Tuesday, 8 November 2011


 Just in time for Halloween, last weekend was the annual Melbourne Zombie Shuffle.  I'd never taken part before, but I'd been intrigued, so Mr Macska and I decided to go along and get undead.

Mr Macska wanted to go as a zombie doctor, which was pretty easy to achieve.  I bought a lab coat, and begged a faulty stethoscope from the guy in charge of medical supplies at work.  A pale blue shirt and a bland tie were cheaply purchased at KMart, and voila!  Zombie doctor.

Of course, the natural choice for me was the complimentary Zombie Nurse.  I really wanted a classic, 1950s-style white nurse outfit, but where to get one, with only a week to go before the Shuffle?  I absolutely refused to buy a 'Sexy Nurse' costume, so the only choice was to make my own.

I used a vintage pattern for a button-through fitted short-sleeved dress, bought 2m of white cotton drill and started sewing.  I made a toile in calico first, and with the addition of two darts at the front and three in the back, I got a pretty nice nurse's outfit.

For the nurse's hat, I used this pattern.  I cut two pattern pieces out of cotton drill, stiffened one piece with iron-on interfacing, and edged the whole thing with bias tape. The cross was cut out of felt and glued on the front.  I bought some white slip-on shoes from KMart for $8, so that was footwear sorted out.

Next came the fun part - splattering everything with blood!  I didn't want the dress and lab coat to look too white and new, as the zombies must have been lurching around for a little while, but soaking the whole of them in tea would make them too brown.  Instead, I made up a strong cup of tea (1 tea bag, half a cup of water), then put half the tea along with an equal amount of water in a spray bottle.  I sprayed the outfits with the tea, which gave them a subtle stained look.  When that was dry, I also dribbled some of the strong tea on them, to produce some nice brownish stains.

I wanted most of the blood to be dry, and I had read that fake blood just goes pink and watery on fabric when it dries, so I decided to use acrylic paint.  I mixed up a blood colour (red + brown) and thinned it out with water.  Then I laid the dress and coat out on the floor, and flicked the paint onto them with a paintbrush and an old toothbrush.  The hat and shoes got the treatment too.  When they were dry, I turned them over and did the backs.

The makeup was fun, as you can't really go wrong with zombie makeup - it's meant to look gross.  I used liquid latex and tissue to make some wounds on my forehead, neck and shoulder, and then some more to create patches of lumpy skin on my cheeks.  The skin colour was a mixture of white, pale blue and pale green water-based facepaint, with a bit of liquid foundation added.  I used red and blue mixed to a horrible purple under the eyes, and a bit of black.  The wounds got filled in with a dark red lipstick, and then I just added lots of fake blood.

The day was a lot of fun, and there were several thousand people zombies, even though the weather was rather cold and windy, and threatening to rain.  We even ran into some friends of ours, who had brought their four children out for a day of wholesome family fun!  Afterwards, hanging around at Federation Square, we were asked about 20 times to pose in the photos of Asian tourists, who seemed delighted to find Melbourne crawling with the undead!  We happily complied, and pretended to eat their brains.

1 comment:

  1. Brains!!!!! Love it. I'm a big fan of the matching shoes! Great job :D