Is this thing on?
OH! Hi; long time no see. Since I last wrote, Summer has turned to Autumn and the trees in our yard are almost bare. I’ve also sewn up at least six garments that I have yet to photograph or write about.
The problem with that is I begin to forget the tweaks and fitting changes, but if I get around to blogging them, I’ll do my best to recall. I really should just start keeping a notebook to document fitting.
Alas, I could wax about these things for a whole post, but that’s not the point, my friend…
It’s HALLOWEEN! Happy All Hallows Eve to you all!
Last year, Mr. Cheeks was a monkey. I bought the costume from Costco because I was an exhausted new mom. THIS YEAR Cheeks is…drumroll…
The Tin Man! Former woodsman of Oz.
When I was maybe…10 or 12, I read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. What I didn’t remember was how fucked up the story of the tin man is. Dude’s axe becomes enchanted and cuts him apart, bit by bit. Methinks Baum was taking some notes from Hans Christian Andersen or something; cautionary (scary-ass, not really kid appropriate) tale of some sort indeed.
Why don’t we say that this particular costume is definitely more in the spirit of the movie, mmkay?
I had machinations of matching family costumes with Mr. 5 as the Cowardly Lion or Scarecrow, and me as Dorothy. But, the reality is, I don’t have time for that shit unless I start months in advance. Plus, I just don’t think I really love sewing costumes enough to dedicate that sort of time.
For some reason, upon glancing at the tin man pattern in Simplicity 4024, I thought “that’s really simple; no sweat.”
Famous last words.
Was it really simple? Eh… Was it hard? No. It just had some components that are definite time-sucks. Primarily: everything to do with the joints, plus buttons (TWENTY of them!).
Each joint component is 3 pieces (2 main fabric, 1 fleece), and there are two sewn on by hand together to create a single joint. In total, there are 24 joint pieces of the main fabric and 12 of fleece which needed to be sewn together, turned inside out, and top-stitched.
Speaking of fabric, I got a fab deal on this mirror-like silver poly/spandex lame (heck if I know where to find the accent for the e) knit from Fabric.com. And since I ordered it from Amazon, I ended up getting free shipping without meeting a minimum spend (a little tip from me to you).
I got 2 yards for only $5.31/yard, the pattern was $0.99, buttons on Etsy for $7, the funnel and spray paint for about $6 at Farm & Fleet, which makes the whole costume cost about $25 plus incidentals (thread, heat transfer vinyl, etc).
I was a little worried with how cheap the fabric was that I was going to be disappointed, but I was totally jazzed when it arrived. It was pretty easy to sew, except it could not be pressed. I used wonder clips to accurately hem, and for the spats I serged around the bottom edge and then turned twice, sewing to make a narrow hem.
Other materials used: poly fleece I had on hand (just the crappy stuff you get at JoAnn) for the joints and inside the helmet (the pattern calls for generic lining fabric, but I opted for warm fleece since we have pretty cold Halloweens), quilting cotton courtesy of my Aunt C’s destash (thank you!!!) and heat transfer vinyl for the clock face.
To make the clock face, I literally googled “Tin Man heart” and then “traced” an imagine in Silhouette Studio, which I cut out with my Cameo from black Siser Easyweed heat transfer vinyl. It ended up being a bit too hard to weed (AKA hard to remove the HTV from the negative spaces), and I basically destroyed it, so I added a very small offset to beef it up, re-cut it, and voila: that worked!
Unfortunately, I had some problems with construction and needed to cut a THIRD clock face when I fucked up on sewing it the heart up. The seam allowances on the outside of the heart are 1/4″ and I trimmed them; don’t make my mistake. Clip curves, of course, but don’t trim. I also did a narrow zig-zag to sew the white clock face circle onto the heart and made a stretched out, puckered mess with the first one. With the second, I interfaced both the back of the clock face and the back of the front part of the heart, and basted the clock face on before zig-zagging. Worked like a charm. It’s a bit lopsided in general, ’cause it’s hard to sew around tight curves, but I’m cool with that. Nobody’s heart is perfect.
As for sizing, I chose a “1” for my little dude who is just leaving 18 month RTW clothing, and I’m happy with the fit. There’s enough room that I can layer clothes underneath for cold, cold trick or treating. He’s got some short shanks, so I hemmed the pants a total of 2″ and the sleeves 1″ (instead of 5/8″ each). I also raised the location of the knee joints on the pants an inch, and they’re still super low (but this seems to be intended, per the pattern photo).
And now for a bunch o’ flat photos:
- The sizing for the helmet is not specified on the envelope; instead, it’s printed on the middle piece. I had already cut a small out before I saw it. I think it works fine, even though Cheeks has a rather sizable (90th+ percentile) noggin.
- Near the end of sewing the helmet, there’s an instruction that says to cut a 3″ piece of elastic and sew to the center of it. There are no illustrations to go with this instruction. I decided it must be the bottom back center edge. Mine turned out a bit funky looking, but oh well. This could be because I decided to sew mine into the seam allowance before turning the helmet right side out instead of sewing it to the lining after.
- The directions for the velcro on the center back of the top are super scant and make for a very sloppy finish. I felt like I was winging it. I don’t know that I’d do it differently if I did it again, because it’s a costume, but I felt like it was very inelegant.
- For the top, it has you hem bottom/sleeves and THEN sew the sides closed. I did the opposite for a cleaner finish.
- Buttons for the center front are not marked on the pattern, nor addressed anywhere in the instructions (whut?). I guess just do whatever the eff you want, folks!
So, that’s Cheeks’ second Halloween costume! I’m so glad he went off to see the Wizard, but he’s had our hearts from the beginning.