Tag Archives: Halloween

The Don’t Be Impressed Dress

I have said this before, but I love Halloween, like, epic levels of love for Halloween, which makes the sense, don’t you think? After all, I’m a writer, specifically a dramatic writer, and what that means is that all I do is play pretend, and Halloween is an opportunity to play pretend by dressing up as someone else and getting rewarded for that, instead of thrown in a mental institution, with candy and, as you grow older, booze. I love the fall feeling in the air, I love the children’s costumes, I love when people make something impossibly clever (Example: my friend Ben who always always has the best Halloween ideas, is volunteering right now in Vietnam so he went to a party as a kind of Eat Pray Love parody. How awesome is that? Ben wins.) But I honestly have concluded by the ripe old age of 26, that I’m not personally great at Halloween. I just have the worst time thinking up costumes!

And you would think that now that I sew it would be easier, but I have recently realized it only makes it harder, because I’m unwilling to make something I will only wear once, so my costumes have to have some future life/use, and that is NOT the way great Halloween costumes come to being. Great Halloween costumes must spring from guts and glory, not a vague need to fill out one’s fall wardrobe. Great Halloween costumes are born, not made, they spring from the head of Zeus, fully formed, like Athena! Man, I need to make friends with Zeus, guys.

So despite wracking my brain and coming up with a  handful of silly girly vaguely interesting ideas that I didn’t bother to buy patterns or fabric for, that’s how motivated I was, I was in a pickle, with a party to go to last night, school deadlines all week so no time to sew, and no idea what to wear. Not wearing a costume is, of course, totally unacceptable and a fate that should be punishable by death, or at least having to be strapped in a chair and watch documentaries about government for no less than 24 hours on end. So what was I to do? Well, I’m not proud of this, but I did the second worst thing you can do after not wearing a costume. I recycled.

I’m all about recycling in life. Like, creepy into recycling in life, I compost. But recycling a costume? That is as disgusting as many people thing composting is. Such people can also join in on the documentary thing, composting is awesome, but that’s an argument for another day. The point is I had no choice! Graduate school is difficult! Life gets away from you! What was I supposed to do, BUY something? That’s insane! Madness, I say! Don’t hate me! (Sob, sob, sob….)

When I was in college this awesome girl named Rebecca Arzoian, who, by the way, remains very awesome, came to a party dressed as a Freudian Slip. She wore a black slip and had a nametag that said “Penis Envy” on it. I honestly thought this was the coolest flipping thing I had ever seen, and four years ago I threw on my own slip and went to my friend Ben of the brilliant costume’s party. He was a Canadian millionaire, having fashioned a tailcoat and top hat out of denim. It was amazing. People loved my slip, and I contented myself with a job well done.

So when this year I was strapped for ideas, I did it again. I know. I know. The horror! But at least I made it!

TBDID 2Apologies for the yellow indoor photos, I tried to color correct but there is only so much you can do about indoor evening shots. Still, I was thrilled to get them, thank you, Emily! My roommate Emily snapped these before our party. The theme was Dr. Who villain so, yeah, I just failed on all levels here, didn’t I?

TDBID 3The pattern is Colette Patterns Cinnamon Dress, the same one I made for Emily for the Jazz Age Lawn Party. The fabric is actually from a poly-cotton blend bedsheet, which I got on ebay to make curtains for our apartment, and I still have tons of it even after the curtains and this dress. It has very faint lines on it, which now are diagonal because this dress was cut on the bias so it slides over your body.

TDBID 4As slips go, this is a great pattern, and I would love to make it again having gotten the hang of it. I would make the straps thicker, though, that’s the only thing I’m not wild about.

TDBID 6Of course, it’s not really meant to be worn with a bra, I guess, but still. This could be a very cute dress for every-day wear, honestly, I love the drape of the bias-cut skirt and the way it flows.

Okay, I’m about to do an extreme chest close up so you can see  my Freudian name-tag, fair warning:

TDBID 5In case you can’t read that or don’t want to examine my, er, assets quite so closely, that reads: Hello, my name is Elektra Complex. Hmm, I wonder if that’s why all those older gentleman were flirting with me all night? Kidding! It was a Dr. Who Villain’s themed party, people were so disgusted I didn’t stick to the theme they barely gave me the time of day.

TDBID 1So there is my Halloween costume, don’t you dare be impressed by it, even for a moment. I wont allow it, I don’t deserve such a thing.

Oh, I thought you might like to see a progression of photos when I told Emily to stop taking photos, but she didn’t want to:

TDBID 8TDBID 7TDBID 9Ah, the woes of blogging, I am so very put upon, don’t look at me and my shame!

I hope you all had a lovely Halloween and, perhaps, did better than I did. What did you go as? Do you like Halloween or perish beneath the pressure? Do you recycle costumes? Make me feel better here, internets!

