Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Luke's dinosaur costume

Somewhere along the line we have decided Luke likes dinosaurs.  I don't really know why, we must have just thought it was a good thing to like.  We gave him a stuffed one for Easter which we still rock him with every night.   And the ones I painted hang out on the ledge at the top of our stairs.
He likes stopping to play with them on his way to bed and calls them "roar!".  Sometimes he waves bye to them when we go down the stairs.  It's adorable.

So, we decided Luke should be a dinosaur for Halloween.  Halloween was never a big deal to us when I was growing up but it was/is in Matt's family so Luke would need a costume.  Plus, most people are aware of how often Luke wore his monkey costume from last year (it was a lot, kept him warm through many polar vortexes!).

This isn't going to be a very good how-to because it was some improvising and just kinda figuring things out as I went along. 

Our supply list:
-body of the costume
-felt for scales and stomach (I think I only used 3 or 4 8"x11"sheets)
-less than 1/2 yd of fabric for the tail
-fabric scissors
-stuffing for tail
-safety pins
I originally looked for a matching hoodie and sweatpants but couldn't find any.  Then I found this hooded pajama on Amazon and thought it would work well, especially because the feet were open (for his shoes) and it had a hood (for the spikes).  Pre-surgery I bought many sheets of felt and sent Matt out for some fleece for the tail while I was laid up. 

I looked at these posts (Homemade Halloween Costumes and DIY dinosaur hoodie sweatshirt - via Pinterest) and they were my basic guides.  I was horrible about taking pictures as I went since I didn't know how this was going to turn out.

I free-handed cut out the stomach from one sheet of felt and then folded it roughly in half to cut and work around the zipper.  Sewed that on the jammies.

The scales were all cut as diamonds (by folding the fabric in half and cutting a triangle).  
I sewed the very middle of the diamond along the seam of the hoodie, using the hood seam as a guide for the middle at first and then the zipper for a guide along the back.  I cut all the diamonds just free hand, making them roughly the same size.  Less than perfect is the key here.  Once the middle of the diamond was sewn to the jammies I sewed the edges of the diamond together to make a triangle along the back.  So each spike is doubled, helping it stand up better. Each spike took about 30 minutes, as long as I didn't have to start a new piece of thread (I am apparently horrible at estimating the length needed, often coming up just short.).

The tail was the most time consuming.  I enlisted Matt to help me cut it out: he folded the felt in half, roughly drew the shape, and then cut.  We trimmed it a little and that was that.  Since I planned to sew the spikes into the seam of the tail, I sewed all the diamonds into triangles first.  These went really fast, about 15 minutes each. 

enjoyable Friday naptime sewing and catching up on the DVR
Then came the part that scared me the most - putting the tail together.  Matt and I went over it many times to make sure what we were doing made sense.  I wanted the seam to be on the inside and all the spikes sewn into it.  I was convinced it wouldn't turn right side out properly, that some spike would get caught.  But, spoiler alert, it all came out fine. 

I laid out the spikes against the inside of the tail, carefully folded the tail back in half, and pinned the heck out of it. 

Then it was sewing, sewing, sewing.  It actually went pretty fast (an hour?).  I did this while we rewatched Catching Fire so it was easy to just sit there and sew.  I was so amazed when I turned the tail right side out and everything worked out.  I showed Matt proudly; he said "good job".  With that much enthusiasm too.  I stuffed the tail with regular stuffing from Jo-Anns.

We had been discussing how best to attach the tail to the rest of his costume.  We knew Luke would be in and out of his car seat often on Halloween and we were not going to take the whole suit off him every time.  Eventually we settled on just closing up the tail and then safety pinning it to the jammies.  We actually only did that at our first 2 stops and then got lazy and briefly held it up to show people.  Haha.  But it worked fine.

So, I cut out a quick square of fabric, stuffed the edges into the tail, and sewed.  I'm amazed it came out this good looking, it's handy that fleece is rather forgiving.  Actually all the seams are hidden rather well even though they are front and center.  Yay!

All together I got the whole tail done, other than cutting it out and sewing the spikes together, in one night, maybe 3 hours of work. 

Here it is, all finished, a few days before Halloween:

You may notice in the pictures with Luke that he has coverings on his shoes too.  Those were Matt's last minute addition right before we ran out of the house on Halloween.  He cut triangles of the fleece, safety pinned them around Luke's shoes, and then drew toenails on them.  It ended up working really well to hide his shoes and it was super quick. 

Luke was super adorable as a dinosaur and he tolerated it just fine, besides the hood.  I'm amazed we have any pictures of him with it up.  The only downside was that the suit was pretty tight on him (Matt said it was his dinosaur skinny jeans) and the hood realllly didn't fit him at all.  I was bummed because it was hours of work (all while watching tv though so it's not like I was wasting time) and he only wore it twice.  I was kinda hoping it could be like his monkey suit from last year and get him through the really cold days this winter.  Oh well.  I do plan to add straps to the tail so he could wear just that.  It won't keep him warm but it would be adorable. =)

Even though he's not going to get any more wear out of it, I'm still glad I made his costume.  I got me excited to dress him up on Halloween and I didn't mind spending the money on it since it was homemade and unique.  It helps that he was an adorable little dinosaur. =)
Halloween, Luke's first fitting and right before running out the door.

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