I used to be reluctant to spend time and money on halloween costumes for my kids. I knew that I could always buy one at the store cheaper than I could make it. But then a couple of years ago we were the wizard of oz for halloween. After we wore the costumes they went into our dress up bin. My kids and their friends wore those dressups ragged. I only wished that I had used better fabric (the cheap costume fabric I used tore at all of the seams over time) and took the time on some better construction. So now I’ve changed my tune. My kids can choose to be whatever they want for halloween and I will do my best to make it happen. It’s the one time of year that what I do for a living really benefits them. They feel special because their costumes are different than everyone elses. I try to use quality fabric like quilting cotton that will hold up to small and impatient hands and will wash and dry well. Even if it costs a bit more money. I know they will be worn over and over again as part of imaginative play which I love. Worth all of the time and money.
This year my kids wanted to be a kitty kat, and a New Orleans masquerade ball girl (inspired by our family vacation this year to New Orleans). I was pretty excited that there were no super heros or princesses involved so I didn’t complain. First of all the kitty. We went to the fabric store and I let my 3 yr old choose the fabric. He went with this leopard print fur because it was amazingly soft. I also got some tan felt for the tummy and inside ears.
I used Simplicity 2855 for the pattern. It’s a great, really versatile pattern, although I ended up taking an extra 3 inches off of the length in the end. Nothing too hard to sew at all. I did end up transferring the zipper from the front to back, just because my fabric was so thick that it looked wonky and I didn’t want it to be at center front. I also ommitted the shoe covers and mittens because I think those both just make it hard to trick or treat.
The only negative working on this costume was the fur. Never again! Such a beast to work with. It was my first time and I was not prepared. I broke 2 needles trying to sew through thick layers and I have fur everywhere. The end result was pretty great, but in the future I would try and find some fleece or something else thinner and easier to work with. Also, I won’t be about to wash this which is a huge negative.
Now for the masquerade dress. I used Simplicity 3725 for this one. Its a really great princess or period dress pattern that you could use for lots of projects. My 6 yr old daughter measured at a size 4 in the chest and waist for this pattern. I was scared that it would be too short so I went with the size 5 overall and just lengthened the skirt. This worked fine except that I took out about an inch on both sides at center back before inserting the zipper. Next time I would also take a bit out at center front so it was a bit narrower through the shoulders.
For fabric, the main black damask is this weird fabric that I found at JoAnns. I think it was marked as scuba knit but it’s much thinner than that and the print is felt. The nice thing is that I didn’t have to hem this fabric. I just cut it where I wanted it to end and called it good. The green lace is just something I had in my stash for lingerie sewing.
I did make a quick petticoat to help the dress stand out. To do this I just gathered about 5 yards of tuelle onto an elastic band. Not pretty but it works. I think if your fabric was lighter weight – closer to a quilting cotton, then it would be much fuller which would be nice.
That’s it. I hope you all have a really happy Halloween. It’s such a great holiday for sewists! Now I just need to figure out something for myself to wear.