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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween Costume: Train Engineer

We've stuck with a Peanuts theme for Andyroo's costumes for the past couple Halloweens, and though we could have stuck with that same idea and made him Linus or Woodstock, I thought he'd have more fun being a train!

Things are pretty tight financially speaking so I didn't want to shell out $30 for premade costume. Instead I decided to use what I had on hand and make him into a Train Engineer (or conductor, or driver, or whatever the guy who drives the train is called)! I did end up purchasing a few supplies (extra thread and binding) but I made this with a pattern I created using what I already had.

The outfit required a bit more time, mostly because I wanted it to be something Andyroo could use after Halloween. I knew he would absolutely love it wouldn't want to just put it away after trick-or-treating. Right now it looks a little big on him, but it's something that he can continue growing into. Yay!

For the outfit I used the following supplies:

-Light blue Home Decor fabric (like a light weight canvas - I picked it up as remnant about 6 months ago when I was contemplating making my own fabric bins but then found my Dollar Store Storage Bins)
-Dark Blue cotton (leftover from making my Mother-in-Law a KitchenAid cover last Christmas)
-Dark blue binding (because I wanted a little more contrast, you could also just hem all the sides)
-Coordinating thread
-Scissors, pins, measuring tape, etc
-Tissue Paper for making a pattern
-Coordinating ribbon for ties at the shoulder and waist
-Accessories for the costume. Andyroo has a small flashlight, train tickets (not yet finished but I'll be offering the printable soon), toy wrenches, and a walkie talkie/toy phone. You could also do some old keys, a hole punch, etc.

I took all of Andyroo's measurements and got to work. He's about 23 inches around at his widest, so I made the front and back of the costume each about 11 inches wide. His shoulder to knee measurement (remember I want him to grow into this) was about 23", so that's how long I made front and back. I cut out a curve around the neck, left a partial "strap," and then rounded the bottom corners using a bowl. If he's anything like his daddy (which he certainly seems to be so far), he'll be tall and skinny. I have no doubt that this will fit him for years to come.

I also cut some pockets to hold all of his accessories. I put on 3 pockets, but you could do however many you want. I didn't create an actual pattern piece for these. Instead I used my rotary cutter and made 2 squares that were about 3"x3" and another square that was 3"x4". I came up with those measurements after laying the pattern out on my cutting mat and just figuring out what looked proportionate. If you're making this for a different-sized child, you might want different sized pockets.

Before you attach the pockets, you'll want make a small (think 1/8" - 1/4") hem around the sides. I only did 3 sides because I knew I was going to attach binding to the top. Make sure to miter your corners to get a crisp point - not that mine look that crisp though!

I wanted some contrast, so I hemmed the pockets using a dark blue thread. After doing the three sides, I also sewed a strip of binding along the top of the pocket.

I suppose I should have put the binding on first, then turned in the sides, but I didn't. Instead I just tucked the corner of the binding in at the top and sewed it to the apron. Make sure you have your pockets straight. If I had used a real pattern, there would have been marks to transfer to the fabric. Instead I just laid it out my cutting mat and used my big grid ruler to make sure everything was even and straight.

I put the binding on the apron piece before adding the pockets. I did this so I would have a better idea of where the pockets should actually be placed.

The binding really wasn't too hard to work with. I think the hardest part to maneuver was the corners. I'm sure there's a better way to finagle it, but I did something that we'll call a modified or half miter. It worked for me!

To finish the binding, I probably should have turned under the edge of the outer layer of binding, but my machine doesn't like it when I try and shove too many layers through. If it feels that there's too much going through, the needle jams and I have to take the bobbin, bobbin holder, and the spinny thing the bobbin holder sits in out. Then I have to put it all back together and it's a complete pain. At this point, I was working with essentially 9 layers of fabric so I opted to just sew across the raw edge of the binding. If it frays a bit, oh well.

So now I attached the pockets - again using a contrasting dark blue thread. No pics. :)
I thought about adding a little strap to the shoulders with buttons and a button hole. I've never attempted a buttonhole with this machine and when I pulled out my manual, I found that I didn't have the buttonhole foot for the machine. It's a freebie from freecycle, so I can't complain. I attempted it on a scrap piece of fabric and while I probably could have gotten it to work, the in and out of the needle really did a number on the blue canvas and I didn't want to chance the actual costume. So I just decided to do a simple ribbon tie at the shoulders and waist. So much easier than a button - and I get to escape the whole buttonhole thing once more!

At this point, your costume could be done. Put it on your little one and enjoy!

However, I decided it needed something a little more. I had some leftover iron-on inkjet paper leftover from doing the Train page in Andyroo's Quiet Book. I used the images I created for Andyroo's Thomas the Train Wall Decor and a couple other clipart images I found online. Simply print, cut, and iron.

Unfortunately the image didn't adhere very well to the canvas fabric. So the patches look a little...faded. We'll call it vintage-y. Yeah, vintage.

I'm also doing a train for Andyroo to wear. It will be easy - some cardboard boxes and some paint! I'll be posting that later this week so be sure to come back and check it out.

All aboard!!



  1. that is so cute - and practical :)

    Your project is totally awesome and I would like you to share it at my weekly "Made by ME" Linky Party at JAQS :

  2. I think that looks great. I'm sure he'll enjoy it long after Halloween.

  3. I love homemade costumes...and it looks like your little guy loves it too! I really like the vintage-y look of the trains:)

  4. You are such a good Mommy to make that for your little boy who by the way is adorable! Thanks for sharing at Taking A Timeout Thursday! Hope to see you again this week!

    -Trish @ Mom On Timeout


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