Wednesday, June 26, 2013

“Bone man” (read: Skeleton) Costume

Okay, ignore the obviously un-staged photos (i.e. the mess in the room and the cupcake on my son’s face) because this was a birthday photo (after the party no less)!


I know what you are thinking…this looks a lot more like Halloween.  Well, this year our now three year old decided that he wanted to have a Halloween party for his birthday because he has been asking when we could have another Halloween party since…you guessed it, Halloween!

A while ago we were doing an anatomy section for our science “lessons” at home and he became obsessed with bones.  So, of course, he wanted to be a “bone man” for his birthday.  I looked at skeleton pajamas online and thought “I can so make that for less than $20.” 

I made a pattern traced from a pair of Carter’s PJs he is currently wearing and added a little length to the legs and arms.  I found the cheapest black knit I could find ($1.5/yd at Wal-Mart, yeah!) and used some white fleece I had laying around from when I was making storytelling boards.  I found a cartoon skeleton I liked and projected it onto the wall with my (now) handy digital projector (years ago we thought this was our solution to to not having a bigger television, but it was too grainy for me to handle, up until now I sort of thought of it as a wasted purchase, but eureka it has crafting uses!). 

I then just used a sharpie to outline the bones directly onto the fabric, held by my wonderful husband against the wall the night before the party, because I guess I just love the pressure to finish something that procrastination provides (I guess it reminds me of the thrill of writing papers in graduate school—something my nerdy self really misses). 

I took my bones and simply zigzag appliquéd them to the pattern pieces and proceeded to sew up the PJs just like the original…with one awkward exception.  It was getting late and my elastic was in the room of my very light sleeper, so I decided to insert the waistband elastic and slip stitch the next day since I had all day before the party.  I completely forgot about it amidst all the other party preparations until people started to arrive and we changed Tyrus into his costume.  We improvised with a drawstring . 


One more picture (you can see the drawstring if you look closely).  So here is what I learned: with children, always assume that they are going to LOVE what you make them and want to wear it all the time.  If I had thought about that instead of thinking of this as mostly a one time opportunity to dress up (and possibly for Halloween this year as well), I would have found better fabric.

The clearance stuff I got was “painted” black somehow and was actually white on the inside, which made it 1) not very breathable and 2) not very giving for a knit.  That meant that the ease from the original pattern was not as ample as I had supposed.  This problem was likely exacerbated by my inexperience with tracing patterns from made garments.  I also broke the cardinal rule: always wash your cloth before sewing with it.  This would have told me that this is not a material I can wash very often without it quickly deteriorating (what did I expect really?).  Washing beforehand would also have saved this from being an almost belly shirt after the first wash.  I am actually glad I didn’t waste any elastic on it even though he still wants to wear this all the time and would if I would let him. 

I actually have enough fabric to easily make a second one (after I wash it) if he still wants to be a skeleton for actual Halloween this year—cheap fabric does have some saving graces!

What about you; have you ever had a fabric completely change a project for you?  Any successes or failures with inexpensive fabric?

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