Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Desperately Seeking Susan Jacket/Blazer (of my dreams) + Halloween


Halloween? You go hard... or you go home. We did not go home. Well, we did go home, after we went hard. You get the idea. It's not a night to be taken lightly!

My usually dizzying level of holiday spirit was dampened somewhat by an overindulgent Friday night of partying, which caused me to spend most of Saturday-day in a state of skin crawling hungovered-ness, thinking that my spirit was possibly leaving my body. That's about as spooky as it gets. I shamefacedly scraped myself together for a party on Saturday, expecting to making excuses and scramble back home after a token effort, but didn't we have the nicest time! I almost felt guilty, as Lord knows, after the night I'd had before, I did not at all deserve to have a good night.

You know how it is when someone you know invites you to someone-you-don't-know's get-together, and you're concerned you might be an unwelcome interloper? Most of the party goers and the host and hostess themselves were friends of friends, but I honestly haven't been to a party with more open group of strangers, oh, ever? Great Halloween-appropriate, to-the-hilt decorations, costumes, homemade chili and hors d'oeurves, and just a great bunch of funny, nice people. It's great to be surprised, you know? Plus there was a photo booth manned by that highly gifted paladin of Polaroid himself, Chad McClarnon (see more of his stuff HERE), who had done a promotional video a few months earlier that used one of Bab's bands' songs in it. Talent meets talent! Can you tell how vain I am by the almost palpable sense of excitement I got over having my photo professionally, Polaroidically taken? See above. Bab's pose is better, but I'm just glad my lipstick was mostly straight. :)

These poorer quality, but figure flattering photos were taken on the aforementioned Friday night, pre-outing. In a fit of DIY mania, and after a lucky score of a Saks 5th Ave 80's blazer that just dared me to try, I decided I would fulfill my decade-long dream of recreating Madonna's blazer from Desperately Seeking Susan. I saved a few pictures from the web, sketched out the design, and numbered off the things I would need from Joann's, specifically:
  1. Many, MANY glue sticks
  2. Gold lame fabric
  3. Red Fabric
  4. Gold Braid
  5. Black ribbon
  6. Black Fabric Pen

A return trip to Goodwill yielded one of the ugliest, fourth-grade-school-teacher-from-the-early-90s XXL blouse. Were there epaulets? There were epaulets. Were the buttons these strange, quarter sized affairs with eagles on them? They were (don't worry, they ARE to be repurposed, sometime, somehow). Gaping shirt pocket? Gaping shirt pocket. In terms of design, this shirt was a dud. But the fabric was ve-e-e-e-ry close to my ideal! And at $2.15 (orange tag, half off), I couldn't help but snag it. I covered the lapels and cuffs in this material, and honestly, before I put the pyramid on the back, it's a jacket I would wear out! (Who am I kidding, WITH the pyramid, I would still wear it out). The 80's corset and lace shirt are from Southern Thrift and Goodwill, respectively ($4.29 and $3.99, but I figure I'll wear them again, right? Like this weekend?). All the necklaces were just ones I would wear anyway from various estate sales, but with an eye toward Madonna-appropriateness. At the last minute, I found a tiny, old brass crucifix in the back of a drawer, from some long ago sale. Perfection!

The case I carried for my purse is meant to mimic the kick drum case Madonna/Susan uses in the movie as a suitcase. Hers was overflowing with neon crinoline kickskirts and tribal jewelry... mine included tamer elements such as my wallet, keys, and a VHS copy of the movie (for the nonbelievers in my dedication to movie-quality detail). I spraypainted an old hat box (usually I don't like repurposing my vintage stuff too hard, but I'd almost given it to Goodwill SEVERAL times, and just decided it might be more useful to me in its second life as a skull case) and freehanded the skull design in silver Sharpie. Initially, this was supposed to be a guide by which to mask-out the sections I wanted black before I spray painted it with a white coat, but it turned out so well, I just went with the silver. See the original bag to the right. Pas mal, hein?

