Friday, November 12, 2010

The Boy Wonder (and wonders galore)

There could be no Batman without the Boy Wonder, could there be?  They are like pb&j, bread & butter, oreos & milk... they are: The Dynamic Duo!  

And you couldn’t pick a more perfect pair than daddy and bug to portray those best buddies.
bug’s costume took the most time and effort on my part to make, but I cut corners all over the place to save some headache.
Most of you have probably guessed by this point that I really don’t have any sewing skills to speak of.  And now I’ll tell you the WHOLE truth.  I can’t read a pattern to save my life.  Really.  If someone held a gun to my head and told me to read this pattern, RIGHT HERE,  or they would shoot me... that’s it.  I’m a goner.  

I’ve tried.  I had to do it for my costume construction class in college and when I worked in the costume shop... and at that time I would inevitably run to my teacher and costume mentor to translate into English all the mumbo jumbo about piece "a" and piece "c" and tabs and back-stringing the biased cheveux-de-frise da blahdy blahdy blah.  (I’m not making that up, I swear)(except the blahdy blahdy part.  It didn't say that).
So, I didn’t use a pattern for any of this.  I avoid patterns at all costs.  Someday I will have to conquer my fear, else I’ll never live down the shame of being pattern illiterate, but Halloween was not that day.
I DID use these pictures as inspiration:
I got bug’s belt, green shorts and green polo shirt at the thrift store - a dollar each.  At first, I wasn’t happy that the only dark green shirt in his size was a polo, but it proved fortuitous in the end.  I got the tights at Target on clearance.  mr could refuse to wear them, but I still have some amount of control over my son’s wardrobe.  I already had the dark green gloves - and although they are obviously big on him, he wore them anyway.
The cape is double-sided and made from a drape I got at the thrift store.  I looked around the internet for cape tutorials and patterns, and found enough good ideas to feel confident enough to just go it alone.  

I folded my fabric in fourths and just cut a shape like this:
so I had two capes.  Then I cut four shapes like this:
for the neck.  OK, those are obviously not to scale...

I decided I liked the back side of the fabric better because it was shinier, so I put right sides together and sewed around the cape, except for the top neck area.  Then I flipped the cape right side (which was really wrong side) out.  I then sewed the neck pieces - sewing two pieces together for each side of the cape, then turning them right side out.  I pinned them into the sides of the cape at the top which was still unsewn.  I tucked the tops of the cape down inside the cape and pinned that too.  Then I just sewed along the top and where the neck pieces attached.  I sewed velcro to the neck pieces and voila!  Superhero cape!  This was the first article of clothing I have ever sewn that turned out looking just like it did in my head.  (There may be a tutorial for this in the future).  OH, remember how I mentioned that the polo shirt was fortuitous?  Well, I realized after I made the cape that it had a collar.  I didn't know how to create one on my own, much less add it to the finished cape, so I covered the existing collar on the polo by sewing the same gold fabric onto it.  Then he wore the polo collar over his cape.  Genius!  (I mean... um, kind of innovative anyway... er...)
watching the big kids dance to "Thriller"
The vest is a refashion from a boys size 6 corduroy, collared, button-down shirt.  This was so much fun to make - and I’m actually not being sarcastic.  First, I deconstructed the shirt.  I took off the color and the arms, cut the bottom off to just a bit shorter than it needed to be, and cut the button and button holes off.  Then I sewed up the front and hemmed the all the cut edges - arm holes, neck hole, and around the bottom.  I used some of the bottom of the shirt that I’d already cut off to make the flared out part of the vest with the points in front.  I just measured and cut a strip, using the finished edge of the shirt as the bottom of my vest.  I turned it inside out and pulled it over the bottom of the vest, pinning it to the outside with right sides together and pinned it onto the vest,  creating a few little gathers in the back as I pinned.  I sewed it on and was pretty proud of myself, but I wasn’t finished.  I then sewed 8 buttonholes - yes, you heard me correctly - 8 buttonholes on the sewing machine, without ruining the garment.  This was my first attempt at buttonholes since college.  I actually practiced on scrap fabric first, just like you’re supposed to.  I’m amazed, too.  When the buttonholes were done, I threaded thin gold rope through.  Then I cut the circle and the “R” freehand and used heat n bond to adhere them over the pocket on the shirt to hide it (because I didn’t want to get out the seam ripper and sit there picking out those tiny stitches).  I couldn’t believe my luck - two items of clothing that turned out exactly like the picture in my head and ACTUALLY FIT MY CHILD.  There are miracles.  They do happen in real life.
Well, after all that, you would think a mask out of felt would be nothing.  There’s where you’re wrong.  First, I made one that was WAYYYYY too small for bug.  Then I totally botched the second one with some scary sewing and forgetting to attach the elastic at the pertinent moment in the pertinent spot.  But third time’s a charm, and I finally cut two mask shapes out of felt (using a template), then pinned the elastic in between them and sewed around the edges and around the eye holes.  Success!  
Well, kind of.
I used a black faux leather belt and just hot glued strips of the gold drape around the belt at regular intervals.  I took a rectangular button pin I’d gotten at a thrift store at some point and spray painted it gold, then attached it to the regular belt buckle.  (It didn’t want to stay straight, so for trick or treating I actually just stuck the pin part right into the belt and that worked better).
I searched and searched for pictures of Robin’s shoes and finally found this:
Holy cow.  How the heck...???
So those atrocities on bug’s feet that are supposed to be shoes?  Those were last summers sandals.  Now they are... atrocities.  I used felt to cover the sandals and make them shoes.  Then I attached two felt triangles to each side of each sandal.  In between each pair of triangles I sandwiched three lengths of wire, which I hot glued in place.  Then I hot glued the triangles together over the wire, and bent them to the correct shape.  They worked, and I was generally happy with them, but contrary to the top half of the costume, they did NOT turn out how I pictured them.

And THAT was how I created the boy wonder out of stash and thrift.  I was so excited that bug was excited to wear it.  He even kept the mask on and would get upset if it fell or someone took it off. (will wonders never cease?)  he walked around telling everyone that daddy was batman and mini was a bad guy.  Somehow I didn’t factor into the equation...

See the (baby girl style) PENGUIN how to here.


Ashley said...

So adorable! You're right, he's too young to fight things like tights! Enjoy it while you can. :) Great job!

April said...

I love it! I am awarding you the Stylish Blogger Award! Stop by my blog to pick it up!

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