Sunday, October 27, 2013

DIY: Matching Monster-Mash Dress and Sweater

This is my sadistic Trick-or-Treat-If-You-Dare face. Although, five days a week, it's known as my Continue-to-Annoy-the-Art-Teacher-and-this-Smile-is-Gonna-Be-the-Last-Thing-You-See-Before-You-Enter-Timeout-Town. I blame said Town for the gray streak.
  Alright, I know what you're thinking: another Halloween DIY?! Um, yes. And a couple more to come. I know, I know. But before you think I'm employing a sweat shop in my sewing room (not a bad idea) or getting all jacked up on a candy corn/coke combo and working into the night (closer to the truth), lemme just put rumors to rest and tell you that this dress has sat finished (and unworn) in my sewing room for a coupla weeks. Mostly cuz, after putting in the final stitch, I tried the dress on and the words, "I hate this dress," came outta my mouth.
 Now when I spotted this monstrous fabric at Jo-ann's, I had to scoop it up because of it's retro-y awesomeness. This was after I made a vow at the start of September that I was Not Going to Make Another Halloween Dress. I mean, I made three last fall! That el Dia de los Muertos number, the Be-witched dress with that adorable Tammis Keefe-inspired fabric and the Horror Flick dress. A fourth dress was absolutely unnecessary! And, yet I found myself at the cutting counter loading up on a coupla yards. Because a vow made by me (even to myself!) is about as lasting as a fart in a windstorm.

After digging through my pattern stash, I settled on ole Simplicity 1803 which I've used more times than I can count. That pattern needs to be taken away from me -- it's like a bad boyfriend I just can't get away from. (My apologies, Brad Pitt, for bringing you into this blog post. But you know our relationship went on far longer than it should have. I just can't help that your enchantment for my good looks and charm was not reciprocated. Ole Ang will have to do.) 

 So sorry you had to witness that. Poor Brad.

Now, where was I? A fart in a break-up with Brad... hatred for this dress...ah, yes! That's it. When I got the fabric home and had settled on ole Simplicity, I decided to use black cotton on the side of the bodice as well as the back and the straps. I just thought that'd break up the pattern a bit as it's rather busy. But when all was said and done...I just had to shelf it and step away. I wasn't loving the dress and that bummed me out.
This fabric immediately had me singing Bobby "Boris" Pickett's 1962 chart topper Monster Mash. If I could get my mitts on that original album, that'd be totally Rad Pitt. By the way, this linky-loo is truly a monster mash of the best retro horror flicks ever made. Watch it.
I blame Jo-ann's and this adorable fabric for my vow-breaking. It really is all her fault. Darn that Jo-ann.
After a week-long pouting session that involved guilt-free retail therapy at the local thrift store, I came across this perfect snotty-green cardigan. I thought I could wear it over the dress and it might hide the bodice which was the source of my dress-hate. But first, I just had to felt-orize (you know, accessorize with some felt) the thing.
Like a real pro, I sketched directly onto the sweater with an ebony pencil (which, as it turns out, you can't erase for sh**) and commenced needle felting. By the way, it's nearly impossible to felt teeny-tiny details (which my subconscious kept telling me but I silenced that ole bag with a glass of wine or three) so I took to embroidering such small stuff as Drac's teeth, tie, facial features and outline.
You can clearly see the embroidery on Frank's face. I enjoyed this technique because the felt made the fabric stiff and easy to embroider. I'm definitely going to remember that for future felting/embroidering adventures.
Now, lemme interrupt this hear blog post so we can talk about My Hairs. I've mentioned before how I've gotten rather lazy with my hair stylings of late. Well, recently I received an email from the folks behind the website The Amazings. If you've not heard of it, The Amazings is a website that offers classes by mature and experienced artists with a multi-mission: Preserving knowledge. Celebrating handmade. Encouraging generations to collaborate. Sharing stories. We don't have one purpose. Our craft classes are a means to many ends.

Doesn't that sound...amazing?! Let me tell you, it truly is. I was generously offered Glamous Retro Hair Do's taught by hair stylist Michael. This course was broken into six separate mini-classes which demonstrated how to set and style three retro do's: a 1930's chignon, a 1950's rockabilly look and a 1960's Bardot style. I literally sat with a pencil and paper, took notes and made sketches, that's how informative I found this to be! For today's Bride of Frankenstein-esque look, I watched Michael demonstrate how to roll one's hair in rollers (correctly as I've been doing it all wrong!) and style to achieve a desired look. My favorite take-away tidbit was when Michael said you don't have to make your hair look exactly like some specific retro style but make it "your own interpretation." 

I'll be certain to try out more hair stylings in the future from this course and, when I do, I'll let you know. There are so many other amazing (sorry, I had to say it!) craft courses on this website, I'm excited to try some more.
 Once my felting was complete, I re-tried the dress on, added the sweater and belt and was...much happier, I gotta admit. Now I'm the proud creator of FOUR Halloween dresses. Surely there will be no need to make any more...(don't call me Shirley).

Until next time, I hope you have an exciting couple of days getting ready for the most spooky holiday of the year! I've got a costume to put together (hint: I'm dressing as this month's Artist of the Month!)...fingers crossed I finish in time. 

Are you dressing up? Whatcha gonna be? I'm dying to know! Oh...Brad's IM'ing me...again...gotta run!


  1. I love it! I'm making a Halloween skirt to wear to work on Thursday. I'm sure my students will make sure they tell me how cheesy it is!

    1. Jana -- They may say that but you know they secretly love it! You'll look adorable! Have fun....I cannot wait til Thursday!

  2. I made a Hamburglar costume (with stuff from around the house!), but my plans changed so my awesome costume will be tucked away until next year :(

    1. Okay, that costume sounds AWESOME! I'm so bummed you have to shelf it til next year, boo! I say wear it at Christmas and start a new tradition. A little Christmas lights round the bun....DO IT!

  3. OMG!!!! That cardigan is amazing! Seriously need to hone my felting skills (or lack of!) I love the whole outfit, it works reall well, you are jut being a miss fussy pants about the dress (hee hee!), you look awesome!! Also your hair looks brilliant, I'm loving the volume!

    Jerra xx

    1. Jerra! I agree with you...I am being fussy. But you know how it is when you work on imagine the finished result one way and then the end result...looks different. But whateves, I'm happy now. Thanks for the hair compliment!

  4. How can you not love that dress! It's fab! And the cardigan is perfect with it.

  5. Anonymous10/28/2013

    OMGosh, Cassie, you are so AWESOME! Of course you had to make the Monster Mash Dress - it was fate! The hair is fab, the cardigan is amazing, and I love the whole outfit! I am a big fan of themed dresses :)

  6. I'm curious what you don't like about the bodice because I LOVE it! I love the contrast fabric placement. Totally sold it for me.


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