Rey Costume (The Force Awakens)

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Is it a belated Halloween post? My preparation for the premiere of Rogue One? Or just my warrior outfit for the challenges that lie ahead?

How about all three?

Wow, 2016. What can I say? Are you as exhausted as I am with the onslaught of awfulness?

Despite everything, playing Rey for a day was wicked fun. Once again, this costume is a mish-mash of altered thrift store finds. The trickiest part was finding the right fabric for the drapey scarfy thing that goes on top. No, that curvy thing behind my head is not part of the costume. It’s a lizard made from a seed pod (a gift to us from friends).

For more not-exactly-from-scratch costumes, click here.

Watching: Recently finished The Crown on Netflix. So, so good if you like period stuff about aristocratic/ royal types. Reading: Sarah Vowell’s The Wordy Shipmates, a light-hearted history of early New England colonists—amazing how resonant many of the issues still are today. New-to-me blog: Blue Collar Red Lipstick –fashion by a  professional and classy yet quirky dresser who relishes a good thrift find.

 

Bald Eagle Costume

Bald Eagle Costume

Hope you had a happy Halloween. Ours was lots of fun, and thankfully, the cold and rain held off until right when we were all ready to go in anyway.

This year, I only made one costume, since my daughter only needed a thrifted dress for her “diva” outfit. Our son, seven, wanted to be a bald eagle. He has a thing for birds of prey. At one point it seemed his visions were never going to match up to reality, but in the end, both of us were happy with how it turned out.

It’s made from four thrifted items: brown jammy pants (unaltered), long-sleeved brown T-shirt (sized down), brown henley shirt (cut open and scalloped for the wings), and the cut-off top of a fleece hoodie (sized down and scalloped for feathers). My son made talons made of yellow foam and cardboard. He also made the foam beak, which he attached to a pre-bought plain white eye mask. I tried to convince him to just attach a beak to the hood, but he was having none of that.

I thought he did a great job making eagle poses here. For more semi-homemade costumes from previous years, click here.

Meanwhile, I’ve been slog, slog, slogging through my novel rewrite. Also, enjoying the fact that Bletchley Circle has new episodes. Woo!

Low-Sew Halloween

It’s time for the yearly round-up of costumes, in case you need some ideas. What are you dressing up as? Last year, I was the Prancercise Lady, but it’s going to be hard to top that one. The kids want to be a diva (10 year old) and a bald eagle (7 year old). We’ll probably get started on costumes this week. This always starts with a trip to the thrift store. Our costumes are of the slapdash variety—-altered rather than sewn from scratch, with not too much (okay, almost no) emphasis on perfection.

Here are a few from years past:

Fireman Costume

Fireman

Turtle Costume Front

Turtle Costume

Green Ninjago Costume

Ninja (Ninjago)

Anastasia costume

Anastasia Romanov (Russian princess)

Knight Costume

Knight Tunic and Helmet

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Princess

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Marco Polo

So glad to get my copy of the Budget Bytes cookbook the other day. If you haven’t yet discovered the Budget Bytes blog, you’re in for a treat. The recipes are on the simple side—weeknight friendly, for the most part, but not boring in the least. As the title suggests, the recipes are wallet-wise, but beyond that, they’re just appealing, and in many cases, less-meatarian, which I love. Also many are gluten-free or easily adaptable to GF. I checked the book out from the library and liked it so much I had to buy my own.

Discovered another new-to-me podcast for children’s and YA lit enthusiasts. It’s called First Draft, and it’s interviews Sarah Enni conducted with authors during a cross-country road trip. Good stuff, food for thought.

What about you? Discover anything good lately?

Semi-Homemade Halloween Costumes

Homemade Halloween Costumes

It’s that time of year again. Time to slap together a costume or two! I thought I’d list some of our past hits as inspiration for you.

I don’t put a lot of fuss into making costumes, but I do like them to be comfortable and reusable. My favorite method involves hacking items we find in the thrift store. It’s inexpensive, much of the sewing is already done, and the fabrics are often more comfortable than those used in store-bought costumes.

For details on these costumes:

Center: Turtle Costume

Clockwise, from the top:

Ninja (Ninjago)

Anastasia Romanov (Russian princess)

Knight Tunic and Helmet

Princess

Fireman

One more idea for you. My niece is evidently going to be a mermaid, and I loved the look of this simple costume her mom showed me.

