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Lady Gaga rocked an awesome red lace dress at the VMAs.  Whether you loved it or were completely baffled by it, it was definitely an awe-inspiring outfit.  I knew when we decided to make our own Lady Gaga costumes at Instructables, the red lace one would be at the top of my list.  After all is said and done, it's actually a flattering cut, and the face mask is just an extended collar and can be pulled down into a sweet little cowl!

Additionally, this is perhaps the only Gaga-inspired costume that I wouldn't feel too shy to wear in public.  Paired with a nude slip and the anonymity of the face mask, I feel pretty comfortable strutting around in public.


another special thanks to culturespy, carleyy and frenzy for photography, modeling and assistance.


Step 1: Inspiration

Here is the red lace outfit that Lady Gaga wore to the VMA awards.  For some reason, I just love that her face is obscured, and the off-kilter crown reminds me of Max's crown in Where the Wild Things Are. 

One thing I did change was to wear a flesh-colored slip underneath. Much more modest and less revealing than the original!

Step 2: Materials


Get you some red lace!  4 yards should be plenty to get the job done and allow for some do-overs.

Red poster board for the hat

Some way to adhere the lace to the poster board - I prefer spray adhesive

Also, of course, scissors, pins, thread, and a sewing machine or serger.

Step 3: Draping

The easiest way to make this dress was to drape it on a dress form.  Since I didn't have access to a dress form my size, I asked Carley to stand in as my model. 

I found the approximate middle of the yardage, and wrapped it around her body, front-to-back.  I placed the fabric so that one edge of it would land where I wanted the hem to be - above the knee.   I kept the whole width of the fabric in tact, as the top part (which will bunch up around the neck) will become the cowl/collar that comes up over the face.

Next I pinned where I wanted the center back to be.  The skirt trails off into something like a train in the back.  It was easy to see how this should go once it was on a body. 

After pinning the shape, I removed it from Carley and used a ruler to straighten the lines.  You can see the final shape below.

Since I was using a stretch lace, I knew it wouldn't fray.  I started by just sewing the edges together and cutting away the excess, but I later decided to serge the seams together instead.  There's no real benefit to this.

Step 4: Sleeves

Now that you have the basic shape in play, it's time to figure out the sleeves.  I've written up two different options for you - either to inset full sleeves, or to take a shortcut and just sew channels in the fabric for your arms. 

First, place the garment back on the body and mark where the sleeves would go. 

Pin out the sides around the arm.  This line will get stitched together whether you decide to put in a full sleeve or use the channel-method cheat.

Mark the tops of the shoulders if you plan to set in a full sleeve.

Step 5: Set in Sleeve

To make a sleeve pattern, you'll need a few measurements:
  • Distance from the top of your shoulder to your wrist
  • Distance from armpit to wrist
  • Width of bicep
  • Width of wrist
The first picture shows my diagram in inches

The second picture shows the pattern piece that I made using these measurements

Then trace it onto your fabric, and cut it out with whatever seam allowance you're comfortable with.

Step 6: Sleeve Cheat

If you want to cheat the system, here's how you're going to do it.

If you just sew along the line you marked, your sleeve channel will be too narrow for your arm.  To make it wearable, you'll need to add a gusset.

A gusset is a football- or diamond-shaped piece of fabric that gets set in to the armpit of the sleeve.  This will allow for a greater range of movement. 

Cut two diamonds - mine were 7" long and 4" wide.  Then sew them in where the sleeve meets the body of the garment.

That's it! 

Step 7: Crown

To make the crown, measure around your head (don't forget to do this while wearing a wig if you'll be doing so!).  Cut a rectangle of poster board ~12" high and as long as the measurement around your head + at least 1" for overlap.

Adhere a same-sized piece of lace to the board.  I used spray glue.

Cut some jagged point in the top of the rectangle and then secure the ends together with more glue or tape.


Step 8: Go Gaga!

The finishing touch to this costume is a pair of matching gloves.  You can buy these pretty cheaply, especially around Halloween.  I decided to try my hand at glove making, and so made some from the same fabric as the rest of the outfit.  Once I perfect my technique, I'll be sure to post an Instructable.

Now put it all together and have some fun!
Freakin' awesome!!! Thank you so much for posting this!!! I'm starting tomorrow on my dress!!!! :)
much less revealing, i can see her undies, and i don't even think she's wearing a bra. :O
When I first saw the "thumbnail" picture of this, I though it was a maroon colored Gumby LOL
I love the cut and fit of that dress!.... oh and the gloves too, of course!
You guys rock :D
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that's so awesome

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Bio: Former Living &amp; Food editor here at Instructables, now running Sousvidely.com! Follow me @sousvidely
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