ON MY MIND SEWING SEWING FOR KIDS

HOW DO YOU ATTACK COSTUME SEWING?

October 25, 2013

My mom is a quilter and she is good at it.  She is mathematical, precise, and loves nothing more than a perfectly fitting right angle.  She spends so much time on her projects that she can justify the finest fabrics and expects the most beautiful outcome.  We had a costume chest when I was young which contained beautifully made capes and ballerina costumes, not to mention perfect drawstring trick or treat bags to contain our spoils.  The wonderful thing about this is that these impeccably made items have lasted through the years.  My nieces and nephews still wear the capes and my children carry the same trick or treat bags.  She was able to truly share her talent for quality sewing with many children through these costumes.  I wonder if this is how most of my sewing friends attack this costume making season – dedicating a lot of time and money into one of a kind items.  It’s kind of our time to shine.  Showing off our talent for friends and neighbors.

I am kinda on the opposite spectrum for a few reasons.  When I was about 8 my mother made me one of these amazing clown costumes.  I picked out the fabric with her at least a month ahead of time.  I remember a lot of bright colors and stars.  She spent many late nights making a truly quality garment to wear on Halloween and it did not disappoint.  So quality, in fact, that I felt like I should wear it for the next two years as well.  It was a little traumatizing.  An 11 year old clown is just not cute, let alone cool.  Perhaps for this reason, and others, I take a very different approach to our Halloween costumes.
You see, I feel liberated by sewing up a costume in an hour or two, nothing gets pressed, or measured, or reinforced.  It’s so satisfying to just fly by the seat of my pants.  The fabric is cheap so I don’t worry about messing anything up, I can just be creative.  I also don’t worry if the outfit lasts past Halloween because I figure my kids imaginations will be filled with something new next year.  If I’m lucky the costume will last long enough to make it into the dress up box afterwards.
I don’t think there is a right way, I am more curious what you guys do.  
Do you love sewing up beautiful Halloween costumes that will last through the ages? or
Do you prefer my approach of fast and dirty costume making that has a bit of the “home made” flair?

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15 Comments

  • Reply Jessica October 25, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    I’m like you. If I have no reason to believe it will ever be worn again, I’m not spending a ton of time on seam finishes and interfacing. I do the best possible job I can on regular clothing, even though it’s usually for a child who will outgrow it in six months. But I have three kids and a husband to sew costumes for, and it’s more important for my sanity to just get it done. The outsides always look fine, so I don’t feel bad about it.

  • Reply Beth October 25, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    Personally, I prefer fast and dirty for costumes. Some of this is due to lack of time; when I am working and trying to manage day to day activities and make two costumes, there are times when you just need to get things done. My girls are young (3 and 5) so the odd of them fitting into the costume next year are pretty slim. Lastly, although the youngest eventually would fit in the older girl’s costume at some point, the odds that she would want to be the exact same character is pretty low. The girls use their costumes year round. Last year they were Glenda the Good Witch and Dorothy. The Glenda costume has holes in skirt and Dorothy has some very faint stains. The costumes may not be reusable, but I have some wonderful memories of the girls dressing up in their costume throughout the year.

  • Reply Beth October 25, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    Personally, I prefer fast and dirty for costumes. Some of this is due to lack of time; when I am working and trying to manage day to day activities and make two costumes, there are times when you just need to get things done. My girls are young (3 and 5) so the odd of them fitting into the costume next year are pretty slim. Lastly, although the youngest eventually would fit in the older girl’s costume at some point, the odds that she would want to be the exact same character is pretty low. The girls use their costumes year round. Last year they were Glenda the Good Witch and Dorothy. The Glenda costume has holes in skirt and Dorothy has some very faint stains. The costumes may not be reusable, but I have some wonderful memories of the girls dressing up in their costume throughout the year.

