. I tried to make the original belt work, because it was very intricately carved with horses and buttes railways and such, but it just wouldn't work. I'm still mourning that one, actually. It was perfect, only it was also teeny.
An important note to anyone who is making a costume such as this. Please please please TRY ON your shirt before you buy it and modify it. I didn't do this, and the shirt ended up being 1. Too thin and 2. Too snug. This is not a good combination. I don't want to talk about it further except to say I had to not breathe or eat during Halloween, which really sucked. Sucked in, that is.
Next was the cow fur chaps. I got unexpectedly lucky here, and I took it as a sign that I should indeed make the rest of the costumes. Years ago I got into this thing where I'd paint chairs like barnyard animals and give them to people. I had a pig, some cows, etc... I called it the "E-I-E-I-O Collection." The cows even had pink paper mache udders. Yeah, I know. Anyhoo, at some point I bought this fabulous fake fur fabric and covered the seats of the chair in the stuff, and apparently made some throw pillows to match. One of the pillows was sitting in the "bag to go to the Goodwill" and caught my eye just as I was wondering how to paint the chaps. I took out my trusty seam ripper and took it apart, then cut it lengthwise, pinned them to some jeans and Bam! instant chaps. I also got lucky on the boots: really awesome Fryes a friend let me borrow.
The hat. The hat. The damned hat. Jessie's hat is not a normal cowboy hat, it's something called a Mexican Cowboy hat, which is flatter on top. Also, as I may have mentioned, this chick has a gigantic noggin, so a normal hat wouldn't fit anyway. I finally gave up on the hat. And then ... jackpot, I found one under a display at the party store in Greensboro. At $12, it was much more expensive than any other piece of the costume, but I considered it worth the extra cash. Unfortunately, it was black. No problem, I thought, that's what spray paint is for. Except the black felt was like a black hole for paintm sucking and sucking the color in. I ended up using 4 large bottles of acrylic on the damn thing before it was passable, adding an extra $2.47 to the price tag with each bottle. But hey howdy hey, the final product looked good.
For comparison, buying the Jessie costume online(without shipping and with no wig), is about $68. My Jessie was about $30. (Around $9 without the hat).
(And it made this little girl at the Halloween festival so happy, which made it all worth it.)
Up next: biting off more than I can chew, and beyond!