Monday, January 10, 2011

Clifford Suit

The Little Monkey loves Clifford. So when it came time to start thinking about Halloween, I asked him if he wanted me to make him a "Clifford suit." I got a very enthusiastic "YES!!!"

The Clifford suit was my first attempt at sewing from a pattern. It was quite the learning experience!! I'm glad I started working on this early, because with all the trial and error (and there was LOTS of error), it took me several weeks to finish the costume.

The first lesson I learned was the importance of choosing your fabric wisely. The fabric for this costume was super soft, and warm and fuzzy. It felt so good as I was petting it on the bolt at the fabric store :-) But when I got home and started sewing with it, I realized it was extremely difficult to work with. I still love how soft this fabric is (even on the back), making it very comfortable for The Monkey to wear, and warm enough that he didn't need a coat, even on a cool Halloween evening. But it was extremely stretchy, and the edges frayed quickly and easily when cut, making it difficult to sew. The fuzziness of the fabric made it difficult to see the stitching, so when I did have to rip seams because of all the errors (the worst of which was sewing the tail to the FRONT of the costume...Oooops!), it was almost impossible. On some occasions, it was actually easier to just rip the fabric next to the seam and re-sew than to try to find my stitching and rip it out. And it shed so badly I had to keep a lint roller on my sewing table to de-fuzz myself after each sewing session!

The pattern I used was Butterick's 6695, and it was very a very forgiving pattern. Because of the elastic on the arms and legs, if the sleeves or legs were a little too long, it was no big deal. The elastic kept them from falling over his hands, or tripping him up. The body suit was roomy and generally shapeless enough that if it was a little too big or too small, it wasn't too noticeable. I had a little trouble with the hood, but overall I was really happy with how well the costume turned out.

He loved wearing it out trick-or-treating, and we got lots of compliments from other trick-or-treaters, as well as the people handing out loot at the houses we stopped at. One teenager even stopped us and said that seeing The Monkey dressed as Clifford made her day.

This was a fun, though occasionally frustrating project. But I learned a lot, and it helped give me a solid foundation in pattern sewing that has opened up many doors for future sewing projects.

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