Friday, October 22, 2010


Normally I only have two costumes to make each year for the grands.  This year I had a requests for 2 more.  Thank goodness I have a big stash and I am a collector.  I am one of these people that saves a sardine can if it is an unusual shape, just in case I find a great use for it. (this example was sitting right here. I just bought some and the tin was really neat.  I think maybe I will try out making a pin cushion with them.)

My first request was from a young lady who recently turned 11.  She wanted to be a gypsy.  She sent a picture email of what she wanted to look like.  I searched the stash for appropriate fabrics for the skirt and blouse.  I wasn't having much luck. If I found the right fabric then it was to small a piece to work.  I knew I'd probably have to run to the resell shop to find something.  Later that day I had to go down to the barn for something and went in the storage room.  There was the metal utility closet.  We had found it in the basement of the building my husbands office is in.  I had totally forgotten about it and it's contents.  Inside it is stuffed full of Square dance costumes.  One of them was black.  It was perfect.  The trim, which is silver, looks like it has Greek designs.  There were several several blouses with lace trim, one of them was perfect size and looks.  I wouldn't have to alter it at all. 
This is her gypsy outfit:
The belt and jewelry were from a box I fill with junk stuff to use if I need beads and rhinestones for beading on things.  The gold necklace is a belt.  she has pierced ears and I found the blue light weight hoops in the box.  The rose holding the skirt is a barrette of mine(remember the 80's with the big bows and such).  I just sewed the skirt to the waist band  and clamped the rose around it.

The scarf came from the stash (picture color is bad it is royal purple). It was actually fabric from a costume I made years ago. I just made a cuff on the long side of the triangle.  That way she could tie it with out it unrolling on her.  The fabric originally was used to make the pants of this Captain Hook costume:
There is a slip for under the black skirt, it has ruffles which show where the skirt is hiked.  It used to be a table cloth from about 15 years ago.  I forgot to take a pix while it was on the dress form. 
I'll have to wait till she tries it on to get a pix showing the entire costume. 
I will say this was the easiest costume I ever put together.


My next request came from her nine year old brother.  He wanted to be  "PIT".  This is a picture of "PIT"
His mom bought his wings and is making the boot tops, sword, and head dress.  This one was quite a challenge for me.  I didn't have a pattern, and I didn't have the child to fit it on but I did have measurements. Scrounging through the boxes I found some white chiffon type fabric, it looked like there was enough to make a tunic.  The challenge was in how do you drape a boy so it doesn't slide off as he's running from house to house trick or treating.

I knew there was a belt wrapping it, but that wouldn't hold the slippery outfit on. I decided it would have to be sewn to some kind of sturdy base. Further search of the stash revealed a light weight piece of double knit.  It would be great for constructing a one shouldered undershirt.  I cut it out and hung it on the manikin.  Then cut a length of the chiffon type fabric (enough to drape over the shoulder to mid hip on the back and front).  I laid it on the shoulder and realized I would have to attach it, for the moment I grabbed a shoe lace and tied it on at the shoulder. 

I decided to make a band (like an epaulet) to wrap around the shoulder seam.  I used some gold ribbon to top it with.  I attached it to the collar edge and the arm hole edge.  Then I pulled the fabric through the strap, pinned pleats in it, and then sewed them in.  Replacing the fabric in the strap I took the top edge of the loose fabric and pinned it the entire length of the diagonal cut that went across the body.  This made the fabric drape in folds and when it was tucked in the waist band of the bottom toga and pulled up, it bloused convincingly like it was one piece of fabric to the hem of the bottom toga.  I think I should post a pix so you can see what I am talking about.  This is the finished toga:
The bottom half of the toga is made like a skirt.  It has a casing in the top and wide elastic is laced through it.  I did not permanently install the elastic because I didn't know if it was tight enough or loose enough.  I figured Mommy could adjust it till it was just perfect for him. 

In the pix you can see white showing through the skirt.  It is the tail of the undershirt.  When it gets to the recipient they can trim it to a length it won't show.  It's double knit so it won't fray.

The trim on the skirt tail and the belt is not recycled.  It was 1/4 inch gold ribbon from Walmart.  I used two spools.  They were 97 cents each and held 10 yards each.  I used every bit of the ribbon.  The black underneath the ribbon is a rayon like fabric that I had in the recycle pile.  It was taken off an old bridesmaid dress.  I did not use any inter facing under it because I wanted it to be as soft hanging as possible.  I did cut the strip on the bias.

Next was fashioning the scarf.  I used 18" wide chiffon strips. 
 I made sure one edge still had the selvage on it. 
The chiffon was a 4 yard piece I had bought at the re-sellit shop years ago for 50 cents.
With the selvage I only had to roll hem one edge.

I wrapped the scarf around the manikin where it should be.  I then proceeded to fold pleats in it at the back of the neck and pinned them.  Stitched them tight and put the scarf back on the manikin.  The reason I stitched them down was so the scarf wouldn't slide around on his neck as much as it would if it was loose (hope my theory
The belt is the rayon fabric covering a very thick, stiff interfacing.  Sorry I can't say what kind.  It was the left overs from purse making I did several years ago.  The belt is wide. 
If the 9 year old wants it thinner all he has to do is fold in to the width he wants.

Making the arm guards was just a matter of converting the dimensions of wrist measurement, fattest part of fore arm measurement, and the length of the forearm from wrist to the inner elbow minus one inch.  I needed to add approximately 1 inch to either side for over lap.   I used the same heavy interfacing which I used in the belt.  I covered both sides with felt (I think covering one side would have been enough).  I used some bright gold cotton fabric to put bands on to simulate the metal bands on the picture's guards.  There is a shield on the left hand guard. I couldn't tell the design on it so I made one up. 
I used velcro on the overlaps to close the guards. 
When I was in the dollar store I found glow in the dark bracelets that mimic the ones in the pix.

With a pattern and left overs anyone can make great costumes, albeit you will have to take the time.  You will have frustrations when something doesn't turn out the way you expect.  Try to remember these are for children, this is for one day use, and it is supposed to be a fun day.  You are making the costume to please your children.  Also remember these words of wisdom come from a person who has trouble remembering her own advice.  Thank you for stopping by to check out what I am creating.
 New Article on my blog: 
A mystery quilt designed with the novice in mind
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:
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