Saturday, December 29, 2012

Halloween 2011, 2012

To start off a series of posts about garments past, here are costumes from Halloween 2011 and 2012. In the spirit of just about everything I do, these were both started at the last minute (perhaps days before hand) and finished the day of an event (perhaps minutes beforehand). I think I actually skipped one or two events I would have gone to because the shark costume wasn't done. Oh well.

For my costumes, I like the idea of wearable garments that imitate or give the impression of some idea/concept/thing. I want to be able to use my costumes again if I'm going to put all the work into it. With that in mind, I came up with the cupcake costume.

Two things to keep in mind:

  1. I've never made a button down top before. Ever. I've never done sleeves, I've never sewn a shirt from a pattern, I've never looked at the actual construction of a peter pan collar. When I started making the shirt, I looked at a few technical drawings but didn't do much research beyond how to shape a sleeve.
  2. I'd never made pants before this. I once attempted pajama pants from a pattern more than 10 years ago, but never finished them.

That said, here's a cupcake:

I have no idea what the pink fabric is, but it's pretty heavy. I found it in the roll end bin at Dressew, which is where I've gotten most of my fabric, so I don't know the fiber content. It was the perfect shade and shine, though, which is why I picked it out. The brown fabric is a basic woven cotten cannibalized from a thrifted duvet cover.

The hat was made by stuffing a circle and stitching on a gathered tube with exposed seam. There are also really large sequins stitched on as "sprinkles", with elastic attached to keep it on my head (it was too heavy to just make a fascinator out of it)

I wanted the feel of soft, fluffy icing on top, so I chose a peter pan collar, gathered sleeves at the top and elastic casing at the edge, and some slight gathering underbust with a corset shaped bodice area. 

Hellloooooo, camel toe. Like I said, I hadn't made pants before this, so I made the rise WAY. TOO. SHORT. For the bloomers, I followed a youtube video (after googling "bloomers tutorial") which was really informative, but really... that rise. Dear god. I still wear these under dresses in the summer when I need something so I don't chafe. I should have redone these, but I couldn't determine the fit too well without doing the elastic casing. After having the most frustrating time feeding the elastic through, I was done with these and decided it would have to do.

You can see how ill fitting the top is here, but without a pattern and without ever having made a button down before, I'd say it's not entirely bad. It could definitely use some darts. Because the top fabric doesn't have very much movement, I added a vent... thing?

I have mixed feelings on these pieces. I'm proud that I was able to come up with these on the fly with almost no experience sewing garments, but I'm starting to realize I need to use patterns. 

For Halloween 2012, I wanted something tight, easy, and low maintenance. Taking inspiration from the Femme Shark Manifesto, I decided a shark would be perfect for the mindset I've been in.

I used a really heavy silver something (no idea what it really is) I got at an Our Social Fabric sale. It's a 4 way stretch but heavier than bathing suit material. No pattern used, just my measurements. I made a mistake on the hood because I made it too long and trimmed from the bottom - forgetting to add extra length so the front would lay flat - instead of the top. Ah well. I used a banded hem to add a little length - it was SHORT - and to give it a more snug fit at the bottom. 

The limp shark fin after I hand stitched it on. There is a small squared off hole in the seam at the top where I snaked a metal coat hanger through to give it shape.

There are my Halloween costumes! One thing I've realized after writing this: the downside of being completely self taught without books or patterns is that I don't have a feel for material except through trial and error and I don't know the technical name for anything. I suppose more research and practice will help, but expect a lot of "thingies" and "maybe?"s for a while.


  1. Great costumes !!! Are you finding that writing about these makes via your new blog is forming new ideas? I find that blogging helps me think more about what I've made and I learn more in consequence. If you're self taught, you achieve a lot already and your costumes are such fun :-)

    1. Thanks! Forming new ideas and also helping me rethink past decisions. I'm trying very hard to stick strictly to patterns. I need to learn technical basics before I go galavanting off back to trying to draft patterns for knit dresses and slouchy vests (again).

  2. Total shark hoody envy. I never knew I could feel this way.