Sunday, October 31, 2010

DIY Dia de los Muertos Skirt

Let me just be frank.

(But I thought your name was Catfish, not Frank ... wocka wocka).

But seriously, I've never been a big fan of Halloween, or costumes. I don't love candy, and when you're an adult, Halloween is one of those drunk holidays that has a big "Stay off the Roads" sticker on it. However, I was recently inspired by one Miss Katy Perry to get a little festive this year without resorting to a disposable polyester one-size-fits-all monstrosity. (I mean, what could be less green that an outfit made of petroleum products that you wear once, save for awhile, and then chuck in the garbage?)

And here's what inspired me:

(Photo courtesy of

While I'm not a fan of boob bows, I really liked Katy's full skirt with the wacky print. I've always enjoyed clothing that has a bit of novelty to it -- T-shirts with strange screen print images, vintage dresses, etc. I decided that my wardrobe had been seriously lacking in whimsy lately.

I decided to make a skirt a bit like Katy's, with a crazy print. I settled on a Dia de lost Muertos print (Dia de los Muertos is the Mexican Day of the Dead, celebrated November 2) that is Halloweenish, but which would also look kinda punk rock if worn in a dive bar, or would turn a few heads when worn to the grocery store.

First I had to adapt a pattern:

Wily likes to lurk around while I'm sewing, waiting for a piece of pattern paper to fall within reach so he can destroy it.

Katy's skirt is a circle skirt (like a poodle skirt), which is ... a big circle. I have a copy of the book, Chic and Simple Sewing, by Christine Haynes, which had a circle skirt pattern (there are lots of online tutorials for making circle skirts if you want to make your own pattern). Unfortunately, the largest size was quite tiny, so I used it as a base to create my own. Also, since the print on my fabric was "directional" (i.e. it can only face one direction) and circle skirts are cut on a diagonal, I added some panels of solid purple. Leave it to me to make things more difficult, even though I'm a beginning sewer.

The actual sewing didn't take long, although I got off to several false starts with a misthreaded sewing machine.

I finally got the sewing machine threaded and I'm ready to sew.

Here's the finished skirt. .

And here I am, ready for Halloween.

I'll definitely wear this comfy skirt again, meaning it won't get dumped like many one-use-only Halloween items. Of course, there are lots of ungreen things about sewing (in particular, the production of cotton is hard on the environment and organic fabric is extremely expensive) but when we create our own clothing, we're much less likely to dispose of it quickly. We also take at least a few steps out of the manufacturing chain. And, of course, it's fun.


Kaimoana said...

I love it. Also, you look adorable.
Does it twirl?

Catfish said...

Thanks, and yes, it is twirly!

Unknown said...

It looks great! And extra point to you for making modifications as a beginner. I try to make my kids' costumes every year so they become something they can play with throughout the year. Feels far less wasteful.

Sandra said...

Love the skirt, very clever. You are very artistic and crafty, and for that I won't hate you ('cause I don't have a crafty bone in my body).
Honestly, your picture, your pose, your smile...I already like you so much more than Katie Perry.

Catfish said...

Ah, thanks Wombat and Sandra. You guys are sweethearts. Nothing like internet validation to make one feel warm and toasty!