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    Riff Raff – Getting Handy

    Window / Time Warp:


    • Bald wig with blond hair glued on.
      Hair should be sort of thin, and not all cut off neatly the same length. Riff’s hair is stringy and dirty-looking; you may want to grease the hair with gel or lotion. If your Riff wig has beautiful, silky hair, fix it.

      • Dr. Ruth’s TIP: Bald? Glue a weft of blond hair directly to your head. (Not bald? You can always buy the commercial Riff wig – see the Links page.)

    • Black ripped tailcoat. The tailcoat has peak lapels and is short in front with swallowtail tails in back. The transition from the front of the jacket to the tails is abrupt, not gradual. 2 large fabric-covered buttons placed vertically below the lapels on each side of coat. (These are easiest to see right before Riff goes to scare the monster.) The top button’s (on Riff’s left) fabric covering has worn off slightly. Two fabric-covered buttons are placed horizontally above the tails. Used tailcoats can be bought from a formalwear shop. Or cut tails out of black fabric and stitch to a suit jacket.

      Both sleeves have been ripped out — the right cuff only a little, the left cuff, almost to the elbow. A shred of fabric on the left shoulder stands up almost vertically–make out of fabric glued to a pipe-cleaner, segment of wire hanger, or part of a thin pet collar. There are also long string-like black shreds hanging from the jacket near the tails. Inner pocket on left side (store bloody rag to dry Janet here).

    • Hump.

      Use wadded up cloth or small pillow fastened into the coat. Pins comes undone easily and may tear your jacket. You can also sew a belt onto the jacket back which can then be fastened around the hump. A fabric belt with a sliding buckle (not a traditional prong-type belt) will probably be easiest.

    • Bloodstained backless low-cut white piqué tuxedo vest (waistcoat) with narrow lapels.

      3 buttonholes; only one button (white plastic) is fastened. (Which one varies by scene.) Bottom of left side of waistcoat is frayed. The largest bloodstains are on Riff’s right side: there is a horizontal bloodstain with a slight drip below the waistline, and a long vertical bloodstain above it. A red marker works.

    • Half-finger leather black gloves with mesh backs (use biking or weightlifting gloves).

      There are two wide parallel holes on the left one: one on the back of the hand, one nearer the fingers.

    • Bloody rag (white, dishtowel sized).
      Kept in left inner pocket of tux jacket.

    • Green wine bottle with gold label and clear champagne coupe.

      I suggest plastic for safety. Try modifying a green 1 liter bottle (wrong shape, but shatterproof) or get a joke bottle of bubble bath. For the coupe, don’t use the two-piece thin plastic coupes sold as partyware; they get smashed very quickly. Plastic margarita glasses that look like coupes can be found for about $3 each; ask Google.
      Pour yourself a drink in the elevator, and hand coupe to Frank in the lab.

    • White suspenders.

      The old-fashioned kind that look like an upside-down “Y” in front and button onto the inside of the trouser waistband.

    • Tight black pants with white and black lacing on the legs.

      The left leg is laced with white lacing about a third of the way to the knee (3 X-shaped stitches, bow at the top). The right leg is laced the same way with black lacing. Lace loosely so pantlegs flare a little.

    • Black undies to save time in the Takeover scene.

    • White spat.

      Bloodstained on both sides. Wear on right boot. Military supply stores, formalwear and costume shops sell spats. Cut the heel and toe off a white sock if you can’t find spats. No, I don’t think there is a black spat on the left boot. No strap can be seen on the underside of Riff’s sole when Frank kicks him during Sword of Damocles.

    • Black Beatle boots.

      The toes are quite pointed; medium tapered “cuban” heel (like a cowboy boot). Centre seam cut (looks a bit like a spat); it’s a style the Beatles wore and the boot is available from sites that cater to Beatles tribute bands – Google Beatle boots, Chelsea boots, or winklepickers. (See the Links page.)

    Scare the Monster:

    • Bloody rag from Time Warp scene.

    • Gold candelabrum with 13 white candles.

      It stands on the floor with little feet at the end of the vertical stem. Leafy motif near the candles; twisted rope design on the stem. 6 candles in lower and middle tier; 1 candle in top tier. Electric candles can be used and candelabrum plugged into wall. Battery-powered candles can be bought around Christmas. Make sure they’re secure; secure candles with poster tack or clay if you don’t want to glue them.

    Takeover:

    • Space wig.

      Bonus points for a separate wig – the hair can be made erect using liquid latex, spray starch or white glue with a metal wire support. Use a plastic banana on a wire for laughs. If you’re using your own hair and it’s the right length, hairspray or gel.

    • Spacesuit.

      • Good luck. The color photo from the RHPS Book is a MIRROR IMAGE. (The black and white photo is correct.)
        For a good photo, check out the April 2005 Mick Rock calendar for 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.
    • Chrome pitchfork spacegun.

      Richard confirmed on Rocky Radio June 8, 1999 that: “[The gun] was chrome, it was silver…it’s some kind of fiberglass body that had been silvered somehow or other…plasticized silver.” Of course, if you have the choice between silver spraypaint and gold spraypaint, gold will still look more natural. Haven’t tried chrome spraypaint; if you have, send me a pic.

      Both the handle and the “sight” (an upward-pointing prong) angle back toward the pitchfork handle and are tipped with a ball. An upside-down lightning bolt protrudes from the front of the ball on the “sight.”
      The sight is attached to the gun where the prongs meet the pitchfork’s handle. All the pieces (handle, sight, tines, etc.) have a round cross-section. The circular “guard” around the trigger looks like a napkin ring. Handle is duller than rest of gun. The tines and the “sight” have a smaller diameter than the handle and the part of the gun that extends backwards beyond the handle. All three tines are the same length, and they taper.

      Use wooden beads from a craft store or ping-pong balls for the balls on the end of the tubes. Styrofoam balls are hard to paint and most glues melt them. Gun can be modified from a devil’s pitchfork (we used hot nails to hold it together–glue wasn’t enough) or be made of wood or metal. A box that makes electronic zapping noises is cool, but no one will hear it. Red LED’s at the end of each tine look great; red laser pointers don’t read as well. The best-looking gun I’ve seen that didn’t require welding was made by Scott Matheus. It’s plastic–he sanded it, coated it with red primer (a trick he from a public TV program on gilding), then applied two coats each of gold spraypaint and clear shellac. The problem with plastic is that eventually someone will step on it and break it (someone did).

    • 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. (Maybe he wears them the whole show? Whatever floats your boat.)

    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.

    DIY: Making and Finding the Stuff

    Where can I find out how to make Rocky costumes and props?

    Youtube.
    Youtube has a ton of DIY videos. Some are crap; some are pretty good.

    Public (especially university) libraries.

    Check out the theater section. If your library doesn’t have a book, they can probably get it through interlibrary loan. If you find something good, you can probably find your own copy at http://www.bookfinder.com .

    University libraries (especially universities with theater departments) tend to have better, if older, selection. (Older is better for subjects like wigs or millinery.) That theater department or the local community theater would be a good next stop, especially if you have specific questions.

    Where can I find supplies to make Rocky costumes and props?

