Last minute Halloween: rainbow skeletons and fairies gone bad

I feel like I should confess something. I don’t like sewing costumes. I’m also not used to celebrating Halloween. But I’m nothing, if not prepared. I snapped up three out-of-season witch costumes on Ebay a few months ago, breathed a sigh of relief and hoped that I was off the hook. I’m a pretty good saleswoman when I want to be. What, you want to be a tiger, not a witch? Well, let’s put the striped top on underneath the witch dress and you can be an extra scary witchy tiger, yeah!

Middle child wasn’t playing this game. The day before Halloween, she decided that it was absolutely imperative that she become a skeleton. I told her that this need could be met, but only if she could make the costume herself. I helped her a bit. First, we drew some bones on white denim fabric scraps.


Then Miss Four coloured all the bones in with fabric dye crayons, which I ironed to set the dye. We have rainbow skeletons in the House of Iles.

Miss Four cut those bones out very carefully. It was a great exercise in practicing dexterity with the scissors. I then very hastily, and very roughly, basted those bones onto a pair of tights and a top that she already had in her wardrobe. Some of the stitching was done by machine and some had to be done by hand whilst watching the final season of True Blood. Admittedly, some of the bones are attached a bit wonky, but overall, the costume was a great success. It was worn for 24 hours straight.



My costume was a little bit more last minute. On the day of Halloween, while the little peeps were having a lunchtime nap, I suddenly had an idea to turn the muslin of my Dior knock-off coat into a Malificent inspired gown and cape. The fabric (if you can call it fabric) was the perfect colour for a fairy gone bad. I purchased the purple textile from Jo-Ann, specifically to muslin a coat. It was $2/yd, the price of cheap calico, but it had a sturdy, structured feel that I felt would give me a better idea of how the coat would drape. It was also 100% polyester, recycled from plastic bottles.



I’m nearly finished my real Dior knock-off coat, so you will soon get a better view of the coat beneath the cape. But for this costume, I simply gathered up the remainder of my purple polyester into a cape, and stitched on a big dramatic collar over the top. I cut a separate tie for the waist. None of the seams are finished because the fabric doesn’t fray. It’s like cutting felt. Perhaps I should have tried to iron it though!


8 thoughts on “Last minute Halloween: rainbow skeletons and fairies gone bad

  1. lisa g.

    very cool on all accounts! i used to love sewing halloween costumes, but that was before i got into sewing my actual daily wardrobe. now it feels like a chore and a waste of perfectly good fabric! ah well… the kids do appreciate my efforts at least. hope you enjoyed your first american halloween!


  2. Debbie Iles

    Thanks Lisa. Halloween was quite amazing and way different to what I expected. It appears to rival the excitement of Christmas to kids- such a fun night. I especially love how much everyone gets into costume inside their own houses too, and the lights and decorations. Awesome. Next stop on the train of new experiences is Thanksgiving 😉


  3. SewJillian

    Two words: you rock! I am so lame, but I am so not into Halloween in Australia. It's started to take off, but I took advantage of my ability to distract my 4 yr old and avoid any involvement. And I'm totally not the costume making type… Though I did make that Peppa Pig costume once…


  4. Amanda

    This has made my day! Rainbow skeleton is adorable and you are not Maleficent but magnificent! (see how I tried to play on words there… that may have failed dismally) 😀


  5. Gail

    Debbie, Miss Four's costume is the best one I've seen anywhere on the webs this year! I absolutely love it that she did so much of the work herself!!


  6. Joy

    I much prefer sewing practical stuff over costumes. People are different, obviously! But that Maleficent costume is pretty incredible. And how fun for the little to make her own costume. Very cute.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s