Friday, October 4, 2013

Little Black Cat

Things surprise you when you become a mom, like the amount of love your heart can hold, or how much poop a baby can produce.  Sometimes the job stretches existing talents, which is also surprising. For example, I can cook, but I found out that I was a pretty good short-order cook, as evidenced by the days and nights I found myself preparing separate meals for my children and one for my husband and I.  And all of us sat down at the exact same time for dinner.

When Halloween rolls around every year, I look forward to my kids wearing amazing costumes that make the neighbors swoon and load up my their treat bags with the choicest of Trick-or-Treat offerings like Snickers and Butterfinger, saving disgusting chocolate coins and severed finger gummies for the costumed-challenged.

And because pre-made Halloween costumes cost on average between thirty and a hundred thousand dollars, man what a racket, I have been forced to dig deep into my talents over the years, managing to expand my button-sewing skills into creating most of our Halloween costumes. 

Who knew that the most awkward 13-year-old in my 8th grade Home Ec class, the one who sewed the front fabric piece of her required class Jams project upside down, would be a Halloween costume-making master fifteen years later?

Once upon a time, jams were everything.

I drag out my sewing machine only a few times a year, and one of these times is Halloween.  I have made a witch and some ghosts, Popeye and punk rockers, but one costume is my crowning jewel: my daughter’s Little Black Cat costume, worn two years in a row when she was so small.

Costumes for toddlers are notoriously cute, but most leave room for improvement.  Bulkiness and warmth are a factor in our climate, as are comfort and fit.  It’s difficult to reach the neighbor at the bottom of the development who hands out full-sized Hershey bars for the kids and beers for parents if you have a two-year-old who quits at the end of your street because her fairy princess costume has the insulation factor of a piece of tissue paper, or if your little green dinosaur is swallowed by his costume that seems to be made from throw pillows.  That’s why I like to adapt actual clothing into costumes, so my children feel like they’re wearing regular clothes and will get me to the chocolate promised land to fully enjoy their trick-or-treating experience in comfort and ease.

The little black cat costume is so easy.  You can do it, too! 

You will need:

Black hoodie and black stretchy pants
Black fake fur
Pink felt
Stuffing material
Black thread
Stick-on Velcro (optional)

Instructions:

Cut four triangles from the black fur (about 4 inches long on each side) – these will be the ears

Cut two triangles out of the felt for the insides of the ears (about 2-3 inches each side)

Center a felt triangle on the fur side of one of the fur triangles.  With needle and black thread, sew the felt onto the fur by hand, using large stitches ½ an inch along the sides of the felt triangle.  Repeat with other fur/felt triangle.

Pair a fur/felt triangle and a plain fur triangle together, fur sides facing.  Sew them together about ½ an inch around, leaving about an inch opening on the third side (I used my machine for this part).  Repeat with other triangles.

Turn each fur triangle right side out and stuff with stuffing.  Stitch opening closed by hand.



Sew each ear on to the hood of the hoodie so that they look like cat ears, pink felt side facing front.

Cut two long rectangles from the black fur (16 inches long and 4 inches wide) – these will be the tail.

Face them together, fur side in. Sew them together about ½ an inch around, leaving about an inch opening on the fourth side (I used my machine for this part, too).

Turn the tail right side out, stitch opening closed by hand, and sew it onto the back of the pants at the waistband.  No need to stuff.



Cut a large oval out of a piece of felt for the belly accent.  You want it to cover most of the front of the hoodie.  I used a zip-up hoodie and the oval approached the top of the zipper and extended to the bottom of the cuff.

If you are using a zip-up hoodie like I did, make large decorative stitches with black thread about ½ inch around the oval to mimic the stitches you made on the pink ear felt.  Tack it with several stitches spaced evenly around the oval so you can still zip it up.  You can use squares of Velcro to fix it to the hoodie if you don’t mind sewing Velcro.  The sticky back of most Velcro might not be strong enough to keep the felt oval on during your trip around the neighborhood, and you don’t want to waste a single second of candy foraging to mess with a costume. 

If you are using a pullover hoodie, stitch the felt oval onto the hoodie using large stitches to mimic the stitches on the pink ear felt.  Boom.

I know, it's disgusting.  This costume is eight years old.  Much candy eating was done wearing it.

Dress your little black cat in this outfit and paint whiskers and a cute little kitty nose on her sweet face using black eyeliner and pink lipstick.  Buy her some black or white or even pink stretchy gloves to wear for the full effect and cut the fingers off if you want to.  Or use mittens for your kitten.  You can even safety-pin or stitch some leftover fur to the cuffs of the hoodie for extra cuteness like I did.



