Recent Comments

    Making a quick and dirty maid’s cap

    aka I lost the damn thing again

    I won’t claim this is perfect, but I’ve yet to find a better way to do it, and I’ve made four or five of the things over the last 14 years. It beats wearing a coffee filter on your head.

    Supplies:
    *About ¼ of a yard of white cotton, not woven too tightly (1/3 of a yard would be better; don’t screw up)
    *Approx 16” of scalloped lace trim, 1.5” wide at its widest point
    *White thread, needles, pins, a ruler or tape measure

    CUT IT:
    Cut a 5.25” diameter circle (finished cap is 5” in diameter; I am including a ¼” seam allowance all the way round)

    FOLD IT:
    Pin in place three folds originating from the center back, where you’re going to put the bow. If you aren’t feeling that detail-oriented, the folds can be omitted but it won’t look as good. I suggest lighting ironing the folds into place and then tacking them down with very tiny stitches spread far apart (you want it to look natural).

    DECORATE IT:
    Pin under the seam allowance and either baste it down now or pin the lace underneath it so you can sew on the lace and sew under the seam allowance at the same time. (It saves time, sort of, but it’s fiddly and harder to take apart later.) Pin the lace so it overlaps itself at the center back, under where you’re going to put the bow so the join won’t show.

    For the ribbon:
    Cut a 21.5”x 3.5” rectangle of the same white fabric (I used 21.5” last time; up to 23” or so is fine; again, this includes a ¼” seam allowance all around.)

    Fold the ribbon right side to right side and sew along the edge ¼” from the edge, making a tube. Turn the tube inside out so the right sides are on the outside. Cut the ends diagonally, making a trapezoid.

    ——————————–
    \________________/

    Finish the ends, tucking the ragged ends in and sewing them inside your trapezoid.

    (Yes, you could just use 1.5” width white ribbon…but it looks crappy. The texture’s wrong, and it won’t have the correct body when you tie it into a bow.)

    Tie your trapezoid “ribbon” into a bow, keeping the two “tails” of the bow about the same length. The center of the bow shouldn’t be totally flat; let it have a little body.

    Tack the bow onto the cap at the base of your radiating folds (or just where you overlapped the lace if you skipped the folds). Tack down both the loops and the center of the bow to the cap with double thread; it’s sort of heavy.

    WEAR IT:
    I find the best way to attach the cap is with bobby pins. (Take them off after every wearing; I used to leave them attached but got rust stains when my costume bag got damp. Just don’t do it.)
    Slide one bobby pin along each side and one along the back under your bow so it doesn’t flop around. Buy auburn or white bobby pins.

    TIP: Some Magentas suggest making thread loops or making small loops out of satin cord underneath on either side for the bobby pins so they don’t show. I’ve been Magenting for more than 30 years and never found it necessary.

    You’re lucky! He’s lucky! We’re all lucky! MAGENTA – A Domestic

    Did you know? Patricia Quinn, Lady Stephens (born 28 May 1944) is a Northern Irish actress and singer.  Born in Belfast, she started her career as a Playboy Bunny in London.  Her late husband Robert Stephens was knighted prior to his death, giving Quinn the title of Lady Stephens.

    Note:  This was written by a very anal retentive Magenta, and edited by an Eddie.  So good luck.

    Time Warp:

    Wig & Hair Styling Tips – A Thesis.

      • Red (auburn) frizzy shoulder-length wig with center part.