  • Reply Nikki October 25, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    I loooooove the costume sewing each year!! We start browsing the new pattern choices as soon as the costume ones come out and my kids get so into it. I do take the time to make them nice, though, because my kids and their friends wear them for dress up all the time and the things I’ve made last forever, whereas the ones from the store (even nice stores, even the Disney store!) are in tatters and shreds within several months. I serge edges and install zippers and they last forever. The kids actually still wear a mermaid tail I made 5 years ago and still looks new!

  • Reply Sew little time October 25, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    i’m with you. halloween is less serious in the uk then in the US. if the small one wants a bought costume (and i can buy it cheap in the supermarket – most sell for £6 or so – i couldn’t buy the fabric for that) then fine. i’m not putting huge amounts of effort in for a bat costume she will wear once. for proper dress up she will wear more, i would consider “proper” making.

  • Reply Florencia October 25, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    I’m in between here 🙂 I do spend in the fabrics, perhaps not the most expensive ones, but the right fabric for the costume. I take the time to measure twice before cutting. I may not be as neat or precise as in my regular sewing but I do take a little time to make them because my kids love to dress up year round so I want the costume to last a couple years.

  • Reply Michelle October 25, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    I haven’t sewn costumes. Not yet. I have; however, knit matching sheep costumes to outfit my husband and dogs. I definitely strive for impact. People still talk about those costumes, and it was three years ago. They were WAY more awesome than anything available for purchase; however, I totally recycled those sheep costumes and knit something else with the yarn after Halloween was over. This year, I knit unicorn hats for my husband and myself. And, they’re amazing, but I can’t see them getting a lot of repeat use.

  • Reply Amy October 25, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    I approach my costumes just like regular clothes! I still use quality fabrics and my usual sewing techniques. I figure if I’m sewing it, I might as well do a good job. That way they hold up if I want to rewear them! I LOVE Halloween, though. It’s one of my fave days of the year.

  • Reply lisa g. October 25, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    i have four kiddos to sew for and i try to walk the line of quality but not taking up all my time. i hate spending time on any sewing only for it to be worn once, so this year i took a walk down the quilting aisle and picked up some broadcloth solids instead of the fray and snag-prone costume satins. this way it still didn’t cost an arm and a leg, but should hold up for hand-me-downs and dress up play!

  • Reply KimP October 25, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    I kind of have the same approach to making my dress for my company’s Christmas party every year – it’s a dress I’m probably only going to wear once, maybe twice, three times, tops. So I give myself permission not to finish the seam allowances or pre-strink the fabric (the dress isn’t going to get washed anyway). Plus, the party is usually dark and everyone there is half drunk – if my dress isn’t perfect, who is going to notice???? So I save my best work for the dresses I wear every day instead.

  • Reply kristin October 25, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    I think I’m more with you! I’m usually a pretty diligent seam/hem finisher and try to sew things nicely, but for halloween sewing i’m more willing to let that slide because it usually turns into dress up/pajamas. that said, i HATE sewing with really cheap fabric, it’s just difficult and annoying, so i still try to get halfway decent stuff there.

  • Reply angela October 26, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    I confess I am a fast and dirty costume maker, upcycling old clothes and sheets etc.. whatever that I can find to do the trick.

  • Reply Kelly October 27, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    I don’t have kids, but do work in opera education where we have lots of costumes for our programs, and I’m on the fence. Some of our costumes get used year after year and are more meticulously made, but some are just thrown together as quickly as possible, and they look fine on the stage. At least for us, it depends on where you’re at. If it’s a basic piece that will be used forever, then take your time if possible. If it’s for a single event, you have a deadline, and it may never get worn again… slapdash that thing together!

  • Reply crystalpleats October 27, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    I read this Friday as I was doing a one day sew-a-thon on my three kids costumes. Got the job done and now I can move on. I would rather just get it done quickly and know they will only last awhile in the costume box.

  • Reply Jennifer @ Workroom Social October 31, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    I’m definitely on your side, especially for costumes. Happy Halloween!

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