Oh, joy! For the first time in two years, Halloween is back in full swing. In 2020, I had a great time attending my favorite DJ’s virtual club. Last year, even though some clubs in Los Angeles had reopened, we did not feel safe enough to go out to a crowded room. This year, all signs point to a safe reentry into the fun of Halloween.
There was no Halloween when I was growing up in Brazil. Our version of a costumed event is Carnival, a four-day (more like two weeks) event that takes place 40 days before Easter. During Carnival, I would hide at home and wait for the festivities to pass. Then, 20-something years ago, I went to my first Halloween party. It was the beginning of my love affair with Halloween.
Halloween is one of the three nights out of the year when I am willing to go out and stay up late—the other two are my birthday and New Year’s Eve. These days, I’d rather sit on the couch, have a glass of wine, and watch something on TV. Not on Halloween.
I wanted to create two costumes, one for going out and one for work. For going out, I’m taking the easy way out, buying most of the items for my Bride of Chucky costume and sewing just the skirt. For work, I wanted something highly recognizable and very comfortable—and that I might use as everyday clothing once all the partying is over. The choice—of pattern and costume—was clear: Tilly and the Buttons’s Megan Dress.
With the new TV series on Netflix, the Adams Family is back on the spotlight (for me, they have never left). I love every single member of the family, but Wednesday has a very special place in my heart. Everything about her is 100% pure goth spirit. I had already sewn a Wednesday costume many years ago, the very first costume I sewed for scratch.
There was no way I would be able to fit in a decade-old costume—and even if I did, the dress was just too short. I knew exactly which pattern to use—the Megan Dress by Tilly and the Buttons (it is a pattern in her first book, Love at First Stitch). And I can definitely recycle the costume and make it a part of my wardrobe, so this was wins all around.
The Megan Dress
The Megan is a pattern for a high-waist woven dress with short sleeves and mid-length skirt. It has tucks instead of darts for the bodice and waist darts for the skirt. The darts match at the waist seam. The skirt is slightly exaggerated at the hip area.
For this muslin, I used a light cotton sateen from Joann. It is the same fabric I used to sew my Summer Goth shirt and one version of Simplicity 1941. The fabric needs a slip or lining for full opacity. It wrinkles like crazy, but it has a nice shine and presses and sews beautifully.
For the Peter Pan collar, I used some white cotton voile I bought over a decade ago from Fabric.com (which no longer exists!).
My very first version of the Megan was a size 7 with no modifications. I wanted to check the fit out of the package, and it was not bad. I can still fit into it, but it is very snug. I have many other versions of this dress with fitting adjustments from various points in time, but my body has changed throughout the years, so many of them do not fit anymore.
In 2018, the Megan was the pattern I chose to sew another costume, Eleven from the first season of Stranger Things. I used some medium weight cotton sateen and added a Peter Pan collar. The fabric was dyed pink.
When I decided on a Wednesday costume, I went back to the Megan, this time starting with a size 8. I added 5/8″ to the side seams. It fits quite nicely with room to breathe.
About two years ago, I tried to sew another Megan dress. I was trying really hard to go for the perfect fit and erred on the side of overfitting. I felt frustrated that forgot about the pattern. For this muslin, I went with adjustments I usually need for every dress pattern. This is the list of usual adjustments:
- Added 5/8″ to the side seams to give my body more room to breathe
- Removed 1/8″ from the front neckline and transferred it to the bust dart (I used Cashmerette‘s How to Fix a Gaping Neckline tutorial) to reduce gaping
- Added 1″ dart to back neckline to reduce gaping
- Added 5/8″ length to front and back bodice pieces to lower bodice tucks
- Redrew front and back facing pieces to match new neckline
- Raised armscye under the arm by 3/4″ to increase range of motion
- Added 3/4″ to sleeve front and back at armscye to increase range of motion
- Removed 1″ of sleeve cap to reduce puffiness
- Redrew skirt sides to replace round hips with an A-line shape
- Added one inch to skirt length to allow for work functions (bending, reaching up/down)
It looks like a lot, but once you figure out what you need, it gets easier and easier to transfer all the adjustments to one pattern to another. And the reward? You get a dress that fits you well. I still don’t love the bodice tucks; maybe I’ll try to deal with them in my next version.
This dress is a great pattern for beginners. This pattern is from Tilly‘s book Love at First Stitch. All patterns there are easy, and instructions are beautifully illustrated. I ignored the instructions and followed my own steps to finish the dress.
I sewed all darts and tucks. Then, I sewed the front bodice to the front skirt and the back bodice to the back skirt. With front and back completed, I joined them at the shoulder.
I pinned the sleeves to the bodice and gathered the sleeve cap. Once the gathered section was to my liking, I sewed the sleeves in flat. From there, I sewed the side seams from sleeve to hem. I pressed seams as I sewed them.
I pinned the Peter Pan collar until I liked where it sat. I basted it in place. Then, it was time for the facing. I sewed all neckline components together, clipped the seams. I understitched the facing, sandwiching the collar seam in the process.
Even though I do not enjoy hand sewing, I like the added personal touch. I used my handy dandy Hot Hemmer, a heat-resistant ruler that makes marking your hem a breeze.
Peter Pan Collar
I wanted the dress to have Wednesday’s style, but I also wanted to be able to wear it as a work dress. Instead of the pointy collar, I went with the rounded version. This variation keeps the goth charm without the harsh lines.
I used Sew with Love‘s How to Draft a Peter Pan Collar and Creative Curator‘s How To Make A Peter Pan Collar Pattern to create my collar. These tutorials are very clear and easy to follow. I learned that there is a trick to help the collar follow the shape of the shoulder. When you join the front and back pieces at the neck to draw your collar, you have to overlap 3/4″ to 1″ at the shoulder point on the armhole. Cool, huh?
A Costume, A Dress? Both!
This muslin came out so well, I am promoting it to work dress status! It is a super cute costume that is practical, comfortable, and breathable. Now that I have the fit down and lots of Halloween fabric, I can create many Megan versions.
What is your Halloween costume? Share below!