    Magsdinnerhair

      • Dr. Ruth’s TIP:  Many Magentas just tease their hair. I found putting my hair into 20-30 wet braids the night before worked better and lasted longer. Let dry overnight. Undo the braids, frizz, hairspray, and back-comb. Using a crimper didn’t get my hair kinky enough.
      • Dr. Ruth’s TIP: Insert a small bobby pin into your hair on either side of your forehead to keep the hair out of your face – even more important if you’re wearing a wig since they’ve usually got more volume.
      • My Two CENTS:  Several Magentas have written saying that they use their own hair and it looks great. Good for them! Mine doesn’t. I’ve only met one Magenta who uses her own hair whose hair doesn’t wilt partway through the show. She’s a former cosmetology student who puts her hair in rag curls; this requires sleeping in the rollers and will damage your hair long-term. She tried it on me – it was painful and my hair wilted halfway through Time Warp. Some of us just don’t have Magenta hair.
      • You Dirty Rat: If you have to tease/rat your hair to get Magenta’s ‘do, a wig is kinder to your hair than abusing it every week. A wig only needs to be styled once, and touched up after washing. It’s always the right length. And the color doesn’t fade or require touchups.
      • Wigstock: You can get a decent-looking Magenta wig without spending a lot, though you get what you pay for. If you buy a cheap wig, eventually it will turn into a giant snarl and if you have any self-respect you’ll have to replace it.
    Magenta's hair, side view

    Side view. Check out the shape.

    • If you’re getting a wig, visit the Wigs page for general tips. Keep in mind that Magenta’s hair is cut in layers; it’s shorter on top, and the ends aren’t cut straight across in front. Wigs can be ordered in a variety of colors – most are available in some shade of auburn. Your best bet is a spiral perm. It takes some faith, but brush those spiral curls together and you’ll see Magenta start to appear. Looser curls won’t look right and they rat even faster than the spirals do. Spiral perms tend to be extra-long, so order yours too long rather than too short and have it cut.

    White Maid’s Cap

    • This can be made in less than an hour by hand with basic sewing skills. About a 5″ diameter circle of white fabric edged with white scalloped flat lace ruffle (approximately 1.5″ wide looks good) and an attached white bow at the back (also about 1.5″ wide). The bow’s ends should hang behind the cap a couple of inches. There are 3 radial folds (two look like they make up one box pleat) in the cap at the back, scrunching the cap a little so it’s not a perfect circle.
    • TIP: Secure with bobby pins (through little thread loops on the underside of the cap, or not). Bobby pins are available in white. Caps attached to a comb or a barrette (or with only one bobby pin) tend to flip during Time Warp. (Here’s how I make mine.)

    White apron with shoulder straps

    • The apron is made of sheer material.
    • The front panel is a rectangle wider than it is long, and its top is a little narrower than the bottom (So it’s really a trapezoid – so sue me.) Panel is tapered in with 2 vertical folds on each side that go about 1/4 of the way down the apron. The front panel extends from the waist about 2/3 of the way down the skirt. The apron’s front panel is edged with a pleated ruffle (about 10 pleats on each side and 16 along the bottom).
    • The apron waistband runs across the top of the front panel and ties in a bow in back. The two shoulder straps each have 3-4 vertical pleats. The straps are sewn into the center front of the waistband right next to each other, and in back they attach to the sash on either side of the bow.
    • Magenta’s apron straps slip off her shoulders a lot. It gets old. Make yours just a little too short so they won’t.
      TIP: Several people suggested using velcro to attach the straps; eventually I tried it, and it works really well without being very noticeable. I recommend using sew-on velcro (you wash your costume, don’t you?) with black on the shoulders of the dress and white on the apron straps. You don’t need a lot; the pieces I used were maybe half an inch long. I put the soft half of the velcro on the shoulders to minimize my wig catching on it. Be very careful placing the velcro so the straps lie flat and look natural; I pinned mine in place before sewing them down and tried the costume on a couple of times to be sure.
    • IMPORTANT TIP: if at all possible, when throwing your apron away after cleaning Brad’s glasses, throw it into a theater seat. I’ve lost more aprons and caps, and this makes it easier to find and less likely to land in a puddle of soda (it stains).

