Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sew What?! It's Just the Gypsy in My Soul

It has been well established that my Halloween costumes must be little more than glorified pajamas.  I wholeheartedly approve of entirely-over-the-top, full-scale, costume productions...for other people.  Mile-high hair, crazy make-up, props, functioning electronics, and masks that make sight a total impossibility, all melt my Halloween-loving heart.  But as someone who has made quite a habit of sitting comfortably, entering and exiting cars without major incident, walking at a brisk pace (sweating as a result), and seeing where I am going, I require something ridiculously simple, something elasticized, something in which I can hide my lumps, my bumps, AND all of the candy I sneak from the candy bowl.  These are the exact reasons I so love the forgiving Halloween costumes of the Art Deco era.

Not so much a costume as a dunce cap and a crepe-paper smock, one is
rarely able to discern exactly what the wearer intended to be.  But darn
him if he doesn't look festive!

I love that whatever the intention, the costume is usually fabricated in the classic Halloween color story of orange, black, and white.  I also love that from fairy princess to wizard to Juliet, practically everyone gets the Jack-O-Lantern treatment.

Finding inspiration in old patterns and illustrations from The Dennison's 
Bogie Book, and knowing that our Halloween plans include a perennially-
awesome, vintage Halloween party, I decided that this year I would be a gypsy.

Not having gone as a gypsy vagabond since the year my mom declared that the same costume I'd worn for the past two years (first as "pirate" and then as "artist") would work equally well as gypsy, I figured that this was my year to take back ownership of the costume.  This year I will be the Halloween gypsy I've always wanted to be - not the humiliating "pirartsy" that was so cruelly forced on me for three years in a row.

You see?  I'm clearly NOT a pirate.
(That's a gypsy earring)
That's pirates here!

I'm almost positive that the pirate code strictly forbids trimmings
that are even slightly "pom pom" in nature and clearly the vest is
just dripping with those gypsy-esque danglers. 

Sticking with Halloween's tried-and-true colors, I made balloon-legged pants in black and a tassel-trimmed sash and head scarf in an orange-and-black stripe.  I had every intention of making my own gypsy tunic but realized how much easier it would be to customize an underutilized, white, dress shirt by hacking off the lower half of the sleeves and attaching gathered puff sleeves, but not without incident...

Sewing for the better part of two decades without injury, I always wondered
how those "I sewed through my finger" dummies managed to do it.  Well,
this costume taught me how.  Fortunately, my finger and hand remain intact
and the injury necessitated nary a pirate hook. 

As I was removing the shirt from beneath the presser foot, my own foot slipped, hitting the pedal and sending the needle right through my finger.  Reacting to my ouch response more quickly than I could understand what had happened, I immediately yanked my hand away.  In doing so, I broke the needle off into my finger - all in a day's work for a gypsy.

I convalesced by painting a non-pirate, gypsy-inspired pumpkin patch (get it?)
for the back of the vest, paying tribute to the costumes of yore and matching
my Crazy Crafty, Jack-O-Lantern, lantern staff.

What me, pirate?
Now that I'm fully recovered, I'm feeling quite fancy free and have a
desperate urge to wander.  Perhaps, it's just "The Gypsy in My Soul."

"The Gypsy in My Soul" - Perry Como

After much (gypsy) soul searching to the mellow crooning of Mr. Como, I suppose I am willing to concede that pirates are basically just scurvy-ridden water gypsies, so I guess my mom wasn't so far off-base...  

I hope you're ready for Halloween, because it is right around the corner!  What will you be on October 31?


Mr. Tiny


  1. OMG I freaked when I saw that needle tip! So glad you survived. My Mom told me how she did that to herself, and I never could figure it out.....
    Your outfit is CERTAINLY NOT a pirate! Love it! Adore the pumpkin face. I haven't figured out what to be for Halloween this year, better get on it.

    1. Thanks, Lisa! I was probably being a huge baby and making it seem way worse than it was...but it sure taught me a lesson! Good luck with Halloween costuming; I hear all the cool kids are going as gypsies this year!

  2. I love this costume. I agree that the best costumes I have worn in my life were glorified PJs. WHen I was little, my mom always based my costume around an adorned sweatsuit, so I have carried this into my adult life.

    1. Thanks, Kimmie!!! Sweats, oh how I love thee... (Even thought halloween is the only day I'd ever wear sweatpants out of doors - they just give people an all too realistic depiction of just how lazy I am). I can't wait to see what you and the senator come up with this year! You guys already have Bayside sweat suits, right?

  3. "There's a little bit of gypsy in me that's never been found, Waiting its day, there's a little bit of gypsy in me just hanging around till the magicial night When the stars by their light, give mystery to the sleeping lagoon. While a tinkling guitar, not too near, not too far, gaily strums away, hums away a titillating tune." When I'm there in a dream, with the one in the world I worship passionately,
    At the moment supreme, will be shown the unknown Gypsy in me." - Cole Porter

    The costume looks great! Makes me thing of the gypsies in "Babes in Toyland"!

    1. Cole Porter is pure genius - one of my all-time favorite song writers!!! Thanks, Mick!

  4. You might want to watch slinging around the word gypsy. I know in the US we don't know about it but it's actually a really offensive slur in many countries and is used to discriminate against the Roma people. History lessons in this country are a joke so I'm not surprised you didn't know, I only learned about it in the last few years. Just know if you encounter someone pissed off on Halloween they actually do have a reason to be and are not just trying to start a fight or something.

    1. I really appreciate your concern and sensitivity. I seriously hope I don't run into someone so bent on geographically-inappropriate political correctness that he would stoop to fisticuffs! In the event that I do, I will immediately change the title of my costume to "Halloween Pirate."