Friday, November 6, 2015

FO: A Joy-full Halloween Costume

Every year around Halloween, I start thinking about what my costume will be. In the past few years, I've managed to pull something together, often with some kind of quick handmade item, but it never fails that I just don't have enough time in the month of October to make up a proper costume of the caliber that I want. So this year, I started planning and acquiring for this costume in mid August to make sure I made my plan a reality. I'm happy to say it came out just like I'd hoped!
I decided as soon as I watched Inside Out that I would go as Joy for Halloween this year. She wears a simple dress that I could certainly recreate myself, then all I had to do was find a blue wig and a few accessories. Originally, that was as far as my plan extended. Then I was poking around Ravelry one day and came across a free pattern for a crocheted Bing Bong and I knew I had to include that as well. I've written a separate post on Bing Bong, so you'll see him again soon :)
So, my costume. Joy's dress is just lime green with a full drapey skirt and freehand looking splotchy flowers on it. I decided to use my already fitted pattern of the year - Simplicity 1419.I've made this dress 3 other times already this year, so I figured it would be quick to make (hint - it wasn't and I will explain lower in this post). I added sleeves to my dress just because I always have sleeves and no one mentioned anything about lack of authenticity, lol.
I made the dress with some lime green broadcloth I bought at Joann's on sale. There was much deliberation with my husband in the fabric store to decide which lime green was the "joy" color and this one won out. I used matching thread and sewed the whole dress before adding the flower things.
The flower splotches were something I had to think on for a while. At first I thought I would block print them, but when it came time to it I realized the flowers were all different sizes which blew that idea out of the running. Then I bought acrylic paint thinking that would be better, but I didn't like the idea of it flaking off as I moved around. I finally came across the display of multi colored permanent markers that you can buy individually and brought in a scrap of fabric to try it out. It looked pretty good! Basically it was like dying the fabric with a stick - too easy. I ended up draining 2 markers in making all these flowers, but that ensured they were nice an saturated. The flowers are a little stiffer than the rest of the dress, but nothing that affected its comfort.
I staggered the flowers, making different sizes diagonal from each other. I started by sketching out the flowers with a friction pen, then coloring them in, and ironing the flowers to remove the friction ink. Seriously, if you haven't tried out friction pens in your sewing, look into it! My sister brought back a variety of colors for me from Japan when she lived there (this was before they were for sale in the states) and I use them constantly for pattern drafting as well as marking on cotton fabrics since the ink disappears when you touch it with an iron. Magic! I'm no artist, so if I hadn't had the friction pen option these flowers would have looked much more homemade and awful.
Now onto the hiccup in this sewing experience. I'm sure you may have noticed I am wearing a wide belt in these photos. Joy doesn't have a belt. It became a necessity for me. Apparently I made a mistake when cutting out my fabric because my dress that I muslined and tinkered with the fit and have made 4 times ... came out too small. Of course I didn't realize this until I had already cut down the seam allowances because having made this so many times before I decided I did not need to check the fit. How wrong I was! I was so depressed. My dress that I thought would be a quick sew ended up sitting on my dress form for weeks while I mustered the courage to fix it. I didn't want to cut new pieces because that would have meant disassembling the entire dress at that point, so first I let it out at the zipper opening - not enough. Then I let it out at the sides the tiny bit that was possible - not enough. It sat for a while longer before I just decided to be completely experimental and I sewed a knit fabric gusset at the side waist seam. The fabric I had was green, but didn't match so even though it fit at that point, I wouldn't have wanted to wear it in public and have to explain to curious onlookers that I was too fat for my dress and had to add a stretchy piece. Ugh, isn't that just the worst ever? I waited a while longer to address the awful look of the knit piece, and one night I thought about a stretchy belt I have. I put it on with the dress and it covered the knit section almost completely, but the belt was black and looked awful - it would completely throw off my authenticity. I did have a small amount of fabric left though, and I had some incredibly heavy fusible interfacing on hand, so I decided to make a belt the same width as my stretchy belt. 
I just cut two 4" wide strips across the width of the remaining fabric, fused a 3" wide piece of the heavy fusible (meaning the heaviest fusible I've ever found) inside the middle of the belt front piece (so not in the seam allowance), did some straight seams and topstitching and had a long belt. I put on the belt with the dress, overlapped the ends where it fit me, and added 3 hooks and eyes to make it stay straight and secure. It was actually incredibly easy to do, and it really made the difference in not only how my costume looked but also how confident I felt in it. No one wants to walk around feeling too fat for their clothes.
After adding the gusset, I just kind of stopped caring if everything was perfect on this dress. Originally I hoped that I could maybe wear this just as a normal dress, but I lost that desire pretty quickly - lime green isn't really my color anyway without my blue hair. I promise the wrinkles you see on the dress and belt are not fitting issues - I didn't get to take these photos until I had already worn the dress once to a party. I added pockets (because why not?) and I used a blue invisible zipper from my stash. I also made my own bias tape to finish the neckline. I'm really proud of how well the flowers turned out especially where they span across a seam or a dart. The permanent marker worked perfectly and people were amazed that I drew them on myself and it didn't come printed that way.
I finished the dress on October 23rd so I could wear it to our church Trunk or Treat party on the 24th. The night of the party, I started off with my makeup. I dusted my face all over with a yellow eye shadow, dusted with a little bit of MAC highlight powder (for a light shimmer), then re-dusted the yellow again. I used a bright blue eye shadow for my eye liner, put on a little mascara, then sprayed it all with Urban Decay All Nighter spray (this stuff is great - it's like hair spray for your face!). Nest I had to help my husband cover himself in red cream makeup (I sponged his face just so it was more even), then I sprayed his hair red. Next I had to wig cap my hair and put on my wig. My tights and shoes were completely random - I've had them for years but never worn them (in fact I rescued the shoes from my donate pile for this costume, lol). Then I just had to don my dress, grab Bing Bong, put a towel under my husband to save the car, and drive to the party :)

