The Anatomy of a Win

My friends all know that I’m a competitive person. I LOVE contests. When I was younger, it was rough. I really, really, really wanted to win. But nobody wins all the contests, all the time. Though I ended many a contest in tears, it didn’t dull my love of competition. Thankfully. Because as an adult, I see contests as more than just a chance to win. It is an opportunity to complete something (nothing helps me finish like a deadline). I have a reason to stretch myself – try new skills. And I get to see what other like-minded creatives have come up with. I love getting to see other entries! I get inspired by what they came up with. And while I still get a little jealous when I see an awesome idea and think, “Man, I wish I had come up with that”, it is now combined with an appreciation for the craftsmanship behind it, and excitement by the inspiring idea.

three different dresses

So, when the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA – now AFCI {Association For Creative Industries}) announced their “Fashion Fusion Challenge” I KNEW I wanted to be a part of it. I’m much more of a quilter than a garment maker, but I’ve successfully made several garments. And considering that the show is filled with crafters, not all sewists and garment makers, I liked my chances. Plus – it would give me a chance to stretch myself.

 

Here are the basics of how the contest was going to run: There were two tracks – accessories and garments. People could sign up as individuals or in paired garment/accessory combos. We would all show up on Thursday at 11am. We’d have several hours to work in the workroom, using the supplies generously donated by sponsors. If we didn’t finish, we’d have access to sewing machines on the show floor on Saturday and Sunday. We had to turn in our completed designs Sunday afternoon for judging. Winners would walk the runway Sunday night.

supplies from sponsors

On the website were photos of the patterns that would be available for us to choose from, the fabrics we would have, and some of the notions and accessories. For a contest, they really gave us quite a bit of information up front. I loved it, and decided to use this information wisely!

 

Fairly quickly, I found a friend to team up with. We started sending design ideas back and forth. We came up with a feather theme. I’d convert the pattern for a top into a dress with a high front and low back. We’d add feather designs on the inside back for extra interest. I would bring Espadrille soles to make coordinating shoes which would lace all the way up the calves. I ordered the pattern online to play with it, and try my pattern adjustments at home – I knew from experience that the first time I make a garment isn’t nearly as successful as my third or fourth.

sharing the pattern

But then she had a family emergency, and couldn’t come. Luckily, Simone offered to step in for me. We re-planned. The pattern I had ordered came in and I sent her photos of my first attempt.

first attempt at design

It was not great. The dress was baggy where it should be fitted. It was uninteresting. And I wanted to take advantage of my quilting knowledge. So I tried again.

dress with quilted pieces

This one was more interesting, but the length made it look like a housedress. And while the log cabin piecing was perfect for quilting … it did nothing to enhance my figure. But, I had taken two passes at the pattern, knew what was working well and what was not, and more importantly, I was out of time.

 

On Thursday, I was late. My flight arrived on time, and I was able to get from the airport to the hotel. But my hotel room wasn’t ready for check-in. I had to rummage through my bags for the items I planned on taking with me, stow my carry-on items in my suitcase, and check them at the bell desk before running to the conference center. Late is not my favorite way to start!

 

Once we were both there, Simone and I wasted no time getting started. She was going to create a headband and purse. I was going to create the dress. And (time permitting) Espadrilles. We went through the items from the sponsors to see what we could use. WOW! So many fancy items that I didn’t even know existed!

Other than being late, I had a second hiccup. I had brought my own rotary cutter and ruler, but there was no cutting mat. My design hinged on cutting strips of fabric and piecing them back together. Not possible without a cutting mat!

Luckily, we were able to wrangle one from one of the booths on the show floor, and I started piecing my dress.

pressing and working

The workroom was loads of fun. Hanging out with the other gals sewing and crafting, chatting with my friend Simone, learning about the cool Brother machine and the Brother Scan-N-Cut. There was lots to keep me entertained while I stitched together strips of fabric.

sewing photo

Unfortunately, Simone and I weren’t able to take advantage of all the workroom time. We were both scheduled to speak at a roundtable on social media that overlapped with the last hour. Simone had nearly finished the clutch (there was adhesive drying on it), and I was at a good stopping place. We packed up what we had, and crossed our fingers.

In the hotel room, I did as much prep as possible. Pinning and marking don’t require a sewing machine. Simone was able to finish embellishing the clutch. She started on the headband.

