Saturday, October 4, 2008

First (and possibly last) Arab costume

(You can view the pictures at full size by clicking on them)

I made this earlier in the year for the ModelHorseBlab Arab costume makers challenge contest. The idea was that a bunch of costume makers and aspiring costume makers would all make a costume based on the same embroidered Turkish rug.

Here is my description of what I made:

When I signed up for this contest, I knew immediately that I wanted to do a Hollywood style costume based around a full bridle and a saddleseat saddle. The hobby is awash in native styled costumes, which are beautiful in their own right. However, when I see pictures of an actual costume class, I'm struck by how many regular saddles you see peaking out beneath the riders' flowing garments. I've never made an Arab costume, but I've made a lot of English saddles, so it seemed natural for me to include one as part of my costume. Eventually I would also like to add a doll to this set-up as I feel a well done doll does a lot to complete the picture. Plus I think the saddle does need to be covered up a little! I plan to use a junior rider doll for this, which is why the saddle is decidedly on the small side.

The costume itself was constructed from two rugs, over 100 tassels, 300+ beads, and too many Swarovski crystal to count. It is mostly sewn together and is completely lined with a soft suede-like fabric to protect the horse's paintjob. The bridle is made of Kangaroo lace painted with Cova color leather paint and lots and lots of crystals. All the buckles on the bridle (and the rest of the costume) are real working tongue buckles. This is the first Arabian costume I've ever made, and I did not want to skimp on the details! There are a few things I would do differently were I to ever make another one, but generally I am very pleased with how this turned out!

I believe in giving credit where credit is due, so I can't forget to thank the other artist who made this set turn out so well. I like to make costumes specifically for one model, and when I started this, I did not have a saddleseat type Arab in my stable. I ran an ad on MH$P hoping to find something that would work well enough. My extremely talented friend Tiffany Purdy saw the ad and offered to customize a Gizelle resin for me. I gave her a very basic idea of what I was looking for and sent her a picture of the rug we were using for the contest. She did the rest and I am so pleased with the results! I just love the changes she made to Gizelle and the color could not have worked out better.


  1. That is so cool. Usually all the tack you see in costume classes(model horse ones) is traditional, so I think an actual replica for a real life costume class is a great idea. By the way, the costume itself is really gorgeous. But personally, I love the idea behind it even more.

    Lindsay M.

  2. This costume is now in my friend Tiffany's possession. The plan was for her to make a matching doll and send it all back to me. So far that hasn't happened, though!

  3. I love soo much your work! I'd want to order so many things from you, but mom doesn't give me permission xD I think that's because I live in the other side of the pond:D ( In Finland=] ) + I don't have a credit card;)


  4. This is... Amazing! I am totally going to make y next one like this! I have one question though. What exactly do you mean by "rug?" And where would I find them? And about how much do they cost?
    Your work is incredible. I am trying to slowly work my way up to your tackmaking level.
    Sara Armstrong
    (I may be young, but it shouldn't change anything.)

  5. I used a Turkish doll house rug to build the costume. I got mine from another hobbyist, but if I recall correctly, it was cheap (less than $10) and came from an eBay store. If you google Turkish doll house rug, you should be able to find something similar.

    Young is good! This hobby needs kids far more than it needs old fogies like me!