Monday, October 7, 2013

There is no Dana...

     The day has come! It's time to reveal my devious plans for Halloween, since I've finally gotten my act together enough to start working on it. My Halloween costume is...

     Dana Barrett (as possessed by Zuul) from Ghostbusters! I'm super excited to finally do this for Halloween, since I've been saying I wanted to for years. 

     I bought the two different types of fabric I showed in my sneak peek post knowing that there was never going to be one single fabric that matched the Zuul-y gloriousness above, and I was going to have to layer for authenticity. I could have just found a shimmery orange and it would have been passable, but I'm not aiming for just passable. If I'm doing Halloween, I'm doing Halloween all out. The shimmery shade-shifting fabric, underneath the orange sheer fabric, creates the perfect combination. The only drawback is that they're both sheer fabrics, and two sheers do not make an opaque (though it's not super obviously sheer, either). So I'll be wearing a nude-colored slip underneath my ensemble just to err on the side of caution and covered skivvies. Anyway, here's my plan of attack for this project. 

This picture also illustrates how surprisingly well those two fabrics layer to get the desired effect. In the picture above, the lining looks gold, but in other shots you can see it's really a much darker silver/purple/green color that just gives a hint of shimmer when it peeks through.
     First I spread the fabric out in the floor, doubled, and stared at it for a while. Then I asked my mom to please come help me before I destroyed everything, because I wasn't sure how to go about achieving my vision here, so I needed her advice, and also because I have a bad track record with specialty fabrics and didn't want to ruin the limited amount I had bought for this, only to go back and find out it was gone and I couldn't buy anymore and all my dreams would crash down around me. Point being, I ruin specialty fabrics sometimes, so I asked her to do the actual sewing for me, since she's got way more sewing know-how and experience than me. No shame in asking for help when you're out of your depth!

     Once that important step was out of the way, we came up with the basic plan you see above. The top is on a fold, and the bottom edges have been sewed together (so it's four layers of fabric, orange and shimmer sewed together, then another orange and shimmer together) so that it can be treated as one swath of fabric with a hem already in place. From there we cut off a strip along the side, on the fold, that will become a sash/belt. Then we guesstimated a size for the neck opening; I tried it on and we ended up making it a few inches wider anyway. Now, for my purposes, we ended up cutting along the top (where the neckline goes) all the way across after cutting off the sash piece, then re-sewing the dress at the top of the sleeves and finishing the neck opening with a small hem. But that's just an option, you could just as easily leave it on the fold and only cut out and finish the neckline. Different strokes and all. 

     The body of the dress is going to be formed by cutting out and sewing a Dolman sleeve onto a basic tunic shape that's intentionally left quite loose and wide so it can be gathered by the sash. I say "going to be" because after the intense planning stage and the surprising amount of time it took to get the fabric flattened out, trimmed into even pieces, sewed together at two ends, turned out right and ironed, and cut and sewn into the basic formation (both of the fabrics are quite clingy and finnicky, and the shimmery fabric tends to roll, which makes the whole thing kind of a nightmare to even get laid out evenly, honestly), my mom and I both agreed that we'd made a respectable amount of progress for one night. But you know I couldn't leave you without another preview, so here's how it looks draped on the dress form right now, just to give you an idea of the direction it's headed in. Obviously, since the sides haven't been shaped at all, it's rather bunchy right now. But it'll turn out brilliantly, I'm sure. I have faith in the powers of Halloween magic! Ok, and in my super helpful mom. 

     This picture also helpfully illustrates why I'm opting to wear a slip underneath. In real life, this looks fine. But add flash photography and suddenly you're untagging yourself in every Facebook photo you can find because oh hi, there's your underwear.

     I'll be keeping you updated on any progress as it's made on this project, including when I road-test the method I'm thinking of using for getting crazy-big, frizzy, ultra-80's demonic possession hair. I am beyond excited for that. Note: not sarcasm, I seriously cannot wait to push the limits of exactly how much space my hair can occupy. For science! And my own amusement. 



  1. I know this post is old...

    ...but I was just looking into how to make a Zuul dress for myself. I'm not a seamstress by ANY stretch of the imagination. My husband is lucky and I make small repairs on the holes he manages to put in his shorts and t-shirts.

    Anyway. This made it look so simple. I think I can do this.

    Also, I've never met another Jacki. Hi. I'm Jacki.

  2. Hi! It's a really good project to try your hand at if you're not overly confident in your sewing skills, because A) it's so, so simple, and B) Worst case scenario, even if it goes terribly wrong somehow you can just cover any mistakes with shaving cream and say you're Dana after the Stay-puft explosion!

  3. this is awesome. thanks for sharing. this month has been so crazy I have 3 days to try to make a dana costume and a tully costume for my husband. we're checking thrift stores first and then off to the fabric shop, but this post was very helpful. thank you again!