Oh my gawd so Halloween! It’s my favorite! Chris and I had so much fun making our costumes this year that we’re digging the idea of making medieval versions for the ren faire next year, and we’re already tossing around ideas for *next* Halloween. So there better be as many parties to attend as there was this year! We went to four parties over the course of the weekend and each one was fun in such a different way! I’d do them all over again!
We got some great comments on our costumes! I was a bit nervous that no one would know what we were dressed as. But as we walked into Publix to grab some nibbles for our first party, another customer asked, ‘Where in the world did we get Beefeater costumes?!’ And several people at the parties we went to seemed surprised that we made them ourselves. Well that’s what we do! I live for this shit! We even got stars and retweets from two actual Beefeaters (@ravenmaster1 and @ladyyeoman)! Which is like Rhea getting a Tweet reply from Wil Wheaton. Which is one of the most exciting things to ever happen. So there’s that.
A bit of history: Last fall Chris and Channa and Mariana and I were in London in September and we went to the Tower of London and it was gorgeous and it was amazing and I cannot wait to go back. One of the things that was really awesome to me was not just the tower guards and not just the fact that one of those guards is deemed the ravenmaster and gets to take care of the seven gorgeous birds that live on site but these Beefeater uniforms were amazing to me. They were well built and had a lovely shape and somewhat casual but also really fucking spiffy and military. They were gorgeous! And I found myself looking at Chris and saying, ‘I want to make one of these! I want to make you a Beefeater costume!’ I took a few reference shots of like the back of the uniforms because I knew specialty shots like that would be sparse online.
Fast forward a year and Chris and I were tossing around ideas for Halloween costumes 2015. So we looked at this and we looked at that and I wrote all those ideas down and started secret Pinterest boards for them. I’m not going to tell you what they are because maybe that’s what we’re going to do next year. But we ended up cutting it down to Chris would be a Beefeater and I would be Queen Elizabeth which would be awesome and gorgeous and amazing.
Then in September I freaked out a little bit. I got overwhelmed with the idea of the Queen of England costume because who wants to be the fucking Queen of England if they don’t have the perfect replica crown and the ermine cape with the 6 foot long train and the high-end mind-blowing coronation dress?! I sure as hell don’t. But I was stressed about it. I didn’t feel that I would be able to do the costume justice. So I cancelled Halloween. I told Chris we had to come up with something quick and easy where we are ordering most of it from Amazon, similar to the Mythbusters costumes we did a couple of years ago, because I just couldn’t do it. It was too overwhelming. My brain had exploded two days ago and I didn’t want to think about it anymore. I explained that it was the queen costume that was really freaking me out and that I was still really looking forward to making his Beefeater costume. Chris in his patience and his infinite wisdom looked at me and says, ‘Then why don’t we both be Beefeaters?’ And my brain kind of exploded again. Of course! Of course we can all be fucking Beefeaters! So it was settled, Beefeaters it is!
I had a great time making these costumes. I am thrilled that Amazon Prime exists because I misread the amount of yardage contained in the packages of red bias tape and only picked up a fraction of what I needed at Joanns. I learned a lot about draping. I learned to not be afraid of lining. I learned how to bust out some badass buttonholes and make them my bitch. And that’s one of the things I love best about sewing costumes as opposed to sewing garments that I would wear to work or something like that. I’m not afraid to tackle little fiddly things or things that I don’t do very often or things that I need practice at because it’s just a costume. It doesn’t matter if I mess it up a little bit because I can always temporarily cover that up and make it look fine from a galloping horse. I’m not being paid by someone to make these, no one is flipping my seams, and I’m not entering any contests. The welt pockets that I put on Chris’ Christmas vest two years ago is a perfect example of that. It was a brand new technique for me. It is difficult to get done perfectly, it’s hard enough to get it done well, and I just practiced it a few times on scratch fabric until I felt better about the whole technique and then did it for reals on the vest. It didn’t turn out amazing but it turned out nice enough that I was pleased with the results. So pleased that I told Chris now that he’s lost 100 pounds if he wants a new vest for tuba Christmas I’m going to cut down his old vest around that welt pocket and instead of making one from scratch.
Another thing I learned this year making Halloween costumes is that Chris not only up for attempting pretty much anything making wise, but he’s also really really good at it. I asked him to make both of the hats for our costumes and he did an amazing job. These things look fantastic. He bought inexpensive Zorro hats from the Halloween store then built those up with craft foam and quilt batting and covered them in fabric so that they were similar to the actual Beefeater hats. They fit great and they look really genuine. I was really so very pleased with them. And then when he asked if there was anything else he could help me with I handed him the red felt stencil for the front of the costumes and my super sharp fabric scissors and asked him if he didn’t mind doing detail work he could start cutting away on those. He cut out all of the red felt applique pieces for both of our costumes and he did such a beautiful job with that. I’m still kind of amazed at these things came out between the two of us.
And he really was up for anything! After I made his costume I needed to make a pattern for the tunic for my costume. The way I made the pattern for Chris’ was by having him stand still with the Beefeater shirt on, and I draped pieces of muslin on him then marked my cutting lines according to how that piece of fabric fit on his body. So it would have been difficult for me to do that to myself. Enter Chris the Wonder crafter! He jumped in with both feet and he did the same draping technique to me! He made perfect pattern pieces for me to make my costume from. And he’s such… he’s such a… a kind of guy who will give anything a shot. If I ask him to help me with it he will totally help me with it even if it’s learning how to do something like drape a pattern for a Beefeater costume.
I think the last thing on my list of things I learned while making Halloween costumes this year is that it is so much easier to make a second identical costume then to make two completely different costumes. I alredy had the construction engineering figured out on Chris’ costume before I even cut mine out, so it took me about half the time to make mine. I just need to remember that if there is a make a mistake on the first piece, I’ll need to make the same mistake on the second one in order to be consistent! And I’ll keep that in mind in the future because not only is it easier, but I think we had more impact with the two of us being together. Especially since it was a military style costume I think it really pulled the two of us together as a team.
So what’s next for me? I think I might do some knitting this weekend. The craft room could use some tidying. And I’ve got some cool sewing ideas using some fabulous new tools that I got for my birthday! Hurrah for making!