    Black dress (white collar and cuffs)

    • Synthetic fabric. (At least it looks like it, and sadly, cotton fades.) Knee-length; fastened with button loops. Elbow-length sleeves with white cuffs. For some reason, the collar isn’t quite attached for about the first inch on Magenta’s right side but falls loose. Unbutton dress so it’s about even with bra (which shows a bit); unbutton it from the bottom up to about crotch level. The dress and collar are not made of the same material; to me, the dress looks synthetic and the cuffs look like they’re cotton or at least a blend.
    • Cuffs: Probably cotton. The cuffs are a single white band of fabric folded up and over the sleeves. The short ends of the cuff aren’t sewn together, forming a V-shaped gap.  Mina Tip: notes that the stiff collar from a small man’s white shirt makes a great cuff (check the size first).  May I  Suggest: Authentic cuffs fall down a lot. A wise Magenta tacks hers in place.
    • Buttons: The buttons run down the left side about 1.25″ from the front opening of the dress. They are 3/8″ or 5/8″ diameter, covered with black fabric and fastened with button-loops.  You’ll have to make both buttons and loops. (Covered buttons can be bought in white, but they’re usually satin, which doesn’t dye well.) Buy the button fronts and backs at a fabric store (they come with instructions and sometimes a little tool), cut little circles of material, and then snap the fronts and backs together. (Make a few extra.)  The easiest way to make the loops is probably to sew a long thin tube of fabric, then turn it inside out and cut it into sections. When fastened around the buttons, about 3/8″ of the loop shows. Mina tip: suggests making them out of double-folded black bias tape, which is easier but gives you less control over the width. Do not make loops out of anything that ravels, and make sure they are securely sewed onto the dress, preferably with at least two rows of machine stitching.
      TIP: Use synthetic fabric for the loops. My last dress was made of synthetic, which didn’t fade, and cotton loops, which did. Looked awful.
      TIP: Test the loops after you’ve sewn them on; it’s easy to fasten enough of the loop to your dress that it won’t go over the buttons. And if the loops are too long, your dress will gap.
    • PLEATING – DRESS: There are three narrow (~ 5mm) sewed-down pleats (“pin tucks”) all the way down the front of the dress on both sides of the front opening. They are about 7/8″ to 1.25″ apart. The tucks on Magenta’s right side are about 1.25″ from the center opening, and the the tucks on the left side are very close to the buttons.  The best photos showing the front pleats are the Mick Rock outtakes of Frank, Magenta and Columbia.
    • PLEATING – SLEEVES: There are also 3 long pin tucks on the sides of Magenta’s sleeves. They are spaced ~1.25″ apart and start wide at the cuffs, tapering to almost nothing at the top. They are pressed towards the front of the dress. I used to think they went from the cuffs 2/3 of the way up the sleeve. Now I’m no longer sure; they may go to a shoulder seam. After checking the photo evidence, the pleats on my latest dress don’t. Decide for yourself. This is from the Mick Rock shot on the back of Poster Magazine Number One (Frank on the cover), courtesy of Fox.
      Sleeve pleats, as hi-res as I could scan 'em.

      Sleeve pleats, as hi-res as I could scan ’em.

      The large video/DVD poster (“Go Both Ways”) also shows the sleeve pleats.

    They’re a huge pain. You can always fake them by making tiny rectangles of fabric, pointing the tops, and sewing the damn things on.

     UNDERWEAR & Shoes!

    magsbra

    • Black deep plunge underwire bra with multicolored sequins. – There is a little black bow on the strap between the cups. Cups are “demi” style, offering minimal coverage, scalloped and trimmed along the edges with sequins (scattered no more than two deep, not too close together; some are blue, red and purple).
    • Black string bikini bottom – There is a little red bow, the sort used to trim a bra, where the elastic over the right leg meets the fabric of the crotch.
      Note tiny red bow.

      Note tiny red bow.

      .
    • Garter belt, seamed black stockings – The garter belt is just black elastic and straps with no extra fabric. If this is in fashion, praise the gods and order 2. If you’re modifying a garter belt by removing fabric panels, keep in mind that the elastic will stretch a lot more when you’ve cut off the fabric. It might be easier to start from scratch. Either be very careful indeed with how much elastic you use, or sew it to something that won’t stretch (I used black ribbon). I had a lot of trouble finding black lingerie findings; there’s a wonderful site on the links page.
    • Black granny/Victorian button boots – Spike heeled, mid-calf. The boots are lower in back then in front and the tops dip in a “v” in the very front (which is otherwise the highest part of the boot), and they fasten on the outer sides with 7 black buttons. They’re probably suede; some people think they’re satin but the Blu-Ray has me leaning towards suede. I bought Victorian reproductions; some of the Funtasma shoes look OK, and Betsey Johnson did some suede ones that look amazing but the heels are too damn high.

