Make, Jane, make!: DIY Halloween: The Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit


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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

DIY Halloween: The Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit

I'm proud to say that this Halloween I only spent about $25 on new materials/accessories. Everything else came from previous projects (which were probably also bought on the cheap!) or was clothing items from the kids' closets. Of course, as my hubby always points out, that doesn't account for the time spent in making those costumes and I have to admit that I expended far more effort on this Mad Hatter costume than I had originally planned. 

The White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter were definitely the easiest and the hardest costumes to put together. Both costumes were basically clothing items layered with dollar store items, so they had the potential to be no-sew costumes that I could have crossed off the list immediately. That was the case with my daughter's White Rabbit outfit; I already had rabbit ears and a hand-me-down white fleece/velour hoodie. Instant infant costume.

My son's Mad Hatter costume was a different story though. I was able to find the hat, scarf, socks, and thread spools at the dollar store. (I also bought crazy orange hair for him, but he just couldn't get over the fact that he looked "weird" and therefore refused to wear it.)  The shirt and shorts were from his closet, but the jacket... ahh, the jacket....  

He didn't own a jacket so I figured I could thrift one for him or, if the right fabric at the right price appeared during my trip to Fabricland, I would make one for him. Lo and behold, a roll of black fabric labelled "Halloween shiny twill" was on the sale racks for $4/metre! I only needed a little more than a metre... How could I ignore that kind of bargain? And that was the moment my fate became intertwined with the most ridiculously fancy suit jacket that a six year old ever wore for Halloween. 

Rather than draft/improvise a suit jacket, I thought I would save time (ha!) and use a discount pattern that I already owned (Burda 9671). A glance at the illustration on the package suggested that it was a casual sport jacket, so I thought it would be the perfect pattern for a comfy Mad Hatter. 

I had previously used the pattern to make a stretch denim jacket (without a lining) which my kids used for dress up and did not seem all that fancy. Obviously, I don't know a lot about men's clothes or have a very good memory, because I should have remembered just how much cutting, piecing and tailoring there was in that first "sport" jacket I made.

<My eldest, as a toddler, wearing the black denim jacket on the left>

It was only as I began cutting, piecing and sewing it all up this time around that it started to dawn on me that I constructing something that was a little more than a sport jacket for dress-up. My hubby even asked whether or not I was sewing a bespoke suit for my son... Yeah, it's that RI-DI-CU-LOUS-LY FANCY... I mean check this thing out:

<lined patch pockets>

 <Back panels and side panels for a better fit under the arms - never mind the wrinkles, that's what a suit looks like after it's been stuffed into a backpack>

<pleats for ease in the lining seam>

Even the fabric conspired against me by being be fancier than it originally appeared. At the store, the fabric was definitely a dull, black twill with Halloween-y sparkles all over it. However once washed, it lost its gaudy sparkles (probably the defect that landed this roll of fabric on the sale racks to begin with) and took on a decidedly dapper sheen. The fabric also went from being an overly stiff to perfectly shaped and structured.

And that's how my son ended up getting the finest tailored Halloween costume I'll ever make him. That being said, I may make more of these jackets for actual formal wear if there's more of this fabric left the next time I visit Fabricland. The jacket ended up being a mere $8 worth of materials and even factoring in all the work, you'd be hard pressed to find a suit jacket for a comparable price. Hubby dearest went as far as suggesting that my next project should be a new suit for him.

Could you imagine? Daddy already gives himself and the boys the same haircut. What a sight they would be if mommy dressed them in the same suits!

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