Friday, October 31

A Handmade Halloween

So this right here, this Princess Leia costume, was quite the experience. My daughter is a Star Wars fanatic and HAD to be Leia for Halloween. When I saw that most stores wanted $30.00 for a Leia costume, I thought that there had to be another way. So I googled and searched for Leia costumes. I saw that Simplicity and Butterick made patterns, but boy oh boy, they weren't cheap. More googling brought me to this blog post all about a homemade Princess Leia costume, using a nativity angel pattern and a turtleneck. How hard could that be, I thought.

Now keep in mind, I have only sewn quilts. I had never sewn from a pattern before. It was my lucky day, when I ran to Joann during a phenomenal sale. I found an easy sew nativity angel pattern, usually $11.50, on sale for 99 cents. I decided to buy white cotton flannel in case it ended up being cold on Halloween night. The flannel was also on sale. And they had a child's black witch wig on sale for $1.00, that would be a great length for rolling into cinnamon buns on either side. For about $9.00, I had all that I needed to make a Princess Leia costume.

I had absolutely no idea that the easy sew in 3 hours pattern, would actually take me more like 14 hours to complete. I had no clue what I was getting myself into. Opening the directions and patterns, oh my gosh, it was like reading something written in a foreign language. I was already overwhelmed and I hadn't even started yet. I quickly pinned and cut my pieces, which was surprisingly easy. I sewed the front and back of the gown together and added the little collar as well. It was going well. I even thought, hey, I can do this.

But then, it was time for the sleeves. I could not for the life of me figure out the diagram in the directions. I kept sewing the sleeves on incorrectly. I kept ripping out stitches to try again..and again...and again..AND AGAIN. Every time I sewed them, I would excitedly turn the dress right-side out, only to find that the sleeves were stuck on the inside of the dress....or that I had sewn the whole side of the gown together, so that there weren't arm holes.

I was about to give up. Ripping out stitches is not fun and doing it about 7 times in a row, is enough to leave anyone in tears. My grandmother-in-law saved the day.
I scanned the diagram and emailed it to her and she walked me through the steps. Soon, my gown had sleeves. I then discovered, after trying the gown on her, that the shoulder portion of the sleeve hit her in the middle of her arm. Not wanting to take the sleeves apart ONE MORE TIME, I moved the fabric up a bit to shorten the sleeves.

At this point, I had already spent one night up until almost 1:30 A.M. sewing. It was now the night before her school Halloween party and she still needed a hood. The pattern didn't come with a hood, but I figured I could wing it. Yeah, um, no such luck. After cutting several pieces of fabric, that in my mind would make perfect hoods, I realized that I was completely out of my element. I headed to Wal-Mart, since it was 11:00 P.M., to purchase more white flannel, to keep on trying my hand at hood making. But, they were completely out of white flannel. Thankfully, I found a hooded shirt on sale. I took it home cut the hood off and decided to sew it to the back of the turtleneck that she wears under her gown.

It was now midnight, and my brain had officially shut down for the evening. When I sewed the hood onto her turtleneck, I also sewed the turtleneck shut. I sewed both the front and back together. Almost in tears, I ripped out the stitches. It would probably need to be sewn on by hand, but I am not really good at that either. I then remembered that I had some iron-on velcro. SO in a few steps, I had a removable hood that attached with Velcro. I then quickly made a belt. I WAS FINALLY DONE!

I think it looks very homemade. The gray felt pieces on her belt are falling off, and the stitches in the back have already come undone, from wearing it to her party. But I will make the few needed fixes this afternoon, and it will hopefully stay put for her Trick or Treating adventures this evening.

The miss absolutely LOVES her costume. Before she left for her party, she took a look in the mirror, and squealed with delight. She also proudly told her teachers that her mommy made her costume.

Her little squeal and her huge smile, made it all worth it.