Pinning on Bathroom Floor

On Saturday, I headed back to the sewing machine. Between working in booths and attending events on the show floor, I snuck in about an hour of sewing. I had forgotten to mark the neckline, so couldn’t progress any further. I also stitched the pieces for the Espadrilles. Saturday night I’d have to stitch the fabric to the soles, as well as mark the dress. And hope that I’d have enough time in the morning to stitch the neckline, sew the sides together, and hem the dress!

While hanging out in the hotel lobby with friends on Saturday night, I stitched up the shoes. I LOVED the way they turned out, and knew that they would be perfect to wear with the dress.

stitching shoes

Sunday I was exhausted. When I attend the show in January, I usually just go for Saturday and Sunday. Just two days. By this time I was on day FOUR. Four days of chatting, planning, partying, staying up way too late, and waking up WAY too early. But I was determined to finish!

oh so very tired

When I finally had the dress sewn together and ready to hem, I was so excited to try it on. Of course I took a bathroom selfie to send to Simone!

ready for hemming

After hemming, I tried on the whole outfit, with shoes and clutch. Just needed the headband from Simone, and we were ready for judging!

try on dress

The judging was incredibly nerve-wracking. Quite a few contestants didn’t make it to the final judging. In the “teams” category, my main competition was a teen who had made a skirt. It was the second garment she had ever sewn, and she had done quite a bit of hand-sewing in order to get her look finished on time. I barely knew her, but was incredibly proud of her for getting it all done.

The worst part of hoping that you will win is knowing that someone else will lose.

judging

When the final result was announced, I was so excited! WE WON!! But that meant being runway-ready that night. Luckily for me, it was as easy as messaging my friend Jessica. She had done my hair and makeup for more than one of these types of events, and knocked it out of the park each and every time.

Makeup session

With the perfect hair and makeup to go with my outfit, I felt fierce as I walked down the runway a winner! Here I am with the other contestants and their awesome looks. To the left of me is the individual garment winner from The New Craft House. To the right, the individual accessories winner. And on the end, the outfit that was my competition. No, we are not all glowing – the lighting in the bar just made us look that way!

fashion show winners

The whole event was such a fantastic experience. It was so fun to alter a garment, work in my quilting skills, partner up and collaborate with a friend, and (of course) come away a winner!

the three dresses

Usually a good win comes with a great prize – this contest was no exception. As the winning team, Simone and I were given a Brother sewing machine and a Brother Scan N Cut. We had them send the sewing machine to Simone, and I’ve been able to give the Scan N Cut a new home!

Save

Pokemon Halloween Costumes

I thought I’d share our family Halloween Costumes this year. My boys, in all the Pokemon Craze, decided they wanted to be Pikachu and Raichu for Halloween this year. I figured they would be easy enough to make out of fleece. I went to JoAnns to get fleece in the colors I’d need, and looked for a basic pattern that would be easy to adjust with a tail, stripes, ears, and such. I found McCall’s 6106, and it was perfect!

I spoke to my SIL who lives here in San Diego. Her boys wanted to be Pikachu as well. Making 4 costumes really isn’t much more work than making 2, so I whipped up all the costumes and had them done by mid-October. Pretty much a Halloween miracle, as I’m usually finishing costumes the night before. So of course I took to Facebook to brag a little.

Pikachu and Raichu Costumes

Karma. Karma, karma, karma.

My other SIL, who lives in Northern California has a couple Pokemon-obsessed kiddos as well. 3 of them. She asked if I could whip up some costumes for them as well. I’m never going to say “no” to making costumes for my nieces and nephews, and by this time I was a Pikachu expert, so of course I said yes.

And then discovered they didn’t want Pikachu.

They wanted Charmander, Nidoran, and Squirtle.

This was going to be more challenging than I originally planned! But a challenge is just a solution away from genius, so I bought more fleece in different colors, and started stitching. I used the same pattern, just with more adjustments.

more pokemon costumes

My SIL took these photos of the kids in their costumes:

Charmander and Nidoran costume

Squirtle Costume

Kids traveling to Halloween parties often need to hop in and out of car seats or Booster seats, and I didn’t want their costumes to get in the way. So I made the tail, spikes and shell detachable with magnets (these are traditionally purse clasps).

squirtle shell

Since I was already making a record number of costumes, and we had a good Pokemon theme going, I told my husband I’d make him a Snorlax. He was game!

Snorlax Costume

That’s how 2016 became the year that I made 8 Halloween Costumes. From Scratch.