I hope these inspire you. This reminds me, I have to get my kids to commit to their costumes now, too. If they had their way, they’d probably get 10 costumes and choose one at the last minute. Ha!

Low-Sew Halloween Costumes

Folks seem to already be looking for Halloween costume ideas, so I thought I’d round up previous posts on the topic. My favorite handmade costumes are  ones that don’t take too much effort.

Here’s our fireman costume from two thrifted shirts:

Another oldie and goodie—-the Turtle Costume from a sweatshirt and a sweater:

Turtle Costume Front 100N-0148_DSC

andf lastly, the Princess Dress from Upcycled Fabrics:

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For more ideas, go to elsie marley’s post here.

For the best Halloween decorations ever, look to Blair Peter of wisecraft’s posts here and here.  And here.  She does the WAY coolest stuff with things found for pennies at the thrift store.

I’m not sure what we’ll do for Halloween this year. It’s not really done in Germany, so last year we called friends around the neighborhood to warn them we’d be coming and begging for candy. It was fun, but I do miss our neighborhood Halloween back in the U.S.

Semi-Handmade Halloween: Quick and Easy Fireman Costume from Two Shirts

Lately  my little man has been looking for the turtle costume  that I made two years ago. Sadly, I left it in NC in his memory box in storage, thinking he wouldn’t want to wear it for a 3rd Halloween in a row, not realizing that he might just want to dress up in it. Twice he’s been looking for it and I’ve had to tell him it’s in NC. Both times he burst into tears and totally broke my heart. So you can imagine how much incentive I had to make a new costume for his third birthday.

The first shirt is cotton with a little stretch, which is ideal because it wrinkles less, but any adult-size red button-up will do. Actually black or gray would work fine, too. I got this one at Goodwill. Short-sleeves are best, but you can always shorten long sleeves if you need to.

Step 1) Size it down

I left the shirt long so that the costume will fit for a long time. I cut down the sides in a slight A-line and cut down the bottom of the sleeves as well so they weren’t quite so wide. It’s good for them to be a bit wide, though, for easy dressing. I used my son’s bathrobe as a rough guide for sizing.

Step 2) Decorate with strips of yellow cut from a knit shirt

After sewing the sides and sleeves back up, it’s time to decorate. You could use yellow felt, but I had this old, very stained t-shirt of my daughter’s handy. I cut it into strips and pinned them around the bottom of the jacket and around the sleeves. Some of them I sewed together because I needed a longer strip. I must’ve pinned them a little crookedly, but who cares. Then, sew the strips down. My mom, who was visiting, did this part (thanks, Mom!).

Voila! A fireman costume. My parents bought him a hat to go with it, though you could try sewing one of those, too. There’s a pattern for a hat in the new book One Yard Wonders. I haven’t had a chance to check it out yet.

The little man loves his new costume and says it’s his favorite birthday present. It’s pretty big on him still, but oh well, this way it will last a long time.

** Edited November 11 to add: my son wanted to wear this over his winter coat today. It was a little tight but it worked. I realized this would be a really easy costume to make to go over  a coat if you’re using it for Halloween in a place where it’s already cold at that time of year.

Upcycled Princess Gown from Thrifted Items

gownI decided that I would make this costume for my daughter from things I already had on hand. I started thrifting when I lived in Boston and couldn’t get to a fabric store easily. Luckily, Boston is a great place to thrift (I miss you, Urban Renewals!) and I often found fabulous things to wear as well as wonderful, sometimes crazy pieces to tear up and sew back together. I haven’t lived in Boston for several years, but all the materials for this costume (except the back of the bodice) came from my time there.

The bodice of the dress is made from something that looked like a long jacket made out of a sofa from an ancient sitting room. The skirt is made of various table covers that were once used at the performing arts organization where I worked. I saved them from the trash, what a hero. I did line the inside of the skirt with muslin, though, to make it less scratchy.

Taking a cue from the Disney-fied costumes sold in stores, I made the back of the bodice from an old knit nightgown so that it would stretch to fit.

The applique and the pink edging were the only things I purchased. Can’t wait to see her in it tonight!