Good evening, my dear ghouls. That most wonderful holiday of the year looms on the calendar, filling my head with tricks and treats and fun size Kit Kat bars. It's Halloween, y'all!
Or, it will be in twenty-two days, anyway. I'm one for early preparations. I would say it's a Girl Scout thing, but I was only a Brownie for one year, until I dropped out because they made us sleep outside, where the bugs lived. Despite a general distrust of things that crawl, I live for this holiday. It has all the makings of a good time: costumes, free candy, and things flavored with pumpkin. There is nothing about Halloween that is not awesome.
As proof of my love, I've made my first Halloween dress.
That's right, my first. Novelty fabrics, I will own you!
So, what's novel about this fabric? It looks like an abstract black print on grey fabric. Boring! Just because it's black and grey doesn't mean it's Halloween-themed, Mary.
Well, if you get a little bit closer...
Oh sweet baby squash blossoms, those are bats. Black bats, masquerading from afar as squiggles on a grey background!
Yes, my dear ones, I made a dress out of bat fabric. When I saw this Alexander Henry print, from their Ghastlies line, it had to be mine. Not only am I from Austin, the bat capital of America, but they are my favorite animal. How could you not love a flying mammal that hangs upside down and eats mosquitoes? They are wonderful, ergo they deserve a dress.
Since this fabric is quilting cotton, a heavier weight without so much drape, it needed a pattern that could handle a stiffer material. Enter the Anna Dress, of course.
For this version of Anna, I decided to pair it once again with a gathered dirndl skirt. The close fitting skirt of the original pattern would have been a disaster with this fabric, but the structured bodice was ideal. Besides, doesn't it seem appropriate that a Halloween dress is made with a Frankenpattern?
As far as pattern changes go, the dirndl was the biggest change. The only other things I did were to add black piping to the neckline and sleeves, then sub a hand-picked zipper for the prescribed invisible zipper. That's a change y'all will be seeing a lot of, I'm afraid. The finish of a hand-picked zip is just as clean as an invisible zip, but puts a lot more control in the hands of the sewist. I do so love control.
Since the Anna dress uses facings, and my fabric was a bit thick for a lining, putting the piping in was more of an adventure than it usually is. In order to make the neck facing turn properly with the added weight, I tacked it down at the shoulders and at the point of the V. For the sleeve piping, I turned the hem in 1/2 inch, the hand stitched the piping in, followed by black bias tape to cover the inside exposed edges.
So, there we have it, another Anna. This pattern is always a dream to sew up, as well as wear. There are two others cut out on my sewing table right now and I can't promise they'll be the last. This bodice is both lovely and practical! A true winner.
Things I Loved:
- The fabric! It's covered in bats, darling.
- The pattern is quickly becoming a real go-to for me. I heartily recommend giving it a whirl.
Things I Changed:
- Added black piping, to create interest on the somewhat busy print of the dress.
- Under-stitched the facings.
- Added facings after the zipper, so that the finish was prettier.
- Stay-stitched the neckline. For the love of Cthulhu, please stay-stitch your neckline!
- Added in-seam pockets, because...pockets.
- Switched the invisible zipper to a hand-picked zipper. If you're curious about this technique, I recommend Tasia's tutorial.
Things I Would Change, If I Made It Again:
- Nothing. After three times, this pattern and I are pretty in sync.
Tricky Steps & Suggestions:
- Turning faces can always be tricky, but under-stitching them goes a long way toward taming the wee little beasties. Secure them at the shoulder seam, by stitching in the ditch, and you're golden.
Notions & Fabric:
- 3.5 yards of Alexander Henry's Ghastlie Bats - $30
- Five delightfully haunted hours
I would like to tell y'all that this dress will only be reserved for October, but that would be a lie! It's seasonally appropriate with a cozy orange cardigan, but the print is understated enough for other months. These bats will have longevity far past Halloween, I predict. If anyone dares give me the stink eye about them in springtime, well...
That's what real bats are for.
Kidding. Of course. I'll tell them that I'm from Austin, a city that properly appreciates this noble species, and give them a few hard-hitting bat facts for their trouble.
The perfect dress for some twilight ghoul hunting!