Last year, despite our original plans to forgo Halloween festivities, we changed our mind at the last minute and decided to surprise the girls with costumes after all. On the morning of October 31st, I found myself in one of those huge seasonal costume stores, rummaging through slim pickings that included the likes of human-sized food suits, plastic, black mime hats, a few stray princess dresses (wigs included), and a few other things that wouldn’t have been a great fit. I’d remembered that my youngest expressed interest in Suri, the clever little sister of King T’Challa in Black Panther. Originality was not crucial in this eleventh hour. I was just happy to have one purchase goal in mind.
After about an hour of searching and another forty-five minutes of standing in the checkout line, I emerged from the store with a gigantic emoji and a super-sized, fabric carton of wearable french fries. Neither would have been my first choice. But that’s what you get when you go shopping on Halloween for Halloween costumes. I was grateful.
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The Birth of Captain Corray
This year I’ve opted to revisit the days of homemade Halloween costumes. I’ll remind you that I’m no Reuben Reuel, but I’m hoping that a little unintended bunching and some imperfect seams won’t dampen the seed of inspiration I’m trying to sow. Now onto the fun.
Because individuality was important, I asked each of my daughters to power up their imaginations and illustrate their own original characters wearing the costume that I’d hoped to bring to life in time for Halloween. My youngest was the first to come up with a (cardboard) dagger-wielding warrior whose superpowers included the ability to levitate, teleport, fly, cast a magic ray and flower flash (both of which involved aurora borealis-like lights one in the shape of flowers that blinded her enemies) with just her hands. Her name was Captain Corray.
Captain Corray wears a royal blue and hot pink-purple-ish ensemble. The top is mostly blue with a pink floral emblem across the chest and long sleeves that end as widened pink bell shapes. At first glance, the skirt reminds you of a cheer uniform, but the pleats are separated like the sections like the skirt on Gail Gadot’s Wonder Woman costume.
At the fabric store, I found three different fabrics to match my daughter’s drawing. One was royal blue and stretchy with a subtle sheen. The second one was royal blue but very shimmery. And the third was hot pink and shimmery. I also picked up some matching spools of thread and some wide elastic and I was ready to get started.
Making a Pattern and Cutting the Fabric
I taped tracing paper together to create a pattern-like paper that was thin, flexible, and big enough use to cut the big pieces I needed. The transparency was helpful when I needed to trace the seam that connects the sleeve to the body of one of my daughter’s t-shirts.
I folded the shirt in half and cut the front and back half out of the tracing paper, labeled the fold, folded the fabric in half, aligned the pattern folds with the fabric folds, pinned it, and traced the shape with a black marker. Next, I repeated the process with the skirt panels (each had three pieces that included quilt batting, shimmery blue, and shimmery pink fabrics), the sleeves, and the waist. The last step in this phase was to cut all the shapes out.
Putting Captain Corray’s Uniform Together
It was finally time to sew. At first, I thought of making this costume a one-piece dress. But it was much easier to sew it separately as a top and bottom. Some of the more challenging parts of the costume for me were the sleeves and those skirt panels. I tried hard to make the sleeves fit under the arm with minimal bunching. In the end, there was, but my daughter reassured me that she didn’t feel it. As for the panels, I got them all sewn together with a little sweat. The addition of the batting made the costume nice and solid, and I hoped it would add warmth on Halloween night. But the combination of slick fabric that kept slipping off the sewing machine and table and the weight of all those quilted panels together made it a bit tedious to keep it pinned together while stitching.
I had the most fun designing, cutting, and pressing the floral-shaped emblem onto the front of the top. I used my Cricut Maker 2, and some scrap vinyl strips that just happened to match perfectly. Since I’d never used my heat press on that kind of slippery fabric, I tested out a small piece to make sure it wouldn’t burn.
The bow didn’t make the cut. Even though it would probably have been the simplest accessory to add, my daughter decided to go without it. Besides, there’s still more accessorizing to do before the big night. I still need to make the dagger, buy some matching leggings, boot covers, and hair accessories. Oh, and make a costume for my eldest. Until next time.