So, I realized this week that I have made 16 Halloween costumes in the 8 1/2 years I've been a mother. I can rattle them off in chronological order for anyone who's interested. (I'm fairly impressed with this feat.)
True to form, Elisabeth decided what she was going to be (a cheetah -- don't let those pointy ears deceive you into thinking she's a leopard -- that was purely my oversight in following the pattern rather than looking at an actual picture of a cheetah -- which led to some very real disappointment, but I was impressed by the maturity and positive attitude my very high-intensity daughter showed despite this tragedy), and her siblings obliged her theme concept. (Well, Fiona didn't have any input into the decision.) I guess someday, someone will decide that they don't want to do the whole matchy-matchy thing, but for now we're really enjoying it. (My siblings and I did theme costumes several times and those are the years that stand out the most in terms of costumes. So, it's worth it, I think.)
So, to go with Elisabeth the Cheetah were James the Nice Lion and Fiona the little Tiger. Oh, they had so much fun rolling around in the leaves in their costumes. We have some new neighbors up the street, and when we trick-or-treated at their house, they commented on how joyful it was to see our three wild cats rolling around and frolicking out front.
Fiona was especially excited about her costume in a way neither of my other two were at one-and-a-half. Her costume was ready last, so she had already seen Elisabeth and James playing around in theirs for a day or two. When I finally tried it on her, I wasn't sure what she would think of it. But she was so excited, and so obviously aware of the purpose of a costume. She immediately started prancing around. It was so cute! She was a lot of fun trick-or-treating, too. She was so excited to point at all the other costumes we saw, skipping along in a funny little way. She had a great time, which was such fun for everyone.
The cheetah and lion costumes were made using McCall's 6106 (also labeled MP373 or 8953), although I used the yarn mane shown on the pattern for Fiona's costume, which was Simplicity 3594. (For the tiger, I made the lion costume, view C, but omitted the mane and added pointed ears instead of rounded.) For the lion and tiger, I used fleece as the main fabric, and for the cheetah, I used a light-weight faux fur. I saw some cheetah-print fleece a week or two after I bought the fur, and I do kind of wish I'd used it instead (it's a softer, warmer costume, and easier to sew), but the fur worked out just fine.
Like so many crafters, a lot of my sewing skills were learned and then polished on Halloween costumes. In fact, I used to only sew once a year. But many of our costumes have been made from commercial patterns, and I have to say that I find that to be a good way to learn how to sew -- even the easier ones use skills like undersewing and stay-stitching. I think I'm a better sewer because I've used a lot of commercial patterns than I would be if I had only used more casual ones (not that there is anything wrong with the patterns and tutorials online!).
Another thing I realized when making these three costumes this week was how much I love sewing garments. They are like a puzzle, so fascinating to assemble and see come together. I need to remember how much I love this, and do more of it! There is a satisfaction for me in garment sewing that just doesn't seem to be there in other kinds of sewing, but I often forget that.
I think I'm going to set a little (hopefully attainable) sewing goal for myself in the new year, to sew more garments. I do well with some structure, but I don't want to create a lot of deadlines, either. Anyway, it's something to mull over during the next two (hectic) months.
In the meantime, I'll just smile as these cat costumes are pulled out day after day for lots of play. It makes me so happy.
PS: You can go over to My Sewing Circle to read more of my comments about the patterns. And don't be shy about leaving comments! It is so motivating for me to get through every single day of NaBloPoMo if you are all joining in the conversation! (Plus, I know that lots of you are stopping by -- please say hi!)