Rootin’-est Tootin’-est Cowboy in the Wild, Wild Cantina!

It’s no secret that Halloween is my favorite holiday. The candy, the decorations, the crisp fall weather… but mostly, the crafty possibility. I try to go all out on a costume every year, and 2015 did not disappoint.

Now that my son is getting older, he was able to have input into his costume choice for the first time.  He couldn’t decide between Woody from Toy Story and Star Wars, so I tried to give him both. Introducing… Sheriff Woody Solo! I tried to blend elements from both characters together into the ultimate space cowboy.

Woody Solo Costume

Woody Solo Costume

There are so many fun details in this costume, and I’ll try to touch on all of them. First was the bandana. Taking inspiration for a traditional red and white printed bandana, I set out to make a Star-Wars inspired version.

Woody Solo Costume in Progress: Bandana

The final product turned out better than I could have hoped, especially considering my limited skills in AI. It went off to Spoonflower for printing.

Woody Solo Costume in Progress: Bandana

He loved finding all of the characters once it arrived. As always, I was very pleased with the print quality.

Woody Solo Costume in Progress: Bandana

A quick trim and hem and it was finished.

Woody Solo Costume

For the pants, I wanted to incorporate denim (Woody) and Corellian blood stripes (Han).

Woody Solo Costume in Progress: Pants

Woody Solo Costume in Progress: Pants

The pattern is free from Dana Made It – Kid Pants. I trimmed a bit off of each outer leg seam allowance to make room for a strip of stripes.

I used the flat front option. Scraps of topstitched vinyl were used for the belt and holster.

Woody Solo Costume

It’s tough, but if I had to pick my favorite part of this costume, it would probably be these Millenium Falcon buttons. I designed a very simple outline in Illustrator, and had them laser cut by Ponoko. Their service is so easy to use, even for a novice like myself. They make prototyping and pricing out options incredibly user friendly. I was able to get exactly what I wanted, within my budget, after a few small design tweaks. Their customer service is top notch, too! [No one is paying me to gush, I was just honestly impressed.]

Woody Solo Costume in Progress: Millennium Falcon Buttons

After making the costume, I still have four buttons left over. Any suggestions?

Woody Solo Costume in Progress: Millennium Falcon Buttons

On to the shirt. It quickly became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to find the white and red checked fabric that I had in mind. Again, this is a mix — Woody’s shirt is yellow with red checks, and Han’s is white/off white. I improvised with white cotton and a red permanent fabric marker.

Woody Solo Costume in Progress: Shirt

Woody Solo Costume in Progress: Shirt

The pattern for this shirt is another freebie, Western Style Toddler Shirt from Barmy Beetroot. My modifications were a velcro closure, faux buttons, and lengthening the sleeves from short to long. I also cut the cuffs, collar, and back yoke on the bias.

Woody Solo Costume in Progress: Shirt

Woody Solo Costume

For the vest, I drew the structure from Han and the cow print from Woody. First, I sketched out the pocket placement from movie stills and figured out rough measurements.

Woody Solo Costume in Progress: Vest

The vest pattern was the free (surprise!) Very Cozy Vest from Made by Marzipan.

Woody Solo Costume in Progress: Vest

The cow print was freehanded with black Sharpie. Doesn’t get any easier than that! Woody Solo Costume

Another favorite detail — Woody’s pull string. A bit of cord from the fabric store coupled with a painted embroidery hoop innard.

Woody Solo Costume

Of course, I’ll take any excuse to use my Silhouette Cameo! The belt buckle, spurs, and badge were all designed with the Silhouette software. Each design was cut out of cereal box cardboard twice, then adhered together with my Xyron machine.

I then used the print & cut feature with Silhouette’s printable & adhesive gold foil. Layered al together, it made for sturdy pieces. I used a metallic gold marker around the raw edges to cover up the white from the cardboard.

Woody Solo Costume in Progress: Accessories

Here’s a screencap of Woody’s belt buckle, to show where I got my inspiration for the Leia buckle.

Woody's Belt Buckle

Originally I had attempted to make boot covers, but I couldn’t get them to look how I had pictured them. Instead, we picked up a cheap pair of black rain boots, which I decorated with strips of topstitched vinyl and the gold foil spurs.

Woody Solo Costume in Progress: Boots & Spurs

The finishing touch was the treat bag. I puzzled over it for a week or so, before settling on a mix of Woody’s pal and Han’s sidekick — Slink & Chewbacca. It took some time, but I came up with a design that I liked.

Woody Solo Costume in Progress: Slink/Chewbacca Treat Bag

The finished image was printed on Sillhouette’s printable canvas. It was a fast way to finish up, but I wish the colors had been a bit more saturated. It fit the bill, though, and was stuffed full of goodies on Halloween night.

