Jack Skellington and Sally from the movie ‘the Nightmare before Christmas’.

The Homemade Jack and Sally Costumes are entirely handmade (except for the skeleton gloves). We wore them at the annual ‘Elf Fantasy Fair’ in the Netherlands and we were a huge hit. I tried to get the costumes as close as possible to the movie costumes, and I am quite happy with the result.

Also, because of the Sally costume I met Tim Burton. One year ago he was in Amsterdam at the ‘Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival’ and I was in line waiting to see him and get an autograph -along with hundreds of other people! I dressed up in my Sally outfit. When I was almost in front of the line (after waiting for more than an hour), they told us that Tim had to leave, so I was sad I didn’t get in, but then they picked me out of the line and said I could get in for an autograph at the request of Tim Burton himself. So I got my autograph and even a picture with Tim, and he said he loved my costume!

How I made the costumes (this can be quite boring but helpful if you plan to make your own):
The Sally dress consists of a basic dress I sewed (I used a Burda pattern). Then I just cut out pieces of fabric and sewed them on. I looked everywhere to find just the right colour of fabric. I drew the swirls/stripes on the fabric with black permanent marker. I added black stitches by hand, using cross-stitch thread.
I used white tights for my arms and legs, and drew on the stitches with black permanent marker. I cut off striped tights and used them as the legwarmers. I already owned a pair of Sally-like shoes. I painted my face white, some light blue around the eyes and painted the stitches with black eyeliner. I also glued on fake (huge) eyelashes.

The Jack costume: I adjusted a pattern for wide pants (made it longer and even wider, so the stilts would fit inside). I also adjusted a pattern for a jacket. I made both out of black fabric, on which I painted stripes with white textile paint (days and days of work!). I made sure the stripes are not too straight and even, this makes for a nicer effect. The tie and jacket have wire in it, so you can bend it to give it the right look. The collar is quite high in the back, to cover up the hole for the head in the mask.

The skeleton gloves and the white t-shirt underneath the jacket are store-bought.
The stilts (regular ones, no durastilts) are made by my sister (with professional help), she works in a childrens and youth circus. She is trained to walk on these kind of stilts. The walking stick helped her to keep balance in crowded places, or when standing still. We decorated it with the orange lanterns and spiderwebs.

Then the mask, which in my opinion is the most important thing of the Jack costume. If the mask is not right, the whole outfit just doesn’t look good (the mask you can buy on the internet is a fine example.

My first attempt was a mask made of cheesecloth and plaster, on a base of wire. The shape was off and it wasn’t strong enough though. So I started all over. I made a paper-mache shape on a balloon. When this was dry, I altered the shape by putting cotton wool and tape on it. When the shape was right, I put many layers of paper-mache on top of it. When this was dry I cut out the first paper-mache shape and the wool from the inside. I cut out the eyes and mouth. I then made the shape around the eyes out of toilet paper and paper mache. When all of this was dry, I sanded it with a sanding machine and added layers of white filler (sanding in between layers). I painted on the nose and mouth, put fabric under the eyes. Inside the mask I glued a bikers-helmet. Because it was raining that day, we also put on a thin layer of Vaseline.

I must thank Jeremy A. (Jack Skellington costume 17) for ideas on the mask. I used a similar shape to his mask and the brilliant idea of putting a helmet inside. So thanks a lot!

More pictures and making-of pics can be found on my photobucket:

Thanks for looking at my Homemade Jack and Sally Costumes! Comments are appreciated.