Tuesday, October 23, 2012

DIY: El Dia de los Muertos

So I went and did it. I went El Dia de los Muertos-loco. Like, muy loco, ya'll. And I blame it entirely on the sleeves of this dress. 

Actually, now that I think about it, this dress (and it's sleeves) is all the fault of my husband. And his wincing-face when he saw me don my Horror Flick dress again before we ventured out into another night of haunted houses

"What?" says I. 

"Um, maybe you should make another Halloween dress. You know, so you don't have to wear that one all the time."

"It's not all the time, it's just when we go to haunted houses." 
{side note, in October, at Casa de Cassie, that is all the time.}


Ugh. I hate that "okay." It's like the "okay" of doom. In hubs-speak, it translates to "okay, if you wanna be wrong, that's fine with me, Wrongie-Pants."
And I just can't be a Wrongie-Pants. I don't even like pants. 

And that's how I found myself in my sewing room working on not one but two Halloween dresses: One To-Be-Announced and this one, El Dia de los Muertos. 

I had picked up this skull fabric a couple of autumns ago. And I remember it like it was yesterday because the fabric cutting lady and I had an odd exchange. I'm feelin' very dialog-y in this post, so I'll give it to you like this:

Fabric-Cuttin' Lady: How many yards?
Me: I dunno. Um, how about one. No, make that two. Oh, let's just say one and a half.
FCL: Well, what are you making? 
Me: Oh, I don't know. I just like the fabric. One and a half sounds good.

And this is where the FCL went all soothsayer on me. She slowly brought her eyes up from the fabric, pointed her scissors right at me and said:

Buying things without a purpose is how hoarding begins. 

Needless to say, I took my yard and a half and got outta there quick. I didn't have the courage to tell the soothsayin' FCL that she was about 10 years too late to be warning me about hoarding. I'm just a couple boxes shy of my own episode. 

And I don't believe in those anti-hoarder people anyway. I mean, it worked out perfectly that I had this fabric on hand. And that extra half a yard made it so I could add sleeves to this dress pattern (which I have sewn half a dozen sleeveless dresses from) for the very first time.

Ah yes. Sleeves. 

Which, after the less-than-pleasant experience of putting those bad boys in, I have decided is my new substitute for a bad word. As in:

Oh, that FCL, she is so full of sleeves!
I don't give a sleeve if you are tired of seeing me in this dress!
or maybe
Oh, sleeve. I've got one sleeve in this dress, does it really need two sleeves? This is bullsleeve!
So, that last bit, the one about getting just the one sleeve in? Yeah, I totally stopped working on the dress after the fun-ness of that first sleeve install. So I did what I do best: found something else to do. Like make this banner with my fabric scraps. I hung it in the kitchen on my Tennessee-themed chalk board. And that smart-alecky skull ain't lyin.

Wanna make your own Halloween banner? Sewing it is super easy. I cut out a billion triangles, tucked the ends of them into some quilt binding tape (not really tape, just a small folded strip of fabric, check your craft store) and used a zigzag stitch. I thought the turquoise was a little boring after the fact. So, in the photo above, you can see I've got a paint brush and what looks like an empty lid. There's actually a teensy bit of bleach in there.
I painted cobwebs and skulls onto the turquoise with the bleach. I'm sure a bleach pen would have worked just as well, but this is what I had on hand. If you do this, I recommend practicing on some scrap fabric first. The bleached lines tend to bleed so paint with a thin, delicate line.
After making the banner, I ventured back into my sewing room. Noticed I had cut the fabric of the other sleeve so that the skulls were going the wrong way. And, using my new naughty word substitute, I was all like "Aw, sleeve, are you kidding me?!" At which point I decided to go look at pretty pictures on pinterest.

And that's where I saw El Dia de los Muertos planters! The above are my creation but you can click here to see the original. Sadly, the link from pinterest to the actual site appears to be broken. I'd love to give credit where it is do but I cannot. If someone happens to know the site, would you mind sharing it in the comments? Gracias!
Now I love to paint planters. You can see my floral planter DIY here. I learned a lot from painting those, most importantly, after watching hubs break one of my painted terra cotta pots, buy the plastic planters. They're cheapo and hubs-breakin-proof. 

I took mine outside and spray painted them a satin white. Once dry, I penciled in circles for the eyes with either a daisy or a heart for the iris. Upside-down heart for the nose and ovals for teeth. So easy. If you are not comfortable painting tiny details, block in the large areas with paint and use sharpies for the little stuff. I gave these a coat of clear varnish to protect them from the elements when I was finished.
How do I love this dress pattern? Let me count the ways: Empire Strikes Back Dress, the Elvis Presley Poodle Dress, the I-See-London-I-See-France Dress, the Horror Flick Dress and now this little number. Oh! And one TBA. Wow. Think it might be time to move on...?
After all that avoidance-crafting was done, the only thing left was that sleeve. What a piece of sleeve it was. But I did it. I showed that little sleeve who was boss. Or, should I say, El Jefe.

That's right El Jefe of all things El Dia de los Muertos. At least in the this Casa.



  1. Love the planters. Bizarrely, I clicked the link from Pinterest, and it did not work. I clicked it again to find the address- and it did! Maybe it was a repost!

    1. and the original here: http://blog.creativekismet.com/2011/10/18/day-of-the-dead-planters/

    2. Ah, Rachel, thank you! I'll update this post with that info shortly. I appreciate it! ... Cassie

    3. Cassie, thanks! I featured this in my Memorial Day Weekend posts for 2013 at SmartyGirlEntertainment. You are El Hefe of DOD. Looking forward to your next post.

    4. Love your post, Renee! THank you for letting me know :) Happy Memorial Day weekend!

  2. Great fabric again! Would love to have some Sugar Skull fabric for myself, I LOVE Sugar Skulls. The planters are gorgeous, too. My own Sugar Skull project:

    Have a nice day! Liz

  3. I cannot explain how much I love your style! Can I please just come and live in your house and pinch your clothes? That's not weird is it? :)

    1. Not weird at all! Says the girl who is having a stuffed tiger sent your way ;) How much fun borrowing clothes would we have if we were neighbors?! ...Cassie

  4. Mallory10/24/2012

    What the sleeve? You are not a wrongie pants, how could he ever tire of the classic horror fabric? I'm glad you got around to painting the pots! Steven just passed by and noticed them and told me his friend marvin has been painting flower pots and selling them for about 20 bucks a piece at the flea market and they have been selling like flapjacks.

    1. Oh snap, let's start our own biznatch, yo!

  5. Love your sugar skull dress. Hugs from Miss Maple

    1. Thank you! High fives from Nashville ;)

  6. I am amazed that someone in a fabric store discouraged you from buying fabric because you didn't have a plan for it yet! I love the skull fabric and planters!


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