I have fond memories of my mom making our Halloween costumes when we were little. I have especially fond memories of a Tinkerbell costume, complete with wings. Although Halloween has gotten more popular in the UK over the years, it remains a particularly American holiday, and the homemade costumes are a part of that.
So I was very keen to make my daughter’s first Halloween costume, even if she wouldn’t really appreciate (or possibly even like) it. I looked at all the typical Halloween costume patterns, and searched online for the store bought ones that I might be able to do myself. My sister-in-law shared an adorable photo of her first daughter’s first costume, where she dressed up as two peas in a pod. I thought about making her a ninja but then Ken pointed out that would really just mean dressing her in black and most people probably wouldn’t get it. Her suggested an animal theme, so I ran with that.
In the end, the inspiration came not from sewing, but knitting. A trawl through Ravelry threw up the Woodland Fox Baby pattern which was just too cute for words. And it was pretty practical, as the baby could lie down or sit up in the costume, and the hat could be reused. Who doesn’t love a baby in a hat with ears on it?
I found the perfect shade of wool in an aran weight, rather than the recommended bulky weight. So I just doubled the number of stitches in the pattern to get the correct gauge. Finding the right colour leggings was proving to be more difficult, however. After many trips to various baby shops and checking every site I could find online, I decided to sew something. Luckily, a high school friend had just sent me a couple of sewing patterns for babies. The overalls/dungarees in Simplicity 4054 seemed like a pretty straight forward project. I found velour of the perfect foxy shade at the local fabric store and set about making the outfit.
I’d never sewn with velour before and, given I was in a hurry, perhaps didn’t give it the care and attention required to do a good job. It was slippery and I found that the overlocker wasn’t catching enough fabric to make a solid seam. In the end, I sewed the seams on the machine with a stretch stitch, then overlocked the seam allowances to finish it. This last bit was probably unnecessary but at the time, I still though I might use these overalls after Halloween. I quickly decided against that, however, when I realised I would need to carefully apply snap tape along the inside legs, to allow for diaper changing. No thank you. The project became a one-off costume project immediately. So instead of adding buttons and buttonholes on the back, I sewed on snaps and was done with it.
I’m glad I didn’t take the extra time with the snap tape. At the costume party for babies that we attended, we quickly discovered that the overalls rode up her body very quickly, due to the smooth wrong side of the fabric. This made it difficult to hold, carry or pick her up. And about halfway through the party, we took them off and she finished the rest of the party in her white sleepsuit. I guess at that point, she was dressed as a ghost!
On the plus side, the tail (which is pinned on to the costume, so you can easily remove or just move it as needed) has become a favourite toy of hers. And we still have the hat. And I’ve successfully continued the tradition of homemade Halloween costumes. Maybe next year she can be a ninja…