Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween wrap up

I guess I want to start this with a disclaimer: I love Halloween and I love making costumes for my kids. I don't judge other people for not enjoying this. There are things other parents do that I just do not like, will never like and therefore, if I do them I do them halfheartedly. So, if you are reading this and thinking gah: I could/would never do that. Great--get on with your life! No judgement at all from me!

For us Halloween prep usually begins in August. In August I drag the girls to Joann and we spend a happy hour leafing through the pattern books and dreaming about what we want to be. I try to have a final idea/concept by labor day (when typically patterns go on sale for $1-$2) and I get started sewing by the end of September. One year I finished by October first, because I'd been laid off from my part-time job and found myself with gobs of time in September, but usually I'm done with costumes about a week before Halloween--give or take. Very rarely am I rushing around on Oct 30, trying to put finishing touches on something.

SO this year was different.

If you'll recall, I spent a lot of summer feeling very much off. And thus, things that had always given me joy seemed exhausting. I did take each child individually in August for the pattern book leafing, but it became one more exercise in frustration as each girl had a vision that they were not seeing in the pattern books. And I might add, a vision they could not articulate to me without me feeling very much like a failure.

Then at the last part of August I very suddenly (like within 10 days) came out of this fog and... well had a bunch to catch up on. There was back to school, and canning and my toe was still infected, and my work hosts these fundraisers three times a year and one of them lands in October, so I had planning. So yeah--I set a deadline of September 30 for the girl to finalize and articulate what they wanted. And I was kicking myself for missing my usual labor day sale.

But honestly, the girls were pretty solid in what they wanted: BB8 from start wars and a "unicorn in a onsie." I confess right there with you I had no idea how I was going to pull either off and furthermore, what a unicorn in a onsie would even look like. She helpfully drew a picture:

costume sketch

Yeah the picture didn't really help.

BUT, I did also get a description from this and believe it or not saw this exact thing at Target! I was so thrilled, I came home and told her and asked--would she rather I buy her that? The answer was a definitive no.

AS for BB8? She told me she wanted a dress with BB8 designs, and I created a whole pinterest board of BB8 ideas. And guess what--she liked NOTHING I pinned. She kept saying she wanted a teacup dress. I had no idea what that was. I had her look through the dresses part of the pattern books, and she kept asking me to make her prom dresses. I finally googled teacup dresses, and got an idea of silhouette.

We discussed materials for these costumes and finally, I had a plan. Of course it was October at this point.

And remember when I said my work has a fundraiser in October? Well I usually spend a chunk of time working on that because it was scheduled for the week of the 14-16. And at this point, it's early October and I have NOTHING.

Well, my MIL was headed out of town and before she left she dumped a bunch of Joann's coupons on me (see everyone was worried at this point) and Lo and behold, Joann's was having a blowout sale. Patterns were $1-$2 and fleece was $2.99 a yard. Plus there were coupons. Good coupons too.

So on Columbus day(!) I hiked my butt to Joann's and bought both patterns, and all the material for the unicorn. BB8 was still a problem though because the material I wanted was $24.99 a yard and I needed 2.25 yards. I'll just let that sink in.

Joann fabrics was having a sale! Any guesses what this becomes?

A photo posted by Jodie (@ja_gardner) on

So on October 15--the day after my part in the fundraiser was over--I started the unicorn costume.

Then, another Joann coupon hit me--20% off your entire purchase including sale items. I had just about decided that 20% off 24.99 was about the best I could do--but when I went in, the fabric was listed at 30% off! And it ended up ringing up lower (I asked before cutting)--something like $14/yard. So I bought it (even though I did have to let the checker know that it rang up wrong--the slip SAID one price and it rang up FULL price--and she was NOT happy with me).

Now, one of the reasons, I usually start so early is that because when you are winging it like I often am, and you aren't a good seamstress--things happen. And usually I need time to puzzle it out.

Not so much here. I needed to just get it done. And so the unicorn has the messiest zipper i have ever put in in my entire life. And if I had had time, I would have switched from the pink I bought to white, but I didn't have time. So I made it work.

Oh and then, The weekend after I started, I got word that my deadline had changed. No longer was Oct 31--A Monday the day costumes were needed. Nope--Friday the 28 was costume day at school. Eliminating 3 whole work days that were mostly WEEKEND days. Let me tell you--I should get an award fro restraint that I did not email the school in a FURY.

Thankfully, aside from the zipper, the main Unicorn costume (actually a cat or gorilla pattern) came together smoothly (as well it should I think this is the 9th time, I've made something from this basic pattern) and BB8's dress was a "learn to Sew EASY" pattern that because it was a knit, didn't have set in sleeves or gathered skirt.

I did finish the Unicorn costume, pretty much by Wednesday and Thursday, I just really focused on ONLY sewing and cut out and sewed on the BB8 symbols.

Just so you know, I did NOT go for cosplay style accuracy. I went for the least I could do to make the costume look like BB8.

This is not to say that this was all without drama. Do you remember I mentioned that the unicorn was modeled after something you could buy at Target? Well every popular girl in middle school announced that SHE was going to be a unicorn. Which made my unicorn girl flip out. She was worried that my version would not match up with theirs, that the mane I was planning wasn't fluffy or long enough. In fact at one point, I told her I wasn't working any more on it until she calmed down and stopped screaming at me, and started BB8.

I managed to entirely finish the BB8 dress and I did cheat a little on my--I'm not doing another thing on your costume, and cut out the pieces for the hood before she calmed down. You know what finally did it? On Monday they had pajama day and someone wore the unicorn suit as PJs (a boy) and suddenly she became convinced of the sheer epicness of her costume. Which meant that I was able to sew it all together (finally) and have her be excited about it.

How did they turn out? Fabulous. I took pictures on Friday before school and I'm hoping to get more tonight before they trick or treat (yes, they are 8th graders, yes, they are nearly 14 and YES they want to trick or treat). Because it is not my practice to put my girls' pictures out on the blog--I have covered their faces:



Compare the drawing to the actual Unicorn--Nailed it didn't I!

It was super fun, but I hope I never have to pull off costumes in less than two weeks ever again.

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