    Lingerie shops, such as Frederick’s of Hollywood (also see the links page)

    On-line only now, Frederick’s carries cheap garter belts and stockings, gold briefs, and a pretty good floor show corset. (Note: most men wear a 38 or a 40 corset.) Friendly to larger sizes (mostly). Sold platform heels and stripper-high heels when no one else did, but the website doesn’t do shoes.

    Victoria’s Secret still has physical stores so you can try stuff on. Vicky’s is more expensive and usually not trashy enough. Local lingerie stores / sex shops may be more flexible about special orders. Lover’s Lane is seriously overpriced but has periodic 50% off sales and carries a wide range of stockings. Most places carry Leg Avenue, which makes novelty stockings/socks and basically-sized lingerie in a bag. They’re a commodity; find someplace cheap on-line and buy in bulk. Leg Avenue’s black knee-high socks shot through with silver lurex make nice Frank gloves with a little alteration. (Clothing outlets like Urban Outfitters sell stockings or tights…but unlike the socks, these require adding elastic.)

    Thrift Stores and Garage Sales.

    Good source for purses, shoes, slips, pearls, tap shoes, tube tops, and boots. Sometimes you’ll luck into things like gold band uniforms, black nylon robes, or a dress you can modify. (It’s a lot less work than making one from scratch.) Sometimes it is easier to find a garment made of a fabric you want and chop it up than to find the fabric. eBay’s easier, but more expensive – this is how we did it before eBay.

    Vintage Shops.

    Find 70s items here. Can be surprisingly affordable, depending on the shop. Might be just the place to find a cheap tux jacket or a vintage 1970’s rainjacket or car coat.

    Payless Shoe Stores.

    Stocks women’s high heels into at least a size 11, and they’re cheap.
    Sometimes has Brad/Janet shoes and cheap Magenta boots. Stock changes quickly, so when you see something you want, don’t wait. If a store doesn’t have your size, they can call other stores to find a store that does. May stock useful stuff like cushioned insoles (don’t buy the Dr. Scholl’s cheapie ones) and anti-slip pads for the soles of your shoes.

    Department Stores.

    I’ve had surprisingly good luck at JC Penney’s – I think Janet would shop there. Over the years I have bought fishnet pantyhose, giant pearls, platform sandals, and gold boxers here, and they used to carry name necklaces. They also have garter belts and used to sell 4711 cologne.

    Many items (like the platform sandals) are in the catalog or online only. They also have a scrubs catalog from which you can order lab coats (or just go on-line). I got my Magenta granny boots at Sears ($40).

    Larger department stores can also be a resource for makeup. Some folks swear by MAC eyeshadows, for example. Lots of color and they don’t change shades often.

    Beauty Supply Stores.

    They have wigheads, makeup sponges, and always have purple eyeshadow and false eyelashes regardless of current fashion. Eyelash glue bought here is less likely to dry out right away than that bought at a drugstore. If you wear strip lashes, be sure that you buy the right kind of eyelash glue (usually in a tube): the glue sold for individual lashes doesn’t come with an applicator!

    I usually go to Sally’s Beauty Supply; Ulta has more makeup and the fancy brands, but they don’t carry wig-related items.

    Discount Stores and Drug Stores

    Target, Wal-Mart, to a lesser extent Walgreens/Osco, etc., especially around Halloween or after-Halloween clearance. This is a good time to buy cheap wigs, fake eyelashes, capes, pitchforks and axes (for your space gun and for Frank). Costume wigs don’t usually look that good, but with a little styling can be quite acceptable, and you can’t beat the price. Most of the Halloween makeup is poor quality and not recommended. Haunt the regular makeup section (Gene Chiovari recommends Cover Girl) and try that instead. NOTE: If you find the “perfect color,” buy extra; makeup colors go in and out of style and this will buy you time if it is discontinued.

    Discount stores are also good for basic underwear. (My favorite Magenta bra in the 1990s was from K-Mart.) Roller pins (big bobbypins) and basic hairstyling supplies can be bought here, as can (sometimes) oval barrettes that are about right for Janet. Walgreen’s has carried fake eyelashes and glue for years, whether they are in fashion or not and sometimes has pink gloves. Even dollar stores can be good sources for dishwashing gloves, cheap multicolored featherdusters from China (Dollar Tree), etc.
    Playtex used to sell pink dishwashing gloves in October for Breast Cancer awareness at outlets like these, though in recent years they’ve gotten much harder to find.

    Fabric Stores.

    Get on the mailing list and then make all your major purchases when everything is on sale (coupons for X% off your total order tend to be every couple of months – Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc.). Get on the mailing list (sign up in the store) so you get coupons and know when sales are. Most of them now have coupons you can get on your phone. Sequined fabric, lamé and chiffon add up fast.

    Fabric stores also stock Velcro, ribbon, beads, boning, sequins by the yard or in strips, Aleene’s Stop Fraying (like Fray-Check, only better!) and other kinds of specialty glue (Jewel-It, E6000…), lingerie findings, bouquet forms, rhinestones, metal studs, lace, fake flowers, and fabric paint. Other useful purchases include eyelets and a special tool to set them into corsets. You can find some fabrics at Wal-Mart, but the selection is poor, they don’t know their stock, and you won’t accidentally find a lot of other useful stuff you didn’t know you needed. Visit around Christmas (or at the after-Christmas sales) if you need metallic ribbon, useful for floorshow garters or Columbia shorts.

    Craft Stores.

    There’s some overlap with fabric stores, but craft stores such as Michael’s stock less fabric and more of everything else. Check here for feathers of various types, rhinestones, fake celery, fake flowers, Testors enamel paints, paintbrushes, ribbon, whatever. Michael’s carries a wide range of Sharpie markers and you can buy them individually instead of buying multipacks. Keep your mind open; for example, those tiny paintbrushes could be just the thing to apply your eyeliner. Places like Ben Franklin also carry makeup in addition to crafts and notions; a long-time Magenta eyeshadow of mine is a no-name brand from Ben Franklin ($2). Again, check for coupons on their website/your smartphone.

    Hardware Shops.

    Sells chain for your Janet purse by the foot. They also stock jumprings, steel wool, etc. in addition to things you can repurpose.

    Home Repair Superstores (Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc.). Hardware shops on steroids. Also carry things like dowels/molding that may be handy for hand props (the cylinders on my space belt are half-dowel molding cut to size and sanded).

    Hobby Shops.

    They’ll know exactly what kind of paint is best for whatever you have to paint, and be happy to tell you how to prep the surface, too.

    Costume/Theatrical/Magic/Novelty Shops.

    Quality is usually better at a year-round place than at seasonal pop-ups and the staff is better informed (and able to special order items). They’ll stock up around Halloween and may offer very slim pickings after the big post-Halloween sale.

    Look for boas, clown white, stage makeup, fishnets, glitter tophats, etc. May also stock spats, rhinestones, feathers, or sequined hats, tailcoats, gloves, or stretch sequin “gauntlets” (worn by majorettes in marching bands; they make easy floor show gloves). False eyelash selection is liable to be better than at a drugstore. Many carry cheap low-quality wigs, too. Avoid those Marge Simpson-style “Bride of Frankenstein” wigs, please. They will make you look like you scalped a poodle. Franks should avoid Afro wigs; they’re usually too big and look silly. Remember, wigs will always look shorter on you than on the wighead–try them on! See the wigs page.

