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Curtain Clothing
"I saw it in the window and I just couldn't resist it."

A character is in dire need of some new clothing, but short on materials - so she converts the curtains (or some other unconventional item, like a sail or a tablecloth) into a new outfit.

If played for comedy, expect to see the exact silhouette of the outfit in the still-hanging curtains - and possibly only enough for a two-dimensional version. Do not try to work out how that's possible. Another option is for the outfit to still look like a window dressing, complete with the poles and strings.

A Sub-Trope of Improvised Clothes. See also Bankruptcy Barrel.

By order of the Pun Police, jokes about "whether the carpet matches the drapes" Will Not Be Tolerated.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • A TV commercial had a lady showering on the beach. The cleaning lady comes in and accidentally takes her bathing suit. She makes an impromptu dress from the shower curtain and wears it to a party. Don't remember what was advertised.
  • Brintons Carpets ran a print campaign in the 1990s using clothes constructed from their carpets (Scroll down this page to see some examples). One has since been donated to London's Science Museum (Picture), while another featured in an unusual fashion show in 2013 (Blog post).

    Anime and Manga 
  • Juugo from Naruto: Shippuden is forced to do this when his new boss, Sasuke, is preparing to hunt down and kill his big brother, Itachi. He thinks it's kind of comfy. Oddly enough, he continues wearing it even after he starts wearing an Akatsuki cloak, so he's now wearing one cloak over another.
  • In Revolutionary Girl Utena, Utena makes a dress for Anthy from a tablecloth.
  • In Sister Princess, when the family ends up stranded on what seems to be a deserted island with a vacant house, the sisters make dry clothes out of the curtains for everyone to wear.
  • In Hidamari Sketch, Miya needs a yukata but doesn't have one, so she thinks of using the curtains to make a "modern" one. She ends up borrowing one of Hiro's, though.
  • In Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer, Hatoko wonders why Misaki's Angel Hikaru is naked. She promptly fashions a dress out of her handkerchief.
  • In G Gundam, after Domon saves a very naked Rain from the Devil/Dark Gundam, he promptly throws his cape around her, which conveniently morphs into a form-fitting sexy red dress.
  • Ohana in Hanasaku Iroha makes a wedding dress out of curtains for Takako.

    Film 
  • Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind makes a Pimped-Out Dress out of her fancy curtains to try to avoid looking destitute when she meets Rhett. As he lets her know in a later scene, he isn't fooled (although its her hands, not the dress that gives her away). Arguably the Trope Codifier for modern versions of this trope.
    • Parodied on The Carol Burnett Show (pictured), where Carol left the curtain rod in the dress.
      • According to Harvey Korman, they had to re-record the audio on that take because he was laughing so hard when she came down the stairs.
    • Also parodied in the penultimate episode of The Critic, when Duke reveals that he knew "Scarlett" (Alice's sister Miranda) did this because she left in the venetian blinds. Then Miranda pulled the cord, Duke's eyes widened and he exclaimed, "Woo! Baby got back!"
  • Maria in The Sound of Music makes play clothing for the Von Trapp children from the curtains. When she's called on it, she points out that the curtains were being replaced, anyways; she just used the old ones, so the fabric didn't go to waste. This fails to mollify Captain Von Trapp, whose main concern is that people would think he was too cheap to buy his children proper clothes or too ineffectual to teach his children proper dress standards.
  • Giselle from Enchanted makes a dress from Robert's curtains, and later one from his daughter's bedding. She leaves the curtains in place, and the holes can be seen throughout the rest of the movie. Robert is, understandably, furious.
  • In A Knight's Tale, when Jocelyn's maid asks Roland what Will's tunic for the banquet following his first tournament will look like (when Will, being a commoner posing as a nobleman, doesn't own a tunic) Roland describes the tent behind her. He then later makes the tunic himself using fabric from the tent.
  • In Lust In The Dust, Big Ed removes the piano blanket to create a new dress for Divine.
  • In Preston Sturges' The Palm Beach Story, Claudette Colbert's character has her clothes stolen from her overnight berth on a train. She fashions an outfit from her pajama top, a bath towel, and an oversized rug.
  • The 2007 version of Hairspray has Penny wear a dress made from her bedroom curtains to the Miss Teenage Hairspray episode of The Corny Collins Show. She uses the curtain rings to attach an extra piece of material to the dress.
  • The 2010 Alice in Wonderland has Alice suddenly grow to be 25 feet tall, and the Queen orders her servants to find her some clothes. Specifically, "Use the curtains, if you must, but please clothe this enormous girl!" In the next scene, the clothes that Alice is wearing imply that the servants did exactly that.
  • In Dark Angel: The Ascent, the demon Veronica arrives on Earth naked and makes a dress out of a trash bag and some sheets. Later, she cuts up a leather sofa and makes a dress out of that.

