Friday, October 15, 2010


I have been gone from here too long.  The garden has kept me away.  In these economics I have not been able to afford additional help.  This made for a summer of dawn to dusk dirt digging  by yours truly.  I have taken a hiatus the last two weeks (the garden is on the wane). 
I am making Halloween costumes for the grands. 
You can see some of the previous costumes :

I am very big into recycle/reuse.  This year is no exception.  I love making costumes for the kids, but it is a challenge with them in Florida and me in the St. Louis area.  First, getting them to decide what they want to be in plenty of time to construct a costume is the hardest.  When that is accomplished getting our daughter to send the measurements via email is another obstacle.
 I will say, this year mine did an excellent job of responding.

My grandson, who is 9, wanted to be a scary person (along the lines of Freddie Krueger).  I told my Dd she could get something together with the sports stuff they have laying around and real clothes.  While I was working on the granddaughter's costume it occurred to me he would be a little miffed if she got a homemade costume and he didn't.  That evening, while we were having dinner, there was an advertisement on the history channel for the new show "Swamp People".  It's light bulb time.  A swamp monster (person) would fit the bill as a scary person.  I had the perfect material in my stash to make the basic costume.
 It is camouflage flannel fabric.

The next problem I had to tackle was finding an appropriate pattern. It would have to have a hood.
Since I don't have the child to fit and construct it on I did need a pattern. 
A trip to wally world solved the problem.  I picked out this penguin pattern.

Here is my version of a "Swamp Monster":

The manikin is topped with a rolled up towel for a head.  Besides the pattern I had to purchase plastic bugs.  The only place I found real looking bugs was at a local "Dollar General Store".  They had black widow spiders and roaches.  You can't really see the roaches because they blend in with the camo cloth (in person you can see them).  The only other place I could find real looking creepy bugs was
the bait and tackle shops and that was horrendously expensive.

The mask (nose) was made with a paper dust mask that you use when spraying or in conditions that are extremely dusty.  I just winged it when cutting out the nose and stuffed it with junk batting. The nose looks like that character named Alph (sp) that was on a 70's sitcom.  Since the mask is a paper/cloth kind it was very easy to hand stitch the nose on.  I probably could have use the machine to do it,
but I wanted to be able to add stuffing as I went.

The scraggly stuff that is supposed to look like moss and grungy water vegetation hanging from the clothes (as if he rose up out of the creek) is made from any fabric I could find that I could shred when I ripped it.  I used illusions, nylons and even double knits.  As you can see I used the wings on the penguin pattern. 
The base of  the costume I made trailing (no leg openings), it drags on the ground like a wizards robe.  
The idea is that it would look like he was just rising out of the ground.

Grandson is a man of few words, upon seeing his costume it was, "Cool".


This is the answer to the question I asked my 8 year old granddaughter. Which I followed with, "Do you want to be scary or do you want to be a sweet little puppy dog that everyone wants to give treats too?"  She answered the dog.  Then I asked her what kind of dog.  She didn't know so I asked, "Do you want standing up ears are long floppy ears." She said long floppy.  I went trolling on google for floppy eared dogs and the first image to pop up was basset hounds.  This was very appropriate because her Uncle had 4 basset hounds.  I sent her the picture and she emailed me back that that was cool.

The first necessity was a pattern; something with a separate hood and a onesie pajama type construction. 
I found this pattern at Walmart:

The second necessity was the basic fabric for the dog.  It needed to be light and drapey.  It needed to have a nap.  Nothing filled the bill so it was a trip to the fabric store.  There I found a cloth with no name.  I think it is a sueded nylon/rayon.  It was like a silky flannel.

I had to re engineer ears for it.  I kept referring to the picture of the basset I found through google. 
This is the dog I used for my model: 
and yes, I used poetic license to interpret the picture.  I used the same technique for the nose that I used in the swamp monster.  I had to make my own pattern for the ears and had to stuff them as I attached them.
Recycling:  Yes I bought the basic fabric for the dog (that's the tan ) but everything else is recycled or from stash. The ears are the winter lining to an old trench coat from the 50's.  The black on the nose is a fur collar.  The jowls were added as an after thought when I completed the costume.  The white is a bed pad to keep people from getting bed sores.  It had out lived its usefullnes in that capacity. 
The lining in the hood is lining fabric taken from the slip of an old wool skirt.
The black on the back is theinsulated liner from another old winter coat which had long ago left this earth. 

All the fur pieces were put on in small sections and laced together.  They had to be strips cut to the curve of the body or they would have been to stiff to hang correctly when the suit was put on.  Due to the difference in fabrics they had to be stitched on by hand.  It was tedious work.   The tail is stuffed really tight and the fur was added after it was stuffed.  I did not put elastic in the wrists and ankles because I wanted it to give the effect of the naural appendages, not to look like clothes.

The Zipper in the front was recycled from a man's cotton overalls.  It was 30 inches long. 
I had Hunny take tin snips and cut it off at 20 inches and then I bar tacked by hand the base of it.
This is the finished Basset hound.  Hunny said it reminded him of Huckleberry hound, LOL.
Grandaughter has received the dog, and she said it was perfect.  Mom says the nose is too heavy for the elastic that came with it so she will have to get some quarter inch elastic and attach it.
I will have to say adios for this installment.  I need to return to making two more costumes. 
Thank you for peeking in.

The following is the two more costuumes I made:

This is the costume from 2011:

 New Article on my blog: 
A mystery quilt designed with the novice in mind
First Clue to be presented October 16.
Other blog sites by me:
Where I have stories of my cats and other pets
a blog about my courtship with my husband,
and a blog about my most embarrassing moment.
A "Soap box" blog where I do air my opinions.
blogs about the wildflowers on our farm
Organic methods we use, some cooking and some poetry,
blogs about Seed sprouting, insects, and garden pictures
Blog about an endangered beneficial beetle
New Blog:
All recipes, pictures, and writings are my own.
I give credit for items which belong to other people in my blogs .
Please do not copy without permission

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