Friday, October 22, 2010

tutorial - bjork's swan dress

I just wanted to preface this entry a little bit... Sam & I have bee UBER busy with our new shop at and also with all our Halloween orders for Skeleton & Bat rompers! :) OH! & prepping for a Halloween weekend Fashion Show! So it's been fun having all this sewing and stuff to do, but I suppose we've been neglecting the BLOGGING! I just wanted to bring all the tutorials from our old blog over to this one & I figured, why not start with the Halloween one from last year? Read on my lovelies! xox
Originally Posted on October 6, 2009.

For this week's Tutorial Tuesday, I'll be showing you guys how I made my Halloween costume for this year. I'm making my own version of the infamous Bjork Swan dress that she wore to the Oscars in 2001!

I may be about a decade late to that party but I think it's still a super recognizable reference and she was totally rocking the crazy red carpet looks before Gaga was around! So amazing.

I was able to get 3 ostrich/turkey feather boas in white & cream so I decided to make a feather version of the dress rather than tulle... So on with the tutorial!

So I started with this pile of stuff:

- 3 feather boas
- a bunch of muslin (for the foundation of the skirt)
- white or cream knit fabric (for the swan head & neck) [satin is pictured but I changed my mind]
-nude knit fabric (for 'bodysuit')
- felt (black and orange for face & beak)
- elastic for waistband

tools: serger, sewing machine, glue gun, needle & thread

So i cut out a strip of muslin for the poufy skirt (length of about 16")
and I was thinking of using layers of tulle underneath to create volume but I definitely have more muslin than tulle.... so I decided to use layers of gathered muslin to make it pouffy!

I made 3 tiers of muslin at decreasing lengths & used the thick elastic waistband to gather them.
Lots of volume! :)

Then finally I just put the outer layer onto the elastic to make a super pouffy skirt!
I just figured it would help keep it big with the weight of the feathers on it... but it doesn't matter too much! Make the pouf skirt however you want

Then cut out the shape of the swan neck & head from the white knit fabric.
I serged the edges together & left the base of the neck open

Then I stuffed the neck with that plush cotton stuff, making sure to keep the stuffing VERY loose & airy around the neck area (where YOUR neck will be, not the swan's) so that it bends easily. So now you've got this hilarious phallic thingy, haha

Then cut these sorta shapes out from the felt!

Start with the black eye part... Then glue on the lower beak & then upper beak!

YES! Just stun 'em with your love glue-gunnin' ! :)

Now stitch your swan neck onto the top of the skirt! Neck meet body!

Now my LEAST favourite part... Hand tacking the feather boas to the dress!
... I tried to do that for a bit and then I tried to do some tacking with the industrial machine, and that was difficult as well but seemed to work okay.
Basically 2 boas went around the skirt portion & one was used to cover the base of the neck.

So here's the ridiculous pile of the feathery mass!

At this point, the dress is completed! But Bjork also wore a full body nude unitard covered in little rhinestones...

I decided to create a cute little nude crop top instead & skipped the rhinestones so I'd have something more wearable for later

& some nude leggings to match! lol

And that's it! My entire costume all together :D
Funny thing is that I don't even know what my plans are yet!

I basically made everything up as I went along, so I hope it makes sense & helps!
My dad couldn't stop laughing at it & my mom asked if it was something Lady Gaga wore. Awesome. hahah

Next week on tutorial tuesday... maybe we'll get a chance to work on Samantha's costume :)

xo Syl

NOTE: this dress was a one-off piece & has already sold on etsy! I appreciate all the offers but we are out of materials to recreate this dress ♥


  1. I love this :) Yay for repurposing boas into awesome costumes. I think nowadays people are too interested in just buying a costume versus when we were little and just used to make them!

  2. awesome!! can't wait to see samantha's costume too!!

  3. Sylvia,

    I'm attending costume party next month and I would LOVE to dress as Bjork. I was trying to find a long plush goose neck and sew it to a white frilled skirt but I've had no luck and I am not skilled on a sewing machine. Have you considered selling this?


  4. Erin, I'd LOVE to sell this! It's just sitting around here & has been used ONCE! haha

    Please let me know where I can contact you & we can work out payment & some reasonable way to ship it :)

    xo Syl

  5. awesome!! can't wait to see samantha's costume too!!

  6. I love this :) Yay for repurposing boas into awesome costumes. I think nowadays people are too interested in just buying a costume versus when we were little and just used to make them!

  7. Hey there!  I love the costume you made.  My band is doing a Halloween show and we're going as Bjork this year.  If you're at all willing to sell/ rent/ or make a close copy of this swan dress, please let me know at  Thanks!!  Jacqui


  8. Hi Jacqui, 

    Our latest post features our Halloween lookbook, which show all costumes we are selling this year:

    Unfortunately, the white swan dress has sold, but the remainder of available costumes can be found here:


  9. keneto said he dated an asian lady who made a swan costume like bjorks.  keneto lives in hamilton.  

  10. That is completely fantastic!! What a great job you did making this costume! I hope you had some fun plans to go with that fun dress. Bravo!

  11. Girl you're insane! You totally nailed it! Amazing!

  12. Yes, I believe also.


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