    Literature 
  • Inverted in the Swedish children's book Prinsessor på semester ("Princesses on holiday"): when princesses go on a holiday, they bring big pretty dresses. They make good tents.
  • In Black and Blue Magic the main character finds that the only way to make a warm outfit that allows his wings to go through while flying at night is to drape a curtain around himself.
  • Captain Underpants uses a curtain to make a cape the first time he assumes his superhero identity. This is also his only article of clothing other than the obvious.
  • In The Egypt Game, the main characters use old curtains and pillowcases to make Egyptian-style robes and tunics for Halloween costumes.
  • In Valerie Tripp's Kathleen: The Celtic Knot, a rumor goes around at a dance competition that Kathleen's dress is made from a curtain. After Kathleen wins, she publicly confirms the rumor, and thanks her aunt for the suggestion.
  • In Margot Benary-Isbert's novel The Ark, set in post World War II Germany, Mrs. Lechow makes her daughters dresses from a set of old drapes.
  • The first book of Jane B. Mason and Sarah Hines Stephens's series The Princess School, Cinderella makes a ballgown out of midnight blue velvet left over from when her stepmother had the furniture reupholstered.

    Live Action TV 
  • Virginia Lewis in The 10th Kingdom makes a shepherdess' costume from a set of curtains. (One can only assume that she found a magic sewing machine.)
  • This was how Bruce Campbell's character in Jack-of-All-Trades got his alter-ego disguise in the first place.
  • In one episode of The Vicar of Dibley, Alice's mother makes her a dress out of curtains. Sadly, she leaves the drawstring in the sleeve.
  • In Drake & Josh, Drake rips off a curtain and wears it over himself to hide the theme park shirt he's wearing to get out of trouble.
    Drake's Mom: Are those my drapes your wearing?
    Drake: Yeah, I got a little chilly.
    Drake's Mom: So you thought it would be a good idea to wear —
    Josh: — So, how was your night?
  • One episode of Scrubs mentioned an incident in which JD dress his infant son Sam like Julius Ceaser, as in cutting holes in a pillowcase for him to wear with a belt. JD's excuse was that he was unprepared, not having clothes for Sam at his place since Sam is usually at Kim's.
  • In the first episode of every season of RuPaul's Drag Race, Ru challenges the drag queens to make dresses out of whatever random things she can throw at them. In the second season, it's curtains, and the episode directly invokes Gone with the Wind.
  • The page image came from a sketch parodying Gone With The Wind on The Carol Burnett Show.

    Theater 
  • In Rent, Maureen remarks that Angel would find an old tablecloth in the trash and make it a dress, and before long it would be "rolling off the assembly line at the Gap."

