Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Despicable Me and Maternity Halloween Costume

Here our the Halloween costumes for our family this year:

We're all characters from the kids movie, Despicable Me.
I got the idea for these costumes a few months ago when my belly started showing with this pregnancy.  RJ told me I looked like Vector (who has a middle aged man gut) and would always love for me to say "Oh yeah!  Oh yeah!" and stick my belly out.

If you haven't seen the movie, here is where the Vector character is introduced...OH YEAH!

So trying to think of maternity Halloween costumes led me to go with the whole Despicable Me family theme this year.  Kind of selfish, but our Halloween revolved around my pregnant belly and needing to costume it somehow, luckily the rest of the fam liked their assigned roles...except for maybe Ellie.

In case you can't tell who we are:
Me= Vector: pirhana gun weilding villain
RJ= Gru: villain determined to steal the moon
Ellie= minion: mindless servant to Gru
Rhett=Dr. Nefario: old man scientist who works for Gru in the laboratory

I'm planning to post the other costumes separately this week, so here's a little about mine.
It is a total hacked job during one afternoon nap trying to sew as fast as I could just to whip it out, so the ankles and wrists aren't even hemmed.
I used an athletic mini mesh because it was the cheapest orange fabric I could find, so I have to wear leggings and a shirt underneath, but that's OK since it was snowing a few days ago here.
The front is only a zipper half way, I faked the bottom half by just top stitching twill tape down the center.

Vector's "V" nerd gang signs
I used the same pattern I've been sewing for the maternity skinny jeans, which helped make it a fast project.
All the white track stripes are just knit strips I top-stitched on with the raw edges that won't fray.
The collar is the fun part and I did actually not finish it  all during the nap and had to go back that night and draft/ sew the collar.
Glasses were sunglasses from the dollar store and I busted the lenses out, wig $6.00 from walmart that was as sexy vampire bob I cut into my attempted bowl cut.

This is a funny clip where they discuss Vector's wardrobe and I realized I should have had a black fanny-pack to complete the costume!

It was kind of fun to dress up pregnant actually.
Someone that knows I am expecting even asked me if the belly was real or if I stuffed it.
Oh no, it's real, and I've still got 12 weeks to go.

If I was huge full term pregnant I had an even better Halloween costume idea.
Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Zero the Ghost Dog

This year we added to our Nightmare Before Christmas life-size collection.
Last year we made Jack Skellington, tutorial here.
We made the next character and went with the easier option by making the ghost dog, Zero.

So zero is pretty simple.  I started by making a wire skeleton. 
The joints were secured with duct tape strips.

 I added a cheap Christmas red bulb for the nose, taping it to the wire head frame.

Then to make the skin or ghost layer, I had a thin mesh from JoAnn.
It was in their Halloween fabrics and the end of the bolt called it "ghoul fabric".
Basically cheesecloth or anything that looks gauze like would work.
So I just laid the fabric and hand sewed it to the wire frame, just quickly looping the stitch around the sides.
The body of the dog was one big pieces just draped.
The head was sewn in different sections around the different areas.  It was all just kind of hack and tack to get it covered.

Then for the eyes I cut 2 felt ovals and glued them to the head. 

 So now Zero joins his master on our front porch.
He actually hangs on the other side of the front door from fishing line to look like he's a hovering ghost dog.
I'm hoping next year I'll feel up to making a life-size Sally to finish the trio.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

film petit: Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds

I'm pretty honored/ thrilled to get invited to be a part of film petit this month!
If you haven't followed previous months, Kristin at skirt as top and Jessica at a little gray have a series where once a month they and a lucky guest sew children's clothes inspired by a movie.
There's been some awesome sewing in past months, definitely worth checking out!
film petit button for your blog

But this month's film is themed for Halloween with Alfred Hitchcock!
I grew up watching old movies, and these were really scary as a kid.  The movies are great, and the costumes seem to have a bigger role than most movies do now.  During Project Run and Play I made a dress inspired by Dial M for Murder, so I was excited to get a another stab at sewing for Hitchcock.
This time around, I went boy and got a little creepy with the Halloween version of film petit, being inspired by The Birds.  

