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Halloween Costume Contest 2015

David Bowie– Life on Mars?

Is there life on Mars? 

I’m a different David Bowie for Halloween every year. This year, I recreated Freddy Burretti’s design for the “Life on Mars?” video (http://progressivepulse.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Life-on-Mars-suit.jpg). 

I started with vintage Simplicity pattern 5869 (https://www.etsy.com/transaction/1062976114) for the jacket, and vintage Simplicity pattern 8868 (https://www.etsy.com/transaction/231339195) for the pants. I made significant alterations to the patterns, but used these as a starting point. 

For fabric, I selected Mood’s Italian Duck Egg Blended Cotton Sateen (http://www.moodfabrics.com/italian-duck-egg-blended-cotton-stretch-sateen-twill-fc19217.html) for it’s weight, sheen, and drape (and price! this is a costume, no imported wool gabordine needed here). 

I lined it with some inexpensive cream colored polyester from Mood (http://www.moodfabrics.com/famous-designer-antique-white-polyester-lining-307213.html). 

I interfaced it with lightweight hymo (https://www.etsy.com/transaction/1064119822). 

This was my FIRST suit project. I thought that this would not only make an amazing costume, it would also be a practice run with bespoke tailoring techniques. I used the vintage Vogue Sewing Book (http://www.amazon.com/Vogue-Sewing-Book-Patricia-Perry/dp/B000HFCHHM) and Claire Schaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques (http://www.amazon.com/Couture-Sewing-Techniques-Revised-Updated/dp/1561584975/ref=sr_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1446492702&sr=1-11&keywords=claire+shaeffer) to guide me. I also relied on my mother’s tailoring expertise to help. 

The biggest alterations to the pattern were with the jacket. I’m 5’11”, so I added a lot of length. I also had to change the collar pattern to extend the width of the wide lapel (no collar notch, full gorge seam). I squared the jacket quarters, deleted the patch pockets, and instead, placed welt pockets at the waistline in the side panels to sort of create a faux-martingale belt look with the pockets, like Bowie’s suit had. 

For the pants, I used this pattern because it was a simple pant in a tall size (I love tall-sized patterns!!!), but there were some issues. I changed the front pleats to darts and removed the pockets. I also corrected the “saggy butt” of the pants using the Vogue Pattern Book‘s alteration technique by making a horizontal dart in my muslin and tracing that to the pattern.

Bowie’s pants also had these cool front-only cuffs, so I extended the pant-front pattern by 6 inches, applied a narrow strip of interfacing at the bottom, folded that over, then folded the “cuff” up about 5 inches, and staystiched the sides before I sewed the pants legs togther. The back of the pants are hemmed with an invisible hem stitch. 

I made the tie with gold lame from Fabric.com (https://www.fabric.com/buy/0392472/tissue-lame-gold). The red and white stripes are scraps of cotton I had in my fabric basket, interfaced and sewn in. To replicated the embroidered pattern on his tie, I used fabric paint (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003O8PF00?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s00). The interfacing was taken from one of my dad’s old ties. 

The shirt was purchased on ebay for a couple reasons. Mainly, it’s not hard to find a banker-collar striped shirt and it was cheaper to buy this nice one second-hand than to make a new one. The wig and shoes were also purchased. 


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  1. Kittiecat412 | | #1

    This is AMAZING. Seriously. I love your attention to detail - I did a double-take even seeing the tiny thumbnail version of your costume on the Threads Facebook post. I'm completely impressed.

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