Hello! My blogging since the start of summer has been pretty non-existent, but I could not resist coming back for a tour surrounding my favorite holiday, Halloween. For my Monster Mash, hosted by Sewing By Ti, tour post I’ll be visiting Seb’s costumes of Halloween past. That last bit should be said in a spooky voice… While not always completely handmade, his costumes have all featured handmade aspects. Sometimes the handmade are created out of necessity and sometimes just for fun. Either way, putting together Halloween costumes is always an adventure for me.
Halloween 1.0 – The Pumpkin
At almost one year-old, Seb’s first costume was that of a pumpkin. Not very exciting, but at the time I had no clue if he would stand for wearing any sort of costume. I did not want to blow hours of effort on something that he refused to wear from the get-go. For the costume I decided to follow at tutorial from Martha Stewart Living in which you transform a pillowcase (simple, no?) into the pumpkin costume. Kind of like Cinderella in reverse. Now let me summarize the whole “simple” pumpkin costume making experience with three tidbits…
#1. I ended up creating my own hat because I thought the tutorial one looked stupid.
#2. Despite mimicking the tutorial shape and stuffing it full of wadded tissue paper, it still looked way more like a sack than a pumpkin.
#3. That year just a few days before Halloween, there was a freak snowstorm that brought down our power (and a good chunk of our town’s) power for a week. It happened the day I made the hat, but not the main body. The face I ended up hand sewing on by candle light and fortunately “transforming” the pillowcase in a pumpkin (sack) was relatively easy.
Halloween 2.0 – Finn The Human
For his second Halloween I was again scratching my head over costume ideas. He had no distinct interests that would translate well into a costume that he may very well end up refusing to wear. I finally decided on Finn The Human from Adventure Time. Not really a show for not-quite-two-year-olds, but he still greatly enjoyed watching it with his dad. Jake was purchased at Hot Topic, shirt and shorts thrifted, and the shoes were Seb’s own. I created the iconic hat from polar fleece using a scaled down version of this free Finn hat pattern. The backpack was self-drafted and also made from polar fleece. Finally, I made the sword out of foam and duct-tape.
Halloween 3.0 – 4th Doctor
Much like the previous two years, I still had no real directions from Seb on what to make him for Halloween. Since the previous year I created a costume using a show he enjoyed watching with Mr. Rox as inspiration, this year I decided on going with a character in a show we enjoyed watching together. A few months before October, I had started re-watching the 4th Doctor (“my Doctor”, if you care to know), and Seb enjoyed watching with me .
Interesting fact: Despite explaining the whole concept of the show, and its lead character, to Seb many times over the years, he was convinced that any Doctor other than the 4th Doctor was obviously an impostor. At least until the 12th Doctor came along.
Unfortunately that was the October where my mom passed away and my willingness to create was all over the place. Most of my planned to be sewn pieces ended up thrifted (dress shirt, blazer that I dyed, pants, shoes). I did knit the scarf myself which was the closest I’ve come so far to sewing a replica 4th Doctor scarf. I remember first coming across the pattern on Usenet way back in the day and now very nice patterns, and way more information than you ever would need to know about the scarfs, can be found at this website. There is also a pretty great Facebook group devoted to the art of 4th Doctor scarf knitting and related topics. Since Seb was exactly half the height of Tom Baker (the actor who portrayed the 4th Doctor), I figured I should just halve the full-sized pattern. The scarf turned out great and it is still worn every winter by Seb… or myself… since I’ve yet to get around to making one for me!
Halloween 4.0 – “Spooky Halloween Ghost”
This was the first year where Seb had his first opinion regarding his Halloween costume. He wanted to be a “Spooky Halloween Ghost”. I thought the costume would be perfect for the blustery evenings we tend to get in late October. The ghost costume was created from polar fleece (cozy and CHEAP!) and the under-layers was thermal underwear that I picked up at a big box store. For the outer costume I followed The Sewing Rabbit’s tutorial for the Circle Poncho DIY. I made a few minor modifications by leaving off the cut for the front opening and I added length.
Halloween 5.0 – Cookie
For his fifth Halloween costume Seb wanted to be a cookie. For the chocolate chip cookie I cut out four circles, two from a dark brown flannel and two from a light brown cotton, stitched on black felt circles, sewed each half the cookie sandwich, filled it with stuffing, and then stitched down portions of the whole thing to give it that cookie texture. The whole thing sits like one of those sandwich boards on his body, with webbing for the shoulder straps, and Velcro for the side closures. Like the previous year, his underlayers consisted of pieces I purchased on the cheap from a big box store, and his head was topped off with the hat that Mr. Rox wears while shoveling the sidewalk. The cookie currently is the most beloved piece in the dress-up box by both Seb and Pen.
Halloween 6.0 – The BFG
Finally, his most recent and final costume for this post, The BFG. Seb pretty much spent from January through October firm in the idea that he will lead character from his favorite book. Over the summer there was even a new movie version released which enhanced his desire to dress up as The BFG. Since the movie had yet to be released on DVD, I had to rely on the few promotion shots and stills to absorb the costume details. Based on the images, and my recollections of the movie, I was pretty sure that The BFG’s pants were meant to be patchwork and I created a sheet of patchwork “fabric” by serging rows of different layers of fabric together, top-stitching, and then using Blank Slate Patterns Clean Slate Pants to cut out the pants shape. The vest was made with a faux suede scrap and I created my own pattern. While staring at the movie stills, it was interesting to me that the shoulder seam was much lower than I would expect, and that lead me down the rabbit hole of studying the history of shirt construction. Much like the wealth of information available on the 4th Doctor’s scarf, medieval clothing also has a huge following and there is more information available on the internet than one person ever needs to know, and that is beautiful. I ended up roughly following this T-Tunic tutorial to create the shirt from a lightweight cotton. For the cloak I used a nicely textured linen and created my own circle cloak with hood. It now seems to me that the BFG is not the most well-known of Roald Dahl books because everybody was like “Who? What? Huh?”. Despite not getting the sort of instant recognition that he did with his previous costumes, Seb loved his costume and was pretty un-phased. He also always gleefully suggested that the person try reading The BFG.
And there you have it. SIX Halloween costumes. How time flies! The fabric arrived for costume seven this week, four for Pen, and I will be working on it this upcoming week. Happy Friday the 13th everybody and don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour.
Ready to join us? Don’t miss a single stop on our October Tour!