Craft

Waterloo, I was defeated you won the Eurovision Song Contest.

photo 2Another year, another glorious Eurovision. Other than the perfection of Graham Norton’s banter, my highlights include, the poorly scoring French entry ‘Moustache’ and the smug whistling of Switzerland.
Now, say what you will but it was amazing that Conchita Wurst won. Her triumph showed that Europe is becoming more open minded and that a minority of slur flinging tossers can easily be out numbered by people who are delight to let people live however they choose.

Ever year my friends Matt and Kim host a Eurovision party, that joins the realms of ‘Katie Lamborn’s Tiny Christmas Food Party’ as highlights of the social calendar. For previous years, guests were challenged with coming in fancy dress to represent a competing nation. Last year saw the Icelandic ash cloud, Vladimir Putin, the Azerbaijani flame towers and my own Dutch windmill.

This year the challenge had changed to memorable winners, runners up and entrants. My fellow guests attended as Bonnie Tyler, Cliff Richard,
IMG_2371Gina G, Bucks Fizz , Dustin the turkey and a wonderfully conceptual piggy bank full of smooches for Brotherhood of Man’s ‘Save all your Kisses for me’. 

To me the choice was obvious- I had to go as Swedish power house and Eurovison legends, ABBA.  It was hard to pick which member I would be, Bjorn with all the musical talent? Agnetha the recluse? So I went as them all.

I chose to recreate the famous Cat outfits designed for the band by Owe Sandstrom. As a (mostly) natural brunette I would play Anni-Frid and had to make a human sized version of her dress. I would deal with the other members later.
In a haberdashery frenzy I bought about 45m of the cheapest, shiniest, most plasticy, white nylon sateen, to join all the other cheap, plastic, shiny elements of Eurovision. This was the kind of fabric that is NOT breathable and would have made a very unpleasant experience under the glare of Eurovison stage lights.
I used another shift dress I had as a rough template and simply cut a front and a back piece to be sewn together as a mini dress.

To get the cat design onto the fabric, I drew it firstly on to brown paper and then traced IMG_2372it through onto the material with a pencil.  I used yellow fabric paint to fill in the design. One dried I taped the brown paper and then the fabric up onto the window to trace through the design. I added all the finer the design details with Sharpies.

I zig- zagged all my edges of my pattern pieces and did a quick turn over at the hem, neckline and armholes and then constructed joining at the side seams and shoulders. It was a little tricky working with the slippery, nasty nylon, but it being a one night costumes I wasn’t too worried about achieving perfection. I then made the sash belt by sewing a long strip and turning out.

That was Anni- Frid taken care of, now I just had to sort out the remaining B, B and A of ABBA.

I had a plan that involved 1 x doll and 2 x actions figures. Unfortunately the particular branch of the 99p store I went to did not have any action figures, so I had to make a new plan with 3 x dolls and 0 x action figures to stand in as my band mates.

Agnetha got a miniature dress with the matching blue cat design drawn on with IMG_2369colouring pencils and sharpies. I must admit the band mates didn’t quite get the tailored experience that I did, their costumes were fastened with glue and messy stitching. I suspect this is similar to what happened in real life and drove the band to break up.

I had to turn two of the dolls in the swedish hunks, Benny and Bjorn. I took my already depleted Sharpies and went to town giving Bjorn a golden unibrow and Benny a golden beard, eyebrows and hair. I would have given the dolls their retro hair cuts, but due to the extraordinarily low price the dolls were produced and sold at, they only hand one row of implanted sunshine yellow hair and the centre of the scalps were bald. A cut would have resulted in them looking like monks. Not giving them a cut has left them with a man bun, looking like West Ham striker Andy Carroll.

It was quite hard to make tiny white, sateen bell bottoms for the chaps so, I did what I could. Make your own judgements.

I then assembled the band for the event, two bandmates strapped to my right arm, one to photo 3my left. The last time the real band were together was at the opening of the ABBA museum in Stockholm this time last year. I am told highlights of the attraction are a piano linked directly to the one in Benny’s studio and will play when he plays and also a telephone, to which only the ex band members have the number of.

Being a temporary member of this ABBA tribute band gave me a license to wear as much blue eye shadow as I used to when I was 15 and was doing an understated natural look for school.
I tried my best to style a hair do as voluminous as  Anni-Frid but I think that since 1974 the European Chemical agency have outlawed hairsprays of such strength.

Lastly, it was about Eurovision time last year that I started ‘Fuckoffbunting.com’ so I will also take this post a momentous 1 year blog-a-versary for me. Wahoo! Thanks for reading!

xxx

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