    Halloween Pop-Up Stores.

    These pop up in abandoned storefronts around August, then disappear for another year after October 31. Hit them on November 1 for big discounts (usually 50% off) but don’t expect them to be around November 2. Look at the accessories (’50s housewife pearls for Frank; sheriff stars; capes; over-the-elbow silver lamé gloves you can chop down). Quality tends to be questionable but the selection is impressive. Independents tend to have more interesting stock than Spirit. If you’re hitting Spirit, check their Twitter feed for coupons.

    Goth Shops.

    Hot Topic has gotten into the lingerie business, and sell stockings too. You may be able to find Ben Nye makeup here, and a couple of people have recommended some of the makeup lines they carry. The “Rebel” line of eyeshadows looks interesting, though I haven’t tried them.

    Bridal, Formalwear Accessories Shops.

    Bridal and accessories stores may sell formal gloves in various colors. Avoid bridal shops if you can; the markup is huge. Accessories shops (like “Claire’s”) are common in malls. I’m usually astonished by what Claire’s stocks; definitely worth a look. They’re cheaper and tend to stock long gloves especially around prom time. Formalwear shops sometimes have sales to ditch old styles; try to get on the mailing list. Also an excellent source for vests, cummerbunds, and spats.

    Wig Shops.

    These are great if they are used to dealing with theatrical wigs. Otherwise, they may not understand what you want, even with patient explanations. Take color pictures or color copies with you or have photos on your phone (harder to leave with the stylist). If you find a stylist who really understands what you want, cherish him or her. If it’s difficult to style your hair like your character’s, a wig can make a huge difference in your appearance, and save a lot of wear and tear on your hair. Cheaper wigs start at $30-$40. It is surprisingly affordable to get wigs washed or restyled. (You can just wash a wig by gently swishing it with shampoo in the sink; see the wigs page. Not for the faint of heart.) You can do a lot to a wig by teasing or cutting it–remember this if you can’t find exactly what you want. I prefer synthetic to real hair. It doesn’t last as long, it’s hard to color unless you use spray-on color, but it is much cheaper and easier to care for. You can’t crimp it, but it will take hot rollers, and it will hold high artificial styles better. Store your wig on a wighead so it will hold its shape, covered with a cloth so it doesn’t get dusty. Remember–the hair won’t grow back, so always cut less than you think you should when styling!

    Shoe Repair Shops.

    Get your boots reheeled before the sole of the heel is completely worn away. It’s not that expensive and it’s an investment in your safety. Get a quote first; it may run $12-$15 and if you’re wearing Payless shoes, maybe you should just buy another pair. You can also buy cushioned insoles, nonslip shoe soles, granny boot shoelaces, and leather conditioner here. If you need to cut up a pair of shoes (space boots, Frank boots), ask if they will do it for you. I got my space boots modified and I *love* them. They saved me hours of work by stitching them up afterwards, and I didn’t have to risk life and limb with an Exacto knife. Well worth the $12.50 they charged me, and they did it in three days!

    Party Stores.

    Useful for banners, gold glitter hats, party hats, noisemakers and horns, and plastic party goblets. Some stock large quantities of costumes/makeup around Halloween (mostly the cheaper type, but more selection than at the local discount store).

    The Internet…don’t forget Google, eBay and Etsy.

    Amazon.com sells just about everything now – even the green surgery gowns. Search engines are your friend. Comparison shopping is easy, and it’s handy for people who don’t live in major cities with some of the other resources listed above readily available. It does work best if you already know your size. If you’re not sure it can be a crapshoot, and shipping adds up. Do check expected arrival dates – a lot of things come from China now, which can take 6-8 weeks.
    Many people do a lot of their costume shopping on eBay. It’s like a giant thrift store with search capabilities (that won’t let you try anything on and charges shipping). A lot of the thrift stores sell on eBay now too, and people do sell old Rocky costumes there.

    Sometimes people sell accessories and costume bits on Etsy. I’ve ordered non-Rocky accessories but haven’t found any dedicated Rocky shops I like. And of course, hit YouTube, using your judgment (some of those “How To Do Your Makeup Like…” video people obviously have no idea what the characters’ makeup looks like).

    How can I make my costumes as close to the ones in the film as possible?

    Search every photo you can find to get pictures of the costume you want to make from all angles.

    Good sources are photo calendars, the Internet (see the links page; also check Tumblr), trading cards, the poster magazines, the RHPS Book, and stills. You can also take notes during the film or use freeze-frame on your DVD/BluRay player. The archives for rhpscostumes at LiveJournal and alt.cult-movies.rocky-horror are getting a little dusty and are image-poor, but there is years of material there, though much of it’s pre-DVD.

    You can buy stills on eBay (hardly worth it; you can usually buy the same stills in a batch elsewhere for cheaper) or from a merchant who specializes in movie collectibles. Bruce Cutter and Larry Viezel often sell them at cons. Take the photos with you (in a plastic photo protector–or a color scan – or on your phone) when you buy fabrics, costume pieces, makeup or wigs or you will get home and realize things aren’t quite the color/shape/size/texture/cut you remembered.

    There are several movie memorabilia merchants, but I’ve only found a few with large collections of Rocky Horror photos. Shops I recommend include Jerry Ohlinger’s (New York – a bit picked-over but good for beginners), Cinema Collectors (Los Angeles), and Still Things (Las Vegas). I have bought from all three. For contact information, please check the links page.

    Look at their photos in person if possible. Most of the text descriptions in Jerry’s catalog are pretty vague (Still Things’ are a little better but they’re still dreadful), and the person who takes your order over the phone may never have seen the film. Jerry’s has more photos, but some are lower-quality from slides or posters, and some of the photos are shopworn from being in 3-ring binders too long. Cinema Collectors takes better care of their photos.

    Still Things has some of the same photos as the other two. Some are better than Jerry’s; some are not. Many are directly from the film. Still Things offers a better choice of sizes than the other two: you can buy black and whites as 8×10’s or 11x14s, and color photos are available in wallet size (handy for ordering photos you think you might have, but are not sure), 3×5, 5×7, 8×10, 11×14, or even 16×20.

    Beware of out-takes and mirror images, especially in stills or the RHPS Book. The color spacesuit picture and the picture of Riff on the throne in the RHPS Book, for example, are mirror images. Watch for costume details or people standing on the wrong side to tip you off. To use reversed images, scan, flip, and re-print.

    Scan or make color copies of any costume pictures you want to use for reference from cheaply-bound books like the RHPS Book. They’re easier to refer to and will save wear on your book. Smaller copy stores will ask fewer copyright questions though I’m not sure anyone cares anymore. You can store pictures on your phone if you don’t mind they’re small. Haven’t tried using a tablet.

    What are some handy tricks when I buy/make costume items?

    If you are making costumes, preshrink the fabric first. This is particularly important with cottons. If the fabric is going to bleed or shrink, you want it to do so before you make a costume out of it. Don’t do this with lamé or sequined fabrics, which you should wash as little as possible.