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Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Costume, Sewing

The No Place Like Home Outfit

And now we come to my costume. My costume which is of course the iconic and rather boring Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.

At the age of ten I was IN The Wizard of Oz, but I was the Cowardly Lion. I was AMAZING. This is a fact. Ask my mom. It’s for real. But this year I decided to be Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Why? I couldn’t tell you. I have no really reason why I decided on this costume. I just knew I could make that costume and I felt like it would be easy and…no other reason. I’m a weird fixator. So that was all decided.

And then I made it! This is not that great of a story…

Again, Emily snapped these of me quickly at that same Halloween party I had previously mentioned, so the color quality is…terrible. Sigh.

I took a Burda-Style pattern, the ever popular ever hated Dress with Gathered Skirt, and modified the bodice. I basically chopped off the arms, made up the bodice as a strapless one, and then added strips in for sleeves. I then took two large rectangles and gathered them for the skirt. Side zipper, machine hem, boom.

I also made the blouse, a JJ Blouse without ruffles. Boy, Burda Style really did me well for Halloween!

A little back view for you.

I got the red shoes from Payless, I know, I know, that’s terrible for the world, but they WERE cheap…

Because I wore what is essentially a cute and non-threatening or creepy or extremely revealing costume, and I wore it on the subway, people felt quite comfortable coming up and talking to me all night, both in Manhattan and in Brooklyn. It was rather disconcerting, but fine.

Oh, yes, here is my toto:

Given the insane hurricane that hit the East Coast this week, I’m stuck in my apartment (and in Brooklyn in general, the subways have been shut down since Sunday). So I hope you are all safe and secure if you were in the path of the storm, or even if you weren’t! Happy Halloween!

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Filed under Burda Style, Clothing, Costume, Sewing

The “I Barely Get the Reference” Dress

Let’s just start right here and say that I’ve never seen Game of Thrones. STOP YELLING AT ME! I know, I know, it’s great, blah blah blah. I just, I have a lot of T.V. in my life, do I really need more? Okay, maybe I do, I’m sure it’s a lot better than Hart of Dixie. Ha, I’m just kidding, nothing is better than Hart of Dixie. But I digress.

The POINT is, my roommate, Emily, wanted to go as a character from Game of Thrones this year for Halloween. Well, I had talked her into being Mary from Downton Abbey because A. She loves the show and B. I really wanted to make someone an Edwardian gown and that business is never going to look good on me but on tall EMILY it probably would be baller. But alas, we were invited to Emily’s sisters Halloween Party and said party had a fantasy theme. My costume could remain the same (more on that later) but we had to either Doctor-Who-up Mary (which didn’t sit right with any of us, Steven Moffat included) or find something else. And hence my wonderful roommate picked Daenerys Targaryen.

Of course, I knew I would never be able to perfectly duplicate the original dress. But I wanted to get close! It’s actually a lot lighter, the shade of blue, but this is the image Emily and I took fabric shopping with us, so this is the business we’ve chosen.

Together we scouted the New York Garment District for polyester chiffon. Now, normally I’m a natural fibers girl to the point of mania, but this was a Halloween costume on Emily’s dime, so it was man-made all the way. We also wanted to find something that was a reasonable price, because, again, Halloween costume. The upside of the New York Fabric scene is the variety. The downside, for me, is the price. How I miss my beloved Philadelphia!

Still, we managed to find a nice blue polyester Georgette for 6 a yard, which was the best I thought we could do, at Fabrics Counter at 554 8th Avenue, and the very nice cutters there agreed with me that Emily was going to look amazing. And look amazing she did:

Of course, these photos had to be crammed in during the party, so the light and surrounding aren’t as regal as one might have hoped, but what can you do?

Emily had to put a serious face on, as befits a queen.

But eventually I forced her to smile.

The color of the dress is less teal then it appears. The pattern I used is Burda Style’s Drape Dress, and of course it has the typical non-instructions Burda always so sweetly gives us. Whatever, I just made it up as I went. The inside of this dress is a huge struggle and you will never see it. The changes I made, oh, boy. Well, I basically made my own drapes, rather than following the pattern for the waist and bodice. But I quite like the effect.

You can just see the lining, a navy taffeta I had on hand, I should have under-stitched. Should have, could have, would have.

And I lengthened the pattern signficantly to hit Emily’s feet. And I added long shoulder pieces, because that’s what the original costume has. And I totally made up the back, just made it the hell up.

Of course, Emily’s wig is in the way, but you get the idea.

Look at that. Would you ever steal that woman’s dragons?

I literally know nothing about the show. That’s a thing, right? Dragons?

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Filed under Burda Style, Clothing, Costume, Sewing