I think the only reason I sew (a practice I've always viewed as a necessary evil), is simply to get the
idea out of my head and into real life, finally allowing myself move on to the next great obsession.
Creative sewing can sometimes mean releasing conceptual control and allowing the materials to dictate the direction a project will take. Burdened with yards and yards of a ruby red, swap-meet-quality fabric that we'll refer to as velveteen (more like flocked "velvette" or something akin to those weird moleskin-type, inflatable neck pillows used for flying), and a couple yards of floral, raspberry brocade, it was obvious that Mary's Halloween costume would have to be some kind of showgirl. The saturated hues of the velveteen and floral brocade were crying out, "Make us a saloon girl!" Not willing to abdicate total power, however, I thought about something a little less specific - western influenced maybe, but hopefully evoking a bit of Hollywood glamour as well.
|After nearly a zillion rough drafts, this was the final design, very |
much inspired by showgirl costumes of '40s cinema.
Sure, there have been far better and far more elaborate showgirl costumes but I was actually pretty proud of myself for this design - mostly because the only thing I had to purchase was the zipper and, unable to find anything suitable, I drafted my very own pattern. Having absolutely no technical knowledge of legitimate pattern drafting, I used Mr. Tiny's tried and true hope-and-pray method. I was even more proud of myself that, however far from perfect, I only had to make a couple of minor pattern adjustments before cutting into the fabric.
|Breaking out every bit of red fabric and and red trim I could find, I|
learned that every value of red matches if one just uses them all.
The majority of the fully-lined, boned, strapless, one-piece garment was made of the velveteen, featuring the brocade at the center panel. The princess seams were finished by a red gimp studded with red rhinestones. The bust was adorned with two-layer bow and the seat was finished with a giant detachable bow and tails. The choker was a remnant piece of velvet ribbon tied at the nape of the neck. I even got ambitious and made a matching drawstring purse. After having made them for at least two other "Sew What?!" projects, I still couldn't get past the water wing/arm floaties; I think they finish the costume in a far superior fashion to some corny, store-bought gloves. With the body of the costume well under way, it was time for me to tackle the headpiece.
Hoping to teach Mary some kind of responsibility (insert laughter - or maybe sad trombone - here), I put her in charge of stockings and shoes. Let's just say that the day before Halloween I was driving her around town looking for nude fishnet stockings; on the day of Halloween, the Imelda Marcos of the Americas still hadn't figured out her shoe situation. In what must have been her attempt to elicit an anxiety-induced coronary, she handed me a pair of the most random, lucite-heeled, yellowing, plastic mules I had ever seen. I immediately reverted to my hope-and-pray method for an extreme shoe makeover.
The funniest part about this design is that I'm normally not one to make costumes that might be deemed provocative. In the best of circumstances, I am wholly confused by the parade of overly-sexualized costumery (as outlined yearly by our pal, Kimmie) that marches forth during the Halloween season. The fact that this costume is rather bare didn't even occur to me until we were at our friends' unbelievably-awesome and atmospheric Halloween party where I caught a couple of creepers ogling Ol' Stretch.
|Rather than "sexiness," the intention of this costume was about invoking the spirit of|
Annette at The Golden Horseshoe and other similar cinematic showgirls; I think it worked!
Well, what do you think? Was the obsessive sketching worth the effort? What was your costume this year - tell the truth, was it sexy? More importantly, did you Trick-or-Treat?
We hope that whatever you wore and whatever you did, your Halloween
nightmares dreams all came true! We're already excitedly planning for next year! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!