Woody Solo Costume in Progress: Slink/Chewbacca Treat Bag
Here are a few more pictures of our cowboy enjoying his costume.

Woody Solo Costume

Woody Solo Costume Woody Solo Costume

One final detail: the tauntaun hobby horse. Unfortunately it’s no longer available, as it was an exclusive from the 2012 Star Wars Celebration convention. I bought it back then to decorate our son’s nursery. It was great to incorporate it as part of his costume.

Woody Solo Costume

So another Halloween is on the books… and I’m already looking forward to next year!

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Gimli Costume–Actual Dwarven Size!

It’s been a while. So let’s get right down to catching up on the past year or so!

First up is the crown jewel of my projects for 2014: my son’s Halloween costume. He’ll soon be of an age where he’ll want to make his own costume choices, so until that point, I plan on having some fun. Say hello to Gimli from Lord of the Rings.

Gimli Toddler Costume

It all started with a toddler-sized beard… When approaching a crazy project, I try to tackle the part most likely to fail — and the facial hair was the make or break for this costume. Fortunately I found a great tutorial — that I simply scaled down. I modified the finished beard to snap on to the helm with oversized snaps, as it was the part I figured he’d dislike the most. Spoiler alert — I was right.

Gimli Toddler Costume

Gimli Toddler Costume

From there, it was on to Gimli’s helm. I made changes to this free fleece knight helmet pattern, by adding chain mail-ish stitching on the back, as well as a medallion and cheek straps cut out of felt with my Silhouette Cameo. The designs were freehanded, and based loosely off of movie screenshots.

The tunic was based on Butterick 3244 — a simple fireman’s jacket. The sleeve pattern was chopped into a few pieces to get the look I was going for, and a faux chain mail underlayer was added.

Gimli Toddler Costume

The bandolier/belt was made from a few chopped up belts I found at the thrift store. I glued them together with industrial adhesive, then drilled holes and laced with decorative leather cord for extra reinforcement.

Gimli Toddler Costume

The treat bag is probably my favorite part. I traced a movie still of Gimli’s axe and cut it out of fusible web backed felt on my Silhouette. I created an offset around the original design and cut it out of another color of felt, then mounted the first on the second. It was reinforced with cardboard from a cereal box. I used a strip of felt to gusset the front and back together, and another thrift store belt for the handle.

Gimli Toddler Costume

Gimli Toddler Costume

Gimli Toddler Costume

He was a very good sport about the whole thing, and even wore the beard long enough for us to get a few good shots of the costume all together. For trick or treating and his school’s Halloween parade, he went sans facial hair — a good choice for everyone involved.

Gimli Toddler Costume

Gimli Toddler Costume

Gimli Toddler Costume

It was a great honor for this costume to be chosen as Craftster’s 2014 Costume Contest winner, as well as one of the Best of 2014 in the ‘Epic Challenge Winners of 2014’ category!

Gimli Toddler Costume

Clip It

Working through the last few months of pregnancy gets a little more challenging as time goes on. I have a little less energy, a little less patience, and a little more stress every day. At least it feels that way sometimes!

While I’m on the road for work, I daydream about ambitious craft projects and what I’m going to work on when I get home. But oftentimes, all I’m up for when I finally get there is catching up on Modern Family and eating pumpkin whoopie pies (‘tis the season!).

I found myself in a little bit of a crafty funk recently – and the best medicine was a quick, gratifying sewing project. These pacifier clips did the trick in spades.

Pacifier Clips

These were so easy to make that I breezed through ten in almost no time. And now we’ll never, ever lose a pacifier, right?

If you’re interested in making some clips of your own, the tutorial can be found at Sew Mama Sew, and I bought adorable clip hardware Cool2BeChicSupplies on Etsy.

Pacifier Clips

I learned a few new things while working on this project. Number one, how to do a rolled hem on my serger, which I’ve never attempted before. Number two, how to irreparably break my 20 year old serger. *sigh* A metal piece in the internal mechanism snapped off, and now it won’t do a regular serge stitch. Oh, well… guess I have something to ask Santa for. Third, this was the first time I ever used Fray Check. Where has this stuff been all my life? It is perfect for taming the errant little threads that inevitably result from a serged/rolled edge.

All of the fabric was from my stash. From the top: forest friends, map of Manhattan, E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES, US states & capitals, bias stripes, and additional forest friends.

Pacifier Clips

Rounded out with a blueprint fabric, gray with white flowers, a sushi print, and Christmas trees. Our little guy is due very early in January, but it never hurts to be prepared…

Pacifier Clips

A Different Kind of Block

From quilt blocks… to block prints!

Recently I’ve gotten very wrapped up in quilting. That’s not a bad thing, but I’ve gotten pretty far from my sewing roots: apparel. It’s literally been years since I made myself any clothes.