    Multicolored spiky-feathered feather duster with cane handle.

    • Both handle and the feathered part are very long. On most prints the feathers look brown/red, but there are actually several colors, including pink, yellow, red and green – freeze frame the movie and it’s quite clear. Dollar Tree sells some with a really short handle; I’ve seen them with longer handles sold on eBay. If you can’t find multicolored, chicken’s feather dusters tend to look best. I found mine in Chinatown (check the hardware stores). I finally took the plunge and glued other colored feathers to it; this turned out to be surprisingly easy (place feather; dab end of feather with tacky craft glue; press into place. Repeat.)
    • Red tape at the base of the feathers; as far as I can tell, there’s a mint-green strip spiraling down the cane handle, and the handle itself is red. I tried mint-green paint and it didn’t work and finally glued a narrow mint-green ribbon spiraled around mine. I used red paint; I’ve since discovered a red Sharpie marker is much easier and more convenient for touchups. Helpful Tip: if you’re painting your duster and it’s actually made of cane, you may want to soak it first – just put it in a vase of water for 45 minutes like an exotic flower. The occasional soak keeps the handle supple and makes it less likely to split – and you won’t want to do this after it’s painted.
    • Use apron to dry Brad’s glasses, then set aside for “Scare the Monster.”

    Creation Scene:

    Light pink rubber(?) mask.

    • Well, it’s some sort of unhemmed stretchy material. Hooks around the ears, covers the tip of the nose, and comes to a blunt point below the chin. Surprisingly easy to make yet many performers don’t have one. Pink felt works nicely and requires no hemming or special tools other than scissors.

    White cotton lab apron with wide neckstrap.

    • TIP: Put on after “Go and assist Riff Raff.” Covers Magenta’s chest and is as long as her dress. Corners are rounded, and it ties in back with a thin tie. A butcher’s apron works, and some craft stores sell similar craft aprons for about $5. Trouble getting it off in time? Cut one of the neck straps off and add velcro or a snap.
    • PROP – Big metal scissors.

    Scare the Monster:

    • Direction: Put on white apron from Time Warp (hopefully you’ve found it again by now).
    • White yarn mop with unpainted wooden handle.
    • Useful for sweeping up extra rice. I’m told these can be found in Mexican groceries; I ordered half a dozen cheap from a janitorial supply place (they needed sanding and the shipping was as much as the mops).

    Toucha Toucha:

    • TIP: Remove maid’s cap, right boot and right stocking. Yes, you’ll have time to put the boot and stocking back on if you don’t dawdle.

    Marabou-trimmed chiffon negligee

    • About knee-length, with loose elbow-length sleeves. Trimmed with pinkish-brownish marabou feathers. For suggestions on sewing chiffon, check out DIY: Finding and Making the Stuff.
    • Fastened fairly closely around the bust, full skirt. The front is opaque while the back is not, so I’m guessing it’s lined or overlaps in front.
    • The front neck has some sort of thin black ruffly trim, and the back half of the neck is trimmed with pinkish-brown marabou feather trim. (This is very hard to see. Watch how the trim floats and I think you’ll agree it’s a feather trim.)
    • Sleeves and hem are trimmed with matching pinkish-brown marabou feather trim. A black ribbon hangs from each sleeve, apparently over the marabou. A little ribbon bow? Still haven’t figured it out.
    • Some Magentas recommend threading the marabou trim through thread loops attached to the dress instead of sewing it on (for easy removal when laundering).
    • Marabou can be hand-washed; it will look ruined but isn’t. Fluff up after it dries and it will be fine.

    Silver (chrome) hair dryer.

    • Silver with white handle and cord. Most people spraypaint one and it looks crappy. Try to find one that’s chrome.

    Round bottle of red nail polish.