Don't forget to hop over to Skirt As Top to see Norman Bates go psycho and A Little Gray for an adorable Melanie Daniels fighting off some birds!

So on to my take of THE BIRDS.

It was another great day in Bodega Bay, California.

RJ was enjoying his afternoon at the dock.

Until he noticed unusual behavior with the local birds...

When out of nowhere, they attacked!!

The birds pecked relentlessly.

Unfortunately, RJ didn't have change for the payphone to get help!

Tragically, another Bodega Bayan fell victim to the carnage of....
the birds!

Daniels Tee with Grandpa Pants

There's quite a mix of inspiration sources on this look.
Because the movie takes place in the coastal small town, I had a little nautical vibe going with the stripes and three contrasting shoulder buttons.
I chose green for the tee since the main character, Melanie Daniels wears the same green dress suit the entire film.
Then the for the Grandpa pants, the movie was filmed in 1963 and the style of the pants nods to the high-waisted trousers men used to wear.  I designed them with the fabric and overall shape of the pants my Grandpa used to wear, but sewed the details more like jeans to try to mix the vintage vibe with modern styling, making them casual play pants rather than formal-wear.

There's also a great scene in the film with school kids are running down the hill trying to escape from the crows attacking.  I love vintage kids clothes because they're simple designs and use plain fabrics, not plastered with characters or goofy stuff like today.

 sewing details:

-made with crosshatch gray wool blend suiting
-used a pair of his pants as a pattern and altered the legs for a simple, loose leg opening
-functional zip fly, buttonhole elastic waistband, and hook and eye closure
-patch pockets in back and regular curved front pockets
-scant pin-tuck on pant-leg fronts to maintain the crease found in men's trousers
-sewn with contrasting rust thread to mimic jeans rather than dress pants

-original pattern drafted with raglan sleeves
-contrasting cuffs, shoulder buttons, and waistband chunk
-three functional buttons at left shoulder
-made with stripe slub knit (walmart) and kelly green interlock (JoAnn)
blue contrasting was scrap knit and I have no clue where it came from

We visited my husband's home town, and they have a reservoir which served for our Bodega Bay backdrop.
RJ was pretty excited to take these pictures, as you could probably tell from his acting...but he insisted:
a) we needed fake blood (honey and food coloring)
b) the birds would end up killing him

So it was pretty fun, and we tried to not go too crazy with the gore for this one.

It was so fun to be part of this month's Halloween film petit.
You'll love Kristin's kids replaying the famous shower murder and Jessica's cutie wearing a miniature Melanie Daniels look!
They also have a flickr group if you've sewn any kids clothing inspired by a movie!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Plum Maternity Cords

I've come to the point in my pregnancy I have to wear maternity pants.
I fight it as long as I can, but the belly is too big, weight gain makes them too small, and regular pants are too uncomfortable despite the tricks to make them work as long as possible.
But the problem is I loathe maternity pants.
 My biggest problem is they're never long enough, which stinks.  I imagine there's no petite maternity clothing as there's never tall maternity--I guess they figure only average women get pregnant.  Also, it seems there's not many options even for the regular sizes.

So my last pregnancy I bought cheap jeans and added the maternity band.
I'm wearing them this time around again, but even the long size isn't long enough and they bug me.

So to save money, because who likes to spend cash on maternity clothing, I went the next step and made some maternity jeans from big, purple, corduroy pants.
My mom made me these 5 years ago with my first pregnancy, and they were wide leg, big purple pants, not very fashionable but really comfortable.
Here's an awful picture from 2008 wearing the big version when I dressed up as Phyllis from The Office nine months pregnant at a party celebrating the sitcom returning after the months of writer strikes.

So now colored jeans are everywhere, I thought I'd update the purple corduroy pajama pants into a slimmer pair of cords.
I traced a pair of jeans that still fit through the butt and thighs on my big purple pants, and ended up with comfortable plum jeans!
I didn't have enough fabric from the refashion to do real pockets or back pockets, but they are as comfortable as pajamas!  
I'm a no panel kind of girl, so the waist is the wide elastic that cuts low in the front to go under the belly.
Then the pockets are fake along with the fly.

