Thursday, October 29

Non-droopy Tail for Animal Costume How-To

There seems to be a cat theme in our house for Halloween this year. So that means lots of tails. Lucky for me, there’s only one new one to make this year – the rest are being dug out of the costume box. Like Purple Cat’s tail from last year.


If you want to make your own non-droopy animal tail, here’s how:

You need a wire coat hanger, some stuffing, some fabric and other stuff like needle and thread, pliers, etc. A ribbon* and safety pin will come in handy for turning the tail right-side-out. (*Actually, I used bias tape ’cause that’s what was laying around. Anything long and stringy would do…)IMG_9828

Straighten out the coat hanger, then form it into a loop that fits around the wearer’s waist. Bend a little hook into one end of the loop and a sharp corner at the other so the hook has something to… um, hook on to. (Where's a thesaurus when I need one?) In the photo, the tail portion is also bent into a nice tail shape; don’t do that yet; keep it nice and straight for now. Also, in the photo, the loop is a nice circle. In order to actually be worn comfortably by a human, it should be an oval. But you'd figure that out yourself as soon as your then-3-year-old says "Mommy, too tight!" IMG_9835

(For an adult’s tail, you’ll probably have to first twist two coat hangers together; most of one hanger will be used up for the loop…)

Pin the ribbon onto the right side of some fabric, near the edge. Make sure it’s longer than the tail. (You'll cut the fabric after it's sewn.) IMG_9836

Sometimes, I take all these pictures and then later, am not sure why. Does anyone really need to see what a safety-pinned ribbon end looks like?... Ooh, maybe I wanted to document that you need to keep a little space beyond the pin so you can sew around it?IMG_9838

Next, fold the fabric up over the ribbon, right sides of the fabric together. Pin if you want. The ribbon should lay right along the fold.IMG_9840

Sew a tail-shaped seam, making sure not to catch the ribbon in the seam.tail seam

Again with the close-up…. And in the moments between inserting all the pictures then adding all the text so far and now, I forget why I thought this photo would be at all helpful... IMG_9841

Next, cut around the seam. Remember that ribbon on the inside… (I didn’t want to cut mine.) IMG_9847

Turn the tail right side out. The wrinkles in the photo are in the wrong spot – I found it easier to start near the tip of the tail, pulling on the ribbon while I coaxed the fabric to turn in on itself…


Unpin the ribbon, then start stuffing the tail. And finish off by maneuvering the wire through the stuffing. See, that’s why I recommended it stay straight.IMG_9854

I didn’t do anything at the base of the tail to keep it attached near the loop, though some quick basting stitches to pull it tight (or even some well-placed tape) would’ve kept it from raveling unraveling** and wanting to ride up the tail a little or lose a bit of its stuffing. Actually, I just hooked the hook around it; that held it nice enough.

(**Wait, I think “ravel” and “unravel” are synonyms! That’s crazy! )

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: This tail, while so cute and fun, is also very boingy and—depending on how you shape it—right at eye-level of any peers of the person wearing it. So if said person whips around quickly, they might take out an eye of said peers. That would make for one sad cat.


So, use at your own risk. Especially on costumes for preschoolers. Or boys.

Monday, October 26

Costume Boots for Cheap!

I like the way Sophie’s mask turned out, but my favorite part of the costume is her boots. In one of the Catwoman images I looked at for inspiration, she had these real chunky boots on. But wasn’t sure where I’d find a pair like that, for cheap, in Sophie’s size…

Then I remembered these boots that had seen better days, were no longer watertight, were replaced last year, but still fit Sophie and for some reason hadn’t been thrown away.


Add some black spray paint (and blue painter’s tape to mask off those great silver shapes) and we got some cute “rugged” super villain boots.


Total cost: 97 cents (for the spray paint, that I need for another project anyway)

Sophie’s Halloween ‘09 Costume


Managed to get one of the costumes done in time for the girls’ class today… well, except for the whip and gloves…


Yes, my four-year-old wanted to be Catwoman for Halloween. Oops, I didn’t realize until just now that Catwoman is a Bad Guy…  Oh well, at least, Sophie’s inspiration was less “Halle Berry,” more “Lego Batman.”

image image

Found the jacket at a thrift shop, and best thing is she can wear it as a normal jacket when this is all over. Silver belt belongs to her older sister. Black leggings are mine – temporarily hemmed up about 6 inches, and waist rolled down about 6 times. Boots were repurposed. And mask was made from cheap black felt.