    Western Animation 
  • In The Little Mermaid, Ariel attempts to make a dress from a sail on a wrecked ship. The result is more comical than anything.
  • The Grinch in the animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! makes his Santa Claus suit from a set of red curtains.
  • Hey Arnold!: When Rhonda's family loses their wealth for an episode, she eventually figures out to get by without money and makes a casual dress for herself using a shower curtain.
  • On the Tom and Jerry short "Zoot Cat", Tom makes a zoot suit out of a hammock.
  • A gag in Avatar: The Last Airbender involves Aang, Sokka, and Lord Momo of the Momo Dynasty improvising robes out of curtains and affecting posh accents to practice infiltrating a royal feast.
  • In an episode of Sit Down, Shut Up that sees the cast dealing with a flood, normally meek Willard (now in charge) wears a cape he said Ennis made from curtains.
  • It's stated that Leela once made a prom dress from carpet samples on Futurama.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Rarity Takes Manehattan", Rarity's designs and custom fabric for a fashion show get stolen by a competitor, forcing her to make a new line from scratch out of whatever she can scavenge from the hotel. She ends up winning the competition.

    Real Life 
  • In real life, it was Maria Franziska von Trapp, one of the Von Trapp children whose story inspired The Sound of Music, who made clothes from curtains, according to her sister, Rosemarie von Trapp.
  • Beatrice Jackman, a Danish secret agent in World War II, had a stunning red dress made from a stolen Nazi flag.
  • Major Claude Hensinger, a WWII pilot who bailed out of his B-29 after an engine fire, kept warm overnight using his parachute and was rescued in the morning. His fiance, Ruth, had his life-saving parachute made into her wedding dress, patterned after a dress in Gone With the Wind. Ruth Hensinger's dress, which was also been worn by her daughter and daughter-in-law for their weddings, was donated to the National Museum of American History.
  • In a similar example, Temple Leslie Bourland, a radio operator on a C-47, bailed out under enemy fire in 1945. Injured, Bourland and a comrade spent two days in a foxhole using his parachute to stay warm before being found by Allied troops. His fiance, Rosalie Hierholzer, had a wedding dress made from the bullet-ridden parachute. Rosalie Hierholzer's parachute wedding dress is in the National Museum of American History.
    • Wedding dresses made from retired parachutes were fairly common in those days, since the parachutes were no longer being used as such but were still large amounts of precious silk, in a wartime/post-war economy when such resources couldn't be allowed to go to waste.
  • There is a long-standing joke among the Russian LARPG community about newbies making "elf cloaks" out of curtains. Perhaps sometime ago, they actually did.
    • In Finland, the items used are likely to be sheets.
      • In Sweden, it's an Army surplus blanket.
  • The original Star Trek series was made on a shoestring budget. The environmental suits seen in the episode "The Naked Time" were made from Art Deco shower curtains.
  • Surprisingly popular among many historical costumers. Drapery/upholstery fabrics are usually wider than fabrics woven for clothing use, which means you can make a seriously Pimped-Out Dress without needing to piece the fabric together. (You can also get a set of drapes at the Goodwill for less than the cost of equivalent yardage at the fabric store.) Additionally, drapery and home decor fabrics are often available in weights, weaves, and patterns that are closer to accurate for historical time periods.
    • Even normal tailors can make clothes out of fabric or bedclothes, since it's cheaper than buying similar fabric by the yard.
    • A variant occurred in Project Runway, when the designers had to use items purchased at a grocery store. At least two contestants used shower curtains.
  • Technically, you can make anything into a sarong, as long as it's a big enough piece of fabric, other than a towel - that's just silly.
  • This South Carolina bride made her own wedding dress from Anthropologie shower curtains for her 2009 wedding.
  • Eccentric Australian composer Percy Grainger designed and wore towelling clothing. Samples can be seen here: http://collectedphotographs.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/percy-grainger-towel-clothes-and.html


Bankruptcy BarrelImprovised IndexEggshell Clothing
Curtain CallAdded Alliterative AppealCute Kitten
Culture Equals CostumeCostume TropesCustom Uniform
The Carol Burnett ShowImageSource/Live-Action TVCastle

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