Monday, 18 April 2011

The Saga Continues

I had intended this post to go from high school to the present, but that’s a lot of time. So I’ve split it into three parts which I will post over the next few days.

After high school my sewing got much more ambitious. I wanted to make a new costume for every Halloween, and for a few years, I did. I also went Trick-or-Treating with my cousins, so there were pictures of most of them. My first really complicated costume was the most challenging piece I had made so far. It took a long time and a lot of frustration and mistakes before I got it right. It was multi-layered both top and bottom and had a separate belt and head band. I learned a lot of patience on this project. I also learned how expensive making a really nice costume could be. I was staying with my grandparents at the time, my first foray into the adult world, and literally took over part of their family room with my sewing machine, ironing board and material everywhere. There were no kids or pets, so I didn’t have to worry about leaving things out. After about two months of working every spare moment I had, late into the night and early in the morning; I was rewarded with a beautiful costume that fit nearly perfect. Did I mention the material I used for the skirt needed a ton of ironing and doesn’t fit anymore? I was quite a bit thinner eleven years ago.

For 2001, I wanted to do something different, but I was just starting university by this point, so I could only afford to make a new top. This was almost as much work as the entire last costume! I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Boning, trim, rivets, eyelets, laces, lining, ribbon, elastic in the sleeves and cuffs, material that frayed like crazy! It was the first time I needed hardware to complete my sewing project. I was living with my brother by then, he had a cat so I couldn’t leave a thing out. I still remember him asking me what the heck I was doing with a hammer on the kitchen floor. We were in a basement suite and the kitchen floor seemed like the best place to hammer in the eyelets. I still have this one too, but it needs some repairs; I made a few of the holes too big and some of the eyelets have since fallen out.


I hadn’t had the time or money to make a costume the previous year, and despite being a starving student, I was really wanted to make one in 2003. I had seen the first “Lord of the Rings” movie and had fallen in love with the beautiful elves. It wasn’t hard to find costume patterns either as it was such a huge movie. I actually picked up a few costumes that year. It was the beginning of my collecting. I decided on a much simpler costume this time as I didn’t have nearly as much time to work on it. I also learned that patterns lie about sizing. I made this one to my exact sizing, even beginning my first minor pattern alteration, and it still turned out small. Not too small, but it was tight. Ironically, my best friend from high school picked the same patter for her wedding dress a few years later. I warned her that it fits small so her mom who was making it for her could take that into account. It turned out too big; but with some strategic pinning it worked out.

It was also the first year I made a matching cloak. I love this pattern and have used it many times since. It is quick and easy to make, fits pretty much anyone and is super simple to alter. Best of all, no two cloaks are ever the same. But they are expensive. They use a LOT of material, twice as much if you want it lined; and as the quality of fabric goes up, so does the cost. My younger sister had a black one with red lining. In addition to the white one in the photo, I also have a black one with removable navy fleece lining that a made a few years later. I love the fleece, it is super warm for our often super cold Canadian Halloweens. The most recent was for the themed wedding reception I mentioned before. It was for my friend’s costume and matched a beautiful corset she had purchased earlier. It is shiny navy blue on the outside with a silvery blue lining, silver tassel on the hood and a silver frog clasp on the front. The only thing we didn’t account for was the lift of the corset. It really could have done with some snaps or another frog clasp, but it still turned out beautiful.

Check back tomorrow for part two…

1 comment:

  1. I still have mine, it's lined with red fleece and I find a way to work it into quite a few of my halloween costumes :D.

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