I’m thinking it is also how 2017 became the year that we bought our costumes instead of making them! Ha!

picachu costumes

Flint Lockwood Costume: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

I’m so excited to bring you this costume today! Earlier this year, my son wanted to dress up as Flint Lockwood from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs… so I came up with this simple costume, and am sharing with you how you can DIY one yourself!

Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs Flint Lockwood costume with Spray on Shoes

To make your own Flint Lockwood costume (with spray-on shoes), you need:
Teal Shirt
Yellow Heat Transfer
White work shirt (adult size)
Black Socks
Glitter paint and white puff paint
Shoes
Jeans

supplies for flint lockwood costume

I’m going to start with the shoes. Grab large black socks, and shoes.

supplies for spray on shoes

Put the socks over the shoes. Cover with the glitter paint.

allow shoes to dry

Add detail with white puff paint, then set aside to dry.

add laces to spray on shoes

 

The shirt is easy – I have a Science is Awesome File – you can cut it from vinyl with your silhouette, print it on fusible printer paper, or paint it on… there are all kinds of file options for you to use, depending on your favorite technique.

 

Have your child put on the shirt inside out. Pin along the sides and arms, then stitch.

stitch down sides

 

Cut away the excess seam allowance, then turn the shirt right side out.

 

 

trim away excess

 

Your Flint Lockwood costume is complete!

flint lockwood costume

 

Check out the other great costumes as well…

Flint Lockwood Costume DIY  from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

 

And as long as I’m sharing costumes, I’m teaming up with Jamie Dorobek and her handmade Halloween costume site, Really Awesome Costumes to bring y’all tons of easy ideas to craft up DIY Halloween costumes for everyone including your pets, family costumes, and even a trunk or treat idea! Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post for all those goodies.

 

 

 

 

 

101+ Handmade Halloween costumes at Creating Really Awesome Free Things

 

And now it’s time for tons more DIY Halloween costume inspiration! Join in on the BLOG HOP! Click on the links below each collage to get the detailed instructions about how to make the costume pictured, just like mine above. Don’t forget to follow the Handamde Halloween Costumes Pinterest Board for even more DIY costume greatness!

 

88+ Handmade Halloween costumes at Creating Really Awesome Free Things

1. Handmade Baby Hamburger Costume

2. DIY Baby Game Boy Costume

3. DIY Minecraft Steve Costume

4. Football Brothers Halloween Costumes with DIY Pads and Onesie

5. Star Trek Halloween Costume for Kids

6. A Bee and Her Keeper

7. No Sew Magician Costume

8. Flint Lockwood Costume

9. Pinocchio

10. Marty McFly

11. Princess Wedding Dress Costume

12. Handmade Lalaloopsy Doll Costume

13. Homemade Toothless Costume

14. DIY Mermaid For Less Than $20 (No-Sew Option)

15. Easy Tinker Bell Costume

16. Mario and Luigi Go Kart Costumes

17. Dog The Bounty Hunter and Beth

18. Family Monsters University Costumes

19. Scooby Doo family costumes

20. DIY Storm Cloud Costume

 

