Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sorry, Parents

Sorry parents and relatives, you're gonna see some leg. But I must point out that this costume is tame - SO. TAME. - compared to so many others. Be glad.

For Halloween I made a dress out of Thomson seat post, seat post collar and stem bags. For those not in the know, Thomson makes bike parts. They come packaged in off-white synthetic fabric bags with the logo on one side and illustrations of what's inside on the other side.

I came up with the idea when I was making a business card holder out of one of the bags I had. I was looking at the stack of them I had on the floor and got the idea to make a dress out of them. I was a little slow in coming up with a costume idea this year because I was stumped as to how to raise the bar from my horse bike costume a few years ago. As I've mentioned before, the horse bike was a whole different story, but this was also a really great challenge! I haven't sewed much before, but I have a friend here at Cannondale, Lindsay, who works in apparel who sews a lot, and I also had a seam ripper for the inevitable mistakes! Lindsay was a great great resource and I would have floundered around a lot more without her advice.

I hope you guys are just itching for details, because it feels like I'm winding up for a long post, here.

I had a lot of assorted bags from saving them, and also from wonderful friends in Wisconsin who knew I collected them and would pass them off to me when they ran across them, or bought new Thomson parts. [Thank you!] I started seam ripping the bags and ironing them flat to use as fabric, but I wasn't sure how many I needed, or how I wanted to arrange them into a dress. I went to the local fabric store to look through patterns and found one that would work. It was a costume-specific pattern, meant for witches or sexy Santas, etc. It was short enough to not need too much fabric, and it was a brand known to be easy for beginners.


If you're not familiar with patterns, they come printed on big sheets of what amounts to tissue paper. I laid out the bags underneath the panels of the dress so I could see approximately how it would look. That's what this was:



I tallied up the bags needed and knew I needed to use my status as Super Important Cannondale Employee to muscle more bags out of somebody. Luckily, a coworker had a contact at Thomson, so I didn't need to get physical with anyone. Big thanks to him for speedily sending a box with all the extra bags I needed! While I waited for the bags in the mail, I did a mock-up of the top to make sure it would fit. After the box arrived, it was really Game On. I started cutting a putting together the different pieces to form the panels of the dress.

This is the skirt, before being gathered and attached to the bodice.


Likewise, the sides of the bodice.



Since I planned on racing a cyclocross race in this dress, I modified the top to have two stretchy panels on the sides, so it would be easier to gasp for breath in. The only other modifications I made were to make it an inch longer on top on account of my longer torso, and to make the skirt longer to fit the Thomson logos and also be just a tad bit more acceptable to wear in public.


I added some little touches, like the black band along the bottom of the skirt.


It also has what I would call an additional underskirt? Something like that. I added it and some black tulle to make the whole thing puffier than a chickadee on a cold day. (Ok, I just made that up. Think of it as a Midwest version of a Texas-style saying, which would almost certainly involve a rattlesnake, boots, or both.)

Oh, and of course the flask holder.


Sewing the stretchy fabric for the band around the thigh was proving difficult, so I dug around in my box of obscure sewing notions I got from a church garage sale around 2001 or so. No joke. I'm a pack rat. I found some wide, patterned elastic and sewed the black stretchy fabric over it. The patterned stuff made it substantial enough that I could figure out how to sew it properly. I made a hasty little pouch for the flask and hand-sewed it on in an equally hasty fashion. I had decided to make this addition shortly before getting on a train to South Norwalk for some dancing, etc, and wound up bringing some supplies along for the ride and finishing the stabilizing elastic that comes down from the waistline of the dress on the train.

As you may guess, I'm a fan of the process, and this dress project didn't disappoint. And Halloween isn't even technically here yet! I'm sure I'll post a few more photos up here. The past few years, I've forgotten to take posed photos to document the final costume. I won't let you guys down this year ;)

1 comment:

Lo said...

impressive!! and bad-ass (skills). jealous of the flask holder...