The other night I went to an 'At the Movies' themed swing night (held by The Swing Sesh), and the brief was to dress up as your favourite movie star or character - for once, I decided to put some forethought into my costume. I knew I wanted something either from the '30s or '40s or, at least, set in one of the two eras. I also knew I didn't want to have to do elaborate make-up or hair (or wear a wig) and that I'd have to be able to dance in whatever I decided to wear. It didn't take all that long for me to decide, to tell the truth, as dressing up as a Rockford Peach is something I've wanted to do for such a long time.
A League of Their Own has been one of my favourite movies since I was a little girl (and I know this is something I share with quite a lot of people), despite having practically zero interest in spectator sports of any kind (I was the girl who did as little as she could in PE class and made certain I'd get 'out' as soon as possible if that was an option). It is a good film, though, if a little on the schmaltzy side of things, and I think it highlights at important part of the history of women in sports and I suppose how World War II affected that, too. However, I think I might do a separate post on the film one day so, for now, if you want to read more about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League you can go to this site.
Now, on to my costume! Even though I didn't really need to be a specific character, I decided I'd be "All the Way" Mae, which is the character Madonna played, as my hair is a similar length and colour.
I despaired for a little while of being able to find a pattern to make a similar style of dress (if I'd had enough time, I would have ordered this reproduction uniform from Amazon) but it worked out far better than I could have imagined in the end! We (well, I had the idea but mum did it as I find sewing dull and she enjoys it a lot) modified this pattern so that the overlaying panel doesn't end in the middle but extends further to look a little more like the uniform. (I'm not entirely sure how she did it as, as mentioned, she is the seamstress, not I!)
Finding a fabric the exact same colour was impossible but I think this is close enough - the hardest part was finding a plain red cap! In the end, we had to cover the logo on the cap with some red fabric and put the 'R' over that - it doesn't look exactly the same as the caps from the movie (which are also not exactly like the caps worn by the actual team) but I guess it gets the point across.
The shorts were made from the Wearing History Smooth Sailing pattern and the belt is from my Peta Pledger Angelique dress (you can buy the belts separately, too). As you can see I chose my trusty old saddle shoes over baseball shoes (or plain black shoes) for practical reasons (as well as the fact that I didn't fancy buying a new pair of shoes).
We didn't have time to get a proper patch or print one nicely so we just printed it on paper and sewed it on but it did the job for the night. But, really, I can barely express how pleased I was with this costume. It really pays off to put thought into it, I think. After all, I ended up getting nominated for best costume of the night (I lost to Wayne & Garth and Max - Where the Wild Things Are - so I can deal with that!)
Here's a clip of a little bit of swing dancing in the film - it's not really the greatest but I like that you get to see Madonna is wearing a panty girdle!
And I was going to try to learn this on my uke and do a video to go with the post but I got lazy. Ha!
Boy, that was a long post (and a bit wordy, too) - if you made it all the way through I applaud you! If not, I don't blame you and at least there were pictures to look at, too. I've got some more screencaps up on Flickr and I'll be adding more periodically (I ended up doing over 400 but have selected 100 to upload).
Andi B. Goode