Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love the crisp autumn weather, the changing leaves, the flickering jack-o-lanterns, but most of all I love the costumes. There’s something magical about dressing up and transforming into someone or something else.
Despite failing Home Ec (I refused to sew trace all of the pattern markings on my fabric and genuinely failed the cooking portion) I’ve pretty much sewn all my life. I love that you can take a hunk of fabric and actually have something wearable at the end of the day. It’s that whole transformational process at work.
During high school and college, I got involved in theatre. I made a lot of the costumes I wore on stage and made even more for other people when I worked in the costume shop of my university’s theatre – there were the Elizabethan period pieces, the murdered bride, the holocaust survivors, a swamp monster, lepers…and I can’t even remember what else.
After college, I parlayed my sewing skills into a business—making wedding dresses, veils, bridesmaid dresses and flower girl dresses. Then I had kids. There’s nothing more insanity inducing than trying to keep your toddler from crawling under the skirts of near strangers while you’re trying to adjust the fit of their dresses. After a while, I ditched the dress business and went back to my first love – making costumes.
Over the years, my kids, my nieces and daycare kids have been a fruit bat, dragons, knights, princesses, an Egyptian goddess, a vampire princess, an anamie character, a Jawa, a Stormtrooper, pirates, Harry Potter, ninjas, a 1920s era baseball player, a Ring Wraith, a blacksmith and a kitten.
All of these – with the exception of Jen’s wedding dress – were made without patterns. Despite my epic inability to do math, I have a pretty good sense of spatial relations – at least in terms of fabric yardage and the shape of pattern pieces. I can usually use a picture for reference and come up with a reasonable facsimile.