    Buy individual sequins only when you are scattering them (like on a floorshow corset or on Magenta’s bra). Otherwise, if possible, use strings of sequins from the trim department (cheap) or sequined material (expensive, and getting harder to find). Foil dot material is cheaper, but doesn’t look as nice, and over time the stickers come off. In addition, the stickers will gum up your needle and your scissors. If you can’t find sequin fabric (look on-line!) look for inch-wide strips in the trim department.

    Gold lamé can be bought pre-quilted

    in a pattern of repeating squares (but it’s hard to find).

    It’s a lot faster to unstitch a little of it to get the right pattern of lines for a spacesuit than to start from scratch.

    When you are sewing chiffon (Frank’s dinner outfit; Magenta’s negligees) or lamé, even if you French seam it, it will fray. Coat all edges with either nail polish (clear or black) or Aleene’s Stop Fraying (usually stocked in fabric stores by the glue). It sticks to everything until it dries, and you shouldn’t put it on items you will wash a lot, but it really works. The stuff in aerosol cans doesn’t work nearly as well. Stop Fraying is also nice for treating the ends of marabou boas or feathers you cut off a boa for trim. (Marabou is a kind of very fine fluffy feathers that looks sort of like fake fur. It’s sold as skinny boas.)

    Another alternative is FrayBlock. It’s a clear runny liquid. Unlike Aleene’s, you can’t see it when it dries (so it won’t leave marks on your clothes), but it doesn’t work as well. You have to be very careful when applying it so it doesn’t get everywhere. If the tube gets sealed shut, unblock with a pin; if that doesn’t work, throw it away. Don’t try rolling the tube to force it out; the tube develops pinprick holes and covers your hands with the stuff.

    By the way, you should French seam chiffons. Otherwise all the rough edges are visible, and it looks awful. Look this up in a sewing book or Google it. Here’s a rough explanation: instead of placing right side to right side (like you normally would), place wrong side to wrong side. (Chiffon doesn’t have an obvious “wrong side” – pick one.) Stitch a very narrow seam. Now, place the fabric so the seam is facing you and the two-layer sandwich of chiffon is away from you. Holding the seam, fold the top layer of the sandwich over the seam and your hand and the bottom layer of the sandwich under the seam and your hand, towards you, making a three-layer sandwich (bottom, seam, top). Pin the three layers together close to the edge and sew along the pins, completely encasing the first seam. If you’ve done it right, the encased seam is now inconspicuously located inside of the garment. (Confused yet? I told you to Google it – http://sewsweetness.com/2011/09/french-seams.html has a good explanatory picture and step-by-step instructions. Hard to explain, but it looks wonderful and it won’t ravel.)

    If that sounds like entirely too much work, you can do what burlesque dancers do and serge the edges. Less pretty, but it works.

    Velcro is great – in moderation.

    Be careful; it can catch on some items (feathers, stockings, polyester and some gloves, chiffon, etc.). It’s available in squares, strips, or by the yard, and in sew-on, self-adhesive, or iron-on versions. I prefer sew-on. Many fabrics will melt if ironed, and the self-adhesive velcro doesn’t stay on well (and gums up your needle and thread if you try to stitch it on). Velcro is cheapest bought by the yard. It doesn’t work well for things that have to flex (like floor show gloves).

    If you must use velcro in these areas, back it up with a snap or two. At neck or waist, consider a hook and eye – the eye extends the closure a little and will fail less explosively than a snap.

    Buy sew-through boning or boning with extra-wide casing.

    This allows you to use a sewing machine when boning a costume, instead of having to do it by hand. If you use plastic boning, buy it by the yard. It’s cheaper than buying pre-cut pieces. Some people prefer to use steel boning; you’ll probably have to order that online. As far as I can tell Sue didn’t, but your stuff probably has to last longer than hers. Steel boning is less flexible and probably less comfortable but it does hold its shape better; your body will eventually warp the plastic, and then you’ll have to replace the boning. Serious corsetiers use steel.

    Elastic and thread are available in clear.

    It’s nice for securing fishnet gloves, where regular elastic would show. Fishing line can be used as clear thread for things like the center of a boa, and can be bought in different weights.

    You have lots of options if you need to stiffen something or make it stand up.

    For immobile things that don’t have to flex (spacesuit wings, belt buckles, etc.) you can insert heavy cardboard. (Cardboard will NOT work in applications where fabric must be saturated with glue, then applied over the stiffener; it will get soggy and start to flex.) For more flexible pieces, you can use bridal wire, boning, latex foam padding, or a kind of heavy paper called “bridal stiffener” (I think it’s just interfacing). More traditional sewing people use buckram, a stiff cloth used for millinery (hats), pasties, bookbinding and uncomfortable clothes (and may be just the thing for your space glove cuffs). You can find it at serious fabric stores or on-line. My mother, who makes fabric boxes, recommends Peltex or Timtex. For a while, people were recommending plastic embroidery screen to stiffen spacesuit wings, but some people find that eventually the little squares become visible as the vinyl is pressed against the screen.

    Binding tape can be very handy. In addition to binding edges (Janet hats; spacesuit gloves–watch out – gold binding tape is expensive!), you can use it to make small items such as Magenta dress button loops. No hemming; no raw edges to mess with. (Thanks to Mina Smith for the hint.)

    Fabric-covered buttons are usually made, not bought. There is a very limited selection of fabric-covered buttons commercially available. Go to the notions department and buy a kit–you provide the fabric and a hammer, the kit provides the button findings (and sometimes a tool to help align the findings correctly over the fabric). The tool is a small cheap plastic ring that distributes the force when you whack the pieces together (like using a Badg-a-Minit, or playing Whack-a-Mole). The last time I used one I broke it, but it is easier to assemble the buttons with one than without. Buy extra button forms; you’ll screw up at least one.
    Yes, Magentas could try to dye white satin shank buttons…but the satin is synthetic and won’t dye very well.

    When ironing something fragile, use a pressing cloth. Vinyl and lamé will melt if you iron them, even on a low setting. And some fabrics may scorch if ironed. In cases like this, put a piece of old sheet or a lab apron or some other flat, sturdy, not-flimsy white cotton fabric over the fragile material and iron a small test patch. (Use the correct setting on your iron, of course.) I’ve never tried wetting the pressing cloth, but apparently that can be done, since anything fragile enough to require a pressing cloth probably needs to be ironed on a low enough setting you can’t use the “steam” setting on your iron.

    Don’t wet the pressing cloth if you’re working with lamé – lamé can rust. When ironing fabrics that don’t rust or waterspot (bridal satin!) I find spraying with water, then ironing, is more effective and easier than using the steam setting.

    What are some useful tricks for making the costumes?

    Find a friend or relative with a sewing machine.

    You can learn how to do basic stitches on one fairly quickly, and they make sewing a lot faster. Sergers, which stitch two pieces of fabric together and also stitch over the edges (“overlock”), are great for fabrics that fray (like lamé) and are very fast, but are expensive and take a while to learn to adjust. My husband loves his; they scare the crap out of me. Once something’s serged, you can’t undo and then redo it (it cuts off the edge of the fabric it overlocked).

    Use math. Use your reference photos: ratio the costume to your size (height/girth/etc.). People sometimes ask me how long some costume is, what size buttons to use, etc. The answer depends on what looks right on you. If Barry Bostwick’s boa is 10 feet long, but you’re 4’9″, you don’t want a 10 foot boa. I spend probably as much time ratioing costume pieces to my height/weight as I do actually tracing the pattern.