Bab's Elvis costume (of which there is plenty of "in the making" footage, and little-to-no "in the finished costume" pictures, boooooo) was born out of a second fit of manic energy after finishing the Madonna jacket in mid-September. "What mountain can't I climb?!" proclaimed the crafter long dormant in me, and I thought about costumes for my man. Last year, he was Little Nemo (which was essentially him getting to wear his vintage pajamas and bathrobe in lieu of a costume), the year before we were out on a gig in a Tunica casino and uncostumed (don't throw me in the briar patch), and the year before that he was a particularly impressive Beethoven (the hair makes him a natural for this). I started thinking about black-haired celebrities as untapped resources for costume inspiration, and thought.... ELVIS. YES, ELVIS! WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF ELVIS?!

Using the photo at right as a guide, I went out and bought large gold sequins, small gold sequins, red sequins, blue sequins, and even more glue sticks (I still can't sew. I admit it). Then I used the carboard from some empty Big K boxes to eyeball an eagle outline (I wanted to make sure the eagle on the front and the eagle on the back were the same size, and to have a basic guide to lay the sequins) and trace it along the back of woman's white button up jacket ($4, Goodwill, half off yellow tag) with just the right collar. Then I started to glue sequins.

And glue sequins.
And glue sequins.

When I had Bab try on the finished product, I was amazed at how it actually looked like a knock-off Nudie (I didn't know until I just googled the suit's provenance that the actual designer was George Doucette. To you, your due, sir!). What a lot of determination and sequins can do!

Last but not least, on actual Halloween this Monday, the two of us watched at least 75% of Stephen King's It ("We all float down here, Geooorgie" still creeps me out pretty bad, honestly) and ate these delicious double decker skull cookies (recipe from this blog, via Craftzine, my new favorite go-to website). No trick-or-treaters! Not even one! :( Well, more cookies for us. And Pennywise.

Anyway, hope your Halloween was a blast! I've seen some OFF THE CHART do-it-yourself costumes on other people's blogs (Nabby's at This Old Life as Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and Amber at I Heart Everything as Jabba the Hut [complete with Princess Leia accessory/date!] particularly come to mind... that's the spirit, girls!!). Did you costume up or down? Spill, spill!

Til next time.


  1. Your costume is genius. Love, love, love it! And impressive efforts with the Elvis suit too. I did a handmade costume too - always the most fun - complete with the use of wire coat hangers and bin bags... I've yet to post it but will soon, so keep an eye out!

  2. AMAZING outfits! I love dressing up so much - I hate when people don't put any work into their outfits.


  3. Trick-or-treating was totally dead in our neighborhood, too. The last two years were insane, so it was kinda weird.

    I am all about the make-it-yourself costume. I've rented a couple of times, but that was because I needed something right now and needed something nicer than what normally passes as a "Halloween costume." This year, we were at home for Halloween, but we'd been to a costume party earlier in the month where I went as Stevie Nicks. Random dance classes + hoarding tendencies = free costume

    How awesome about the photo booth! His work is pretty darn amazing! What a great souvenir!

    P.S. I hope you bought stock in a glue gun glue manufacturer before you bought your supplies! :-) The both of you look fabulous!

  4. Wow! You guys did some real justice to Halloween! The Elvis costume is fab. I'd be tempted to wear that and the pyramid jacket out of the house on a regular basis! Thanks for the props too! We went out on Saturday but my Leia didn't want to go out on Halloween night (no costume contest anyway), so we just stayed in and passed out candy. I can't wait till next year!

  5. My bin bags and coat hangers costume is up on my blog now! That is, if you're interested...

  6. Wow! You guys rocked the Hallowe'en fancy dress! I loved your Madonna tribute although Elvis was brilliant too! x

  7. So I of course had to go back and read this. Seriously I bow down to your skills. Both are spot on.



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