(I know I have total bucket face in these photos, and I could have gone whole hog like my husband, but I didn't have enough powder to cover my whiteness plus I didn't want to get it all over my car)
We were in such a hurry that I did not manage to take nice pictures of the two of us. All I have is this kind of awful photo a friend took. We were Joy and Anger! I was making balloon animals for the kids (one of my other hidden talents) at the party, then we decorated our trunk for trunk or treating:
Again, I forgot to take a photo at the party, so this is the aftermath. I swear that bowl was full of candy. We gave away candy and glow bracelets. My trunk was lit up balloons in the colors of Riley's memories from the movie. And of course Bing Bong hung out there too :) Yay for a full theme! I promise it looked much better in real life and the light was much more faint. 
Here we were at the end of the night. The kids really loved our costume and we won the adult costume contest :) Ho yeah! lol
Also I had to include this photo because it was just so crazy. This is what our shower looked like when my husband washed off all that red makeup. It's like a murder scene in there, lol.

I did my whole costume again a week later on Halloween and we gave out candy at my parents house (not a lot of trick or treaters at our house). I went as Joy but my husband did his usual scarecrow routine to scare the living daylights out of kids. We rate how fun our evening was based on how many kids scream and run away without collecting their piece of candy, ha ha. It's great.
So there you have it - my Joy-full Halloween :) It was a lot of fun, and I was really proud of how well my costume turned out. On a slightly more serious note, I love the symbolism of the fact that I chose to be Joy. I was talking to my husband after Halloween, and it really does sum up my outlook I've been trying for this year. I think in any situation you can choose to be sadness or anger or any other easier emotion, but life is so much better when you choose Joy :) I hope you all had as much fun this Halloween as I did!

Fabric: 3.5 yards lime green broadcloth from Joann's - $12.50
Pattern: Simplicity 1419 and 2444
Notions: thread - $2, invisible zipper - $1.50, 2 turquoise Sharpie permanent markers - $4, knit fabric scraps - free, fusible interfacing - free (stash), hooks and eyes - $0.50
Hours: Who knows, lol. Maybe around 10 with all the futzing
Total Cost: $20.50 (plus the wig)
Fun had: Immeasurable!


  1. I read your blog all the time and never post - but I had to stop to tell you - this is A-MAZING. You nailed the costume (your dress looks incredible! and the amigurumi topped it off perfectly!!). You got every detail down to the memory balloons. LOVE IT!!

    1. Thank you so much, Aimee! I'm so glad people liked it, especially considering I was worried it wouldn't turn out for so long. Thanks so much for your flattering comment :)


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