    For things like apron straps or belts, sew wrong side to wrong side to make a tube, then turn it inside out. This way all the little loose threads that stick out at the edges will be inside the strap, where you can’t see them. (Yes, you’ll have to iron it to get it flat.) If you don’t want to do this, for heaven’s sake learn to hem or at least glue under the edges. Those little straggly threads look awful.

    Old sheets and newspapers are nice for making patterns. Old sheets are especially nice because they don’t tear (much) when you try them on. Newspaper is cheap and can be made as large as needed by taping pieces together with Scotch tape. If you don’t know how to read a pattern, you can cut up newsprint and try different ideas to get the right shape for a costume. This will drive friends who sew from patterns crazy.

    If you need to be able to see through a pattern, buy tracing paper from an art supply store. If you can sew, hunt through old patterns (for help, see the links page). Patterns are especially helpful for things like dresses (try Butterick’s or McCall’s; they aim for the novice, and I’m sure Janet bought them :-). Patterns go on sale often; get on your local fabric store’s mailing list and watch for specials.

    Buy a white fabric or art pencil

    to draw lines on dark fabrics. Regular pencil works fine on light fabrics — it can usually be erased or wears off in time. Use pencil on the wrong side of the fabric (the side that won’t show) just in case. Soap slivers can be used to draw on dark fabrics, but I’ve had problems with it rubbing off before I’m done cutting.

    Contrast stitching is best done by machine. You can do a lot with hand-stitching, but if you are doing stitching to make something stand out (quilted squares on your spacesuit; stitching in the boning in Frank’s corset), the machine stitching stands out a lot better.

    Don’t count on being able to dye things. Remember, synthetic fabrics do not dye well. My experiences with RIT dye have been, to put it kindly, disappointing. It’s possible they have finally figured out how to make a true black; I’ll believe it when I see it.
    If only small areas of something must be dyed black, try laundry marker.

    What are some other helpful supplies?

    White glue is useful for sticking lamé on a solid backing. Completely saturate the fabric with the glue, then smooth it on, being sure to avoid wrinkles. My last spacesuit buckle was made of wooden molding (very long lengths of dowel split lengthwise) cut in lengths, the ends beveled with a file, and covered with lamé saturated with wood glue. Lamé can also be glued onto leather to make a space anklet, and it’s handy for spreading on the tips of feathers which you’re adding to a Magenta feather duster (use a toothpick or bamboo skewer to apply). Don’t use white glue on anything that might get wet.

    E6000 is an industrial adhesive sold at craft stores (and in the Crafts section of Wal-Mart). It’s clear, flexible, non-water soluble, and will glue just about anything to anything. The company even claims you can paint it. (Is it toxic? Probably. Does it work? Hell yes.) I’ve also had some luck with Shoe Goo, a product designed to plug holes in your shoes. I found it in the Adhesives section of K-Mart.

    Nail polish (especially clear and black) is very handy for painting small items. It can also be used to keep fabric from raveling. Clear nail polish can be used to stop runs in your stockings (use base coat, which isn’t shiny). Hairspray helps stop runs, too.

    Scotchgard
    It’s getting harder to find, and they had to reformulate in 2003 since a key ingredient was a precursor to a persistent organic pollutant. If you’ve got a costume that you can’t clean, apply this after making it. Test first in an inconspicuous area.

    Acetone , sometimes sold as nail polish remover, will remove small amounts of paint (use a Q-tip to apply). You could buy paint thinner…but acetone is marginally less toxic and more multipurpose. NOTE: it will dissolve many plastics.

    Model paint (available at hobby stores) is good for painting small items and doesn’t tend to rub off on things. It will chip off plastic; try to rough up the plastic to get it to stick. Spray paint looks good, but tends to flake off or adhere to things that touch it if the surface isn’t prepared properly. I bought mine at a hobby shop that catered to people who paint models; for painting plastic, they recommended 000 grade steel wool and recommended against sandpaper (“It leaves grooves.”). They recommended coating metal objects with primer before painting. (You might finish with a couple of clear topcoats to make sure it doesn’t come off.) Another tip: they suggested warming the item you’re painting first with a hairdryer and soaking the spraypaint is warm water (careful; the label will loosen!). This did seem to help – most spraypaint has a recommended minimum temperature. There are spraypaints specially formulated with plastic, but I didn’t have very good luck with it; it seems to take longer to dry than standard spraypaint. Spraypaint technology has come a long way; they even have patent shades with vinyl in them now, which a friend uses to touch up floorshow shoes. Haven’t tried it yet.

    I think hot glue guns are over-rated. The glue often comes unstuck once it cools.
    They work OK for gluing fabric to cardboard, but the glue line is visible. White glue is more even and shows less. Still, glue guns are fast, and if you cannot sew, they are an option. (Someone once showed me an entire Magenta dress that had been hot-glued together. The seams looked *very* nasty. I wouldn’t recommend it.)

    A set of long-nose pliers is very handy for readjusting boot-hooks and taking things apart.

    Cover the jaws with fabric or rubber bands first to avoid scratching whatever you’re working on.

    Thin cardboard is very handy for making patterns. If I’m doing a lot of costume work, I save old cereal boxes (or frozen pizza boxes if I need something bigger). My mother saves the stiff flexible plastic that used to be packed with frozen meat.

    Tacky craft glue is one of my essentials, together with white glue, E-6000, and Aleene’s Stop Fraying. I’m learning to work with FrayBlock, but prefer Stop Fraying (see “When you are sewing chiffon”).

    Bamboo skewers or toothpicks are great for applying a tiny drop of glue, paint, whatever.

    Transparent quilter’s ruler, straight edge, and yardstick. I presume you have these. I don’t make costumes without them.

    Sharpie markers, fabric markers I use Sharpie markers more than the fabric markers, but they’re handy too. A silver metallic Sharpie can be just the thing to mark a dark object you need to cut up that won’t take a white chalk pencil.

    Thimble, needle threaders If you sew, you probably already have these. The thimble is particularly handy for jamming a needle through thick material, such as the multiple layers of a space belt. Needle threaders are very cheaply made but they’re handy and very cheap. (I got fed up and bought a fancy Colonial one aimed at middle-aged nearsighted people. Ask Google.)

    Seam ripper This is a nice extra (they’re cheap) and I use mine regularly. It’s much easier to rip out a bunch of stitches than pick them out with a needle. You can also use the pointy end, very carefully, to push the corners of fabric all the way out when you’re turning a fabric tube inside out.

    Fabric scissors and a good pair of craft scissors Reserving one pair of scissors for fabric only keeps them sharp. I like Fiskar’s; buy them when you get one of those “25% off any item” coupons.

    Cheap hairspray is your friend.

    But don’t go overboard with it–eventually the buildup will weigh the wig down. My wig stylist said to avoid alcohol in hairspray, but the hairspray she recommends (“Super Stiff Spritz” – great stuff) has alcohol in it too.

    Always keep safety pins in your costume bag.

    Eventually someone will need them. Bobby pins are good emergency supplies, too.

