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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sewing: Kids Costumes Octopus and Blue Flower

Last year, Ana just wanted to be a ghost, and Oggie was fascinated with the hand-me-down giraffe costume. No fuss. And dress up is a fun activity, not necessarily restricted to one day in a year.

This year, she settled on being a flower. A blue flower. Like bluebells. Maybe more teal blue than purplish blue. With petals standing up on the head, not around the face. Maybe not bell-shaped petals per se. Leaves around the neck. Body is the stem.

As she started describing it and we talked some more and I sketched a possible outfit.

I wanted to sew a green outfit for her body/stem. And I wanted her to be able to wear it even without the accessorizing flower parts. So, I sewed simple tops and bottom - my favorite flare leg pants and long-sleeved tops. There is room enough for her to grow into this outfit.

The flower-head was simple: sew a band with Velcro™ fastener for easy-on/off. I used the blue fabric leftover from Octopus costume. Cut out petal shapes from various blue colored felt. Felt was on sale - worked out to about 75cents per quarter yard (72-inch wide, I think), which was plenty to cut out a few petals of each color, with enough leftovers for the home-made Felt-board accessories.

Making the petals stand up straight was tricky - fusible web didn't do the job. Fortunately, a wonderful JoAnn store staff suggested using floral wire - just the decorative 12-gauge kind - and glue it on with this fabulous multi-purpose glue that dries overnight. This way I can bend and turn the petals as needed.

And, since Og naturally tunes into Ana's enthusiasm and interests, he began throwing out suggestions as well. First, he wanted to be a crane - the machine, not the bird. Then, a zebra. Finally, after talking it over with his dad, he decided to be an Octopus. A blue octopus.

There are lots of suggestion on the web to make octopus costume easily. At first I was toying with the idea of using three pairs of Ana's old tights for the arms and stuffing it with old baby shirts and socks, stringing them together by sewing them onto a neck band, with the two baby legs completing the set of eight arms. Seemed a bit cumbersome.

However, as soon as I laid eyes on Martha Stewart's Octopus Costume, I was in love.! But, since I couldn't enlarge the template enough - not even sure if I know where to find a printer with paper big enough - or how to break it into multiple pages, print the pieces and tape them together... anyway, I've never been a strict pattern follower, I just use them for ideas and guidelines...

I simply drew the octopus template free-hand, following Martha's idea of making a folded piece for the back that makes 4 of the 8 legs, plus 2 legs on each front side. I used one of Og's coats for the hood template, extrapolating the outer layer for the Octopus head. The costume drapes like a cape and is fastened with adjustable Velcro™ for easy-on/off plus a large button+eyelet so it stays put and can't be shaken off easily.

I had bought 2 yards of wonderful blue batik print on sale during summer hoping to sew a dress for Ana, but never got around to it. The print was perfect to be the inner fabric for Octopus - emulated the suckers well - and there was more than enough to complete the costume. The blue outer fabric is simple cotton broadcloth which was also on sale 2 yards for $3.

Anyway, I've rambled on enough. Both the costumes this year were fun to sew. Especially since Ana helped with the petals and leaves. Not sure if we'll do elaborate costumes often. But, the mood was right, the time and energy buckets had not bottomed out entirely, the stars aligned themselves yadda yaadda...

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Blogger arthi said...

gorgeous, really really gorgeous! I've been reading your blogs for a while now, never commented though but I had to today. Move to my neighbourhood pls! Very inspiring blog and I always leave feeling humbled.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Kavs said...

One creative mom and two happy kids! :)

12:40 PM  
Blogger Kay said...

you are so talented, sheels! And what a delight to see the originality from the kids!

7:24 PM  

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