88+ Handmade Halloween costumes at Creating Really Awesome Free Things

21. Cheap and Easy DIY Spider Costume

22. Easy Tin Man Costume

23. No Sew Bee Costume

24. Planet Halloween Costumes

25. DIY Cheshire Cat Costume

26. DIY Instagram Board

27. Elsa crown

28. Dog Collar Ruffles

29. DIY Pineapple Baby Costume

30. DIY Lego Movie Costume

31. Weeping Angel Costume

32. Disney Planes Costume: Dipper

33. Easy Pirate Costume

34. Easy Costume Idea – Renaissance Girl

35. 10 Minute Homemade Jellyfish Costume

36. DIY Cat Costume

37. Lucy And Ricky Costumes

38. Easy Frozen Costumes (Carrisa!!)

39. Easy Greek Goddess Costume

40. DIY Family Willy Wonka Costumes

101+ Handmade Halloween costumes at Creating Really Awesome Free Things

41. DIY No Sew Maleficent Costume

42. No Sew Pineapple Halloween Costume

43. Graveyard Bean Bag Toss: Trunk or Treat Car Costume

44. DIY Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Costumes

45. DIY Raccoon Costume with Printable Mask

46. Easy WildStyle Lego Movie Costume

47. Simple Hello Kitty Costume

48. No Sew Minnie Mouse Costume

49. DIY Inspector Gadget and Penny Costumes

50. DIY Frozen Elsa Dress Baby Edition

51. Fairy Princess Dog Costume

52. DIY Hashtag Halloween Costume

53. Toddler or Baby Egg Costume

54. Easy No Sew Olaf Costume

55. DIY Baymax Costume

56. DIY Tooth Fairy Costume

57. Baby Short Stack Pancake Costume

58. Elephant and Piggie Halloween Costumes

59. Instagram Halloween Costume

60. Peter Pan & Mr. Smee Halloween Costume


88+ Handmade Halloween costumes at ReallyAwesomeCostumes.com

61. Wildstyle Costume from the Lego Movie

62. Fred and Wilma Couples Costume

63. Viking Family Costumes

64. DIY Cruella de Vil Costume for a child

65. Disney Frozen Olaf Halloween Treat Bucket

66. How to Make a Minecraft Steve Head

67. DIY Harry Potter Costume

68. DIY Duck Dynasty Costumes

69. No Sew Cupcake Baker Halloween Costume

70. DIY Skunk Mask

71. Ghostbusters Proton Pack DIY

72. Frozen Anna Costume Tutorial

73. Candy Corn Costume

74. Paw Patrol Halloween Costume

75. No Sew Toothless Dragon Costume

76. DIY Robot Costume

77. Wonder Woman Costume

78. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Costume

79. Thrifted Gentleman Spy DIY Halloween Costume

80. DIY Boy Garden Gnome Costume

81. Group Costume: Bob Ross, Happy Tree, & Squirrel

82. DIY Blues Brothers Costumes

83. Snow White Costume

84. Peacock Princess Costume

85. Scarecrow Costume

86. Easy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
Costume

87. Handmade Teddy Bear Costume

88. Princess Elsa and the Spy Kid

89. DIY Baby Koala costume

What handmade costume ideas did you love the most?! Be sure to click over to get the costume instructions, pin the costume, and let them know you love it! Also, follow the Handmade Halloween Costume board on Pinterest!

Follow Jamie Dorobek {C.R.A.F.T.}’s board “Handmade Halloween Costumes” on Pinterest.

How to Make a Duck Tape Dress

Making a Duck Tape Prom Dress

Yes. You read that right. How to make a Duck Tape Dress. Why? Well, besides the obvious “totally unique” aspect, and the fact that you really can make anything out of Duck Tape, if you’re in High School, making a Duck Tape Prom Dress could win you a fat scholarship with Duck Tape’s “Stuck at Prom” promotion.

My mom and I sewed my dress for my Senior Prom, so making a dress out of Duck Tape for a potential scholarship would have been right up my alley. But I’ve already gone to my 10 year reunion, and am well on my way to my 20 year reunion, so I missed the boat.

But, Duck Tape sponsored an “80’s Prom” at a conference I went to, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try my hand at making a Duck Tape dress. I looked up the official rules to make sure that my dress would be Stuck at Prom “legal” (besides the obvious fact that I’m not in High School), so that I could share any Duck Tape Prom Dress-making secrets.

Before you decide that you want to make a Duck Tape Dress, here are some things that you might want to consider:
Duck Tape is not Breathable
Wearing a Duck Tape dress is very hot and sweaty. It keeps in all of your heat. I had a sleeveless, short dress, and my cheeks were red the entire night. Consider this as you design your dress.

Duck Tape is not very Flexible
There is a little bit of “give” to Duck Tape, but once you’ve made an entire dress out of it, it isn’t very flexible. If your skirt is going to be snug, you might want a slit up the back. And you can forget about bending over if you’ve dropped something.

Duck Tape Display

Duck Tape can be Expensive
Your Duck Tape dress will be more work than buying a dress off the rack, and may be expensive. I used about 9 rolls of tape for my dress. Some rolls (like the glitter rolls) have a lot less Duck Tape on them. When you decide what colors and patterns to use for your dress, look at the label to see how many yards are on the roll. The glitter and prism tapes are awesome, and will add great sparkle to your dress, but they will also increase the cost.

Duck Tape isn’t always Flattering
You want to look good at your prom, and if you don’t have any experience making clothes, or you already feel self-conscious, a Duck Tape dress might not be for you. I’m over 30, and while other gals at the event said that I looked good in the dress (one specifically told me that Duck Tape made my butt look great!), I felt very exposed. The dress didn’t really hide any flaws, and I didn’t feel like it played up any assets, either! But, a 17 or 18 year old going to a high school prom probably has a better body than me, right?

If you’ve read all of that and you still want to move forward (yay!), I’ll tell you how I made my dress.