    6. Do I have to make stuff myself?

    No–you can pay someone else.

    Some are listed on the links page. You can also try finding a local seamstress/tailor, which will eliminate shipping costs, let you see what you’re getting, and make fittings easier. (Theater and Ren Faire people are a real resource.) It’s worth trolling Etsy, though the quality of things I’ve seen there varies. You could try the cosplay community.

    Making things yourself is cheaper and unless you are working with someone who knows Rocky Horror, it’s often easier to get what you want. Learn to look at stuff and ask yourself how you can make a prop out of it. Props needn’t be perfect; I had a gong for years that was a spray-painted frying pan cover, and I saw a woman get applause once with a “spacesuit” that was a gold mini-dress with a black sunvisor on each shoulder.

    Frank Lab, Bedroom Scenes, and Whipping Scene

    Lab Scene:


    TIP: If applicable, remove white heel covers on black shoes.

    Extender chain to lengthen Frank’s pearls (your pearls may include this as part of the necklace).

    Worn on the back right of Frank’s neck.

    Green surgeons’ gown

    • Red triangle on left breast (point up). Mid-calf length; rolled-up sleeves are rolled up to the elbows.
    • Surgeon’s gowns are available at veterinary or medical supply stores. Try on-line or hit the Links page. Department stores may have “Scrubs” catalogs (JC Penney’s does), and many thrift stores have a “uniforms” section, but you’ll have to get awfully lucky.
    • Mid-calf length. Standup collar; sleeves are rolled up to the elbows.
    • Two back ties, one at the neck, one at mid-back, and 2 ties that start under a green rectangle at the front waist, wrap around the back, then tie in front.) A short green string hangs from each sleeve.
    • There is a stitched vertical rip (outlined with red stitching; white fabric shows through) midway between his neck and his right shoulder, vertical bloodstain at the left from mid-chest down to the waistline, a big blotch with vertical bloodstain on the left front of the skirt (thigh-height), and several holes on the right side at about thigh height.

  • Pink dishwashing gloves.
    Worn cuffed for much of the scene. These can be hard to find in the US unless it’s October (Breast Cancer month), unless retro is having a moment.
  • Stemmed widemouth glass.

    “Champagne bowl” style. Actually a Riff prop, but many Franks bring their own. Look for plastic ones at party stores (not the thin-walled two-piece ones which are too fragile to be practical). I found some unbreakable margarita glasses that aren’t that weird inverted-sombrero shape that are holding up pretty well.
  • Black pick.

    Make from cardboard and duct tape.
  • Peep toe black glitter platform sandals (black heels), thin back-strap.

    Same basic style as Sweet T shoes. In several photos, Frank’s toes are far enough back that the shoes do look closed-toe, but they’re not: you can see them peeking out as the elevator comes up to the lab. Strap is not glittered. Rectangular silver buckle.

    Bedroom Scene:


    The terminally anal retentive will have a pink robe, a blue robe, a wig to pull off, and Brad glasses. If you’re less OCD, borrow Brad and Janet’s robes or use just one robe–especially if you do this scene behind a sheet. Frank wears his corset under his robe with Janet.

    Post-Bedroom Scene:


    • Cigarette.

      A sturdier prop can be made from a white ballpoint pen casing cut to length, the end slightly melted with a lighter, and then painted with red nailpolish to make “lit” end. If your theater allows e-cigarettes, that’s an option, or you can buy a prop cigarette at a theater/joke shop which actually produce “smoke.”
    • Whip.

      Alternating gray and black tails braided for about half its length, then hanging loose. The tails are probably a good four feet long. Medium brown wooden handle (“stock”). Brown leather loop on the end of the handle for hanging.

    • Relax after sex in a black leather jacket with lots of embroidered patches and enamel metal badges (mostly motorcycle themed)

      Enamel badges on the upper chest. The sleeves are vented with zippers, and are edged with black fringe. The sleeves are decorated with various embroidered patches (mostly circular), the back with different shapes.
    • Black leather jacket with lots of embroidered patches and enamel metal badges (mostly motorcycle themed) on it

      NOTE: Badges are positioned as on Poster Magazine Vol. 1 #2, but without the large Mao pin. If you want details on the jacket, take a look at Frank’s jacket, as it looks today (we think).

      Front:

      • Zips up the front. Shirt-style collar (not the more common 4-tab lapels). Round flat silver studs (“nailheads”) decorate the collar, and there is a small enamel checkered racing flag badge on the tip of both collar points.
      • Enamel badges decorate the upper chest: 34 on Frank’s right side and 41 or 42 on his left. Most are motorcycle-themed, and they include racing flags, Triumph, BMW, Sunbeam, Jawa, Matchless, Jaguar, Panther, The Vincent, (Tri)BSA, CZ, and Norton.
        left

      • Silver chain hangs in 2 loops underneath the badge area on each side. On the right side, the end of the chain by Frank’s arm is connected to a large round domed metal stud. On the left side, there is a large domed metal stud in the center where the two loops are attached, and two small studs placed vertically beneath the end of the chain closest to the front zip.
      • Slash pockets on both sides are outlined underneath with small round silver studs.
      • A dirty white string/lace hangs down to mid-thigh from the zipper pull on Frank’s left. At the left base of the jacket is a tab that could be snapped over the bottom of the zipper with a domed silver snap.
        right
        Note that this is a picture from the poster magazine, so the Mao button (which does NOT appear in the film) has been blacked out.

      Sleeves:

      The sleeves are vented with zippers, and are edged with black fringe. The zippers have metal zipper pulls that look like a jump ring attached to a very small D-ring.

      The sleeves are decorated with patches.

      Right sleeve (top to bottom):

      afrslv

      • circular BMW patch (black circle with gold ‘BMW’ above circle quartered in blue and white)
      • dirty white number “59” on circular black patch (“59″ Club)
      • “ROYAL ENFIELD” in gold on circular red patch, edged in gold, on a larger black fabric circle
      • skull with red helmet(?) and little wings on circular patch. The design is very similar to the UK Hell’s Angels logo (a skull in a red helmet with little wings, usually above a yellow banner reading “Hell’s Angels”); I have never seen a picture clear enough to prove that’s what it is, but I’ve never seen another design that was close, either, and I’m almost certain one of the badges is a Hell’s Angels badge. Hell’s Angels badges and patches occasionally come up on eBay, though the Hell’s Angels often get the auctions canceled. Keep this in mind as you do your searches.
      • skull and crossbones on black rectangular patch

      Left sleeve (top to bottom): aflslv There’s also a gorgeous but HUGE black and white full-body photo, courtesy of Larry Viezel, here.

