Halloween Insanity


It has been a LONG while since I've posted anything, which is very sad.  I have so many fun things to share that have been put on the back burner.  Why?  One word: HALLOWEEN!  We are crazy people when it comes to Halloween around our house.  I sew nonstop to create costumes for my kids and sometimes for my husband and myself if there's time (hardly ever is!).  There have been years when I question if it's worth it.  If all that work for one silly holiday is just plain ridiculous.
But halloween is actually the origins of my sewing skills (well, there was that skirt I made in 4H as a girl, and the tote-bag I made in home-ec, but does that really count?).  Costumes are a safe, fun place for beginning sewing because mistakes are ok, puckers are overlooked, sleeves can be different lengths and no one cares, and everything - EVERYTHING can be fastened with velcro eliminating the need for those nasty buttonholes and terrifying zippers!
So I made costumes for my babies and toddlers, who grew quickly into kids who now think I can make anything and every year push that to new limits.  Someday I'm going to have to utter the words, "I can't," but until that day, halloween makes me supermom - and since, like every other mom out there, I feel completely inadequate every day, being supermom for a while feels great!  I can't keep up on their homework, there's always at least one kid who hates what I make for dinner, I'm never sure if I should force the chores or let them play, I'm always conflicted between work and time with kids, I'm always a little bit late and a lot of energy short to be the mom I want to be - but at Halloween, I rock!  And the reward is the joy I get from seeing how much fun my kids have becoming whatever they've chosen to be that year.  They move differently, they talk differently, they get to live a day in imagination and I love it.
I hope to get a bunch of fun posts up soon, but in the meantime, I'm posting pics of the costumes that have kept me from blogging (or cleaning, or doing laundry, or eating.....) for the past several weeks :)  Maybe I'll even get around to posting some of my costumes of the past sometime - a gallery of insanity!
My youngest was Cinderella - obviously.  This costume was made using Simplicity 4764 for the dress, a modified sleeve I designed myself, and the peplum from McCalls 6420.  The bodice design I made up and painted in puffy fabric paint sprinkled with super-fine glitter  - there are also Swarovski crystals throughout the design. 

The headband is made in the same way I made my nautical headbands, with craft foam covered in fabric - and then painted, glittered and bejeweled to match the bodice of the dress.  The gloves were store-bough child stretch satin that I modified to slim down and actually fit. 

Under the dress is a full slip with net ruffles for fullness.  I also made a white polar fleece cloak trimmed in that curly fleece stuff that looks like fur but feels silky - that way the costume doesn't get covered u by a pink parka for trick-or-treating and ruin the whole princess look.

One more funny note - the choker, a necessary Cinderella element, is actually a bra strap I saved when the bra broke :)  My husband mocks me for saving everything, but it's times like these I am justified.  I wanted the necklace to be elastic, so it would fit snuggly without being restrictive like ribbon would be.  But most elastic is dull and looks, well, like elastic.  The bra strap had a satin finish, was elastic, and was absolutely perfect!  Sew on a snap, & voila! 

The next daughter was another Disney Princess - and probably my favorite of all time too!  I was really excited to do a Merida costume.  It was really difficult finding fabric the right color, and I'm still bummed that I had to go with satin - I wanted something that looked closer to a homespun - but it is just a costume, after all.  And the satin worked out pretty.  

I used McCalls 5499, which is perfect for the dress, but I still had to figure out those really crazy sleeves.  I opted to put in a full under sleeve rather than a false poof at the elbow & shoulder.  This gave her a level of movement and comfort as well as realism.  The undershirt at the neck is just an inset though.  

The wig is store-bought, the bow is home-made (and likely my next post!).
Of course, Merida also has to have a cloak, and though the color here was a problem again, I was finally able to find a fantastic shade of green-grey polar fleece.

My oldest daughter wanted to be a pirate, which was a very exciting costume to make.   I was surprised at the lack of female pirate costumes (especially any that weren't skanky) for ideas.  This one is a combination of patterns.  The shirt is from a pajama pattern, Simplicity 4767, with cuffs and lace ruffle added at the wrists and lace at the neck.  The vest is actually from a fairy costume pattern, McCalls 4887, but made out of a lightweight printed leather.   It has a high waist with an almost full circle skirt attached.  Mine overlaps to button, which differs from the pattern.  I love the vest so much I'm not putting it away as a costume, I've put it in her closet to wear with jeans! The skirt is super fun - McCalls 6391 view C.  It is actually a giant rectangle that is tacked up in specific places to an under-skirt stay.  Boots and hat were Savers finds (I added the lace to the hat), and the belt we've had in our dress-up for so long I can't even remember where it came from.  The attitude this costume gave this girl is delightful!

If you're not sure, this is Frodo Baggins.  He's wearing a shirt made from Butterick 5656, (out of an torn sheet, btw! I love repurposing!!).  The vest is McCalls 4290, and turned out a little shorter than I planned, but if you won't tell him, I won't!  The cloak is, again, polar fleece (I make up my own pattern for cloaks - I try to get as much of a circle as I can with whatever fabric I end up buying, and then use the leftover edges to make a hood.  No hemming or anything - just cut, attach the hood, sew on a clasp, and go!)  

The feet were the hardest part.  Anyone know how to make feet?  But a hobbit in shoes just isn't a hobbit!  I found a couple of cool ideas online, but way out of my price range.  So I used a tan felt and trial and error.  What I ended up with was an upper section inspired by a felt slipper pattern with a seam down the center for shape.  Then I designed a bare-foot toe section and cut it out - just the toes, I wanted the bottom totally open so the whole thing would go over his shoe.  I sewed the flat toe section to the slipper upper section, right sides together.  Turning the toes right side out, I sewed up about an inch in between each "toe".   A little stuffing in each toe bulked them out and gave them shape.  I used furry fleece for the hobbit hair on top of the feet.  The overshoe worked well through the day's activities, but by trick-or-treating, as you may notice, they were getting floppy - sort of stretched out.  So I just grabbed some clear tape and taped them to the shoe for the night and we were fine :).

He started growing his hair out about two months ago to try for the long, curly hobbit hair, but since his hair is stick-straight, he had to sleep in curlers for the curly part.  I was kind and didn't take any pictures!

Finally, I found the One Ring to Rule them All on Amazon for $7.  Free shipping :)  Frodo should have thought of that - he could have just shipped it to Mordor!
Not many pics of my oldest.  He's at the age where he's not quite sure what he's supposed to be doing with Halloween.  So a grim reaper robe works well, with some creepy gloves I had when I was his age!  It depended on when you asked him, what he said he was - which I found hilarious.  Sometimes he was a reaper, sometimes he was a ring-wraith, sometimes he was just scary.


fern said...

I just wanted to let you know how fun and awesome all these costumes are!!! I also make my son's costumes(although this year, for the first time, he's getting a store bought one...like stabbing a sword through my heart!!). The pirate is amazing and thank you for sharing the skirt pattern you used. It's exactly what I need to make a pirate skirt for an 8 year old girl I know. hope you are having a great day.

Unknown said...

Thanks Fern! I feel your store-bought pain! Hope you and your son have a fantastic halloween! And that skirt pattern is one of the most fun items I've ever made, so enjoy!

tinny said...

WOW you ARE supermom!! this is so inspiring, thank you for sharing!

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