How to make a Duck Tape Dress

The Stuck at Prom rules don’t say that your outfit has to be entirely made out of Duck Tape. You can see in this clip from Season 11 of Project Runway that some of the designers did use a sewing machine to make their dresses. What you don’t see is that some also used a muslin underneath the Duck Tape to help it keep its form.

Duck tape is sticky on one side, and you absolutely don’t want to stick it directly to your skin for your dress. So your options are to either make a sheet out of the Duck Tape by making a double-sided sheet, with the adhesive in the middle, or to stick the Duck Tape to fabric.

To make my Duck Tape dress, I went to a discount clothing store and bought a plain dress. I double-checked the 2014 rules (don’t just take my word for it, make sure you read the rules carefully for yourself), and you can use other materials in your dress. However, you cannot use someone else’s design. I read this to mean that I couldn’t just Duck Tape over an existing dress and call it “original”, I had to truly make it an original piece. And I couldn’t look online to see a dress I liked and re-create it in Duck Tape. The finished product had to be one-of-a-kind. That was my interpretation, but don’t take my word for it – read the rules to make sure you understand them. Really, the biggest benefit was having a base to stick the tape to – and that the base had a zipper so that I could get in and out of the dress easier.

The dress I picked to be my base was not a style or color I would wear. But it had the basic shape I was looking for – and everything else was going to be covered in Duck Tape, so what I saw in the mirror wasn’t the deciding factor.

Base for Duck Tape Dress

Once I bought my dress, I started adding the tape. The dress I bought was a knit fabric, which stretches. I would have preferred a woven fabric (which doesn’t stretch as much). Because it was a knit fabric, I had to have the dress on while adding the tape. Because once the tape was applied, the dress didn’t stretch. However, any areas where the dress stretched while I was in it (think: stomach, hips, thighs, chest, etc), as soon as I got out of the dress, the fabric would start to un-stretch, which made the Duck Tape less smooth. If you plan on using a fabric base for your Duck Tape dress, a woven fabric, rather than a knit, is your best choice. If you have access to a dress form, that would be a big help as well.

Note: I did overlap the strips of Duck Tape to make sure there were no gaps.

bottom of the Duck Tape Dress

I mentioned before that Duck Tape has almost no stretch, right? While taping the dress on my body, I filled my lungs with air to expand them as much as possible. This sounds like the opposite of what you might want to do – because this will make the dress bigger. However, getting in and out of a tight dress with almost no stretch is very hard. Expanding the top of the dress by filling my lungs with air made it much easier to get the dress on and off.

My goal was to make an 80’s dress, so I wanted to have an off-the-shoulder top. I cut off one strap, then used some Duck Tape to hold it all in place while I taped up the top.

making the top of the dress

While doing this, I managed to get some Duck Tape stuck to my armpit. OH MY! Getting that off was painful!

The final step was taping the back. I couldn’t reach the back myself, so I had my friend Gina from Mom’s Lifeboat tape the back for me. She taped on either side of the zipper, so that I could still use the zipper to get in and out. On the night of the event, my friend Angie from The Country Chic Cottage added a vertical strip of tape over the zipper to cover it.

Finished basic Duck Tape Dress

The plain dress was fine, but I wanted to give it a more 80s look with ruffles. I would have loved to add lots of ruffles, but they take some time (and quite a bit of Duck Tape) to make.

If you want to add ruffles to your dress, here is my secret: use your bed. I used the bed at the hotel to make the ruffles. I lifted the sheets off the bed to expose the fitted sheet. I taped long strips of Duck Tape to the fitted sheet, overlapping them a little. Once my ruffle was wide enough, I peeled it off, and lay it on the bed tape-side-up. Then I covered the tape with fresh strips of Duck Tape, overlapping the seams.

Duck Tape Prom Dress

I added some sparkle with glitter Duck Tape on the ruffle and the bottom of the dress.

I used a similar strip to add a bow to the back. Very 80s.

back of Duck Tape Prom Dress

Here are a couple photos of me at the event in the dress. In this top photo I’m hanging out with Angie, who is wearing a vest made out of Duck Tape.

80s Duck Tape Prom

In this bottom photo, I’m posing with Kimberly from Stuffed Suitcase, who also made a Duck Tape dress for the event.Wearing Duck Tape Dresses

My Duck Tape look was finished off with some fun accessories. I dressed Trusty the Duck (the Duck Tape Mascot) in matching lapels and tie, added Duck Tape to my shoes, and added some Duck Tape jewelry.