      • “ROYAL ENFIELD” in gold on circular red patch, edged in gold, on larger black circle (see above).
      • dirty white number “59” on circular black patch (“59″ Club patches are a white 59 on a black patch; it may just be very old and dirty)
      • “TriBSA” in gold on horizontal dark blue oval patch edged in gold in the middle of a black rectangle
      • Blue circular “Triton” patch edged in gold
      • Honda Motorcycles patch (flying gold wing with “HONDA” in red under it on circular black patch)
      • gray Nazi iron eagle patch (directly above zipper vent)

      Back:

      • The back has red block letters painted along the top, obscured by a big red/yellow snarling tiger’s head patch (snarling towards Frank’s right shoulder); the letters “ROY” and “ELD” can be seen on the upper left and lower right sides of the tiger (probably “ROYAL ENFIELD”). Ashford Wyrd and Shawn Anthony showed me a Triumph tiger patch, and it’s a match.
      • Below that is a white rectangular red, white and blue-lettered TRIUMPH patch which is sewn slightly overlapping over a British flag (actually, it’s not an actual British flag–the red stripes are all the same width; the stripes in a real Union Jack are different widths).
      • There is one patch at the bottom left of the jacket back: a yellow circular patch with arced lettering along the top and a vertical object; the fellow who owns what is probably THE jacket states it’s a Sylvester the cat (think Warner Brothers) patch, and the (warning! extremely large!) black and white side view photo from Larry Viezel appears to bear him out (peek through the fringe: the cat’s white tummy, black arm and gloved hand, and the letters SY**ES are visible).
      • There are three patches in a vertical row centered below the flag: a circular white patch on top, a middle patch with a red circle with yellow winged “M” on a black square field), and a horizontal rectangular patch with some sort of wing design (Moto Ducati).
      • There are also two patches, one above the other, on the bottom right. The bottom of the two is a Rock N Roll Special square patch with a a blue triangle (point up) in a white circle; the patch above that is a white circle with Warner Brothers style Road Runner pointing to the right with the words “Beep Beep!” (quotation marks on the patch).

  • The Doctor is In: Your Host

    Disclaimer: Not an actual Dr.
    Hi, I’m Ruth Fink-Winter. I have a Master’s degree in engineering, a funny name, and a serious interest in Rocky Horror. Combine that with mild obsessive tendencies and you have a good title for a webpage. That occasionally gets hits from people trolling for porn.

    Rocky Horror History

    I’ve been a fan of the Rocky Horror Picture Show since 1987, when I started performing in Lincoln, Nebraska. Since then I’ve performed in casts in California, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, South Carolina, and back in Nebraska. My husband and I met at the show, got engaged there, and spent our wedding night there. We perform with a cast in greater Chicagoland. I’ve been fortunate enough to see the film across the US and occasionally outside it. I also enjoy the play.

    Ruth with the Rocky Shorts at the Myrtle Beach Hard Rock (no longer there)

    Ruth with the Rocky Shorts at the Myrtle Beach Hard Rock (they’re no longer there)

    I play Magenta, whose voice I fell in love with in 1978, and occasionally the Usherette (Trixie). I’ve served as a costume judge at the Anaheim con in California (1997), the NYC con (1998), Denver Rocks the Rockies (1999), Transylvania ’99, East Coast 2000 (Allentown), Bay Area 2000, the 25th Anniversary (Las Vegas, 2000), the Philadelphia Con (2002), The Denton Affair (Manchester, UK, 2006) the Untoucha-Touchables Con (Chicago, 2006), the 35th Anniversary (LA, 2010) and RKO Con (Providence, 2013). I was honored to receive the BOSS award in April 1998 at the NYC con for my contributions to the Rocky Horror Internet community, and to receive a Fan Award from Sal Piro at the 25th Anniversary. I was interviewed on the BBC World Service radio program “Outlook” for the Rocky Horror Show’s 30th anniversary. I received a “David” statuette at the 2001 Frankie Goes to Hollywood convention (the “Golden Sphincter” award–hmm).

    Scaring the natives with Midnight Madness (photo by George)

    Scaring the natives with Midnight Madness (photo by George)


    Other Rocky-related sites I maintain include Rockypedia.org, which used to be the Rocky Horror Frequently Asked Questions list, and the website for defunct national Rocky Horror fanzine Crazed Imaginations, which I edited from 1998-2006. I contribute to Rockyhorror.org and Rockyhorror.org’s Facebook page, in addition to providing content to bios for Rockyhorror.com and occasional contributions to RockyHorrorWiki.org . I also run cast Completely Crazy’s website and Facebook page, in addition to various other social media.

    Interests include collecting Rocky Horror items, foreign languages, vegetarian cooking, gardening, history and art.

    On the pole with Completely Crazy (photo: Susan Smith)

    On the pole with Completely Crazy (photo: Susan Smith)

    ID’ing the Dr.

    If you meet me at a con, I’ll be the person who looks like she doesn’t belong there, probably wearing jeans and a T-shirt, no makeup, with my hair in a ponytail.
    Just like internet dating site pictures, photos are kind of old; I’m a little grayer now.

    Do I Make My Own Costumes?
    Mostly. Almost anyone can learn to sew (I did!), but I now have more money than time. My most recent Magenta costume pieces were made in 2011; the oldest were made in 1991, and I wear the butcher apron I stole from my mother’s kitchen drawer in 1987 for Lab Scene. In 2001 I bought a costume for the first time but did some of the work as well as final alterations. Since then I’ve commissioned two Magenta dresses and a spacesuit, modifying them to varying degrees. I’m much happier getting creative with cardboard, duct tape and a tube of craft glue than sewing from a pattern. I’d love to buy something I could wear as is, but I’m particular and apparently I have strange measurements. After some bad experiences I usually ask that a tailor make me a muslin before doing the finished piece.

    Creating costumes is a continuous process as your abilities and knowledge of the costumes improve (and the damn things fall apart / get lost). If you can’t make a perfect costume, don’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself — make the best you can, and then make a better one next time. If this means you’re cutting up something you found in a thrift store, great. That’s how most of us got started and it’s the fastest, most fun way to create your first costume. I respect people who put their time, effort and love into their costumes.

    Email me if you want to talk costumes. (If you’re going to ask questions about the Costume List, please do read it first. Thanks.)

    Hey ASSHOLE! Brad Majors!

    For large pictures and detailed descriptions, go to the Brad Props & Details Page by clicking on the links.

    ohbradProposal Scene:

    Glasses

    • Dark brown tortoiseshell glasses.
    • Lenses are very slightly rounded rectangles. Buy a pair of sunglasses and pop the lenses out.

    Tux Jacket

    • 1-button black tux jacket with burgundy lining.
    • Un-notched satin (shawl) lapel; no vents. 3-button cuffs. Inner pocket on left side (store ringbox here); 2 outside straight pockets. At one point something cream-colored sticks out of a pocket. On close examination, it doesn’t look like lining to me (it’s definitely folded). Jacket button is plastic (2-hole). Terminally anal-retentive? Look closely as Brad gestures towards Janet in front of the billboard; on a good print, the edge of the smaller reinforcing button (opposite the plastic 2-hole button) on the inside of his coat can be seen.

    Red plaid cummerbund and bowtie.

    • The cummerbund is a red and black plaid; the bowtie is a double bowtie (2 layers), red with yellow, black and blue diagonal lines. Thanks to Bernie Bregman for the bowtie grabs.
      Brad cummerbund
      bowtie-1

      bowtie-and-shirt-pattern

      bowtie-shirt-flower-handkerchief

    Boutonniere

    • White carnation boutonniere with 3-4 fern fronds (it changes). The closeups show 4. Did a little research and decided asparagus ferns look the closest.

    Hankie

    • White hankie in left breast pocket, folded with point sticking up.

    White dress shirt.

