Halloween Costumewatch 2011: Bonggamom

I've had many Halloween costumes over the years (many in a single year, even), and I've enjoyed wearing them all, but I must confess that I'm really looking forward to wearing this year's costume. I've always loved cavewoman costumes; in fact, the first Halloween costume I wore as an adult was a cavewoman costume. I wore it to a grad school costume party and I paid $60 to rent it for the week. Every Halloween since then, I've looked around for cavewoman costumes, but couldn't really find one that I liked. There's not much variation in the cut (I don't think there were many fashion designers in the stone age), but all the materials looked thin and cheap.

This year, The Pea told me she wanted to be a cavegirl for Halloween, and what's more, she wanted to sew her own costume. She went to fashion camp over the summer and learned to use a sewing machine, and even sewed her own dress, so she was confident she could do it. I told her that turning knit skirt into a dress was very different from cutting a pattern and sewing it into dress, but she wanted to try, and I wanted to encourage her, so I bought a pattern and a gorgeous, soft, furry leopard-print cloth.

Of course, wouldn't you know it, The Pea changed her mind. She and her best friend decided to be the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat, which meant that I had a pattern for a cavewoman/greek/prisoner/harem dress and two yards of unreturnable cloth. We're not about to have any leopard-print tablecloths or curtains, so I decided to sew a costume for myself.

If you are someone who is related to me, or grew up with me, you will realize how ludicrous that sounds. Sewing is not one of my talents. I have only sewed two articles of clothing in my entire life: a sleeveless blouse and long skirt (for my high school home economics class) both of which were unwearable. My mom gave me a sewing machine several years ago, which has been sitting in the garage, gathering dust.

But I figured, if The Pea was willing to challenge herself like that, I should be too (Okay, she changed her mind, but she did end up sewing her Mad Hatter costume herself. More about that on my next Halloween Costumewatch post!) So I did. And yes, it was a challenge. I had to relearn the language of sewing: baste, inseam, wrong side of fabric, bobbin, all that. I had to figure out how to work the sewing machine. Then I had to figure out how to cut the pattern and sew it together. You can't get any more basic than a cavewoman dress, but it was still tough. My threads kept getting tangled and my stitches were hardly ever straight. When I was halfway through, I realized that the size I had chosen was far too large, so I had to take it down a size. Alfie begged me to give up and buy a costume because I was so bad-tempered while I was sewing it.

But it's finally done. The dress has a lot of kluges and shortcuts, but hey, it's a cavewoman dress, not haute couture. I admit, I sew like a Neanderthal, so at least it's authentic. I'm stuffing some extra leopard-skin cloth over my sheepskin boots and I'm borrowing a bone from one of our plastic skeletons. As the australopithecus africanus might say, ME LOVE DRESS.