My mother comes from a family of sew-ers. If you wanted a new dress, shorts, top etc. You made it. You got the pattern and the fabric and whipped it up, no muss, no fuss. That’s just how it went.
My Mother and Aunt were taught to sew as tweens and eventually made their own wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses. As a result I was treated to amazing Halloween costumes, my personal favourite sewing purpose of all time. If I could dream it, it seemed Mom could make it. From mummies to flies to a giant fried egg (downright terrifying to someone with high cholesterol). These were the things I looked forward to every year. I needed to be “real”, people had to actually think I was this creature and be terrified, and she made those costumes as authentic as possible. How she was able to pull off what she did, I have no idea. The magic of mothers I suppose. To me, they were perfect and the neighbours were always excited to see what I would be each year.
To make some of these costumes, she would use a wonderful base pattern that is all but in shreds from so much use. Butterick 3372.
From there she would adjust and add and create. Unique touches, that took a costume to a “real” outfit that real witches would wear, that real mummies would look like if they were walking around.
As I got older the game changed, not so much trick or treating, therefore less costumes and I had to fend for myself for at least part of the time, putting together some face paint and a wig and usually ending up hanging around the house as a corpse. But she really outdid herself on several occasions such as this beautiful doozy that she somehow made out of pure skill and Halloween magic. This is what a dark fairy is supposed to look like and though the picture does not do it justice, you can see the iridescence of the layers on the dress and the layers on the corset portion, complete with sparkly sheer sleeves and large collar neck-piece. All greens and purples and blacks like insect eyes, meshed together to create a work of art.
After having all of these beautiful costumes made for me throughout the years I decided to try it out myself, a few years ago. There is a certain satisfaction in making a child’s costume, in that you get to create it and that it doesn’t take much sizing since it seems, children are “children sized”. No worrying about bust and hip measurements and the adjustments therein. Just simple shapes for a simple shape, at least in my limited experience it was.
My nieces were my guinea pigs for a couple of Halloweens. First making a black cat costume out of the indispensable base pattern that both my Mom and my Aunt had used decades before. Then, using components of the same pattern and making adjustments and additions to create a witch and a ghost.
Not bad, if I do say so myself.
Halloween is a magical time with pumpkins and ghosts and goblins galore, not only can delightful holiday treats be made in the kitchen but they can also be made at the sewing machine, where imagination becomes reality if only for one night, and memories are made.