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With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes... - Hello.

About With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes...

Previous Entry With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes... Oct. 31st, 2007 @ 11:21 pm Next Entry
Check out my Halloween costume!

I was a jester. It was AWESOME.

Earlier in the week (okay, since like September) I'd kicked around several different ideas for possible Halloween costumes that would be fun and nifty-looking and reasonably easy to make. My "class notes" from about mid-October on are really just pages of concept sketches. At various points I was convinced that I wanted to be a robot (spray-painted or aluminum foil-covered cardboard body, flexible dryer hose arms and legs, various fun light-up buttons and bits of wire and dials and things), a day-glo ninja (I have these spiffy lime green and neon pink ninja swords around which I was going to base the costume, but unfortunately they are a four-hour drive away at my parents' house, so that idea got scrapped), an ant (long-sleeved black T-shirt, black tights, another pair of black tights stuffed and sewn to the sides of the shirt, attached to my actual arms with fishing line, and of course a headband with antennae on), a spider (just like the ant, but with another pair of black-tights-arms and six extra eyes painted on my head), and a big orange screw (I go to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, you see; it would've been amazing but I couldn't really figure out the logistics [though I'm quite sure that a cylinder of orange posterboard would feature prominently]). Also a jester. For one reason or another, the jester won.

My original plan was to buy two pairs of crazy-colored tights, chop them both in half, sew two mismatched legs together into a new pair of super-crazy tights, and put the other two legs (sans footly bits) on my arms (perhaps attached to a small T-shirt so they wouldn't slide down to my elbows). Then I realized I already had a long-sleeved red shirt and a pair of dark blue leggings that matched the colors of my juggling balls pretty much perfectly.


So now all I needed was some green and yellow fabric to make some sort of tunic with and so pull the whole thing together. I scavenged the green from a failed Slytherin cloak (it wasn't finished in time for the book release party, so I abandoned it), then it was off to the local cheap-o store for yellow fabric and jingly bells!

I sure do loves me some jingly bells.

I also bought a mask but I ended up not using it because it was a piece of cheap plastic junk for which I paid seventy-seven cents and got ripped off.

But! The yellow fabric was a steal, I got a yard of it plus the jingly bells and craptastic mask and paid about five bucks for the whole shebang. That is literally all the actual money that I spent on this costume.

I set to work late Friday afternoon, since some friends of mine were going party-hopping that night, and I ended up skipping the parties, finishing the shirt part of the tunic and most of the hat, and going to bed at one in the morning. My costume was nowhere near finished, but the real party was Saturday night anyway.

So I got up at eight the next morning and got back to work. I was still putting on the finishing touches two minutes before we walked out the door that night, around eleven o'clock. Good times.

So, how did I make this thing? Good question. I pretty much made it up as I went along, with the help of a lot of crappy homemade newspaper patterns.

I started with the top half of the tunic. I had a vague idea of what I wanted out of it - four panels, alternating between green and yellow all the way around - so I traced a quarter-shirt pattern onto newspaper, using a T-shirt that fit me pretty well as the template. I sewed up the front and back seams first, then sewed the shoulder seams, pinned the sides, and tried to put it on.

What I had failed to realize was that the T-shirt I had traced was made of stretchy knit fabric, whereas the stuff I was sewing with was more like bedsheets. The thing didn't fit me at all. I ended up having to put in an extra green panel (maybe two inches wide) on each side to allow me room to get in without ripping it.

The hat was more fun.

Six green and six yellow triangles. I sewed each point from two triangles, flipped it inside out, and pinned it to the blue (which was the top bit of an old sheet that happened to be the right color). I flipped in the raw edges of the sheet scrap and sewed one line down the whole thing, catching the open sides of the triangles and the sheet edges at the same time. Then I measured it around my head and sewed the ends together.

And naturally I had to put jingly bells on it.

I added the red stripe Saturday evening. I had to prioritize everything with this costume, since I was making it super super last-minute. So the shirt half of the tunic came first, then the hat (every jester needs a hat), then the skirt half of the tunic, then the collar

(adding bells at random points along the way), then the shoes...

These things were totally thrown together. I must have some good crafty karma stored up or something because for the amount of time and effort I put into them, they should not have turned out so well.

More pictures, because I like them so much:

right side

left side


Here's how this went down: I got out my trusty newspaper, traced a vague pointy shoe-like pattern around a canvas sneaker, and cut four pieces of fabric (two green and two yellow) that were only kind of the same shape as the pattern. I sewed up the top seams first, then using the tried-and-true method of "hold it on the shoe and pinch the edges together where the next seam needs to be," I constructed the rest. I sewed the fabric to the sneakers at strategic points (namely, wherever I could get a needle to go through), tucking up the raw edges along the way. Then I sewed a couple of bells on and that was that.

The very last thing I made was this bag to carry my juggling balls in.

Three fat teardrop-shaped scraps of fabric, sewn together and hemmed around a ribbon at the top. I also stuck some blue fabric loops on there so I could put it on my belt.

The belt was a hemmed strip of the green fabric that I'd originally intended to use as the strap of a tote bag, but that fell through. It made a good belt though. And I used a strip of red fabric as a secondary belt, just because I felt there wasn't enough red on the costume without it.

As an interesting aside, here's what my room looked like upon completion of this project.

I have this unfortunate habit of tossing fabric scraps onto the floor rather than in a trash can. I guess that's the price I pay for being crafty...

So there's that! Happy Halloween everyone.

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