Duck Tape Prom Accessories

If you want some detailed instructions on making accessories, here are some tutorials:

Duck Tape Bracelet
Duck Tape Bangles
Duck Tape Earrings
Duck Tape Necklace
Duck Tape Flowers (if you want to make a Duck Tape Corsage)
Duck Tape Cat in the Hat’s Hat (you can modify these instructions to make a top hat)

I hope these details help you make your own Duck Tape outfit for Prom! Look around online for inspiration and ideas, and save your pennies for all those rolls of Duck Tape!

Halloween Wrap-Up

I thought I’d give y’all a little Halloween wrap-up. Especially since I didn’t give away anything about the kiddos’ Halloween costumes ahead of time…

Little Moore wanted to be Lego Batman. Mostly because when we were at my Aunt’s house, he tried on one of the cousin’s old costumes, and his little Lego-loving heart went pit-a-pat.

lego batman costume

I asked my aunt if she could ship me the costume, or at least the head and the hands, to ave me some of the work. She did… but the head got a little crushed in shipping.

crushed Lego head

So, I took off the posterboard that held the styrofoam top and bottom of the head together, attached a new piece, and re-spray painted the head. I created the body and then made a catastrophic error.

I asked my son if he was sure he wanted to be Lego Batman. Since I had to re-do the face and body anyway… he could be any Lego guy he wanted.

lego guy

Oops. But there was no going back.

It took me over 4 hours to paint the body. Mostly because I needed nearly 4 coats of paint to get the paint to look smooth and even. But… I finished. And it looks pretty darn close to the original.

lego guy costume

The baby, now 18 months, didn’t really have a preference. I took down the hem of his big brother’s 1-year Halloween costume, and he was a dinosaur for Halloween. I snapped a pic of him enjoying a chat with one of our neighbor’s doggies.

hello halloween doggie

We had a fun time trick-or-treating in our neighborhood.

trick or treat

Then L’s feet got tired, so we went home and passed out candy until the trick-or-treaters thinned out… and then it was time for bed.

lego guy trick or treat

Now we just have to find a place to store the costume…

Boys Can Play Dress Up with Costume Express

When Collective Bias gave me the opportunity to check out Costume Express, I was super excited. Sure, this is a sponsored post, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t love everything about these costumes!

boys love to play dress up

My son loves to play dress up. I discovered this during the course of the summer. His summer preschool has themed weeks. Every Friday, the children dress up to go with the theme. For Wizard Week I made him a Wizard Costume, and he LOVED it. When he wore his robe and hat, and picked up his wand, he felt like he really could be a wizard. I loved that I was able to provide him with a few simple props to help him stretch his imagination.

This got me to thinking about what other costumes I could provide for him – and this is where Costume Express comes in. They have an amazing variety of costumes for all occasions – themed parties, Halloween, or dress-up clothes!

Nowadays, it is so easy for kids to spend time in front of a screen. My son knows how to operate my tablet, and plays a mean game of Bad Piggies. He has several favorite movies that we rotate through, and he’s recently learned to operate the Roku remote on his own. All this means that he is spending way too much time plugged in. Living in Vegas with 110 degree heat all summer, I can’t just send him outside in the middle of the day. Having fun, indoor activities that stretch his imagination without putting him in front of a screen is key. That’s why I wanted a well-stocked dress-up box.

I ordered everything online, it was super simple to find what I wanted. You can see my whole Costume Express shopping experience here.

Opening the Costumes Express Box

When the box came in, Little Moore was excited to see what was inside. I hadn’t told him that I’d bought costumes – just that I had a surprise for him.

He dug through all the costumes – so many choices! He decided to be a fireman, and that his little brother could be a police officer.

Pulling out Costumes

I love that these simple costumes are easy for the kids to take on and off themselves, and that my 14-month old can wear one to play with his brother. He’s not entirely sure what is going on, but he knows he is in on the fun. Plus, both of them are running around having a good time and NOT watching TV or playing video games.

I also love the option to add hats to my order. Costumes are great, but I think a hat does a great job finishing the look, and making the experience feel a little more genuine for my little guy.

Fireman Costume

It was tough getting him to stand still for this photo… all he wanted to do was run around and be a fireman!

He loved these costumes so much, I’m sure that I will be taking many trips to the grocery store with my little fireman, police officer, doctor, or road crew! Instead of handing him my phone to keep him entertained in the store, we’ll have a conversation about his new profession. Groceries might be “on fire” and need to be put out. We can be on the lookout for bad guys. I might come down with mysterious symptoms he needs to diagnose. Or everything might need fixing in a dangerous construction zone (watch out for pot holes!) And they’re sturdy enough that his little brother will get hours of fun out of them as well. I can’t wait to have a playdate so that we can put the kids in costume and crank YMCA… maybe I need to get an Indian costume first?

