Monday, 29 November 2010

Melanie Daniels lives (dies) again

A month ago I did something for the first time that many US sewers probably do annually: I made a Halloween costume! It's not so much of a big deal in the UK, I myself haven't worn a Halloween costume since my 11th birthday party. But my mate Anna and her husband wangled themselves invites to Seal and Heidi Klume's star-studded Halloween shindig in New York (honestly, I couldn't make this stuff up even if I wanted to). With only a week left to sort out her costume after an ebay search proved fruitless, she turned to me to assist. Luckily (?) I was between jobs, impatiently waiting to hear if I got my current job, so had the time to take on this commission.

After a lengthly debate, she settled on going as Tippi Hedren's character Melanie Daniels in Alfred Hitchcock's 'The Birds'. I, of course, have my own thoughts on Melanie Daniels, but admired Anna's kitsch but classy choice nevertheless. An internet search furnished her with a couple of different types of fake bird (one of which was produced in the US so she got them delivered straight to her NY hotel instead of to London!), so it was just down to me to make the dress and jacket.

Thankfully, I already had this pattern pictured above in my collection (thus neatly justifying my obsessive vintage pattern buying habit) on which to base this project and got to work with the fabric Anna had bought. 18 hours later (I timed it) I came up for air and the suit was finished with just enough time to get it to her before her flight. Unfortunately, we didn't have time for a fitting and it came out a bit big and long, but her handy local tailors rectified the length issue minutes before she had to set off for the airport.


I hadn't used this pattern before and the whole project certainly took way more time than I expected it to be. I had to make adjustments to the pattern because Anna is very tall and has different proportions to a 1960's lady (who doesn't?!) Also, upon request I lined the skirt section as the main fabric was a little thin. The pattern includes facings AND binding at the neck and sleeve opennings, both of which I faithfully included for fear of a poor finish. There was a lot of hand stitching involved to get the facings to lie nicely and the get the bindings to trap in all that fabric. If I were to make it again, I'd probably omit either the facings or the binding. The jacket, however, came out really nicely in my opinion, a really clean finish. I also made a self belt, like Melanie's but buckle-less.

I think you'll agree, Anna looks amazing and makes an awesome Melanie Daniels. Hmm, I wonder how I'd look as Annie Hayworth! Maybes this won't be the last Halloween outfit I make!

8 comments:

Peter said...

That is hilarious!

la inglesita said...

Wow! you´re the best friend ever!!

Mrs. Exeter said...

This is really brilliant - I can't believe you achieved all that in so short a time!

Gail said...

Brilliant costume, but I wonder how many of the Hollywoodniks would be clever/informed enough to get the film cultural reference.

Fourth Daughter said...

I thought that first pic was a famous person, the costume was so good. Fabulous effort, I would never have thought of it... and those crows are scary! Maybe you needed some fake blood to make it even more realistic....

Alexandra Mason said...

This is fantastic! xx

Stacy said...

Fabulous! I hope Heidi Klum was impressed.

naughty little pony said...

Utter Brilliance

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