    • Retro-styled bottle: seen from the front it looks like a circle. Flat front, round sides, white cylindrical cap. I’ve had the devil’s own time finding the right bottle shape; if you find one with a different polish color in it, buy it, dump the polish, and put red polish in it (this was harder to do than I thought).
    • I’ve been doing this a million years TIP: If Columbia paints your toenails with one light coat, it will dry before the next scene.

    Magazine and a cigarette.

    You won’t need this unless your cast does the “ring around the lesbians” bit where Dr. Scott circles Magenta and Columbia. But after years of squinting, now we know, thanks to the Blu-Ray (and Mina Credeur’s sharp eye) that Magenta is reading Movie Mirror. Hit eBay…or ask Mina for a reproduction.

    Pre-Dinner Scene:

    • Put stocking and boot back on. Put on Time Warp apron, letting straps slide off your shoulders.

    Close-fitting wrap-around sleeveless black chiffon negligee

    • Just past knee-length. Wide shoulder straps are made of the same piece of material as the dress. The fabric comes down from the shoulders over the middle of the cups, crossing left over right below Magenta’s bra, fastening and overlapping at her waist, leaving a triangle of bare skin showing below the bra. The hem is trimmed with blue(?) sequins, as is the crossover edge of the dress on Magenta’s left from the collarbone to the hem. There are no sequins on the right crossing-over edge.
    • TIP: For suggestions on sewing chiffon, check out DIY: Finding and Making the Stuff.
    • The bodice and the skirt of the dress are separate pieces attached at the waist (note the thin horizontal line above Magenta’s garter belt) and the “straps” are joined at the top of the shoulder with a shoulder seam.
    • TIP: This dress can be faked by cutting a triangular hole under the bust of a sleeveless black negligee with built-in bra and stitching a diagonal line of sequins down the front.

    Gold gong and wooden drumstick (round head) to hit it with.

    • TIP: Paint a “frying pan cover” (remove handle with pliers) or a dinner tray. I’ve seen them made of styrofoam, too. A metal garbage can lid might work. After 20 years, I just bought a gong; some folks use a cymbal (cheaper).

    Super Heroes – you’re almost done for the night:

    Space wig (“Bride of Frankenstein”)

    • TIP: If you have long hair, pin it up, stuff with paper towels, and put in white wavy stripes. (White hair spray doesn’t show up well.) You can try this with your Magenta wig, but it usually looks squashed and crappy.
    • White strips of hair are fairly inexpensive; they can be bought and styled at wig shops. The white strips of hair should be waved (maybe with wave clips). Someone at the wig shop will know how.
    • Crappy Bride of Frankenstein wigs from a magic/novelty shop are only about $30, but your own hair will look better. (They are black and the entire wig, white stripes and all, is made of tight curls. It’s an ugly poodle hat. Just don’t do it.)
    • A good wig costs from $70 to $200. If you aren’t buying a Space Wig, you will want to slightly modify a true Bride wig; the original Bride wig is wedge-shaped and taller; Magenta’s is more spherical (and auburn). The most common problem among good Magenta wigs is being too tall. My wig shop recommends synthetic hair (and LOTS of hairspray) for this style.

    Spacesuit.

    • Good luck. The color photo from the RHPS Book is a MIRROR IMAGE. (The black and white photo is correct.)
      {The April 2005 Mick Rock calendar has a nice side view with a good view of the anklet/boots.}
    • Quilted gold wraparound top with front and back “skirt” flaps (quilted in diagonal squares and rectangles, NOT JUST SQUARES) with double black vinyl fins, belt, black rectangular “buckle” with 4 vertical gold half-cylinders (beveled ends), and black lightning bolt pin (stitched on looks wrong – surface is visibly flat and you can see it reflecting light in some pictures)