Road Crew Costume and Doctor Costume

I had a great experience shopping at Costume Express – it was easy to find what I wanted, they had great options, the prices were reasonable, and the package arrive a day earlier than promised! With Halloween coming up I can’t think of a better resource for costumes, and get your kids to #Unplug2Play!

For more details, you can catch Costume Express on your favorite Social Media Channels:

Follow Costume Express on Twitter
Like Costume Express on Facebook
Circle Costume Express on Google+

How to Make a Wizard Costume

Wizard Costume

Ever have those days where you find out that you need to send your child to school in a Wizard Costume on Friday… and it is already Wednesday evening? I had one of those days last week. Being a mom who knows her way around a sewing machine, I decided we would make a Wizard Costume. Not just any wizard costume… we would make the most awesome Wizard Costume ever. According to my son, we achieved this goal. Make sure you check out how to make a Wizard Wand and how to make a Wizard Hat as well.

supplies for wizard costumeThursday, after a morning play date at the pool, we headed off to JoAnns to get our supplies. We got everything we needed to make a Wizard Robe (supplies listed are for a 4-year-old child), as well as the Wizard Wand and Wizard Hat.
For the Wizard Robe we used:
4 yards blue satin (some used on the hat, too)
1 yard green satin (some used on the hat, too)
2 spools copper ribbon (also used on the wand and hat – I would get 3 if I were to make this again)
Coordinating thread

You’ll also want a sewing machine, Iron, and pins.

I started by laying out the blue satin, along with a long-sleeved shirt that is a little big for my son.You can’t tell here, but the left side of the fabric is the fold, and there is a double layer of the fabric, so there are actually 4 layers of fabric right there, and I’m going to cut through all of them on the fold.

I was lucky that the width of fabric was enough for the top and sleeves. Otherwise, I’d have to cut different pieces for the sleeves and set them into the arm holes. Which would be a lot more work.

measure for costume size

I had my son lay next to the fabric so that I could determine the height.Yes, his pants are on backwards… that happens sometimes when he dresses himself…

You can see I marked it with a fabric pencil here. Then I cut.
I added a little bit of flare from the waist down to the bottom to try to give the robe a little extra fullness.

cut satin for wizard costume

I also added some extra fabric at the bottom of the sleeves. Having the bottom end in a point like this makes the sleeves have a nice big point at the bottom, which is one of the things I love about this costume. I also cut a little ways away from the shirt because I needed extra seam allowance for the french seams. More on that in a little bit.

The rest of these instructions are going to be picture-less, because it is pretty basic sewing. It takes a while, but it is pretty basic. I’ll warn you, the neckline bit is a little complicated… there might be a better way to do that part.

I separated the two layers, and then cut a V shape into the fold of the piece that was going to be the front, to give a more open neckline. Then I cut all the way up the fold on this piece, because the robe was going to be open.

I pinned the pieces wrong-sides together (WRONG sides, not right sides, because I’m doing french seams here). I stitched the shoulder/sleeve tops, and the sleeve bottom/armpit/side seams all with a scant 1/4″ seam. I then flipped it wrong-side-out, clipped the seams at the armpit, and repeated all those seams with a generous 1/4″ seam. This keeps all the raw edges tucked inside so there is no fraying while the costume is worn. In hindsight, it would have been a good idea to do the shoulder/sleeve top seams, add the green to the end of the sleeves, and then do the sleeve bottom/armpit/side seams.

Next was adding the green satin to the collar. I put a piece of paper under the neckline and traced the curve from the back center of the neck, all the way down the V neckline in the front. I added a 2.5″ border to the outside, and a .25″ border on the inside and cut it out. This was my template for creating the green satin for the neckline.

I folded the green satin in half, and pinned on my template, with the bottom of the V touching the fold. I cut out the template, but at the bottom of the V cut all the way down the fold the height of the straight slit in the front of the robe.

Putting this neckline piece right-sides-together, I stitched that inner 1/4″ seam, and then turned right side out. I created a second neckline piece for the other side, and pinned them both to the robe, then pressed the raw edges under, folded it over the raw edge of the blue satin so that the blue satin raw edge sat right inside the green, touching the fold. I stitched it all down, then pinned the copper ribbon on top, and stitched that down as well. There might be an easier way to do this part, but I wanted a smooth neckline and it was already 11pm the night before he was supposed to wear the costume!

