For those of you who don’t know, I was born in Louisiana and lived there for almost 25 years. I moved through the continental United States, until finally settling a few years ago in East Tennessee (back in the South, Boo-yah!). But, I still consider myself a Louisianaian (made up word, I know).
The food, the music, the hospitality, the King Cakes, the daiquiris :-), AH! I pine for these things on a daily basis and try to recreate as much of it as I can here in Tennessee. But, one thing I cannot recreate is Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras season is so amazing! The costumes and parades, the livelihood and spectacle. There is nothing like it. If you ever get a chance to travel “down South” to New Orleans, do it! Even better, coordinate the trip with Jazz Fest or Mardi Gras.
But, I digress.
At Christmas time, my brother in law, Dada Bob (nickname) approached me with what can only be described as maniacal glee in his eyes. He had seen the Tiramisu dress I made for my sister and I was wearing my Jackie Coat, which he admired. He started asking me small, pointed questions, and I knew he was angling for me to sew something for him. The question was, what?
Turns out – A Skeleton Pope Costume for Mardi Gras
(photo credit: Anthony DelRosario)
Seriously, I squealed with delight!!
My brother in law is member of the Skeleton Krewe, a walking Krewe that leads the Krewe d”Etat. It is a very unique Krewe where all of the (secret) members dress up as skeletons in hand crafted costumes. Each year, the members of the Krewe must make a new Skeleton head, usually out of paper mache, and they march through the street of NOLA twice: once before the float based Krewe d”Etat a few days before Mardi Gras on the St. Charles parade route (you can watch it live on this parade cam), and a second time on Mardi Gras through the streets and end up in Jackson Square.
(photo credit: Christopher Kirsch, (a.k.a. Le Grande Poohbah)
Here’s a collage of the Krewe from a few years ago – cool huh? My BIL is the disco ball.
After my initial squealing fest was over, we got down to logistics. Dada Bob wanted to be decadent and opulent. So, I located some Church Brocade from Vogue Fabric Store (he chose Black with Purple, but it comes in many colorways), a white scroll brocade and black panne velvet from the local Jo-Anns.
We decided to make the chasuble in the black and purple brocade trimmed with 4 inches of black panne velvet and make the stole out of the white scroll brocade, back lined with the velvet.
I drafted the chasuble myself based on his measurements and the stole was a simple rectangle with a slight curve in the back to drape nicely around his neck.To make the stole drape straight down the front I ended up sewing the stole in two pieces, connecting at the back of the neck. Basically, I drafted a rectangle with a slight curve on one end, pinned them together and then pinned the curve until it hung straight, then stitched it down.
The final piece of the costume was the mitre. I picked up Butterick B5441 and was quite displeased when most of the instructions involved gluing the hat together! Well, I am a stitcher not a gluer, so I rebelled and stitch that bad boy together!
To make the velvet trim I cut strips of the velvet and finished the edges on my serger with a 3 thread roll hem. Also, since Dada Bob’s Skeleton head was much bigger than his own I used Brooke’s grading method to grade up the hat to the head circumference he provided.
I decided to use the white scroll brocade for the hat gusset to tie together visually the chasuble, stole and hat.
After seeing the almost complete hat, Dada Bob and I agreed that the mitre NEEDED a bone cross! He already had a wild pig skull (my niece found in the woods) that he was mounting on a staff, and he was making a bone rosary, so, I am sure you will agree, it was a moral imperative (points to those who got the Real Genius reference) that we acquire bones for the hat. Dada Bob rallied and in a few days I received some lovely turkey bones (from the vegetarian, no less) that I stitched on the hat.
If you made it all the way through this post, you deserve a treat!
Mardi Gras Krewes all throw objects while they parade. I am sure you are familiar with the throwing of beads and doubloons, but in reality each krewe designs and throws unique “throws” each year. The Skeleton Krewe kept mentioning this year’s wooden nickels and some super secret throws. I told Dada Bob and Le Grande Poobah that they better save me some!!
Yesterday I received a package from “Dada Bobus” and embarked on another squealing fest when I opened the box and found this!
There is so much parade swag here I decided to share!
I have put together 3 prize packs of the following:
(1) 2014 Skeleton Krewe Wooden Nickel
(1) 2014 Krewe d’Etat Wooden Nickel
(1) Krewe d’Etat Flag
(1) d’Etat Gazette, available ONLY from the Skeleton Krewe at the beginning of the parade
AND, one (only ONE) of the packs will have a Skeleton Krewe Can Coozy (chosen at random)
**Please note that the photo shows 4 wooden nickels, but that is only to show the front and back of each coin
The dolls have been claimed by my kiddos and the cross and pamphlet are special throws made by and given out only by Dada Bobus, so they are totally mine.
If you would like your very own Mardi Gras Prize pack, leave me a comment telling me which is your favorite 2014 Skeleton Krewe costume!
Anyone can enter, worldwide! Giveaway ends Friday, March 21st, at 11:50 PM!
Happy Mardi Gras!
(I know I’m late 🙂 )