Fall weather is creeping in even in sunny California, and my favorite holiday is just around the corner—Halloween! Tiny superhero costumes, witches and ghouls are hanging in tidy rows at shops and store bought options for adults improving every year. But, I’ve loved Halloween since I was a little girl and started making my own costumes when I was very young. I don't normally have time to sew for myself, no matter the time of year, but once in awhile a costume event comes up that's so special I can't resist... even if it means pulling off a few late nights to make it happen!
My husband Max and I recently attended The Labyrinth Masquerade Ball, a massive costumed event in its 19th year. Inspired by the ballroom scene in Jim Henson's The Labyrinth, attendees dress in fantasy costumes and dance the night away at the historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Fairies and handsome knights, goblins and queens mingle together in a dazzling array of color and textures. Some guests spend months to a year creating costumes for the ball, and I had only two weeks after I impulsively bought tickets! With a bit of help, I whipped up two costumes inspired by our favorite birds, a crow for Max and hummingbird for myself.
To save time I used a base for the crow costume—a 1940s black tailcoat. With a bit of tailoring to perfect the fit and feather embellishments from Mother Plucker Feather Company a dashing crow began take shape. I arranged feathers into epaulets for the coat, added a shiny brooch to a vintage bow tie, and sewed vintage trim onto a pair of cut off gloves. To top it off Max found an all black pair of chuck sneakers—comfort and style!
My jeweled hummingbird required a little more sewing. I was about 6 months pregnant, so buying a vintage gown was out for me! My growing belly makes a dress form useless, so my friend Anna designed and draped the dress right on my body. We kept the construction very simple, just four seams for the whole dress. The shaping was done with ribbons tied above and below my belly. I lightly embellished my wings—two long strips of chiffon sewn at the shoulders, with matching green feathers that I hand sewed on. To give the costume a bit of shimmer I carefully glued a Swarovski crystal to the top of each feather.
For our mask I visited one of my favorite costume shops—Ozzie Dots. I got lucky and found the perfect mask for the crow, and one very close for my humming bird. A peacock was transformed into a humming bird by trimming down the mask, removing a bit of gold trim, and adding a few feathers.
Making a pair of costumes in such a short amount of time was a little crazy, but it was worth the rush! It was a night of dancing and taking in all the beautiful costumes around us. We look forward to attending the ball next year, I'll be sure to give myself a bit more prep time.