Dark Elf Fantasy Halloween Costume Tattered Bustle and No-Sew Vest

Categories: Costume, Fashion Accessories, Halloween, Fall

This dark elf is a fantasy costume perfect for Halloween or Renaissance Faires. It’s customizable in any color combo and size. I used Fairfield World Smooth Fusible Fleece Interfacing to reinforce the waistband, keeping it flat and sturdy while wearing. My stash of knit and mesh fabrics is mostly black, white and grey, so I used what I had on hand. The bustle is about mixing prints and textures, which include faux leather, fishnet, leopard, skulls, and metallics. This dark elf can become a fairy with the addition of these Dark Fairy Costume Wings. I paired this bustle with a body con dress,  no-sew hooded vest, fishnet gloves, boots, a leaf necklace and my OlyFun Black Bird Mask.

What you need to make this project

Fairfield World Smooth Fusible Fleece Interfacing
1/8 Yard black cotton fabric
1/4 Yard black canvas or denim
1/8 Yard skull print cotton
Various 1/4 Yard cuts of thin knit and mesh fabrics
1/2 Yard knit or mesh fabric for vest
Black thread
Tape measure
Clear quilting ruler
White chalk
Pen or pencil
Straight pins
Dress form (optional)
Ironing board
Sewing machine

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Smooth Fusible Fleece Interfacing 44.5″ Wide X 6 Yard Roll

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Step One

To make the tattered bustle.

Measure your waist or wherever you want the bustle to sit. This will be your waistband length. Mine is 36″. Adjust the waistband measurements to fit your waist size. No seam allowance is added to the waistband length, to leave room for tying the bustle.

Step Two

Adjust all the waistband length numbers to your waistline size.

With the clear ruler and chalk, mark and cut out a rectangle from the skull fabric, that is 3.5″ by 36″. I made my waistband height 3.5″, fussy cut around the skull print.

From the Smooth interfacing, mark (use a pen or pencil) and cut a rectangle that is 2.5″ by 35″.

From the black denim, mark and cut out a 4.5″ by 36″ rectangle, for the waistband lining.

From the black cotton, mark and cut out a rectangle that is about 1.5″ tall by 35″. This is the inside strip for adding all the draped pieces.

Step Three

I used a dress form for this part, because it makes checking the drape of fabrics so much easier for clothing making. However, for this particular skirt topper, a dress form isn’t necessary. Instead, you can lay out the inside rectangle strip and pin the draped pieces to it, going from shorter at the ends to longer in the middle. For using a dress form, pin the inside rectangle along the waistline. From the various knit and mesh fabrics, cut different sized rectangles with some of them square. Along the inside rectangle, use straight pins to attach the random rectangles by one corner, about 1/4″ away from each other. Again, the pieces along the waistband middle (back) should be longer than ends (front). Though, you can make them all approximately the same length if you like that look. I like the tapering, as it’s similar to a bustle. I just did one layer of these draped rectangles. If you want a fuller look, add a 2nd shorter layer. The more fabric added, the heavier the bustle becomes.

Dark Elf Fantasy Halloween Costume

Step Four

When I used a dress form, I stab the pins through the fabric into the form. One by one, adjust the pins to secure them to only that inner waistband rectangle. Once complete, the waistband will come off the dress form. I sat down to do this, working left to right, so the bustle laid in my lap as it was released from the dress form.

Dark Elf Fantasy Halloween Costume

Step Five

Adjust the draped layers to overlap in the same direction. Load the sewing machine with black thread. Use a straight stitch to tack all of the draped pieces to the waistband, along their points. Make a 2nd pass with a wide zigzag stitch, to better attach the draped pieces. cut away any excess inner waistband fabric.

Dark Elf Fantasy Halloween Costume

Step Six

Set the iron to cotton with the steam on. Center the Smooth interfacing glue side to the skull fabric back. Press fuse the two pieces together. The Smooth will flattens as it fuses. Flip the fused pieces over the press again, to assure the pieces are smoothly fused.

Step Seven

Match the skull and canvas waistband pieces right sides together. Pin at the top. At the sewing machine, straight stitch along the pinned side, 1/2″ from the edge.  Open the pieces and press the seam towards the black inside piece. Straight stitch 1/8″  from the seam along that extra seam fabric. This will make the waistband lay flat without having to topstitch through the skull fabric. It’s a little trick I learned my 1st week of Fashion Design college.

Dark Elf Fantasy Halloween Costume

Step Eight

Line up the other long skull right side with the draped fabric side of the inner waistband. Use straight pins to secure. At the sewing machine, straight stitch about 5/8″ from the edge, making sure the draped pieces are overlapping in the same direction.

Dark Elf Fantasy Halloween Costume

Step Nine

Close the two waistband strips again. Straight stitch down the short sides. Clip the corners diagonally. Turn the waistband right side out. Shape the corners with a pencil point.

Dark Elf Fantasy Halloween Costume

Step Ten

Turn the canvas lining in to cover the inner waistband, going about 1/8″ below the waistband seam. Use pins to secure. Flip the bustle over. At the sewing machine, straight stitch in the ditch (along the seam) of the waistband, catching the black waistband lining. This is tricky, so if you aren’t comfortable with machine sewing this, use a hand needle and thread to hand stitch the lining in place.

Step Eleven

From more black canvas, cut two 22″ by 5″ rectangles for ties. Fold the ties in half lengthwise and pin in place. Straight stitch across one short end and down the long edge. Trim the corner at a curved diagonal, making sure not to cut through the stitching. Repeat for other tie.

Dark Elf Fantasy Halloween Costume

Step Twelve

Turn the ties inside out. Shape the corners with a pencil. Topstitch around the long sides and seamed short side.

Step Thirteen

Using a seam ripper, open the waistband ends about 2″. Insert the raw tie ends about 1″. Stitch down the waistband ends, about 1/8″ from the edge. If you want the ties even more secure, sew a 2nd line, 1/4″ from the edge.

Dark Elf Fantasy Halloween Costume

Step Fourteen

Try the skirt on and twirl in it. You’re done!

Step Fifteen

Making the vest

Cut a rectangle of knit or mesh fabric that’s a couple inches below your bust to over your head. The width should be selvage to selvage.

Have a friend help measure the distance between your shoulder blades, the height and width of your armhole. I find folding the fabric in half matching selvages, and holding it up to the back midpoint helps.

Have your friend use straight pins to mark the armhole a few inches above your bustline. Using scissors, cut out the armholes. Put your arms through the armholes and drape the fabric over your head for a hood. Make the armholes larger if needed.

Standing in front of a mirror or having your friend help, shorten the draped front to lay at about the same length. I ended up cutting a 4″ tall strip from both selvage ends and curving the line up towards the hood.

Dark Elf Fantasy Halloween Costume