In the last few months I’ve lost some weight, so there’s no time like the present to jump into making some pieces for my summer wardrobe. I eased back in with a simple project: a summery linen skirt.

Block Print Linen Skirt

Pattern: Simplicity 2226
Fabric: Linen (or maybe linen blend) from JoAnn Fabrics

One of my favorite details — and the reason I chose this pattern — is that it has pockets. I can’t go anywhere without my Burt’s Bees lip balm, and I feel a little guilty treating my husband like a purse.

Block Print Linen Skirt, Pockets

Overall, it was a quick and easy pattern. My one complaint would be that it runs quite large. I chose a size based on my actual measurements, and it was way too big. Fairly easy fix — I trimmed 2.5″ off of the waistband and adjusted the skirt gathers accordingly.

For the bias-cut sash, I used a subtle striped black linen. I had to chop 9″ off of the length to make it look like the picture on the pattern envelope. Without a trim, it hung to my knees. I think it was intended to be tied in a bow… ick.

Block Print Linen Skirt, Sash

No modeled shots today… we’re having a nice lazy Sunday, so my dressform will have to do as a stand in for now.

Block Print Linen Skirt

All in all, a great start back into the world of wearable sewing. Looking forward to sharing more clothes in the coming weeks!

Merry Martingale

With a little help from yours truly, Santa brought our pup Leela some stylish accessories for Christmas: a new martingale collar and leash.

Martingale Collar and Leash

A quick primer on martingales: this kind of collar has no buckle – instead, it is comprised of two loops. One loop goes around the dog’s neck, while the other is used for clipping on a leash. Tension on the leash pulls the collar taut to prevent your dog from backing out of it. When adjusted properly, a martingale collar fits snugly – but not too tightly – at its smallest setting and provides a comfortable, loose fit in the “relaxed” setting.

While there are some cute options when you’re looking at regular collars, I’ve had trouble finding anything outside of plain vanilla in martingales, so I set out to sew one myself.

To make the collar, I took measurements from a commercially produced martingale that Leela was already wearing. I cut two pieces of 1” nylon webbing for the loops, leaving a long piece for the leash. As an added bonus, I got to use our fireplace lighter to melt the ends of the webbing. Any craft project that incorporates fire gets an A in my book!

I sewed some funky patterned ribbon onto the webbing along the edges, then simply mimicked the construction details of her current collar. I made sure to double and triple stitch at stress points, using an "X-box" (square with an X in the middle from corner to corner) stitching method to secure. I have a regular ‘ol cheapy Kenmore machine, but even so, sewing through multiple layers of webbing didn’t present a problem.

The leash was even simpler: a loop for my hand, and a metal snap secured at the other end.

Leela's New Collar

Three yards of nylon webbing and all the metal hardware (loops, d-ring, slide, and snap) came in right around $7 from StrapWorks.com, and three yards of ribbon cost around $6 from SewSmart Fabrics in Doylestown, PA. Total: $13 for a custom, girly martingale collar and leash set for our little monster!

Martingale Collar and Leash

Owl Galaxy Tab Cozy

Owl Galaxy Tab Sleeve

After yearning for a tablet computer for months, I gave in and bought a brand spankin’ new Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Much to my techie husband’s chagrin, my favorite Tab pastimes are checking my Google Reader, playing Robotek, and showing off the quick and easy case that I put together.

Crap I’ve Made has a great tutorial for a zippered laptop sleeve that was easy to adapt for the Tab. The front is a home dec weight owl print that I picked up in Portland, and I dipped into my Denyse Schmidt stash for the flower print.

Owl Galaxy Tab Sleeve, Front

Lined with a tiny stripe print…

Owl Galaxy Tab Sleeve, Lining

… and a little more Denyse Schmidt for the back.

Owl Galaxy Tab Sleeve, Back

The fabric, interfacing, and zipper were all from my stash, so this was my favorite kind of project — free!

Tufted Tweets Camera Strap

It’s been a scorcher here in PA on this fine holiday weekend, so I spent a little time in my nice air-conditioned craft room making a camera strap for my new(ish) Lumix camera.

Tufted Tweets Camera Strap

Quite a bit nicer than the blah strap that came with the camera. Two layers of batting in the middle make it very comfortable to wear. I also made it a bit longer than a traditional strap — I like to wear my camera across my body when it’s not in use.

Tufted Tweets Camera Strap

Mostly, I just fuddled around with 3 1/2″ wide fabric pieces until it looked good to me. For materials, I used some scraps I’d been hanging on to from the purple baby quilt I made earlier this spring, mixed with some stash pieces, and hardware from an old Canon camera strap. My favorite kind of project — quick and free!

Tufted Tweets Camera Strap