In the meantime....meet Dreamfinder:
This costume definitely separated the Dizgeeks from the casual Disney fans; people either shrieked for joy or just stared in puzzlement. (Most tragic was the cast member who kept calling him - not the plush - "Figment." Stab me in the heart, why don't you.) Throughout the night he was also called Dream Weaver, Dream Catcher, Abraham Lincoln (??), and Mr. Monopoly. Heh.
The Party is so dark and crowded that it's hard to see all the costumes, so it wasn't until we were waiting in the Castle forecourt for a friend that John actually drew a small crowd. They all wanted a picture with him, as opposed to just *of* him, which I loved, and I was glad to be out of costume so I could take their pictures. "This is my childhood, right here," one woman enthused, while another began ranting about how terrible the new ride is. (Ha!) I think as many guys wanted pics with John as gals, though, and working cast members everywhere pointed and gave him a thumbs up - even ones in the parade. One survey-taker chased John down by the train station just to shake his hand, and even though the CMs couldn't come out and say it, most gave him a grave nod that said, "Yes, we miss him, too."
Great, now I'm getting all misty over here.
Quick, more pictures!!
To recap: the costume was my idea, but that's about all the credit I can take. John was immediately on board with it, and within about a week he'd sewn the entire suit from scratch. (Since I can't sew a straight line to save my life, I stuck to just cutting out all the fabric pieces for him.)
This was the first item of clothing John's ever sewn, btw, proving yet again my man can do anything. :)
Since it's probably been a while since you've seen the original Dreamfinder, here are two of the reference photos we worked from:
It seemed every photo I found of DF had him with slightly different beards and hats, so we just did our best to make what we had work. (The curly beard would have been impossible, so we went with the straighter version.)
We found a thrift-store suit jacket to use for a template - cutting the front and back to make the tails - and then spent a few days searching fabric stores for the best vest option.
Of course we included the bright pink lining. It's just about standards, you know?
I found the spats, gloves, and bow tie all online, along with the vintage Figment plush. (You would not BELIEVE how much nicer the original Figment dolls were than the ones they sell now. Or, ok, maybe you would.)
The cheap top hat we originally purchased at a costume shop was way too small once we got the wig on John. It perched on top of his head and looked like someone had attacked it briefly with a shrink ray. So John made a new one.
The process is deceptively simple: just roll a piece of posterboard (ours is a specialty plastic, but it's the same thickness) into a tube, and then sew a slipcover for it from felt:
The brim is more plastic posterboard, rolled to give it a curve and cut into a donut shape, covered with more felt:
To connect the two, cut slits in the felt all around the brim interior and glue them inside the hat:
Here are the two hats side-by-side - you can see how much larger John's had to be:
The beard and wig were the hardest part, if you can believe it. We tried a couple of different wigs before settling on a mullet style that already had the feathered portion in the front, so I just had to trim the back. The beard was a steal at only $15 with shipping (here's the link), but it took about a gallon of hairspray to wrangle it into shape. I even made curly ends for the mustache, although they don't show up very well.
This has been such a fun process, and it was sweet waking up this morning to see one or two Disney people already talking about the "awesome Dreamfinder" at MNSSHP last night. I know it's a very select group of people who can and will appreciate our labor of love, so I'm glad I get to share it here with you guys!
Stay tuned for more pics from the Party, plus my Figment costume!