Now off to finish those gloves and whip…

Sunday, October 25

Too Much To Do Tutu

Hi there. Yes, I’m still here. I just get kinda quiet when I’ve promised something (e.g. Hello Kitty crochet pattern) and then take my sweet time in delivering. Keeps me from wanting to post anything else…

But time to jump back in. So let’s start with today’s project:


The Too Much To Do Tutu.

Thusly named because I have

  • 2 Halloween costumes to finish (preferably by 3:45pm TOMORROW so my girls won’t be the only ones in their gymnastics classes not wearing costumes);
  • and a puppet theater to drape with curtains (not our cardboard theater – no, it’s someone else’s, I’m just the curtain-maker);
  • and a dress to transform by November (which will soon be here!!!);
  • and goulasch to cook up (or else figure out something else to do with the 6 pounds of beef and pork in my fridge!)
  • and… and… and…

But what do I do?

  • Make a tutu for a dear little friend of ours, who celebrated her 5th birthday party today! A party I’ve known about for weeks…

Which reminds me, Heidi and Lucy are still waiting for their tutus. I should make them quick while the steps are still fresh in my mind. And maybe take some pictures along the way.

But I’m not promising a tutorial.

‘Cause I’d like to post again before we see December.

Friday, October 9

Patterns, Poodles, and Praying Angels

Not too much “making by k” going on right now. Everyone in this house has been sick with something different this past week and my version seems to have moved into my nose and made itself comfortable for the long haul.

(Anyone know of a good way at 2 a.m. to unblock a nose enough so you don’t feel like you’re suffocating every time you have to close your mouth in order to swallow, especially when you’re horizontal, i.e. trying to sleep?!? Something other than Dayquil, Nyquil, various forms of Sudafed, Affrin, BreatheRight Strips, and a Netipot? Ken suggested I shove two straws up there. At this point, I’m quite tempted to try it…) Edited 10/11: Breathing easier. Thanks!

I have been working on typing up the Hello Kitty Scarf crochet pattern, which was going great til I couldn’t find a crucial page of my chicken-scratched notes. And my brain is currently taxed enough remembering my kids’ actual names, much less a series of stitches I did over a month ago…

In the mean time, HeidiLucySophie has been delighting me with her construction paper creations. First my little designer outfitted a cereal box villa for her fist-sized poodle, who needs a comfy place to sleep…IMG_1542

…and somewhere to eat after she’s been out shopping with her pink purse. (Mom did help the designer make the table supports.) IMG_1549

There’s plenty of space in her trunk for all her purchases…IMG_1550

…and apparently she heard the same tip as her designer’s mom did, which is to keep a small waste basket in the car, not that her designer’s mom’s car looks anywhere near as tidy as hers.IMG_1551

Poodle also loves to read, use her yellow laptop, and send lots and lots of letters. And her kitchen is stocked with healthy produce.IMG_1546

She won’t let the weeks of non-stop rain we’ve been having bother her, not with her umbrella and rain slicker.IMG_1544

She’s spends a great deal of her time on her throne, bearing her crown and scepter – she is Queen Poodle after all…S couch for poodle plus queen stuff

…but she does also enjoy dressing up for a night out to eat. IMG_1692

Unfortunately, while her designer’s mom was willing herself to get out of bed the other morning, her designer was busy cutting up a red table skirt, with which to upholster the throne, and a yellow sock, with which to make her evening gown. Her designer lost scissor privileges for the rest of that day…

Happily, scissors privileges have been restored and Sophie has returned to using appropriate materials only. Yesterday, she worked for quite a while on this angel who is praying (hopefully for my speedy recovery)… IMG_1736

“…in a park… at night…” under a dangling star “because angels always need those stars that hang down, you know?”IMG_1767

She got frustrated when her trees wouldn’t hold up her sky, so I did help her make some sturdier, slotted trunks...IMG_1770

…but the rest was all her. Her ideas, her design, her technique.IMG_1763

Makes my heart happy even though my nose is miserable.

And makes me wonder what she’ll make tomorrow.

So let’s try this sleeping thing again now…


Related Posts with Thumbnails