I almost cried myself to death getting this costume out of storage for this post.  My little baby is ten now.  This costume even has some slobber stains on it from when she wore this on trick or treat so many years ago  - I don't know why I never washed it.  Last year we used the tail and the ears for a Puss in Boots costume that was not as good as the original, even though she was still cute.  Here is the original:

So sweet it makes my teeth hurt.  And it's not even Halloween yet.

Is it any wonder she wore this costume two years in a row?  Where are my tissues?

*******
This post inspired by:

Mama’s Losin’ It

Prompt #1: Tell us about a favorite Halloween costume.

28 comments:

  1. How adorable!!!! And oh my goodness, how could I have forgotten about JAMS?!?!?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember Jams only when I get out my sewing machine. They were a pretty big deal, weren't they?

      Delete
  2. Awww....really cute! The costume and the little girl. :-) Darn it, they do grow up so fast...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Becky!

      They do grow up fast, don't they? And the older they get, the more I miss them. And they're not even going anywhere - yet.

      Delete
  3. And I *just* bought a black cat costume for my youngest, too!! Rats.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, man! Maybe in a couple of years when she gets older?

      Delete
  4. Who are you and what have you done to my friend? The Andrea I know isn't a DIY-er if that photo album is any indication? ;-)

    No seriously - this is cute. No wonder you cried.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! You know, you do have a point. I am not a scratch DIY-er as a rule. But I can make a mean Halloween costume.

      Delete
  5. As a child that wore many a store-bought costume, you know the ones where the face of the character you were supposed to be was on the chest of the costume so people would know, I am amazed by your sewing skills and ingenuity. What a delight!

    What will your kids be going as this year?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! This year, my son is going as a regular person with a zebra head, and my daughter as an 80s girl. I probably won't have to sew anything, but I will have to do some shopping. Luckily all the 80s fashions are back, and she can wear them to school after Halloween. :)

      I do have to come up with something for my husband and I, though. We are going to a superhero-themed party.

      Delete
  6. Your jams reference had me laughing so loud my daughter asked what was up....looking at them it's hard to explain why they were everything, but they were! My kids are 18 and 16 now and there was only one year, one time, that one child wore a store bought Halloween costume. I've made costumes for bats, flowers, scorpions, Dorothy and Glenda, a mini Steve Irwin, zombies and fairies. And any glue gun burns or sewing machine pinched fingers were worth it to see how excited the kids were!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love seeing how the costumes turn out, too!

      Do your kids still dress up at 18 and 16? My son only wanted a mask this year and I wonder if it's the beginning of the end of his dressing-up days.

      Delete
  7. Love this costume! I would have cried unpacking it, too - memories! I made put together a costume for my oldest last year, but I have no sewing skills to speak of, so I stick with clothing finds. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Making a costume out of clothing finds are the best! I love going through thrift stores this time of year.

      Delete
  8. This is REALLY cute. I love the pink hat and mittens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It was a cold year, evidently. This picture kills me every time. :)

      Delete
  9. Thanks for sharing.. Very cute idea for an adult also.. I was always the sexy kitten so now as a Over the Hiller I think I'm going to make this for a party we are going to.. Thx again.. You're a genius!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I hope it turns out great for you!! How fun!!

      You could always attach the ears to a headband if you don't want to wear a hood. It's what we did last year when we used the ears for another costume.

      Delete
  10. What an adorable costume...and so impressed with your mad sewing skills!! And I *totally* forgot about Jams!! haha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Honestly, I'm not so sure about the madness of my sewing skills, unless that means that I have to get out the instruction manual each time I use the machine. :)

      Delete
  11. I'm impressed. Homemade costumes are the best. I failed sewing my locker caddy in high school, but this sounds like a great project for my mother-in-law.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When you can recruit someone else to do sewing for you (for free!) it's a win for everyone involved.

      Delete
  12. Oh my gosh how cute. And I'm way impressed. Kidzilla asked to be a black cat for Halloween...but then right when I was ready to hit "go to checkout" she changed her mind. And now we are a princess. This is not fun for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I get myself worked up over Halloween, too. I'm always afraid I'll run out of time. Last year I waited until the last possible minute and was sewing right up to the day. No fun for sure.

      Delete
  13. Oh my, that is adorable! And impressive. I have no chance of making anything for anyone. Good thing we don't do Halloween here. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! No costume parties for you? You're probably better off.

      Delete