Introduction: "I Am a Librarian" - Evelyn Carnahan Costume [The Mummy, 1999]
This has been a long time costume on my list to make. I have been a huge fan of The Mummy (1999) ever since I saw it when it came out so many moons ago. Earlier this year my husband ran an RPG loosely set in the world of The Mummy. He built terrain, made papyrus props, put together a sound track and lighting scheme. He went all out and it was one of the most fun games we have done. So, as Halloween approached (oh hey, it's September already, gee I better get on this!) I started thinking about what to costume I could make and the answer of course was, Evie. There were a number of costumes to choose from but I went with her "oops I knocked over all the bookshelves" outfit.
- European Linen Two Tone Caramel/Ivory
- Superior King Tut Cotton Quilting Thread 3-ply 40wt 500yds Sands of Time
- Cotton - https://www.moodfabrics.com/applications/bottom-fabrics/pant-fabrics/beige-and-red-pencil-striped-cotton-dobby-woven-319798
- Coats & Clark General Purpose Cotton 225 yd. Cream
- Interfacing - I already had this left over form a previous project.
- Glasses - https://www.amazon.com/BETSION-Vintage-Eyeglass-Acetate-Tortoise/dp/B08GF95BB3/ref=sr_1_34?crid=414NNC9597CR&dchild=1&keywords=small+round+glasses+frames&qid=1631932165&refinements=p_n_size_browse-vebin%3A2343351011&rnid=2343347011&s=apparel&sprefix=Small+Round+Glasses+%2Caps%2C238&sr=1-34
- Scarf - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G13ZKBP?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details
- Patterns were from my stash but I made use of 3 patterns.
- Skirt - McCalls M6993 from The Archive Collection circa 1933: this has 2 skirt patterns which I combined to create my skirt.
- Shirt - Simplicity 8447 1940's Vintage: I used Shirt pattern D from this set.
- Ivory buttons were from Joann's - I just bought what they had in an ivory color.
- Belt was my own
- Shoes & Earrings were Ebay finds
- Book of the Dead was a 3D print at home by my enterprising husband.
Step 1: What Is a Place Like Me Doing in a Girl Like This?
As is always my way, I start by doing research. This meant I watched the movie, again, made notes on the costume (and yet I still missed things, damn back pleat!) and delved into a google search of images of the costume from exhibits as well as what others had done making their own versions. Then I was ready to start the fabric search.
Since this is still our Pandemic world, I did all my shopping online.
I decided to start with the shirt fabric first, I was looking for a white cotton or lawn fabric with a wide-set pin strip in a deep red. Ummmmmm, yeah no such luck. I branched out and tried brown pin stripe (not accurate but hey, I was striking out) still nothing quite right. So, I broadened my fabric options and I found ONE and I mean only ONE, @ Mood. I'm not a hug fan of Mood, I find their prices to be very high. It was much thicker fabric than I wanted to use but the color was the closest I was going to get, it was beige with wide-set red pencil stripe. So I bit the bullet and paid more than I wanted to get the 3 yrds of fabric. Thank goodness I bought early because there were shipping delays.
Could I have simply bought a man's shirt and taken it in to fit me better? Yes, I have no problem buying and modifying garments for costumes. I looked but was not able to find a wide-set pin strip men's shirt either! (Brooks Brothers, what are you doing?) I found ONE women's shirt that could have "passed" but it was much more fitted than what I needed and the collar and cuffs were solid white, which is not correct so I nixed this option.
Next it was on to skirt fabric, I was sure I could find a nice tan linen . . . why is this so hard! Mood was a strike out so I looked on Etsy (Holy wow! and I thought Mood was expensive), Ebay (where I have had great success before), and any other online fabric retail spot I could find. Joann's had a nice option but it was out of stock, like much of their online fabric options have been. So, last I went to Fabric.com (an Amazon company) and scored a lovely two tone linen, and I also scooped up some cotton thread. One in cream (a perfect match really for the "beige" of my shirt fabric, seriously guys can we please find a way to agree on colors here?) and the other thread was King Tut's "Sands of Time" cotton quilting thread . . . King Tut! "Sands of Time", ya know I totally bought it for the name and just lucked into it being a perfect match for my skirt.
