A Very Pink Princess

2 11 2010

Despite the utter pinkness of it all, this costume was a pleasure to create. With the exception of the cape, there were no pattern pieces or directions to follow. I was just winging it, one of my favorite ways to sew. I’m not experienced enough to “wing” necklines or arm holes so I started with a slightly stained, hand-me-down, long sleeve t-shirt. Simply adding the bottom of an adult t-shirt wasn’t going to cut it this time, so off the fabric store I went. When I got there, I remembered quite distinctly why you should never shop at a fabric store the weekend before halloween. Or work there for that matter as that’s what memories were springing to mind. A memory from almost 20 years ago, working at a chain fabric store in Iowa and cutting endless yards of craft felt and fake fur. Ugh.

But I digress, regardless of the shopping experience I was able to find what I needed – a shiny bright pink knit and a sparkly light pink organza. I decided on floor length with a train and truly made this up as I went along. One of my favorite parts was figuring out how to do the curly bottom edge. I couldn’t find a tutorial online but went for it anyway. I can for certain say that I had it figured out by the time I got around all 60 inches of hemline.

Between the train and adding the little bows all over the front I was quite pleased with the outcome.

The veil was made with the left over organza, some elastic and a few of the little bows. I made it so that it could be slid on to any of her thin headbands. Personally, I think I made it too big, but she loves it and has worn it daily with all manner of attire since I handed it over.

The weather in Minnesota can be quite unpredictable and is usually on the chilly side. So despite Eleanor’s objections and initial dislike, I whipped up a fleece cape to complete the ensemble. It was a spur of the moment idea at the store while waiting (forever) in line at the cutting counter. While based off the McCall’s M4703 pattern, I removed all detailing such as finished edges, time consuming lining or pricey trims. Honestly I didn’t even read the directions. I simply cut out the pattern pieces and started sewing.

I added a little decorative stitching around the arm holes to give them strength and finished off with a vintage button from the family button jar.

After all was said and done, I spent less that $17 on the whole shebang and I have no doubt that it will see quite a bit of use over the next year or two. Heck, the veil alone has seen that much use in the last week.

Super Seth!

15 11 2009

To tell you about Seth’s Halloween costume I have to take a step back to July for Seth’s birthday party. Which is good because I’ve been having mommy guilt over the fact that I never posted about it. He wanted a superhero birthday party and that’s just what he got. There were only 3 activities, one of which I completely forgot until 2 days later. The thank you gift was part of the 1st activity – superhero dress up. The 2nd activity was a water gun fight, which I have conflicting feelings about. I don’t allow play guns in the house, but somehow can’t say no to water guns on a hot summer day. The 3rd activity, which I forgot to get out, was decorate your own super hero mask. Unfortunately, I had gotten the masks so far in advance I had to hide them because Seth wouldn’t leave them alone. I apparently hid them from myself too. Out of sight, out of mind. The kids didn’t seem to mind. And although it was unseasonably cool and therefore the water guns weren’t used much, they didn’t seem to mind that either. Besides there was cake.

So why did I need to tell you this in order to tell you about Seth’s halloween costume? Well, the dress up portion, of course! Steve and I freezer paper stenciled each child’s first initial onto t-shirts. Honestly, Steve did most of the work with this one. I found cheap t-shirts on sale, each a different color and size. Would have been easier to do all the same color, but the huge size differences in the kids made that impossible.

While Steve was stenciling I was making play silk capes. I kool-aid dyed more silk scarves as before only in a slightly smaller size. Then I made 2 folds on one of the edges and sewed a longer strip of  bias tape to make the collar edge. Love pre-packaged bias tape, all folded and ready for you. I was nervous about the sewing as I always am with sewing but it was a breeze and no-one could tell or would even mind that I can’t sew a straight line. Finally I added a little strip of iron on velcro to the ends of the bias tape. Easy on, easy off and no potential strangulation possibilities – just how I like it. They turned out great, if I do say so myself. And as a bonus they pack down really small for putting away at the end of the day. Or shoving in a corner as the case may be.

This all made for a very colorful backyard of kids.

Seth had no problem picking out his halloween costume this year – a superhero. He was set at least a month if not 2 before and never wavered in his choice. Whenever he was asked what he wanted to be, they always followed with the question “which superhero?” To which Seth gave them an odd look and either ran away or stated defiantly “Super Seth!!” He doesn’t really know a lot of the traditional superheroes, so to him this was a ridiculous question.

