Soooo… it looks like I blog once a month these days. I’m going to make a serious effort to change that. Are any of you guys even reading this anymore?
Oh, before I get distracted and forget, I have to tell you guys about some new stuff in my art shop. (Shameless self-promotion time!) I’m offering cartoon-style watercolour pet portraits – at a wicked “introductory special” discount, btw – and also custom pet sculptures. Christmas is less than 8 weeks away, just sayin’.
Halloween has come and gone, and for the first year in a long time, I didn’t get dressed up. I just didn’t have the time to plan out a costume for myself, y’know? I made costumes for both J-Bird and Turtle, and it’s really hard to find time for costume-making projects with a newborn. I mean, I was still working on J-Bird’s costume the night before Halloween… although, if I’m being completely honest, that could have had something to do with how long I procrastinated starting on it. See, J-Bird wanted to be Naruto this year and I could not find a kids’ Naruto costume anywhere, which meant I had to make it. ”No biggie,” I thought, “I’ll just grab an orange track suit and make the adjustments.”
It is impossible to find orange track pants. We managed to locate an orange sweatshirt at a thrift store, but the pants were not happening. So George and I loaded the boys in to car, made a trip to the fabric store, and picked up a couple yards of orange micro-fleece. I was going to sew the pants.
Here’s why that was terrifying:
I have never turned my sewing machine on. About ten years ago, I had a machine that used to belong to my great grandmother, and I sewed a few squares together before loaning it to a friend of mine. While she had it, it broke down (probably because it was a jillion years old already), so she brought it back and I stuck it out in the garage. Two years ago, I mentioned to my mom that I wanted to make some curtains but my sewing machine was broken, so she decided to give me hers – apparently, she’s not much of a seamstress, either, and wasn’t using it. She brought it over and it sat in my bedroom closet until a week before Halloween this year, when I dragged it out and brought it down to the dining room table to make J-Bird’s costume.
And then I promptly chickened out, returned it to its case, stuck it on the dining room floor, and started working on Baby Turtle’s costume instead (which, obviously, had to be an actual baby turtle costume).
Once Baby Turtle’s baby turtle costume was all finished, and I could procrastinate no longer, I pulled the sewing machine back out of the case and got to work. And I was so stressed about it. I kept picturing J-Bird wearing his costume to school only to have my shoddy craftsmanship come apart at the seams and leave him standing in his underwear in front of the whole class, so even though - spoiler alert! – the costume totally ended up working out (and even though I tested the seams over and over again by pulling on them), I made J-Bird wear shorts under his costume. Y’know… just in case.
Here’s a little step-by-step DIY tutorial for those of you who want to know how I made the costumes!
First up, DIY Baby Turtle Costume!
Step One: Draw out the pattern of a turtle shell on felt. It’s cool if you mess up here and there (which, as you can see, I did). You’re going to be using the opposite side, so don’t worry about the marker lines.
Step Two: Sew together two circular pieces of dark green felt, but leave a small opening. Stuff said opening with cotton balls. (How many? Depends on the size of your shell. My shell was super-tiny and took a full 100-pack.) Sew up the little opening. Cut out the pieces of felt that you drew the shell pattern on and sew them on to your dark green shell.
Step Three: Realize that you are the messiest hand-sewer ever. Use brown fabric paint to trace around the sewn-on shell pattern and cover up your messy stitches.
Step Four: Paint some dark green spots on to the outer sides of the legs and arms on a light green onesie. Use a paint brush to smooth out the paint; fabric paint tends to be puffy and they’ll look better if they’re blended into the fabric.
Step Five: Admire the adorableness of the costume that you just made:
Next, move on to the terrifying Naruto costume:
Step One: Use a pair of pants that fit your kid as a template and trace around them following these directions. Cut them out, and then approach your sewing machine with trepidation. Begin sewing pants using the directions linked above.
Step Two: Figure out how to change the presser foot and attach the buttonhole foot. Sew button holes. Feel convinced that you are pretty much a seamstress now because you just made buttonholes LIKE A BOSS.
Step Three: Toss a drawstring into those suckers. WHAT UP, YOU MADE PANTS. Call your kid over to try them on, realize they fit, and become even more sure of your new sewing prowess. Start planning all the future outfits you’re going to make because, hello, you’re a pro at this and who needs to buy clothes when you are a pro-star sewing ace?
Step Four: Pull out the sweater you bought and start attaching felt – white around the collar, blue on the shoulders – to match Naruto’s jacket. Wonder why there are a bunch of extra threads coming from the bottom of the sewing machine and depositing “nests” of knotted thread in your sweater. Realize that you are not a sewing pro after all. Attempt to continue sewing because you’re running out of time. Snap the needle on your machine.
Step Five: Get out the hot glue gun.
OK, so maybe I ran in to a bit of a snag towards the end of making J-Bird’s outfit, but the bottom line is that I made the pants from scratch and they didn’t fall apart, so I’m calling it a win.
Are you guys ready to see the finished products? I don’t usually post pics of the kids on the interweb, but it’s a special occasion, y’know? And also, look how cute!
So there you have it – Halloween costume success! Now… what percentage of J-Bird’s Halloween candy do you think I can claim in the name of “costume-making payment”?