With Fabrics purchased, I was waiting upon delivery so I spent my time looking for the accessories. I thought I would make the neck scarf but, I was tired of being let down by my fabric searches and I happened upon a perfect option on Amazon, which is also where I scored a pair of glasses too. I wear glasses normally but I tend more toward rectangular frames (and currently in purple) so they were really going to work. The glasses were more expensive than I would have liked but they were the closest in design I could find for Evie's, and honestly still one of the cheaper ones! For Shoes & earrings I went on to my trusty 2nd hand shops, Poshmark & Ebay. Once again Ebay came through for me, I scored some garnet drop earrings that are really close to what Evie wore, although they are lever back and not hooks, oh well! (the garnet matches the red stripe in the shirt so well too) The shoes was more of a challenge. I am a vintage enthusiast so I I know a number to reproduction brands to look for. The setting is 1926, so there are a few things to look for in 1920's shoe designs, usually the heel is lower and curved. Eve's shoes show that heel design as well as a laced section that went across the top of the foot and was similar in style to an oxford shoe. I could find shoes that had one or two details but not all of them and also in the two tone tan and brown that Evie's shoes were. Chelsea Crew has a shoe that is very close (straps across the top not laces) but it was also $60+ dollars and that was out of my budget. They are also tan & white, not quite the right color for Evie's brown and tan oxfords. I kept looking and in one of my ebay searches I found an oxford style, two tone shoe from Auditions that was natural tweed and oxblood leather for under $20(w/ shipping). It was a low heel, slip on shoe, no laces, but I figured I could give on the laces since it had nearly everything else.
And with that I was in a holding pattern til fabric arrived.
Step 2: I Don't Have Enough Experience in the Field
The first fabric to arrive was the shirt Fabric and it was thick. Certainly not the lightweight cotton you find in most Men's dress shirts but, I knew that it was going to be thicker. This fabric had n flow-y-ness to it at all, it was more like something I would use to make pair of shorts rather than a dress shirt. I knew I was going to have to use a pattern with more structure than I have previously thought so, I delved into my pattern horde and began to look for something that could work. In the end I went with a 1940's blouse pattern that had a pleated back and darts that would allow me to fake that loose billow-y look of Evie's much lighter dress shirt. With pattern chosen I washed & dried my fabric, gave it a quick pass over with w an iron to take out any big wrinkles and set to work. The washing reminded me this stuff was a fraying fabric so, I cut out my pattern with pinking shears to make it less of a headache. 10 pieces in all and it was a quick process to cut them all out. The pleat in the back was the detail I like the most and of course confused me exceedingly. Had the instructions simply said Box Pleat, I would have understood immediately but it did not, it just said pleat at indicated lines. That's it. My error was to make 4 small pleats, 2 on each side at the top and 2 on each side at the bottom. . . 3 hours later as I tried to fit the collar I realized the mistake. There are times I am my own worst enemy, this was totally one of them. I removed those small pleats and made one Box pleat, success!
I applied the interfacing to my collar pieces, cuff pieces and the lapels. I attached the lapel pieces to the fronts and then pressed them so they folded over to the inside of the shirt (this is where I will add the buttons and button holes so you want the section to look finished on the inside too) I added the darts to the front shirt pieces and gathered the tops where the fabric will connect to the shoulder. Here is where I modified the pattern a bit. The original pattern has the front and back simply sewn together at the shoulder, but I wanted to add a piece to the shoulder. Evie's shirt is basically like a men's dress shirt, the design usually has a separate fabric piece that goes across the shoulders. It's the "middle-man fabric piece, connecting the front and back pieces. This is where the stripes will run in the opposite direction to the rest of the fabric. In my case it is a vertical pin stripe so this piece will have horizontal stripes. As I said, this is usually one piece that extends from one shoulder section across the top to the other shoulder but in my case I had that Box pleat to contend with. I needed that pleat to give me structure and allow for movement. So, rather than have one shoulder piece I chose to make two small pieces, one for each side, to mimic the way Evie's shirt has the stripes changing direction on the shoulder.
