“A one-eye thick lips monster!!!!!” | Adey Lim
Fabric: Black ponte knit 2 yards from fabric.com (discount code) $9.50, old spread and remnants.
Pattern: McCall's 6243
Year: c. 2010
Notions: Invisible zipper, remnant trims
Time to complete: 2 hours for knit dress, 2.5 hours for sewing, shaping and attaching lips and eye.
First worn: October 2011
Wear again? Yes, after undoing the hand stitches
Total Cost: ~$9.50
With the exception of the American community and the clubbing scene, Halloween isn't really celebrated in Singapore so I didn't expect myself to sew a costume. However, come next weekend, my kids will be having a dress up party at Sunday school (nothing to do with Halloween though) and parents are invited to join in the fun in costumes.
I surveyed the kids on what character they would like mom to be and their response kinda made me regretted asking. A monster? It was less strange hearing it from the five year old as boys will be boys. I guess the two year old girl just enjoyed "parrot"ing her brother or perhaps she was thinking of the cute monsters from sesame street.
I totally didn't know where to start.
Adey's experience in costume creation. Zero.
Adey's vision of a cute monster. None.
Adey's first thought of donning a monster costume. Melting in the heat.
In came the Spanish Harlem week and researching the theme eventual led me to stumble upon Spanish designer Agatha Ruiz De La Prada's quirky 2009 runway creations. They are exaggerated but whimsical at the same time, reminding me of Alice in wonderland. I was charmed.
What really attracted me was that most of these basic dresses were pretty wearable without the extra design elements which made them musical instruments, mustache monster or the lip monster and these can be easily removed after the party. Do you have a fave from the garments above? I think I would totally wear the violin tunic out:)
Eventually, I chose to create a costume inspired by the one eye lip monster dress as I think that would be a cute monster to kids. Not wanting to make a dress I would only wear once, I sewed a LBD in knit, drafted the pattern for the lips, sewn the lips using a recycled red spread and hand stitch it to the LBD. This way, I could unpick those hand stitches and recover the LBD.
The black knit dress came with five pattern pieces, top front, facings, skirt front and 2 back pieces and can be put together within a short time. What's makes the dress interesting is the asymmetrical keyhole cut out at the neckline. The real hem of the dress ends right at the bottom of the upper lip. The lower lip is longer than the skirt's hem and acts almost like a mini train at the back of the skirt.
Instead of covering my entire head for that one eye effect, I sewed the eye out of remnant felt, fabric and trim I had in my stash and hand stitched the piece onto the top of a hat. I am hoping that I'd look like a one eye monster when I lower my head. I sewed these together quickly the didn't finish the sides of the circular pieces as it'd be for one time use only. Likewise the hand stitches can be removed easily after the party. Here's the traffic stopping one-eye monster in action.
After drafting the lips pattern, I cut two pieces each for the upper and lower lips out of an old red spread, sewed the right sides together, clipped the allowances, turned over before topstitching them and hand stitching the lips together (my machine simply refused to stitch these thick lips) and onto the dress. To make the upper lip stand, it was reinforced with remnant denim. Two unstitched sections on the upper lip work as pockets for small items.
My kids have not stopped playing with the one eye hat. My son would wear the hat and shout, "I'm the one eye monster, Rrrr!" while my daughter would wear her own oversized hat, pull it down below her eyes and proclaim, "I'm the no eye monster, Rrrr!" Honestly, I wouldn't mind not wearing the eye hat as I liked the outfit better without it but for the kids' sake, the hat shall stay on.
They have yet to see me in the thick lips dress yet. Can't wait to see the expressions on their faces!
To me, the best part of this costume was it being heat and humidity friendly. Have you sewed a costume for halloween or any other occasions? What were your experiences like? I had so many weird stares taking these photos that I'd not have the guts to do this again!