Halloween is my favorite time of year. I love to pretend that it’s autumn here in Arizona, as it is in other parts of the world, and Halloween time, and October, just give you that feeling of warmth and coziness to combat the chill (not that we have any here, but a girl can dream).
One of my favorite things about this time of year is getting commissioned for Halloween costumes. I’m always excited to see what other people are interested in wearing, and being challenged to make things for bodies other than my own. This year I was challenged with an exciting prospect.
An old friend of mine contacted me about making him a Dr. Frank n Furter costume from Rocky Horror Picture Show. Naturally, I lit up and accepted. It’s always been a dream of mine to dress a guy up in drag? So I set to work. I figured it was impossible to find the exact fabric used in the vest, but off we went to the fabric store to try and find something. Our best efforts led to layering 3 colors of sparkly fabric. This fabric loved to snag on everything as well, which ultimately led to the prevention of gloves being made, as it just would not stop making holes. But enough was salvaged to make this damn vest!
Another obstacle in the making process was the cape that was to be included. We hunted for quite some time looking for the right silver fabric. Everything we found was either grey or silver, but not the metallic status we needed. Then, my friend came across this bright silver metallic fabric, and we went with that. To this day, it is quite possibly the worst fabric I’ve ever worked with. I don’t know what it was made of, and it would neither iron nor steam. I am convinced it was made from actual woven tinsel, because the smallest cut would make it fray like crazy. Using pins would leave these visible holes, almost like puncture wounds! I hated every second of working with that fabric.
I went to my trusty resource, Fleece Fun, which I used last year for my Little Red Riding Wolf costume, for a cape pattern. I found a long hooded cape pattern and it was the perfect length for the job! However, the collar was a different story. Looking at the film, I saw that it had a slight curve to it. I had no idea how I was going to make this, and so I went to the trusty interwebs. Again, I found no pattern but I looked up how to make a Dracula cape collar and found some helpful tips. I used a craft-grade Pellon interfacing, which felt very nearly like cardboard, measured the cape collar and then drafted a pattern for the collar itself. What resulted was not an exact replica of Dr. Frank’s collar, but still quite a fabulous alternative that I had to topstitch the hell out of to prevent that evil silver fabric from fraying.
For the front vest panels, I layered silver, magenta, and black to create a color similar to that of the one from the film. The fabric itself was glittery and metallic and was the closest we could find. For the back of the vest, I used just one layer of sheer black. The eyelets were sewn in by hand, since the metal ones I had were rather old and did not feel like sticking. All hems and edges were finished with bias tape, and inside seams were finished off with Hong Kong seams, since he plans to get quite a few uses out of the costume.
Dr. Frank, being a sweet transvestite, is wearing what I believe to be actual women’s underwear. Even that I was tasked to make. So I used the Geneva low-rise underwear pattern from Seamwork and set about making this. The fabric we used was this ultra soft jersey knit, which I am tempted to make my own underwear out of now. I altered the pattern to make them a little more like shorts, since penises don’t lie flat, and it would require a bit less tucking this way. I threw some ruffle lace on the edges and they were done! Looking forward to seeing how he pulls it all together!
Below are some photos of him at the final fitting…
Other assignments I had were making a bow tie and apron for a Mary Poppins costume, and also making a chador for my own, as I went as the vampire from A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.
The chador was more difficult than I thought it would be, but I have heard from many that it is a garment that is particularly frustrating because you are constantly trying to not trip on it due to the length. Not shooting for chador accuracy, I cut mine a bit shorter, but still sat on it, which made it jerk my head back every damn time. For costume’s sake, I stuck it out, but I’ll pass on chadors in exchange for hijab if at all possible. Also I consider this costume pretty successful, as the director of the film liked it on Instagram!
For a friend’s Halloween party, I threw together a last minute calavera costume to do with Monsieur Rambles, since for months we had not been able to come up with a couples costume that we really liked! Again, I’m all about making costumes, not wearing them, so the simpler the costume, the better. If all I have to deal with is face paint, then I consider it a win. However, let it be noted that I am many things, but a makeup artist is not one of them.
So in all, a pretty decent Halloween! I don’t know why the making is much more satisfying than the wearing. Maybe something about the hassle of assembly makes me annoyed. Tho I have it in my mind that doing historical costuming will be very very different, since they will be just clothes. Clothes from another era, but clothes all the same!
I’m currently in the process of looking for a new residence, which is exciting, as I have made it a non-negotiable that I have my own sewing/art room, which will be very conducive to future projects. I’ve found that my biggest obstacle in sewing more isn’t energy, but it’s funding and a lack of space. Both of those problems will soon be solved, so huzzah!
I’m also in the midst of taking a graphic design class, so hopefully I will get to the point where I can start messing around with digital costume creations! Wouldn’t that be snazzy?
Anyway, I’m aff!