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Oct 28, 2012

Awesome Halloween Sew-Alongers, Vol. 3: The Gumball Dress!

Readers, today I want to introduce you to MPB Halloween Sew-Alonger, Christina J. (pictured above in an early fitting).

Much like me, Christina doesn't see Halloween as a reason to sacrifice glamour; no throw-a-sheet-over-your-head-and-call-yourself-a-ghost for this talented sewer.  Christina's costume is even boned and I'm pretty sure she'll be wearing shoes on the big night.

In her own words, here's Christina's story:

Q: Christina, how did you decide on your costume idea -- what inspired you?

A: I decided on this costume very last minute. It was the 15th of October, and originally a friend and I had planned on being mermaids. I really just wanted an excuse to buy sparkly and sequined fabrics, but I've been on a self-imposed fabric ban (with good reason) so I left the idea. Last year I made a burger dress, and I figured I'd just recycle that costume and call it good. THEN, my friend sends me a photo she found on the internet of the most adorable gumball romper EVER. I said it was super cute, and went about my way. A few days later, another gumball outfit finds its way to me, and right then I decide on it. The idea is a complete knock-off of the romper, so I really can't take credit for that, but we could say this is my own interpretation! 

Christina's romper inspiration

I used McCall's 5850, and this is the third time I've made it. I really like this pattern a lot and have found it to be pretty versatile, as well as going together pretty quickly with limited fuss. I mostly followed the directions, but this time I ignored the boning installation instructions, instead opting to use the seam allowances. I also added two layers of tulle and didn't line the skirt. I am thinking I'll need to add a ruffle of tulle at the bottom, because who doesn't like more tulle?

I have plans to make a fold over clutch, using Pattern Runway's free pattern. That vision includes the outer layer being made of the same plastic, the lining being made of matching red sateen. Trapped between will be silver "quarters" made of grey corduroy. If that is completed and there is still time left over, I will make a fascinator type hat with feathers, netting and felt gumballs hot glued down.  Phew!

Christina's chic gumball fascinator!

Between doing my dishes and the jello wrestling, I've got my sewing cut out for me tomorrow. Oh, and of course I bought a bag of gumballs to pass out to fellow Halloween celebrants!

Q: What challenges (if any) are you experiencing?  

A: The biggest challenges I've had so far were the zipper installation and sewing on plastic. I had to re-do the zipper three separate times -- talk about frustrating! The problem was that I couldn't really pin the zipper at the top of the bodice because the top layer is made of plastic, and will show holes. I really do not enjoy or find hand sewing cathartic in any way, but I had a needle and thread ready to baste this thing in. Sadly (or not, depending on how you look at it!), I actually couldn't push the needle through the plastic, two layers of cotton and the zipper tape. I tried to tape it down, but because plastic doesn't really crease, it wouldn't lay correctly. 

The first installation proved the fit to be too tight, which is a big no-no for strapless dresses. The second iteration wasn't tight enough at the waist/midriff, and the final one will just have to do, because I am not doing it again!  As far as color and style, I had wild dreams of a baby blue exposed zipper. In the end, it's a big plastic red separating zipper that reaches the bottom of the dress and is installed like a normal zipper. I am learning to pick my battles.

Q: Where are you going to go in your costume?

A: On Saturday, my friends and I will be going out to a local bar to celebrate my housemate's birthday, and then at 11:30 pm, we are headed to a theater to a jello wrestling event. I have never attended such an event, so I have no idea what to expect. I hope to find out how much jello was used for the production. I suspect that I will also want to go out on Halloween Eve, given what the zipper and I have been through. There is a great brewpub up the street that has very large windows, and last year proved to be a wonderful location for costume watching.


Readers, I've never witnessed live jello wrestling, but I am pretty sure that in her lovely gumball creation, Christina is going to be the best dressed person in the room.  (Watch out for flying Jello cubes!)

If you'd like to read more about Christina's gumball adventures and see more pics of her project, head over to Christina's blog, this, that, the other thing.

I want to thank Christina for sharing her creativity with us and, Christina, please don't forget to brush your teeth after all those gumballs.

Have a great day, everybody — I'm off to prep for a hurricane!   (What should I wear?)

PS — for more great photos of Halloween costumes — including updates from the Lollipop Guild Munchkin — check out our Sew-Along Flickr group!


  1. Good luck with that hurricane! I hope it blows itself out somehow without causing too much damage.

    1. Thanks, Chiara. I hope they don't cancel Halloween!

  2. As long as I don't lose power I'm going to be doing the metro-is-closed-and-work-is-cancelled dance. I've got a date with my kitchen for bunch and my sewing machine for the afternoon.

  3. Love your costume!! Hope u had a ball on SAturday night!! Can't wait to read about it on ur blog xxx

  4. How cute is this costume?! Love it!

  5. Fun costume!

    The Lollipop Guild is looking great too.

    Wishing all on the U.S. East Coast safety from the hurricane.

  6. I luv the gumball dress.

    Every one please be safe, and take precautions.

  7. This is adorable! I demand pics of the burger dress as well!


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