The making of a kid's costume
October 6, 2010
This is my first year making my daughter's Halloween costume. Last year, she was so small that I just took a store bought costume and embellished it. You can see it here. This year she is walking and active and I knew it was time to start making her costumes. I should explain that as much as I love dressing up for Halloween and as much as I have been looking forward to helping my kids go over the top with their costume choices, I don't want it to be a huge hassle, work or lead to crying/tantrums of any kind. That is my ground rule. Knowing that I picked a Pj like costume last year so she would not be uncomfortable, I would not have to wrestle her into something weird and she could go about her life as usual which for a 9 mo old was sleeping and eating. Now almost 2, her life consists of RUNNING, pulling dangerous items off counters, pull puppy tails and RUNNING. Knowing that I took the inspiration for her costume from her nightly routine. After bath each night, we have enough time to throw a hooded towel on her head before she runs off. Of course, Little Red Riding Hood came to me and it was perfect. It's a super cute costume, obvious (No explaining to every neighbor who little red is) and as unencumbering as I can get while still dressing up. The cape is short and in an organic cotton jersey, so it is soft and won't get in her way. The hood and cape will also keep her warm should Halloween prove cool this year. Little Red is also really easy for parents to pair their costumes with.
I went on a deep search looking for the perfect pattern. After weeks of failure, I decided to combine patterns. All the big name patterns had capes that were too long, too big, not in the right size or the wrong hood. I ended up using a poncho pattern from Making Children's Clothes by Emma Hardy (pg 100) which gave the short, swingy cape I wanted with the side seams I was looking for. I used the hood from my own Baby Carrier Pattern because it was the size I wanted and was made for knits fabric. I decided to add some ruffles to really send this costume into cute overload. I added a 2.5 in ruffle around the edge of the hood and down the front of the cape. I also added a woven ribbon along the bottom edge of the cape. The poncho pattern called for lining but after I added mine it really changed the drape and swing of the cape so I think I will remove it.
I started by tracing my pattern onto freezer paper. This was because I thought I might have to modify the pattern but I ended up tossing my mods (the pattern cape was perfect!). I used all my collective knowledge of knits (Thanks to Sew U, Home Stretch by Wendy Mullins) and let my knit rest after washing and pressing. I added the ruffle to the hood before completing the hood and sewing it to the cape. I stitched on the lining just along the bottom then added the ribbon before sewing the remainder of the lining on so I could have the ribbon just along the edge without having to measure it. I plan on using a brooch to keep the cape on but I may add a ribbon tie when I remove the lining. The initial fitting of the cape proved that the arm holes I had envisioned (that is why I wanted side seams) were not needed and ruined the fit of the cape. I measured down from the shoulder 4 in. and made the holes 4 in. long. When pinning the side seams I used different pins to mark where the holes were places. The arm hole pulled the cape in at the side and reduced the swing. The cape is short enough that the holes are not needed and the jersey prevents the cape from being a barrier to any toddler play. I also used my walking foot and it has turned my knit-sewing world upside-down, in a good way! I enjoy sewing jersey now and the hassle and frustration is gone! I recommend it for sewing all costumes.
Stay tuned to our facebook page for pictures of the finished costume! I am so excited for Halloween!
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