Sometimes, you just don’t get it right the first time, or the second, or third. And that’s ok! This is the case of my cake act. There I was, in my living room with Johnnie Moxie trying on a plain cheap white hoop skirt that I had other intentions for, when I pulled it up to my neck and she gleefully proclaimed that I looked like a cupcake. We both wore it and essentially reenacted the YouTube video of the little girl running around her room shouting, “I’m a cupcake! I’m a cupcake! I’m a cupcake!” and that’s why I now have a cupcake costume.
I have this uncanny ability to get in over my head just the right amount. That combined with my need to be thrifty, I decided that I was going to build this costume using hundreds of yards of ribbon from the Berwick Offray outlet nearby to represent icing. Let me tell you about the glorious bounty that is the Berwick Offray outlet! It’s a little corner shop of the factory building in Hagerstown, MD filled with boxes of ribbon you can procure for pennies! You can buy a spool with hundreds of yards for a few dollars, or if you’re super stingy you can buy the bags full of loose ribbon for like a quarter or less and just wind it up at your leisure. I had a completely different color scheme in mind, but as true outlets go, you have to work with what they have. I settled on purple, pink, and white. Thus began the tireless and frustrating journey of turning a hoop skirt, corset, bra, garter and old slip into an icing-ed dream. I made the ruffle trim using the ribbon – a monotonous, but not difficult task. Then I had to painfully sew layer upon layer of trim to the base pieces. I used silver wired ribbon to make a “wrapper” on the bottom. One particular day, I was crafting with my pal Lady Bladie. I was about 90% finished this delicious monstrosity when I abruptly stopped and just had myself a quiet tantrum moment. “I don’t want to do this anymore” was my sweaty, tired, teary mantra for at least ten minutes before returning to my machine.
Sewing complete (for now). How did I get it wrong? I tried to make an act. Nothing fit. I performed as cake to several songs, adding some cute sparkly oven mitts at one point, and it just didn’t fit. The glitter goddess felt pity on me and my pile of ribbon and fed my brain an idea. I decided not to start as the cake, but end that way. I mean… that’s all I wanted anyway during my living room laps, just to be a cupcake. Let me be cake! Let them eat cake. Good job brain. Back to the costuming to create a new way to start the act. Fortunately, because this happen in phases I had had plenty of time to get over my stitching and bitching. This latest version feels like the right recipe. Like always, it has costume and choreography repairs, but it’s a better product than it was. I performed it the 2018 DC Burlypicks mainly for the opportunity to do the new version and ended up placing second runner up. This made me proud and I’m hoping to finish some more work on it and have the opportunity to perform again sometime next year.
With the new storyline, I needed some Rococo hair. I loathe wigs and also needed the ability to remove the hair to place my cherry at the end.
My solution: Build a hat that is hair.
My dilemma: How do I do that?
My problem: How do I do that and make it secure for much of the act, but easily removable?
My other problem: How do I do that without money?
My other other problem: How do I do that at 2:00am when I should be sleeping, but I’m building costumes instead.
I rummaged around until I decided that I would cut up an empty plastic pretzel tub and use Modge Podge to build white curls, one layer at a time. Well, sure. This is what’s in my brain. I also decided that I would solve my problem of fastening and removal by cutting holes on opposite ends and using a stick passed through one hole – through my real hair in a bun – then through the other hole. It worked. It’s Sturdy enough to stay and I have the ability to remove it with just the sliding of a stick. What I don’t have are progress photos. I color my hair with temporary white spray and use a wrap I made out of ribbon that clips on the back along my lower hairline. This hides my hair when the “hat” is on and leave something pretty for after I take it off. Problems solved! My good feelings about this one started to replace my bad feelings, which was enough to motivate me to make matching shoes.
SUCCESSES: I made a unique costume and powered through the lengthy process of continuing to upgrade, add costume pieces, and finding the right music and meaning. I got over my need to have multiple uses for footwear and made a specific pair of shoes devoted to this act.
OOPS!-ORTUNITIES: There is a tear away ribbon skirt attached to the corset that is done in such a way that the corset needs to be a specific width to match up to the snaps. It’s a bit of an annoyance, but more importantly… I’m not the same size. Until I have the time to change it, I’ll be trying to put 10 pounds of sugar in a 5 pound bag. The costume itself is cumbersome and does not make for a quick costume change as a second act. The white hair somewhat prevents it from being a first act. This act must come as a solo performance or with enough time for costume or hair changes.