These jeans are as easy as making the baby jeggings, with no zip in the fly or waistband. I'm in the process of sewing another pair, and trying to put better instructions together for anyone else who hates the fit or having to buy maternity pants.  They're such a quick and easy sew, especially once you've made your pattern from a regular pair of jeans.

They're so comfortable and fit better than my other maternity pants, I've been wearing them a lot.
So here's another shot of the plum pants!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Garland from Real Fall Leaves

Last month we visited my sister and took a picnic in the canyon.
RJ collected a grocery sack of fall leaves, and I thought of something to make with them.

So first to preserve them and prevent them drying out and cracking, I soaked the leaves for 4 days in:
2 c. water
1 c. glycerin

I laid all the leaves in a cookie sheet and poured the glycerin solution on top, then put another cookie sheet stacked on top to keep them flat.
After a few days, the leaves feel soft and leathery.  I just rinsed them off and let them dry.

Then to make the garland, I sewed them all together with a long stitch length to reduce the number of holes in them.

After a few feet, I thought it would have been better to use invisible thread.

But in the end I probably ended up with 15 feet of garland, so this is doubled, then looped in our dining area. 

You can always buy the fake ones, but I like the fact this is actually real leaves and has a lot of different colors in it was free!
I'm not sure how long it will last, I'm hoping a few years.
The glycerin really makes the leaves have quite a long life span from other projects I've done.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

KCWC: Sweater Cardigans

Over at Elsie Marley, each fall and spring there's a kids clothing sewing challenge, and this is my little entry I did Monday and Tuesday evenings.  

I made two black and white cardigans for each of my kids.
RJ loves his, mainly because he got to pick the buttons and they weren't what I wanted him to pick.
Funny how the rebellion makes him love it more.
They're both make with sweatshirt fleece, so warmer than regular knit for fall and winter in our freezing climate.

I used a new pattern from Adrianna at Crafterhours.
She's just starting a pattern shop with this Greenpoint Cardigan pattern.
It's nice to have a pattern with such a huge range of sizes, and that you can use for boys or girls.
It's a quick sew and I'd say a beginner pattern anyone could make.
Great way to upcycle adult tee shirts as well!

So first we'll talk about the boy look since I always tend to prefer the boy stuff I make for some reason.
Fabric: Printed sweatshirt fleece I bought 3 years ago from Walmart for only $2.00/yd.  Back when they'd get really awesome stuff for dirt cheap, like wool blends, knits, sweatshirt fleece and corduroy--but now their fabric dept stinks.
Black trim is just regular knit interlock from Joann.

I wanted to try some neon green buttons, but RJ picked blue.
Not a big deal, and it definitely makes him own the garment which is more important than my trying a bit of the current neon trend like I'd planned.
in case you care: shown with corduroy No David! pants

My biggest achievment on these were the pattern matching with the stripes.
Both the side seams and then the center front opposite sides aligning to look like seamless stripes was an exciting thing that happened to work out like I'd hoped.

RJ wore it all day yesterday, and actually prefers it as a shirt, with his bare chest blaring in the V of the neckline.
I explained it's more like a jacket, but he was little Hasslehoff all afternoon.

On to Ellie girls' owl cardi.

Fabric: owl print sweatshirt fleece I bought from 2 years ago.
Black contrasting cuffs the same knit interlock.

Ellie was kind of between sizes, so I made the larger size 2 to have some growing room.
So for now it's a little big.
shown with: shirt {H&M}, skirt {pin-tucked toddler skirt} and {dotted leggings}

This one was easier to cut since there weren't patterns to match, I just had to make sure the owls were all right side up.

I couldn't decide on the buttons for Ellie.
I usually avoid pink.  But RJ told me that's what she wanted, and I thought they did stand out and make it more girly, so we went pink.  I'd been thinking aqua or lime.

Despite the clapping below, Ellie hasn't been the biggest fan of long sleeves lately.
It has just begun that she's old enough to have clothing preferences, sad for me.
But hopefully she'll warm up to the layers as it gets colder.


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