Monday, November 28, 2016

Nightmare Before Christmas Costume Details!

I know it's super late, but I'm finally getting around to posting more about this year's costumes, with the good pictures! Hey, at least it's vaguely appropriate for Nightmare Before Christmas to be posted between the two holidays, right? In addition to Halloween, we're also occasional con goers, so our costumes lean slightly towards cosplay so they can be worn again if they haven't been outgrown - and now my kids expect detailed and accurate costumes. No idea how that happened... But I'll be incredibly lucky if the suit still fits the next time we head to a con! Anyone know of any in the near future? ;)

Last year, they found The Nightmare Before Christmas on Netflix, and became totally obsessed. It was too late to do it last year, so THIS year they decided to be Jack Skellington and Sally.

The first challenge was finding fabric for Jack's suit. I had assumed, silly me, that some sort of stripes in an appropriate fabric would be much easier to find. Instead, it took forever to find the right fabric. I'd seen some people make theirs from black and draw the stripes on, but I really wasn't up for that. Eventually I found exactly what I was after at a local salvage place that carries fabric. After hacking the Little Gentleman Suit Jacket from Peekaboo Patterns last year to have tuxedo tails, I used essentially the same alteration to make Jack's jacket, and just changed the tails to look a little more tattered. He wore a basic white tee under the jacket.

I only used one button, but did keep the jacket length to the waist in the front, since my son is not a skeleton, nor will he be persuaded to wear pants that cover most of his torso. My go-to for pants to use with the jacket are the Classic Chinos, also from Peekaboo Patterns. For the bow tie, I used this tutorial and left off the stripes - I tried them with the first one, and didn't like how the puff paint was coming out.

Tackling the Sally dress was more difficult. I looked up dozens of pictures and watched part of the movie with the kids. The movie version has very washed out colors, while most of the available merchandise and art uses bright colors. When I went fabric shopping, there was very little that was anywhere near resembling the patterns and colors from either version, so I bought a bunch of solids and a fabric marker. I started with the Very Shannon Sally Dress pattern - fitting, right? - and redrew the neckline to be rounded in back and a vee in front. I made a muslin to check that it would still go over her head, then sketched the shapes onto the inside of the muslin with pencil and traced them into pattern pieces. After I went back and used the original pieces to redraw the armscye so that the sleeve piece would fit in cleanly, I cut the pieces and drew the fabric patterns on in marker. The patchwork pieces are sewn together like a crazy quilt, and then the black stitching was added with embroidery floss. I left the sleeves and bottom unhemmed to let it look more raggedy.

To make the arms and legs with stitching I bought a white leotard, gloves, and tights, then drew the stitch marks on with the aforementioned fabric marker. I cut off the feet of a pair of black and white striped knee socks to make her leg warmers.

I'll admit, I rolled the dice on whether to go faded or bright. I ended up choosing bright, but the first time Ellie saw the finished dress she had a fit that the colors weren't right and it wasn't the one she saw in the movie... Oops. Mom fail. In the end she came around and she loves it, but I'll know better next time.

In the end, they're thrilled with the costumes. If I'm lucky, they'll still fit the next time we go to a con, and maybe I'll even win the argument about wearing makeup - Ellie usually will, but Cy adamantly refuses after enduring last year's makeup. If I win that fight, I'll be sure to post pictures on my blog!

I hope you enjoy our costumes, and if you'd like to see some previous years, you can check out The Joker and Harley Quinn, and Harry Potter (which also has a picture of the 10th Doctor costume from the year before).

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

This is Halloween!

Okay, so technically yesterday was Halloween. But today is when I get around to sharing.

I'm really pleased with how these came out. And so far, they've even held up to being washed. The kids wore them for Cy's Halloween themed birthday party last weekend, and they ended up covered in dirt and smeared with makeup, since we actually did the makeup for the party. The edges of Sally's dress look even more frayed, and while I don't actually know what the fabric content of the suit fabric is, it cleaned up really nice.

The suit jacket is fully lined, and I pieced the inside front so that part of the lining is actually Nightmare Before Christmas fabric. It's also the pants pocket linings, but that was ridiculously hard to photograph, so you'll have to take my word for it. The pants are also fully lined in rayon jersey, so they're super soft and just that much warmer. Halloween gets pretty cold up here in the northeast.

The hand stitching on the Sally dress was actually harder than I anticipated. While I would never claim that I'm an amazing hand stitcher, I do tend to make fairly even stitches. I also have a habit of making my hand stitches reeeaaally small. So trying to do make large, uneven stitches was surprisingly hard. My mom helped with some of the hand stitching when I got tired, since I was finishing down to the wire - her stitches are usually much neater and more even than mine, so it was equally hard for her to make them intentionally messy.

I sewed on the patch by hand - in hindsight, I should have used something to iron it on first, but so far it seems to be holding up just fine.

Thanks for taking a peek at this year's costumes. I hope you all had a happy and safe Halloween