Hooray! I am over the moon to welcome all of you to our new creative space, “Mom Inc Daily…home of Designing Moms!” If you were a reader of our former blog, Designing Moms, than you’ll see that the content still remains but with a few new and exciting features. Many of our reader emails have consisted of questions about our lives as designers so I’m adding a “daily” that will share this. And for those of you mamas out there hoping to (or in the throes of) start a creative business while balancing motherhood, we will be sharing biz-how-to’s and features on great Designing Moms to get you inspired and organized. Please write in and tell me what you think and what articles or posts you’d love to see featured!
So without further delay, let me just jump into our first post here at Mom Inc Daily which has become somewhat of a tradition. I credit friend and fellow Designing Mom Shinmin for shaming me into creating my baby’s first Halloween costume (a nutty squirrel) last year. Yes, my knuckles got scorched by a glue gun but I am so thankful she got me me off my butt to create something with my hands. This year I couldn’t wait to text her and ask her what she was going to make as I was still in amazement by her octopus costume. Before we knew it, the glue guns and sewing needles were rip roaring through the night. Two years young, but I think we’ve started a tradition. I’ll post my ‘Zilla costume tomorrow. I’m not afraid to say it pales in comparison to the masterpiece that you’re about to see… It’s beyond magical. Shinmin, you rock!
by Designing Mom Shinmin
I believe that I started a tradition last year of hand making a costume for Mila for each Halloween (a tradition I may regret later).
This year, as Cat and I were discussing costume ideas I was disappointed at my complete shortage of creativity. I had no idea, no inspiration, and no motivation. I had too many things on my plate (while not being a very good juggler). Perhaps many of you know this feeling?
I thought of things that I like…… a hamburger, a donut… a cake… a big wedge of cheese. I passed these ideas by my husband and his response made a lot of sense. He said, “Why make Mila into something she won’t understand? Make something that she will recognize at once, like an animal.” Ugh, I hate when he’s right.
So I thought about the animals that she knew by name. A cow… hmmm… that’s going to be difficult. A dog… too common. A cat… not crazy enough for this mother. AN OWL!!! She loves owls. She knows its name in both Chinese and English and she says, “hoo hoo” every time she sees one. That big head, those big eyes, the layers of feathers! I was immediately excited, “obsessed” is a more accurate word. I researched owl images all night and sent so many of them to poor Cat in the middle of the night.
I began by thinking about the costume structure. If I make a feathery body and an owl head as a hat, Mila would just yank the hat off and she would end up trick-or-treating as a headless owl.
I had to think about a headpiece that would stay on, well at least a few minutes before I would have to beg her to put it back on again. So I came up with the cape solution.
Mila received this great poncho from a friend in Japan. It fits perfectly, so I used it to create a general pattern. I drew an outline of the poncho shape onto a large paper bag.
Then I used the pattern pieces as templates for cutting my fabrics. I didn’t want a literal owl translation with accurate colours, so I used a colour palette that I thought was really fun. Also if people don’t recognize that the costume is of an owl, I can fall back on the excuse that I took artistic license and created an abstract interpretation.
I had this great gray Italian fabric from last year’s Christmas stocking project and used a bright green fabric as the lining. I also dug into my scrap bin and found complimentary pop colours.
I wish that I can show step-by-step instructions on my costume making process, but it got so complicated I wouldn’t know how to explain myself, as well as hide my embarrassing goof ups. This is my first time sewing something on a sewing machine. This owl developed over many nights and many mistakes. Before this attempt, my sewing experience consisted of mending holes and reattaching buttons. So I just have to skip to the end results.
Here is the cape/owl head. I purposely left the seams on the outside because I simply don’t know how to make clean and neat seams. Also the raw and slightly frayed edges remind me of feathers.
I made a bubble dress and stuffed it lightly with batting. I used fabric scrap circles to create the feathers on the body.
And this is my Mila monster in the costume. She started hoo-ing right away when I put the costume on her. I was so please that she recognized what it is.
Here is a view from the side.
And here is the back.
Mila is such a busy body, I could not get her to stop pulling off the cape (uh-oh) nor stay in one place. So I turned on the music and asked her to dance, which she loves doing. So I snapped some more photos.
Next, I’m hoping that I have time to make her a matching trick or treat bag. Look HOO’s trick or treating.