It took me a While to get into the Halloween spirit this year. Usually I have an idea and start sewing at the end of the summer but this year I just couldn’t decide what to do. (That same lackadaisical spirit is why it took me over six months to write this blog post. Oops.) Finally I decided to revisit a costume I’d wanted to tackle a couple years back: Miss Argentina from Beetlejuice.
It’s such a great makeup and a fun costume. And, compared with some past years, (okay, most past years) it’s a fairly straightforward costume build. Which was good since it was well into September when I started working.
I started out searching for fabric and a dress pattern. I wanted something sort of period for the movie (ie 1990s) so I did a search for vintage dress patterns with a sweetheart neckline. And I found this one uncut on eBay!
Once the pattern was ordered, I had to make a call about the fabric. The lighting in the movie scene is kind of low so it was hard to get an exact read on what the source dress is. It definitely looked like a paisley print with possibly a bit of sheen. So, satin? Velvet? Silk?
I started searching for red paisley. The silks and satins were mostly too shiny or chintzy looking. I couldn’t find a velvet that was a good red color. Or that was light enough to dye. Apparently paisley is out of style right now because it was a tricky search.
Finally I found this on Etsy. A vintage paisley velvet in a tan color. And they had 2 yards: just enough. Oh, also, it had to be a natural fiber so that it would take dye well. No biggie.
The fabric came and I dyed it red. It didn’t come out quite as vibrant as I ideally would have liked but it was good enough.
Now there was a bit of a problem. The pattern I ordered wasn’t the right size. In fact, according to the measurements on the envelope, it was six inches too small for me. So I tweaked the pattern a little and added 2 inches to the center front and 2 inches to each side. (That's six inches, right?) And then I cut it out and put it together.
And it. Was. Huge. It slid right off me the first time I put it on.
So I started pinning alterations. Which is always tricky to do on yourself. But even more so when the dress has to be quite fitted.
In the end, I took eight inches out of the dress. Sure, why not.
I added some steel boning to the princess seams just to give it a more flattering line and then called it a day.
Now it was time to focus on the cape. It’s a red sparkle chiffon with a structured collar.
No problem: JoAnn always has that one sparkle chiffon in stock.
...Except apparently they discontinued it. So I had to find someone on Etsy to sell me some. Again they only had 2 yards so that limited the size of the final cape. While I waited for the fabric to come in the mail, I started patterning the collar.
I cut the shape out of paper and then bent some floral wire into that shape. I made a second wire that looped up to support it.
When the fabric arrived, I cut out the collar using the paper pattern I made and inserted the wire into it. I thought it would be easy to affix the wire along the seams but it didn’t want to stay in there. Machine stitching it in place looked ugly so I had to hand stitch it all the way around.
For the cape part, I quick made a pattern as long and wide as the amount of fabric I had would allow. Attaching it to the collar was tricky and the wire wanted to slide around while I hand-stitched it all together but if you don’t look to close, it’s passable.
The sash was the easy part. I cut strips of white fabric and interfaced them and then used iron-on letters. Piece of cake.
The wig is actually two wigs that I sewed together—one is straight with bangs and the other is curly for the up-do.
I sewed the curly wig to the top of the other wig and carefully placed a few curls in the front. And then hair-sprayed the heck out of it.
Tights are from WeLoveColors.com—my favorite place to get colored tights. And they’re the exact perfect color.
For the shoes I wanted something 90s looking. I just went to my favorite thrift store which is filled with 90s looking high heels and tried them on until I found one that fit.
On the day, i just had to do the makeup.
I used Makeup Forever airbrush makeup. Luckily for me, they had the exact color I needed. Then I used Sugarpill eye shadows to do the contouring and the eyes.