With my augmentation completed, I continued on with attaching the sleeves (and this time I did not attached one inside out, as I usually do) I also made sure to have enough fabric so I could enclose the armhole seams. To enclose the seams, I just folded over the longer piece of fabric where the sleeve connect tot he arm hole of the shirt, pressed it into place and then hand stitched it closed. Nothing bugs me more than loose fabric in the arm pit. (gah! it tickles!) I took this step for my own annoyance levels to be appeased and since it is a fraying fabric, enclosing this area will ensure it will not fray further. Next I attached the collar and cuff pieces. It was looking like a shirt!. Then it was time to add button holes. I love that my machine can do this for me because I hate making button holes. However it decided to go on strike for the last one, stopping in mid stich, so I did have to finished that by hand and it's not very pretty. (oh well). I chose not to add button holes/buttons to the cuffs because It was pretty thick layers for the cuffs and my machine was being iffy. Also, Evie wears her sleeves rolled up so we never see the buttons on the cuffs. I added the buttons to the shirt front and checked the box on a completed shirt.
Step 3: Patience Is a Virtue.
Now it was skirt time, the skirt was very quick, it consisted of 9 pieces and it was really only about a day to create it.
The Mummy takes place in 1926, hemlines were still longer than what my chosen 1930's skirt pattern allowed for so I did end up extending the length another 6 inches. This also meant I had enough length to enclose the hem by folding it over twice. My pattern came with two skirt options. Skirt B had the right shape and waistline of Evie's skirt so I chose to go with that one. I also cut out the pattern pieces I would need for the front pleats from pattern A and I overlapped the pattern pieces to get a final piece to work from when cutting my fabric. It was surprisingly easy to do this augmentation. The hardest thing was top stitching as the fabric tended to slip a bit so I did have to rip it out and do it over again. It's not one of my creations if I don't have rip out stich work more than once!
Now, I do have to point out my design error here. Evie's skirt actually has 3 pleats, two in the front and one in the center back. I missed that back pleat. I only caught it the other day when I watched the movie, again, to look at her hair. It is a simple enough thing to open up the back seam and add a pleat however, I am not going to do that for this costume. The skirt has a good amount of movement to it as it is, If I were to add another pleat I think it may be too much. Also, and this is probably the biggest reason, having gotten my hem completed so well, I don't want to rip it out. (insert toddler tantrum here) I don't wanna!
Next up was the zipper, I love that my pattern uses a normal zipper and not a hidden one. No matter what I do, I always have to re-do a hidden zipper at least 3 times to get it right, and sometime not even then. I derives me bonkers so, if I can avoid them, I will. I baste stitched my zipper in place and then followed up on my machine using the ever handy zipper foot. Since it was a 12 inch zipper I didn't really need to trim it up either. With zipper in place I did a test fit and pinned where I need to take it in, I chose to alter from the side seams since the front pleats/seams were exactly where they need to be. It was a moment to take in the seams, it took longer to seam rip the old one open so I could trim and press it. Then it was time to add the waistband.
The waist band was made up of 3 pieces plus interfacing, I add the interfacing and stitched the 3 piece together and also hemmed them. Then right sides together I attached the waste band to the skirt. I pressed the seam open then folded it over so it was completely inside the skirt and pressed it again along the edge. Then it was a matter of folding in the back pieces so they would not be a problem for the zipper closure and I hand tacked the band to the internal seams to help it stay in place. And just like that, Evelyn Carnahan was a reality.
