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How to Make a Saloon Girl Costume

Most saloon girls were refugees from farms or mills, lured by handbills advertising high wages, easy work and fine clothing, according to legendsofamerica.com. If you’re making a saloon-girl costume, there are some elements to look for: jewel-toned and black fabrics in velvet or satin; a corset and skirt trimmed with fringe, tassels and ribbons; an ostrich-feather-trimmed hat and garter; a cameo pendant and fingerless gloves.

Prep the costume parts. Do the required sewing and decorating. For a daring look, split the skirt and petticoat up to just below the hip line--8 inches--along the right or left front leg line. Join the layers together, and sew and trim them along the open edge and around the hem.

Style your hair. Saloon girls usually had long hair worn in a loose upsweep. Purchase a wig if needed.

Slip into the blouse, stockings and garter, then step into the bloomers. Put on the corset, making sure that the top edge of the blouse shows beyond the corset top edge.

Step into the skirt and adjust the waistband on top of the corset. Step into the petticoat and fluff both until neither the skirt nor the petticoat is bunched.

Put on the boots on and lace them up. Put on the hat and tilt it to one side for a jauntier look. Don the necklace and gloves. Drape a brightly colored--or black--feather boa across your shoulders.

Tip

You can find most or all of the garment items in thrift stores, flea markets or garage sales.

Popular colors for the corset, skirt and petticoat include black, pink, red, gold and purple. The blouse and bloomers are usually off-white.

If you have intermediate to advanced sewing skills, make the costume components yourself.

Warning

This costume can be uncomfortable because of all the layers and the tight corset. Dress for comfort and do not cut off circulation or restrict breathing with a corset that is too tight.

About the Author

Kathy Arellano is newsletter editor for Grandparents As Parents, a nonprofit agency and contributes to two local newspapers, the "North Valley Reporter" and the "Crescenta Valley Sun." After a 15-year entertainment industry costuming career, she entered L.A. Valley College, served as editor-in-chief, copy editor and staff writer while earning her AA in journalism.