I finished off the outfit by dying one of those masks I had set aside to match his cape. And since t-shirts don’t fly in Minnesota at Halloween we added plenty of warmth with long johns, sweats and gloves. Unfortunately, although Seth liked the mask I made him it and wore it on several occasions, he couldn’t bring himself to wear it trick-or-treating. He found his swimming goggles much more appropriate.

Of course, even those didn’t make it the whole evening.


5 11 2009

Eleanor love, love, loves puppies. And when asked what she wanted to be for Halloween there was no hesitation – a puppy. Granted every 5th time I asked her she would change the answer to crab, but I think that was just to tease me.

I have fabulous memories of home made halloween costumes -lady bugs, witches, princesses…. I also remember my mom staying up terribly late sewing. I don’t have the energy my mom had. I admit it. And I’m not as proficient with the sewing machine. So my approach is  a toned down version and so far I’ve been able to modify store bought clothes to get the costumes my children are interested in. In this case it was an all brown outfit with some blobs of tan felt quickly sewn on and a funky hand sewn fake fur made-up-as-I-went pull on tail.

The ears were from her birthday party and I just realized all these shots were before she put her collar on. It’s made of red ribbon with a puppy charm on it and was also made for her birthday back in May.

So in the end I paid $7 for a brown sweatshirt and 62 cents for some fur for the tail. I used what we had on hand for the rest. The great thing about halloween costumes is that even though I sewed I didn’t have to sew straight or even very well. Knots on the back of the fabric and puckers in the patches were ok. She wore the shirt 3 times. It’s not an heirloom. She can use the tail and even the shirt for dress up and I wont’ be concerned if she rips it.  Or maybe I’ll take the patches off. We’ll see how it does in the wash. I think she might be mad if I take them off.

Prince of Fabric Glue

14 10 2008

On Friday I realized I needed a prince costume for Seth for a birthday party he was to attend on Sunday. Silly, as I had helped design the invites for this particular prince and princess ball about a month ago so I had plenty of warning. Friday was out as I had to work late, feed and care for children and I haven’t completely kicked this cold. So that left Saturday. Mind you we also had a pumpkin picking trip planned that day. Top it all off with the fact that my darling children have sent my sewing machine off to be tuned and tweaked as a birthday present. Therefore, sewing was out of the question. What to do? Fabric glue. Fabric glue is my friend. It always pulls through for me. So, taking the following supplies I whipped up a top fit for a prince:

  • One size small Champion sports shirt (like this one) from Target in green, of course
  • Gold fringe – 1/2 yard
  • Gold trim – 1 1/4 yards
  • Fray check
  • An iron on patch (with a royal lion and sequins)
  • Fabric glue
  • Scissors
  • Iron & spare cloth to use while ironing
  • Wide gold wire edged ribbon
  • Green medium width ribbon
  • 3 gold buttons

First I took the lion patch and ironed it on over the logo of the shirt. Easy enough.

Next up adding fringe to the shoulders. I cut 4 strips of fringe to the same width as from arm hole seem to neckline seem and fray checked the ends to avoid unraveling. This is where I remembered fray check and fabric glue are very easy but they need a lot of time to dry in between steps. This annoyed me but I dealt with it. I glued the strips of fringe, 2 per shoulder, just in front of the actual shoulder seem.

Following the same principle as the fringe I fray checked and glued gold trim along the hemline and cuffs. As I had given Seth the ability to choose between 3 fringes and 3 trims he was quite pleased with the results. I did need to use a few heavy objects to hold the trim down in places until the glue dried with wax paper protecting my dining table but in the end it held very well.

Finally, I hand sewed a gold lion emblem button onto each cuff. There just happened to be a few of these in the giant button jar I had previously conned my mother out of. Seth really liked these and insisted on a photo of them.

OK, shirt done, now on to the sash. The sash is really basic and won’t last near as long as the shirt which is not only made of better material but at least a size too big on Seth. I simply took some gold wire edged ribbon and tacked down a more narrow green ribbon in the middle with a few spots of glue. I then fray checked the very ends, folded under twice and glued in place. I then glued the two ends of the ribbon together, but that lasted all of 30 seconds once Seth put it on:

Fortunately, I had another button and simply used a safety pin to tack it all together. I should go back and use some thread so there isn’t any accidental safety pin poking. If I had it to do over again I would probably tack the sash down to the shirt as an active little boy found it a little annoying that it would fall off his shoulder when he jumped up and down several times. Go figure?

And what about Eleanor you ask? Well, why make a princess costume when you can buy a cheap but adorable winter outfit that includes a sparkly white tutu for only about $20? I did buy her some glitter covered shoes to match but she refused to wear them. And really, all she cared about were the pink balloons at the party anyway. Next year I’ll start making her dress up clothes.


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