(I know, that’s the title of sequel of Sister Act. I’m sorry; it works here.)
While I finish up my post about SLAW (WPI’s weekend of mostly theater LARPs), I thought I’d share one of my little costuming projects. I’m waiting on some pictures of my other costume.
I was cast as a nun in the sci-fi LARP Bad Apples, so I wanted a costume that both made it plain that I was a nun, and yet also indicated that my character was the sort who was out on the street doing social work, not cloistered away in a nunnery. I decided to wear the classic black and white coif/wimple/veil with an outfit that would fit in at a cantina in a poor neighborhood of the Firefly universe.
I’ve been cast as nuns twice before. I made myself a white and black veil with a Simplicity costume pattern. (The rest of the outfit was just black clothing out of my closet for the plain nun character, ) Unfortunately, I couldn’t find that bit of costuming, so I made myself a new one, last minute, and it was pretty simple, quick, and quite effective.
I started with a white headband, one I picked up at CVS. It was the stretchy white cloth circle type. I paid $7 for a set of five because I was low on time, but I think you can pick them up at any bargain basement or dollar store. Actually, you can probably use any white headband of any sort (including the non-full circle type), so long as it’s thick enough and grips your head well enough. A very loose headband will probably slide backwards off your head if the black veil weighs too much.
I found a piece of black fabric in my box of scraps, one with decent drape that didn’t shred too badly. I didn’t have the time or patience to hem the edges. (I plan to hem it the next time I get cast as a nun. …It’ll happen.) I cut out a rectangle (maybe half a yard by two-thirds of a yard, but size is not important. You can easily cut off more if you like; it can be anywhere from shoulder length to elbow length, I think.) I also rounded off two of the edges, but shape is also not terribly important. Lots of different orders of nuns have different style veils. If you’re not worried about strict accuracy, or the order your nun character belongs to is imaginary (as mine was), it’ll look fine no matter how you cut it. It could be a rectangle, a half circle, a half oval, or a rounded rectangle.
Then I hot-glued the center of the flat side of the black fabric to the center of the hairband — the part that would be over my forehead. (I know the headband is a circle, but it has a hem, which I wanted to wear at the nape of my neck, under the veil where it wouldn’t be seen.)
The length of the glue line is about half the length of the headband’s circle. So the veil is attached to the band about from ear to ear. The rest hangs loose.
Basically, I glued the very front edge of the black fabric over the very back edge of the white headband. When I tried it on, it worked alright, though the fabric was a bit heavy and the headband tended to drag backwards and off my head, so I trimmed the black fabric to make it a bit lighter.
It looks a bit more nun-like when my hair is tucked back and hidden under it.
So that’s it! A few dollars worth of materials, a few seconds with a hot glue gun (a minute more with a sewing machine if you’re not lazy and want to hem the edges) and you’ve got the most important part of a nun costume.
If you’ve got a nun costume (or a religious character in a setting with Christian inspiration) and want to take it farther, this pinterest board has some interesting reference images. I like this one in particular. I know nun habits are not meant to be visually appealing, but I find it quite beautiful.