1940s | Children | Vintage Sewing

My Favorite Halloween Costumes

By on September 29, 2014

My Favorite Halloween Costumes

By Tam Francis

I have wonderful memories of my mom making costumes for us as kids and I have carried on the tradition. As we approach the Halloween season, I thought I’d share some of my all time fave sewing projects starting with one of my favorite classic movies: The Wizard of OZ!

Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, Flying monkey Wicked Witch
Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, Flying monkey Wicked Witch

Of course, wearing vintage on a regular basis, I play dress-up more than most. As my children get older they have taken charge of their dressing up and their costumes have become less elaborate, so they don’t need mom’s help. I thought I would share some of my favorite Halloween Homemade Costumes. The above picture is my two kids and my friend’s daughter (Dorothy’s costume was store bought).

Wizard of Oz Witch and Flying Monkey Look Back
Wizard of Oz Witch and Flying Monkey Look Back

This was one of my favorite years. We had agreed to go with a Wizard of Oz theme, which may not be original in itself, but how many flying monkeys have you seen? I’m not sure why it thrilled me that my daughter wanted to be the wicked witch, but it was fun to make her costume and the fact that she thought outside the box not wanting to be Dorothy or Glenda filled me with glee. The Flying Monkey, was a horse of another color.

 

vintage butterick halloween
Vintage one-piece Halloween costume for Flying Monkey

At the time there were NO patterns for flying monkey costumes. Perhaps there are now, but when I made his costume I used a standard one-piece body suit (like the Butterick pattern) which I made in furry gray fabric. The jacket was pure fabrication. This was BEFORE DVDs were popular and we had The Wizard of Oz on video. I paused, and rewound and paused and rewound and hand drew the monkey jacket design. And talk about a pain in the emerald city, all the piping was crazy to sew. Of course I could have painted it on or done something less elaborate, but my mother’s voice is forever in my head telling me to do it right.

A couple years later I convinced my husband to do a couples costume and hoodwinked him to be one of the guys from the Brush and Wash from Wizard of Oz (you know the part where they’re in Emerald City and getting spruced up to see the Wizard). I had always loved the color green and the cute 40’s gals who did the hair trim! I fabricated my husbands hat and my collar and sleeve cuffs. I used a 1940s pattern for the dress body, but fit it a tiny bit long in the waist for me. Although it still worked, it scrunched up a tiny bit at the waist. It was amazing to swing dance in though!

Wizard of Oz Brush and Wash Couple
Wizard of Oz Brush & Wash Couple

I’ve done some other crazy costumes through the years like the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland (hand painted skirt–sheesh), and a vintage Marie Antionette. For more check out my blog

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Do you have a favorite Halloween costume you’ve made?

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1930s | 1940s | Vintage Sewing

1930s Vintage Costumes for Theatrical Play & the Dance Floor

By on August 20, 2014

~ 1930s Vintage Costumes for Theatrical Play & the Dance Floor ~

By Tam Francis

I recently posted a new bog post about my adventures in sewing vintage. I usually blog about EVERYTHING vintage from swing dancing to classic movies, to sewing. I had the pleasure of making two costume for a play I was cast in and hoped at least one of them would transfer to the dance floor.

The first one I tackled was supposed to be a 1930s vaudeville outfit from a song called: Turn on the Heat! (I’ve got a video of the original 1929 clip on my website)

Here’s the pattern I used (with modifications), to attain the 1930s look. It doesn’t match the video exactly, but has the art deco feel I think?

pattern for Turn on the heat

I lost the collar and shortened it quite a bit. In fact, I kept going between the video and my garment, inching it up my leg until it looked sassy and theatrical. I couldn’t find fur so I had to use several feather fur boas. I didn’t want to do a hood, (like in the video) because of a quick change right after and no time to fix the hair-do. It turned out pretty cool I think and the director was thrilled! What do you think? Does it have a 30s theatrical feel? Does it evoke a touch of humor? Did you watch the video to compare? Have any advice on what I could have done differently?

turn on the heat costume

This is the success story, at least I feel like it is. The other dress: The Blue Dress, for my final scene, was an EPIC fail. If you’d like to see how that went wrong and what I learned in the process. Pop on over to my blog  about this crazy adventure in sewing!

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Have you ever felt something you made has crashed and burned? Feel like you rip out more seams than you sew? I’d love to hear about here, or on my blog 🙂

 

 

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