Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How to Make a Black Cat Fancy Dress Costume for Halloween!

Ross laughs at me when I decide to start a new sewing project because I tend to sew in the evening, when we are chilling out watching TV and Elise is asleep. I get thoroughly engrossed in it but am far from a professional seamstress. I prick my fingers, I sometimes swear and I always laugh at the end results!

My projects don't need to withstand the pressures of time... so long as Elise gets plenty of play out of whatever I make, I am happy.

So this week's project is for Halloween and although Elise is a bit young for trick or treating really, we always like to partake in the festivities.

Last year, she was loving the book, 'Room on the Broom' which had been a gift - from our friends Si and Louise, James and Ben. It's another brilliant tale from Julia Donaldson and Axel Schaeffer that gets read and re-read all the time in our house.

'Room on the Broom'

Elise's uncanny replication of the 'Room on the Broom' book cover!

Here's a pic of Elise during Halloween last year (what a cute, yet positively scary, witch she was):

Elise, Halloween 2014

This year, she has asked to be a cat, like 'Mog' from the 'Meg and Mog' book series (Helen Nicoll and Jan Piankowski).

Hmmm... a cat. Well at first I was a little perplexed and as I am all for trying to keep things simple (and easy) I've opted to make a black and white cat costume, just like Mog:

Meg and Mog sharing random smoothies

So I went for a trip to DAISO, which is the Japanese $1 shop here in Singapore to see what inspiration I could find. And I struck gold :) I bought...

  • 4 pairs of black and white woolly leg warmers (couldn't quite believe I found these in a tropical place like Singapore but there you are)
  • 2 pairs of woolly children's black gloves
  • Some cat style eye masks (I got two because I couldn't decide)
  • Cat ears and even a sparkly bow tie
  • And a bag of mini polystyrene balls... I'll explain why in a bit

And then I went to a shop and bought some black leggings and a white long sleeved top:

And now to create the fancydress costume!

So you need two leg warmers for arms, two leg warmers for legs and the rest, I am going to cut up to make a tail. The black gloves will become paws.

To make the front paws:
1. Turn two of your leg warmers, and two gloves, inside out and sew a glove to one end of each leg warmer. You'll need a 'left' and a 'right' remember... don't make two 'lefts' (I forgot this which resulted in my first mini outburst "Ragggh..!" Ross just laughed at me). This will make your two arms / front paws.

 Step 1 - inside out, sew your paw to your leg

Bottom: finished front paw and leg / Top: inside out paw and leg being sewn together

To make the back paws:
2. Turn the second pair of gloves inside out, cut off the thumb and sew the hole up. (You could use black socks instead of course but I made the call that they would never be as furry as the ones I had and I like that effect seeing as I'm trying to make a cat costume). These socks will become your 'back' paws. 

NOTE: I don't suggest attaching these gloves to the leg warmers. If your child is anything like mine, s/he will want to take their socks off within a few minutes. At least let them wear the socks for long enough to get a photo!

To make the tail:
3. Take another pair of leg warmers and cut them open along the seam. Then cut them in half to make 4 pieces in total.

Step 3

4. Turn each piece inside out and sew along one end to seal the end of the tail... and then sew up the open side to create a hollow cylinder:

Step 4

5. Leave the second small end open and stuff it with small polystyrene balls. I found it easiest to do this with small handfuls and to push the balls down with my fingers, or a plastic spoon (a wooden spoon gets stuck to the wool).

Step 5

6. Repeat step 5 with each of the remaining three pieces of 'tail', remembering to keep the joins open. Sew the joins up to make one long continuous 'tail'.

Step 6

Here's a picture of the finished front paws, back legs (+ back paws) and tail:  

And here's a photo of Mog the Cat, ready to go trick or treating. Even Dolly has her own sweet bucket!

Love and hugs
Rebecca and Elise x

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