Step 4: Take That Bembridge Schollars!
My transformation to Evie was not complete with out the hair. I have long hair but it's not quite as long and Evie's so I was not able to make two rolled buns to sit at the bas of my neck. I also do not have bangs so I had to come up with a cheat for both that would still get me close to her look.
I used Beauty & Pin-Ups Linger Style & Sculpting Spray Gel and my hot rollers to set my hair. I section my hair into 3 sections. I sectioned from ear to ear roughly 2 inches from the hair line to create the two front pieces that were going to act as my bangs. The rest of the hair I pulled into a pony tail so I could roll the hair in the front more easily. I used a comb and created sections ready to roll and sprayed each lightly with the spray gel then rolled and clipped the roller into place on my head. My hot rollers come in 3 sizes, bid, medium and small. I used the medium rollers for the front sections and the smaller rollers for the sections near my ears. With those done I too my hair out of the pony tail and divided in into quarters. I set these rollers lower since I didn't need to have a full head of curls for this look, the back of the head need to be straight and smooth. Just as I had with the front, I rolled sections of the hair after spraying with the gel. I used my big rollers for the back portions and the medium ones for the sides, just behind the ears. I let the rollers cool for about 25-30 minutes and then carefully removed them, trying not to pull the curls. I kept the front sections loose and pulled the back once again into a ponytail, this time just above the base of my neck. I then loosened the hair band a little, separated the hair in the middle just above it and I looped the hair through. (a looped ponytail) I then start taking the curls of the pony tail and pinning them up around the looped hair. I continued this until the back was all pinned into place, I then started pining the side curls into place, creating a loose cascade the looks like it was twisting into the curls in the back. I work the front curls into a kind of bangs placement (I have a white streak in the front so I was also trying to pin the hair so that wasn't so obvious) and pinned into place, I then finished with another light dusting of the Gel Spray.
My makeup was simple. I have stupid sensitive skin so makeup is a hard one for me, I almost never wear it but I knew I needed some to finish the look. I used Giella Soy Butter concealer on my lids as a base for the eye shadow. I out a base layer of my Zuii Organic eyeshadow in Chestnut. It's always a great base color to build on for me. Next I used my Agent Carter eyeshadow pallet from Besame for the eyes (light pink on the lids and dark brown at the lash line) and brows. Yes, I use eye shadow as brow filler, it works really well. I also go over my brows with a little mascara or brow gel if I have it to help shape them. I use Just for Redheads mascara in ginger brown. I do not use eyeliner, I tend to have adverse reactions to them so I avoid using it unless I'm doing wing or cat eye. Cheeks was Senna Mineral Mix Blush & Tint in Organza. It's a nice pink shade, I usually wear warm blush tones but this pink is so nice and I think it worked better for Evie's "natural" look. Lips were Akar skin ruby tint lip butter.
With glasses in hand I was off to "borrow" a book from a sleeping Egyptologist and see what stories it held.
Step 5: It's Just a Book. No Harm Ever Came From... Reading a Book.
As I mentioned my husband has a 3D Printer, actually he has 3 of them plus now a resin printer in the garage, this is quite the hobby! None of them have very big printer beds but he wanted me to have the book. (This was originally started as a surprise for me) He was able to find a broken down print file for the Book of the Dead and started printing out the individual pieces on the machines.
Thingaverse Book of the Dead (The Mummy) Remix: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4713357
It took a week printing at night to get all the pieces done and they had to be glued together, He used gorilla glue to do that and clamps to keep them in place with the glue created the seal. A quick coating in black spray paint, actually it was black primer that he usually use on minis, all over then followed up with gold, painted by hand and we had a Book of the Dead prop. If you look closely you can see the lines of the pieces but you really have to look. I didn't think that was a big deal so we chose not to fill them in. This book does not open, it is just a prop, but it's an awesome prop and I am so excited to have it.
Participated in the