A couple I know with three children have welcomed Kevin and I into their backyard, and they have the grace to make me feel entirely welcome and comfortable in their house at all times, like an unplanned roommate. I feel quite useful with my sewing skills, and have started early on the kids’ costumes. With so much time, we’ve tackled some most imaginative ideas.
The oldest boy is going to be a shark, formerly a fair-prize-sized stuffed dolphin, emptied of its stuffing. It’s taken some work to make the transition from a friendly looking dolphin to a shark menacing and realistic enough to satisfy an 11yr-old.
The littlest girl wanted to be a Smurfette, so I created a one-piece leotard that zips up the back out of a garishly blue woman’s sweater. That’s her smurf skin, topped by the white dress (made from an adult white t-shirt) , a blond wig, white stocking hat (made from another t-shirt with a handful of polyfil stuffing for the distinctive shape), and some white “shoes” made out of some fleecy slippers that velcro over her normal shoes. Impossibly adorable.
The middle boy wanted to be a dead Energizer bunny (a crafty bit of anti-brand attitude I thoroughly appreciated), so I started on a one-piece back zippered bunny suit that resembled pink Pjs but for the integral hood. Just after the requisite larger than life ears were ready, he decided he wanted to drop the Energizer part and just be a dead/zombied pink bunny. Supporting the ridiculously large ears wasn’t easy, and I didn’t think it would work at times, but they turned out amazing! Almost half his height again tall, the giant ears defy gravity and are very adjustable.
The secret to both the shark/dolphin and ears is baling wire- one of my favorite all purpose fix-it supplies. I would take baling wire over duct tape on a desert island. The shark has a 3ply twisted strand of wire safety-pinned on the inside from head to tail, holding out the dorsal fin and making the spine shape. Then the tail has one piece making the whale tail shape, plus some stuffing, and the jaws have a continuous oval hand-sewn along the teeth, keeping the mouth shape and allowing him to adjust the mouth opening, too, not unlike real jaws.
For the impossible ears, I made a wire head frame. A double strand of wire as a crown banding the head, and then an ear to ear wire, and a front to back center wire. That was hard to twist together in a way that didn’t create pressure points. I laboriously sewed that into the inside of his bunny head piece, with a little strip of fleece on the crown wire so that the wire isn’t directly on his head. Being attached to the pajama style body, it holds the wire frame cap from sliding off either way, so it didn’t have to grip his head like a ball cap (luckily). Then the bunny ears have a continuous loop of wire sewn into their perimeter, with an extra 4” sticking out the bottom each side. I bent those crucial 4 extra inches 90 degrees, poked them through the hood, and twisted them lengthwise into the wire head frame. Happily, a complete success. That little extra bit of wire at a right angle and secured to the head is enough leverage to support the ears’ height no problem. I wore them around for awhile and it was fun to sweep the ceiling with them.
He also had the idea to be bleeding stuffing (a zombie bunny after all) from wounds, and we discovered the best, cheapest way ever to make mock bullet holes. Duct tape and electrical tape. We cut squares of duct tape into starburst shapes and then pieces of electrical tape into irregular circular shapes for the center. So easy, fast, and perfect looking. We covered the unlucky bunny in bullet holes and hot glued little wads of stuffing at every one.