My daughter inherited my love of Frida Khalo. So in 2019, she decided to be Frida for Halloween. Overall this was not a difficult costume. It was actually really simple. I finished it so quickly that I experienced a seamstress's case of whiplash. One minute I had a project in my hands, the next it was done...WHAT THE ?????
The ensemble would need a Frida-style skirt and a huipil (traditional garment worn by indigenous women from central Mexico to South America). There are numerous images available online showing Frida wearing both. Several served as inspiration but I did not attempt to recreate any particular one.
I started with a quick trip to our local Goodwill store. Nine times out of ten there will be something there that can be refashioned. As expected, I found a bright pink tiered skirt and an old lace table cloth (sorry I forgot to take before photos). The skirt was 100% cotton so I knew it would take dye easily. It was also way too short for my 5'11" daughter but the table cloth would remedy that easy enough. So, I took my finds home, washed them then overdyed the skirt with a couple bottles of dark red Rit liquid dye purchased at Walmart. Once the skirt was dyed and dry, I added a deep border of white lace (cut from the old table cloth) to the bottom. To add a finishing touch to the skirt, black satin ribbon was sewn over the divisions between the skirt tiers. Waa-laa, one Frida-style skirt!
Now it was time to make the huipil. I searched the internet for inspiration and came across a fabulous digital pattern posted on the Victoria & Albert Museum website entitled, "Sew your own: Mexican-style huipil". It was created as part of their 2018 exhibit "Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up".
|One of inspiration images of Frida posted on the V&A website. Frida Kahlo in New York, by Nickolas Muray, 1939
The V&A offered two different styles for the huipil; I chose the 'square' neck version. This garment is cut in one piece with the fold line on the shoulders. It was such an easy sew that more time was spent picking out the fabric and ribbons than actual sewing time. My daughter planned the color scheme for the huipil. She felt it was a proper reflection of the colors seen in several of Frida's huipils. All fabric and ribbons were purchased at our local Walmart; 100% cotton fabric, satin ribbons in various widths, thread, and rick-rack.
I printed off the digital pattern in my daughter's size and taped the pieces together. Once the body was cut out of the blue cotton fabric that would serve as the base for the huipil, I transferred all the pattern markings to the fabric with tailor's chalk. The ribbon layout was going to be fairly simple but as a precaution, I laid it all out then pinned it in place before sewing it down. This allowed me to make any changes without having to rip out all the stitching and avoid areas where seams would be sewn.
|For an added design element, I zig-zag stitched the ribbon to the body. I did match the thread but it could have been in a contrast color too.
|Side ribbons are pinned and ready to be sewn in place.
Moving on to make-up and hair. It's obvious from Frida's work and photos of the artist that she loved color, jewelry, and flowers. Again, Goodwill is our friend. We were able to buy several large beaded necklaces and bracelets there. The flowers we already had, as well as, the earrings. My daughter braided her hair (which is below shoulder length) then pinned it up to create a braided crown on the back half of her head. Of course, no Frida costume would be complete without her signature unibrow. VIVA LA FRIDA!
This costume was so easy to create. We really didn't think of it as a costume...more paying homage to a great artist. Hope you enjoyed this quick tutorial and find your own inspiration.
The final result.......
|My daughter with two of her friends on their way out for an evening of trick or treating. The sugar skull (center) was another one of my creations from a previous Halloween.