Happy Handmade Halloween

I love Halloween! Hands down it is my favorite holiday. Costumes, handing out sweets to friends I haven’t met yet, scary movies and Autumn breezes cannot be beat.

But dressing up has to be my favorite part. I remember my favorite costumes growing up – a space alien with green face paint and wearing the clothes from my Raggedy Andy doll that was the slightly bigger than me when I got it for Christmas.

As an adult, I got back into the spirit in late 90s when I worked at Georgia Perimeter College (now called Perimeter College and part of Georgia State University). The campus where I worked would have little visitors trick or treat our hallways after a talk about Halloween safety from our campus police and before a “stay in school” talk.

My witch costume I’ve kept in good condition since my days at Georgia Perimeter College

My costumes back then were cheap off the rack get ups. It wasn’t until I had the space and a designated room to sew that I began making my own costumes. The first was Butterick 4571 followed by McCall’s 4948 (View B Alice in Wonderland) pictured below.

I never could have made the first one on my own. Some garments you just need a mannequin, dress form or a partner to help with fitting.

Laying out the pattern pieces January 2012
First fitting January 2012

I love wearing this dress despite making some fitting mistakes. The pattern runs large even though I went with the size that matched my measurements. I adjusted the waist but didn’t realize the bodice was slightly too large for me until I was finished. I was too lazy to frog it back and alter the shoulder. So this week I finally added a bra holder to keep it out of sight and keep the shoulder from sliding off.

I wanted a few costumes I could rotate. In 2014 I thought I would try making a dress on my own and picked the Alice in Wonderland pattern from McCall’s 4948.

School Halloween dress down day October 2014

Big mistake! It was a lot more challenging for me at the time and without having a dress form I had to guess and make blind decisions. One arm is too tight, the peter pan collar wasn’t included so I had to find one online and I forgot to buy fabric and had to use a less than optimal fabric I had on hand. It didn’t help I started this way too close to the holiday and had to rush to finish.

Someday I want to go back and fix these especially since I completed the BurdaStyle teaching certification (find me here). Now I know exactly what I would do to make the collar lay correctly by understitching and edgestitching the collar in place. I also learned a few tricks that would have made gathering the sleeve and skirt more of treat. I think I broke the gathering threads in the skirt at least three times and had to start over. Now I know better.

My next big idea is to make a dress that looks like Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas. The most difficult part I think will be finding all the different fabrics to make the patchwork dress.

Do you make homemade Halloween costumes? If so, share in the comments.

By stitchingcoach

High school librarian by day, crafter for life. I'm an award winning embroider, quilter and knitter. I advise a high school sewing club as well as volunteer with Days for Girls. Students will find I'm passionate about all needle arts and want to pass that along to all generations and skill levels. Learning to sew, knit or hand embroider can be intimidating, but with the right support can become a lifelong hobby that provides joy to your life. Let me show you how to get started. I look forward to helping you exercise your creative side.

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