What a clown…
You can keep your Halloween scary, gory, and/or sexy, I prefer mine sweet and wholesome. Give me trick-or-treaters in scrappy, handmade costumes, carnival cakewalks, and Driveway Follies (see event listings below) over a loud, drunken bash any time.
Halloween is one of the few holidays, at least for me, not marred by stress, obligation, or any other nonsense. Plus, it’s socially acceptable-ish to eat mounds of candy. It’s also a time to be wildly creative, and to enjoy the creativity of others.
Now, I don’t always have time to be wildly creative and get a cool costume together. I usually pick something that pulls from my current wardrobe in some way. Meaning, it won’t too hard for me to put together at the very last minute. Mind you, I’m not lazy. Either life gets in the way or my perfectionism does.
But this year I pushed myself a little and sewed my own old-fashioned clown costume! This is its story:
A few months ago I found a cool polka-dotted clown costume (made for a professional, I think) at our local Salvation Army for $6.99. It was too nice and too cheap to leave there, even though I already have a handmade vintage one (…complete with a pointy hat)!) that I got at an estate sale in Ohio a few years back.
So, I was telling my amateur clown friend Alex about my new acquisition (yes, “amateur clown friend” — longer story) and he suggested I wear it, dressed as “Fluffer.” That sounded too naughty to me, heh. But then, I immediately started imagining Fluffernutter the Clown. It dawned on me that the clown costumes I already had wouldn’t work for the concept (which is a shame because I already have them ready to go!). O’ boy, I’d have to create a new one.
I sketched out the concept on paper. I imagined one side would have red, blue, and yellow “Wonder Bread” dots and the other white-as-Fluff side would have a bread patch on the knee…
Don’t judge my mad drawing skills, yo.
I dug out my 60-year-old steel Singer from the garage, truly not knowing if the old gal would start up again (she did). Then I called my mom, a well-experienced seamstress, for moral support. She helped me find a pattern. Finding the fabric I imagined was an issue. I looked everywhere (yes, including Spoonflower) for Wonder Bread-like fabric. Nothing fit the bill. I thought to paint the dots on and then I began to “wonder” if I’d have time to actually make the thing if I had to do that as well.
I came home that evening, feeling deflated. I started digging into my decades-old fabric stash. I needed seven yards in total (which all you sewing freaks out there know is a lot) but nothing seemed right or big enough. Then it hit me. What if I (gulp) cut up some of my vintage tablecloths? I started digging into that stash and two midcentury ones popped out right away for me. One was of New England, the other of California. I positioned the pattern piece for the costume’s front to include the Bay Area (my now-home), and the back to include Cape Cod (my then-home). If I was going to be “Fluffernutter,” the costume would need to represent my life.
Folks, it wasn’t easy cutting up those vintage tablecloths. It really wasn’t. It made my heart race a little. But I did what had to be done. After I stitched it all up, I attached yards of turquoise rick-rack and a felt Fluff patch my sweetie Andy made me over the summer to the front. I still didn’t want to let go of the Wonder Bread dots idea, so I got some felt in primary colors and put them on my hat. A bread knee patch is forthcoming.
I probably put in 20 solid hours into physically assembling the costume, not including brainstorming, shopping for fabric and notions, and cutting out the pattern. It was worth it. I’ve cakewalked in it already and it’s terrific fun.
So, without further ado… here’s Fluffernutter the Clown! Sweet and wholesome AF! With rick rack and pom poms for DAYS!
photo by Marie Snyder Jensen
And she’s accompanied by her sweetie, a debonair clown of a different sort (notice the pom pom on his hat too).
Happy Halloween, folks!
P.S. My main computer went kaput this week — send good juju for a swift fix!