Tuesday, November 01, 2011


We didn't really start "observing" Halloween in our little family until about 2 years ago, when Daughter was 4. Prior to that she was too little to know what was going on, and we lived in a somewhat rural area where no one trick-or-treated. When we moved to our current house (almost 2.5 years ago now, what?!), Daughter was 4 1/2 and wanted to dress up and trick-or-treat. That year and last year, also, she just put on some princessy dress-up clothes from her play stuff and went as a princess. Or a fairy. Or a fairy princess, I'm not sure, it depended on when you asked her.

This year, in 1st grade, it was a bigger deal to her. We started discussing ideas a few months ago. I tried to think of what we already have and what I could easily and cheaply make. It occurred to me that both kids had black shirts, and Daughter has several pairs of black leggings...what could we do with that?

A hunk of red fabric with black spots later...we had Ms. Ladybug:

I simply took the piece of fabric and hand-pleated one selvage edge (that sounds fancier than I mean it to...I just pinched it in inch-by-inch and pinned it like crazy), then cut a long strip of black cotton 2.5" wide to make a binding and ties. I just pressed it in half, then pressed the sides in about 3/8" and applied it just like you would apply store-bought bias binding to a neckband or armhole. Then I just continued the topstitching all the way to the ends to create ties. Pretty simple. The hardest part was hemming the other three sides. This slippery fabric is awful to tame. I got a fabric glue stick but it didn't hold at all, so I had to just slowly double-turn the raw edges, pin, and stitch slowly. In the end it looks kind of shoddy, but it's only a costume so I'm not beating myself up. Oh, and to make it seem more like a ladybug "shell" I whip-stitched black ponytail holders to the sides, which go over her wrists to hold the cape out when she moves her arms.

We added a black headband with twisted pipe cleaners for antennae, and red cheeks with black dots. Voila!

And for AJ...well, we continued the bug theme:

Don't ask me what I was thinking, knitting a Halloween costume! I mean, sewing is more reasonable, it goes really fast, comparatively speaking. This little vest actually took a lot of time and energy, and the sacrifice of one of my Denise interchangeable needle cables. I used Lion Brand Hometown USA yarn in "Oakland black" and "Pittsburgh yellow" and - get this - size 13 needles. I am not meant to knit at that gauge! It was like wrestling rope around tree branches. And 2/3 of the way through, my Denise cable snapped right off. Luckily I had reached the armholes and separated the work to knit the front and back, so I was able to switch to a shorter cable. Still, it was a bummer.

Anyway, I designed this myself, if you can call it a design...it's just a bottom-up vest knit in the round, and I bound off about 2 stitches per armhole and knitted it up to the neck, which is kind of a boatneck style, I guess. One shoulder has extra rows and buttonholes, so it can be opened up to get it over AJ's head. 

Add in some inexpensive black sweatpants from Target, and a yellow headband with silver sparkle balls for antennae, and we have a bee!

Side note: last week when I finished this, AJ told me he didn't like it and wasn't going to wear it. It took some serious bribing/threatening to get him to wear it for a Halloween party over the weekend, but once he realized it was his ticket to getting candy, he was ok with it.

Trick-or-treating was a hoot. At the first house, AJ stood stock-still and wouldn't move. At the second, he made it to the door but hid behind my legs and wouldn't let the lady put the m&ms into his pumpkin bucket. By the third house he figured it out, and by the time we were heading home he was pushing his sister aside to ring the doorbells, yelling "twick-o-tweat!" and dragging me along by the hand. "Come on, Mom! We can get MORE candy!"


Jenn said...

Cute! We had a ladybug too! I have knitted some or all of at least one costume every year! AJ's vest is very cute!

Liz said...

I love them both! so adorable.