Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Because the mind of a toddler is ever-changing,

a wise grownup should not commit to a handmade Halloween costume.

Halloween is not a huge holiday around here--that is to say, we don't go all in for the decking out the house all things spooky, and most years, my husband and I don't dress up.

But the entire month of October is filled with costume-making activities for Ada and Esme. We actually sometimes start the sketching and fabric hunt as early as August. Ada and I love making designs and poring over fabric colors and textures. And by October 1st, the studio is noisy with the whirr of the sewing machine, and my under-the-breath mutterings as I stick myself with pins or rip misjudged stitches.

I rip a lot of stitches. As soon as the fabric gets into my hands, the costume becomes less about Halloween fun, and more about how I can learn from the sewing at hand. I get obsessive about trying new techniques, experimenting with lining, or seam finishes, or little embellishments. I have to stop from time to time to remind myself that this is just a costume, and that Ada will love it regardless.

I admit I almost feel guilty about how much I like the whole process. If one of my friends coos over "what a good mommy I am" for making the costume, I'm quick to correct her that this is really not the altruistic act she thinks it is. Once that fabric hits the sewing table, the costume really becomes selfishly and deliciously mine. As obsessions go, it's pretty tame. But it's a bit magical just the same, I think--the sensation of the fabric changing form is wonderous. With some cutting and stitches, it goes from a flat, smooth square into something with dimension. And if I am lucky, it somewhat resembles what Ada requested in the first place. Win for her, win for me.

This year, Ada has decided to be a mermaid, and true to form, I have gone overboard (very punny). I will post more about it in the next few days after I've taken some decent photos of it in process, but for the meantime, think: Sparkles! Turquoise! Texture! Oh, and a lot of pin sticks for me.

As for Esme, well--she is a toddler, and her interests change from day to day, or sometimes from hour to hour. I had the ambition to make her a fancy, fringy, leather-skirt-and-vest kind of costume costume when she first declared she would be a cowgirl, but five costume ideas later, I gave up on sewing anything for her this year. That same day, we stumbled over this Dalmatian costume at Old Navy, and we decided it was perfect. Esme has worn it for many days now already. My only fear is that she will decide that, come Halloween, the Dalmatian costume is too "everyday." Ah well.

Ada's costume is draped over the back of my sewing chair, singing its siren song.
Must. Finish. Soon. Ada reminded me at breakfast that there are only three days left before she needs it. Wish me luck!

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The Storialist said...

So totally adorable.

They will remember their costumes forever! I had a great Cleopatra one that my mom made for me.

Angie Muresan said...

I really wish I could sew! My daughter saw this and has changed her mind yet again. She's in my lap and waving at your daughters... So cute!

Irene Latham said...

My son Eric pretended to be a "puppy named John" for a few months during his toddlerhood... and yes, dressed up like John for Halloween that year. Can't wait to see the sparkly mermaid! And here is my mother's favorite words (passed down from her mother): As You Sew, So Shall You Rip.

The Seeker said...

Oh My, adorable!!!!!!


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