Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011: Homemade Kids' Costumes FINISHED!

 Halloween did not go smoothly this year.  My daughter and I are both sick.  Poor Abby has missed a week of school.  My husband lost me and was nearly convinced I'd been kidnapped (I was waiting for him at the end of our driveway... with a flashlight).  My costume is only 90% done on November 1st.  We only trick or treated about 6 houses in total.  It took us longer to drive into town. All in all, a poor showing considering the amount of forethought put into this holiday. That said, the kids sure looked great!

No jacket version with whip and idol.

Henry's costume was a huge hit at his school.  He had to leave the whip at home since it is technically a weapon, but he brought the legendary artifact, "The Glittering Gargoyle".

I tried to get Henry to make up an adventure to go with this "artifact" but his tale sounded suspiciously like the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark. "And then there is traps!  And a big rock!"  He knows better then to mess with a classic, I guess.
This was made with a Dollar Store statue, some gold spray paint and about a thousand rhinestones.  And hot glue!  I burned the hell out of my hand before realizing it was way easier to spread the glue directly on the statue instead of trying to dot glue to the back of each tiny stone.  I'm an idiot. 
Indiana Henry prepares for adventure surrounded by his sidekicks.  His "girlfriend" is the mermaid on the end.  Dr. Jones is a ladies man.

Jacket version.  I have no idea why he is winking. He's a charmer!
The whip started life as a complicated five strand weave.   I was using a two lengths of yarn for each "strand" so that it would be thick enough.   This was a disaster that required a glass of wine before I started over.  I gave up on the 5-strand/pair approach quickly.  I ended up braiding two sets of three and then plaited them with another set of two strands of upbraided yarn to make it.   The handle is duct tape as you can see, (which was super stable and by far the easiest way to make a handle).  The tape was wrapped in black ribbon in an overlapping x-pattern at one point, but that did not last until today.  I'm too lazy to re-do it so you'll have to trust me that it looked fine. 

Pumpkins from the garden behind her... we never carved them.  We're slackers.

Snow White, while very ill, posed like a champ for these photos.  Her collar and cape were made without a pattern because, again, I'm an idiot.   I buy patterns and then just do what I want, apparently.  I've yet to follow an entire real pattern.  I alter the hell out of them despite the fact that I don't know how to sew.  I have no excuse!  Her accessory here is a tweeting blue bird like the ones that follow Snow White around.  Abby also has a plastic poison apple that did not make it into the photos.

Don't forget the sparkle shoes! 

The collar I drew freehand straight onto the satin and used standard interfacing on both pieces to make it stiff.  To get it to fold over properly, i.e. to frame her face but not block her vision, I sewed small pleats into each edge.  I used Velcro to attach it to the inside of the dress-  I sewed the prickly part to the collar and ironed in no-sew Velcro (soft side) into the dress.  If I'd been smarter I could have sewed it to the lining before assembling the bodice, but I didn't think of that. 

The cape, since I didn't follow the pattern, was super easy.  I seamed two rectangles of red stretch velvet together and used a simple hook and eye as a closure.  To keep it from falling over her shoulders and obscuring the laborious puff sleeves I tucked the edge into the back of the dress between the collar and the bodice- the fabric hooked a bit on the Velcro hidden back there and so didn't slip out.  The cape didn't serve to keep her warm since I didn't have it covering her arms, but it was nice enough here in California that it didn't matter.  The velvet draped really well and I'm glad I didn't use more of the cheap satin. 

A grand curtsy.

Notes on the projects:  Indiana Jones was easy, in part because I bought the pants, shirt and jacket... which is kind of the whole costume.  Really I only made the whip, satchel and idol.  But I did hunt down the hat!  Snow White was much harder and required a whole list of things I'd never done before, including (sort-of) using a commerical pattern and all that entails:  a tracing wheel and pattern paper, cutting notches and matching dots, etc.  Plus, the dress itself required me to sew darts, make sleeves and do insets all of which I'd never done before.  I also tried corded gathering for the first time which didn't work out and I was forced to take in the bodice (alterations!)  and use all sorts of materials I'd never worked with (velvet, satin, metallic trims).  If I made Snow White again using this bodice pattern I'd for sure raise the neckline and narrow the shoulder width.  Oddly, there was never any directions for sewing a seam up the back of the bodice which was weird, but I guess it is pretty clear that it needs to be done.  The true work was done by my housekeeper who cleaned up after me.  It's amazing how many bits of thread and scraps of fabric I can create making small children's clothes.

Verdict:  Boo!  Did I scare you?  Halloween rules.  Learned a ton making these costumes.

Cost:  I estimate these costumes cost me between 2,000 pesos and a gazillion euros.  Maybe 600 galactic credits?  I really don't know.  A LOT is the answer. 

Update on Cleopatra as soon as it's finished-finished!  It's crepe-back gold satin and bejeweled!  I know you can't wait.

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