    • Vertical flap conceals the buttons. Shirt has a pattern in shinier thread of alternating shiny and plain stripes edged with vertical rows of diamonds. See the bowtie photos for a picture of the shirt; the details are a bit flattened on the DVD and are much easier to see on a giant movie screen.

    Underwear

    • White sleeveless undershirt (not ribbed).
    • White men’s inverted Y-front Jockey briefs.
    • (Barry said in an interview he wore Fruit of the Looms, but they read “Jockey” in gray on the waistband; check before he’s handed his lab jacket. Jockey packaging claims the “inverted Y-front” is an exclusive Jockey feature. Look for Jockey Classic.)

    Cufflinks

    • Gold circular cufflinks with some sort of carved/incised design. Thanks to Bernie Bregman for the grab.Brad cufflink

    Wrist Watch / Rings

    • Analog, black band, white circular face in gold case, left wrist.
    • Gold class ring with faceted red stone (right hand ring finger)

    Pants

    • Black formal pants, slightly too short, with black satin stripe down the side. You could sew a satin ribbon down the side of plain black pants.
    • Side-seam pockets.

    Shoes / Socks

    • Shiny black dress loafers. I can’t see laces, and when he flexes the shoes to kneel you can see flexing gussets, most clearly on the Blu-Ray.
    • White socks

    Props:

    • Gold/diamond engagement ring (if Janet doesn’t supply), octagonal black ringbox (square box with shaved-off corners).
    • Box has red velvet/sponge(?) lining and white satin inner lid. Texture is a muted matte leather pattern. Kept in jacket’s left inner pocket.
    • White chalk. Kept in right outside pocket.

    brad-n-janetCar/Rain Scene:

    Jacket

    • Tan jacket with maroon/gold Denton patch. Look for “car coat” or “golf jacket” (thanks to Ron Maxwell and Wally Barsell for the search tips). Try to avoid elasticized wrists; you want button or snap. I’m trying to figure out which.
    • Jacket features a Western-style yoke in front, and an elasticized portion in the waistband over each hip.
    • Brad wears his jacket half-zipped in the car, zips it in the rain, then unzips it halfway immediately when he enters the castle.
    • Cuffs are unbuttoned or unsnapped. Barry was a big boy…

    Sweater / Shirt / Undershirt

    • Dark blue V-neck sleeveless sweater-vest with ribbed neckline.
    • Light blue striped shirt.
    • Shirt appears to be alternating lines of matte light blue and shiny light blue. The Blu-Ray never shows any color contrast but the stripes are distinct.
    • Top button undone.
    • Light blue plastic buttons.
    • Cuffs are already unbuttoned when Magenta undresses Brad.
    • White sleeveless undershirt (“wifebeater” style). Not ribbed.

    Pants / Belt

    • Black belt with open gold buckle (shaped like a sideways “U”).
    • An inch or so to the left of the buckle is a gold metal belt loop for the end of the belt to go under. The buckle is worn on the left, the end of the belt on the right.
    • Light gray pants with permanent press front crease.
    • Pants close at the waist with a buttoned flap, which extends an inch or two beyond the crotch. The flap’s closing button is a large plastic one. There is an additional concealed button above the zipper. (Best place to see all this? The outtakes on the laser disc.)
    • Be kind and tell Magenta how your pants fasten!

    Shoes

    • Brown loafers. High tongue; no tassels; no buckles.

    Miscellaneous

    • A blue steering wheel looks cool. Buy at a junkyard.
    • White handkerchief to wipe windshield. Keep in tan jacket so you don’t have to transfer your wedding handkerchief.
    • New Magentas may need you to unbutton some shirt buttons, and almost none can undo your belt in time unless you unbuckle it. Ask– helping an experienced Magenta undress you will throw off her timing. Grab your shoes after you’re undressed and put them on again in the elevator.

     Creation Scene:

    Knee-length white lab coat.

    • One pocket on left breast, 1 front pocket on each side. Notched lapels. There is also a slit in the side seam on each side, which allows access to underneath. White plastic 4-hole buttons.

    Miscellaneous

    • Take off your glasses for “Superasshole!” and put them back on right before Frank starts his “Unconventional conventionists” speech.

     Pre-Bedroom Scene:

    • Robe is thrown at Brad before the bedroom scene. He does not wear it to bed, but he does wear his glasses, socks and watch.

     Brad’s Bedroom Scene:

    Take off your shoes. Leave on your socks. DO NOT put on your robe yet!

     Pre-Dinner Scene:

      Light blue satin kimono bathrobe.
      lchd-trhps1080p 17417

      bradrobeback2

      bradrobeback
      whipside

      • Reaches to the top of Brad’s socks. Wide sleeves just past Brad’s elbow and open armpits. Worn right side over left; sash tied in a bow. The front opening is flanked with white embroidered daisies (white centers), with butterflies (white with blue and yellow accents) below, and butterflies on the back.
      • Take off glasses before entrance in elevator. Put them back on when Dr. Scott appears on monitor. Before dinner is a good time to put on your corset, garter belt and fishnets. Put your socks back on over your nets.

       Dinner:

      • DIRECTION: Pull your glasses off as you jump up in outrage when Frank chases Janet out of the dining room. Brad leaves them on the table; stash in your robe.

       floorshowFloor Show:

      • DIRECTION: Take off your watch and class ring.

      Boa

      • Red, black and yellow netting boa (mostly red and black).
      • Photos of an original boa, supposedly Columbia’s, are here.
      • I don’t know what the fabric is; Sue Blane notes it was “cheap, synthetic fabric, overlocked on the edges.” Sparkle tulle works well and it’s cheap. Jaimie Froemming recommends organza, and Gene Chiovari favors organdy. The material is shiny and stiff, with sharp pleats. Edged with black overcast stitch; Jen Hoffman and Jaimie Froemming recommend “woolly nylon serger thread,” which looks great, though after examining an original floor show boa, I’m sure that it’s not what Sue used. There is a black tassel or two on each end and the ends have obviously been weighted.
      • DIRECTION: Drop boa as you “wake up” before the pool scene–make sure it is out of the way for kick line.

      Sequined black front-lace corset

      • 16 or 17 eyelets per side.
      • For DVD grabs of Brad’s corset, click here.

      Gloves

      • Fingerless over-the-elbow seamed fishnet sleeve (left arm).
      • Red sequined over-the-elbow gauntlet edged around the top with faded red/pink feather trim (right arm)
      • The gauntlet covers the top of the hand, coming to a point which is hooked over the middle finger with a white thread loop. Use elastic to keep it from sliding down your arm. Cut up a cheap boa for the feathers. (Please don’t use marabou.) Some band supply stores sell sequined gauntlets.

      Underwear

      • Black satin undies, seamed fishnet stockings, black satin garter belt with crinkly metallic red straps (3 per side) and black findings.
      • The fishnets also have just a few sequins on them. (Some people say rhinestones; they look flat to me–check Dr. Scott’s when Riff threatens him at the end of the film.)
      • Wear black underwear under your briefs and try putting on your corset, fishnets and garterbelt before dinner to save time.

      Black patent high heeled pumps.

      • They wore 5″ heels (at least Barry said so). 2 1/2″ look good, are less dangerous and cheaper.

    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?