I cut 5″ strips out of the green satin, folded them in half, and pressed. I then opened up those seams, folded in the sides, so the raw edges touched that middle fold line, and pressed. Then folded it back in half and pressed yet again. This made all the trim for the bottom and the sleeves. I folded this over the sleeve and bottom edges just like before, with the raw edge of the blue inside the fold of the green. This time, when I got to an end, I trimmed off the green with about 1/2″ extra, then folded the extra under and stitched in place.

After sewing on the trim, I pinned the copper ribbon in place and stitched it down. You’ll notice that there is no copper ribbon along the bottom of the Wizard Robe. I ran out and had to choose between having it on the sleeves or on the bottom edge. The sleeves won.

That was it! It took several hours to stitch it all together, but my son was THRILLED when he woke up the next morning and saw his costume!

If you want to make a wizard costume, make sure you check out how to make a Wizard Wand and how to make a Wizard Hat as well!

wizard hat and wand

Simple Wizard Hat

wizard hat and wand

When I found out my son needed a Wizard Costume to wear to Summer School, I looked up pictures of Wizards online, and he and I studied them. We decided that what he needed was a hat, a wand, and a robe. We headed to JoAnns to get our supplies. I wasn’t quite sure what we would use, so I got a variety of things:

What I ended up using for the hat was:
supplies for wizard costumePellon Peltex 71F (fairly stiff, and fusible on one side – not shown in photo)
Satin in blue and green
Phoomph (a double-sided adhesive felt/foam)
Copper colored ribbon (this one was like a netting or lace)
Some Gear Embellishments (I wanted to make sure the hat looked more Wizard than Princess)
Large Bead
Glue Gun
Coordinating Felt
Copper Chain (optional)
Needle & thread

I started by cutting the Peltex to make a cone for my son’s head.

check hat for fit

Once I had my cone shape, I unpinned it and laid it flat. I ironed my blue satin to the fusible side of the Peltex. Follow the instructions on the Peltex to make sure you get a good fuse. Be careful not to melt your fabric if you are using a synthetic fabric like I did.

iron satin to wizard hat

Roll the cone back up and stitch in place. You could hot glue, but I thought that adding a few stitches would be more secure. I then ran the copper ribbon down the seam to cover it up, and secured it with a couple dabs of hot glue.

stitch up wizard hat

Then it is time to make the band at the base of the Wizard Hat. I cut the Phoomph into 2″ strips. I cut my green satin into 3″ strips – 4″ strips would be better, though. It took 3 strips of Phoomph (cut from one sheet), and two strips of fabric for a hat to fit my 4-year-old.

I started by joining up the Phoomph strips. I cut each end at an angle, and lifted up the paper on each section to attach them together. Putting the joints together in this way prevents a big crease or bulge in one section of the hat band by distributing the seam over a larger area. Measure and cut the Phoomph strip to size to fit around the bottom of the hat.

connect phoomph

Once I had the Phoomph in one long strip and cut to size, I started “ruffling” the fabric with my fingers. Pushing the ruffles down on the Phoomph was fast and easy, much easier than trying to ruffle it with a sewing machine or by doing a running stitch by hand.

ruffle fabric onto phoomph

Once I ruffled it all the way to the end, I flipped it over, pulled off the paper on the back side, and folded over the raw edges of the fabric to adhere them to the Phoomph on the backside. My strips were 3″, but because of the ruffling, 4″ strips would have been better.

I cut strips of coordinating felt in 1 3/4″ widths, and glued it down on ONE edge with hot glue, securing the raw edges of the satin between the Phoomph and the felt. Once I had the felt on, I wrapped the hat band around the Wizard Hat, putting the felt on the inside and the satin covered Phoomph on the other side. I then glued both sides in place with more hot glue.

inside of hat

I pushed in the top point of the hat in, and glued a bead in place.

Finish tip of Wizard hat

My finishing touchs – where the two pieces of fabric met on the hat band, my ruffling wasn’t so great. I made this the “front” of the hat, and glued on a couple gear embellishments. I wasn’t sure they would hold up to a day with a 4-year-old, so I added a few stitches for security. I added a little copper chain around the edge and tacked it in place as well.

gears on wizard hat

Paired with the Wizard Wand I made, these were some great accessories. Tomorrow I’ll show you how I made his Wizard Robe

Wizard Costume