    Silver gloves with black vinyl sleeves / gauntlets

    • Sleeves are edged with thin border of gold lamé. You can buy gold binding tape, or just use thin strips of lamé.
    • There are three short stitched 3-D wavy lines (i.e., 6 lines of stitching, 2 defining each line) on the back of the glove near where the sleeve tip comes over the back of the hand. Riff’s and Mags’ gloves are also the same size.
    • TIP: Silver gloves can be brought at bridal boutiques or accessories stores. (You can buy silver firefighter’s gloves from an army/navy surplus store, but they have suede palms, only 3 fingers and get really hot. I couldn’t make them work, though others have.)
    • The sleeves are made of shiny vinyl and extend in a point over the back of the hands. They will need to be reinforced to hold their shape. Try bridal stiffener or TimTex (a kind of stiff paper sold by the yard at fabric stores – used for things like wide-brimmed garden hats or fabric bowls), buckram (a type of stiff cloth), or thin quilt batting.
    • The inner edge of the glove sleeve comes to just over mid-forearm on the inner arm, and the outer edge extends to a point just past the elbow. Do not cut sleeves too long on the inner arm or you won’t be able to bend your elbows.
    • TIP: Some band supply shops sell black vinyl gauntlets, and you can buy Darth Vader gloves and cut ’em up.

    Underwear, Stockings and Boots

    • Spike-heel patent black ankle boots with silver-backed cuffs cut into points (“elf booties”). Magenta’s have at least five points; they curve out slightly. Some people cut their own; I take the boots and a pattern for what to cut to a shoe repair shop. They look at you funny, but the work is professional.
      You can make lamé-backed cuffs and velcro them over a pair of boots.
    • Spiked gold anklet. – The anklet is gold with 3 rows of silver spikes arranged in a diamond pattern. 3/4″ spikes look right. Make the anklet out of leather or upholstery from an auto shop. Worn on left ankle.
    • Black undies, black stockings and garterbelt. (Yes, still wearing those from earlier.)

    I would like….if I may…..

    These are scene-by scene breakdowns of costumes and hand props for a screen-accurate rendition of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Makeup (including tattoos and scars) is treated separately in the Makeup section. This list is based on observations of several different prints of the film, discussions with other fans, and extensive use of Rocky Horror posters, books, magazines, video, DVD, Blu-Ray, stills, etc. I’ve had lots of excellent help. (My thanks to everyone on the Rocky Horror newsgroup for their input and support; I miss you guys.)

    The descriptions here are not perfect; this is a work in progress. If what’s on this list doesn’t look like what’s on-screen, go with what’s on-screen. This list is NOT “definitive” and is intended as a convenience to people assembling costumes, not the word of God.

    If you think you notice a mistake or just want to chat about costuming, please email me. (If you see something that is wrong/incomplete, tell me which scene I can see the detail in question; I reply much faster if you send a photo/screencap than if I have to drag out the Blu-Ray.) I am happy to talk with anyone so long as a tone of mutual respect is maintained. Yes, the site is still regularly updated; for details, see “What’s New” below.

    All mistakes on this list are mine –nothing goes onto the site until I have verified it with my own eyes.

    The DVD and Blu-Ray really changed everything. Now everyone can have access to high-quality stills. If you want to do serious detail work, buy a copy. I bought a DVD player specifically to watch Rocky, then did the same thing for the Blu-Ray. Get a player with zoom capabilities. If you’re looking for DVD software for your computer, I recommend PowerDVD; it has screen capture capabilities and frame advance. Blu-Ray capture is significantly more difficult.

    How To Use This List

    This list is intended for fans who want to recreate the costumes from the movie “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
    If you are costuming a production of the play “The Rocky Horror Show,” I can’t stop you from using this website for reference. But I can strongly encourage you to do what Sue Blane did and costume the play using your own original ideas, or, if you must, using her designs as a jumping-off point instead of slavishly copying them. Please leave that to us fans.

    • If you want to know what costume pieces a character wears, go to that character’s page.
    • If you want to know how to make yourself up like a character (including tattoos), visit the Makeup by Character and Tips & Tricks page.
    • If you are wondering how to find costume pieces or want general tips on making costumes or costume care, visit the DIY / Costume & Prop Tips & Tricks page.
    • If you are looking for specific websites which sell shoes, gloves, etc. or want to find people who will make costumes for you, visit our Links page.
    • If you don’t see what you’re looking for, or you think you’ve found a mistake or omission, by all means email me. Please do check out any details you write about before emailing me, though; if you haven’t bothered to check the detail, why should I?