Sew or sew not ready for Halloween?

We are sew not ready for Halloween this year, and I want to chat about it.

First, the annual quick plug for my FREE Super Hero Cape Sewing Pattern. I updated it last year to include 4 sizes! 3 kid sizes and 1 adult size – so we’ve got all of your Superhero needs covered.

You can also read my series of 10 Halloween Costume Sewing Tips, sponsored by Janome Canada.

That taken care of… whew…

Why are we sew not ready for Halloween?

Well… actually we have the costumes, glitter and pink hair spray, fancy makeup and accessories. But this year I’m not going to be sewing them.

Why? Well – when I found out the first week of Project Run and Play coincided with Halloween week, I gave in. Our traditional time-consuming handmade Halloween costumes would have to take a bit of a break this year. And despite much mom-guilt on my part, it’s been a great decision.

The girls will have just as much fun. And I could never have made the costumes they chose for the cost we bought them for. We’ll return the tradition next year!

Time saved = saving my sanity = a happier family!

The youngest has changed costumes twice. (Thank goodness for great return policies!) And my oldest is going to wear this handmade shirt with hers – so I feel good about that. (I’ll post photos of them this coming Wednesday on Instagram.)

If you’d like to tour through our previous costumes… you can see this huge throwback list:

2012 – Cinderella

 2013 – Jake and the Never Land Pirates

2014 – Princess Leia

2014 – Little Red Riding Hood

2015 – Black Cat

2015 – Garden Fairy

2016 – Anna from Frozen

2017 – Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz

 2017 – Cookies and Milk

Cookies and Milk Halloween Costume

My youngest is hilarious. I have no idea how or where she saw this costume – but she has been wanting to be a cookie since September. Which is super-fun and requires me to make a “working” milk carton treat bag – of course!

This costume is surprisingly simple to make, thankfully – because I had a lot of doubts before getting started!


  • Felt outer, appliqued with felt chocolate chips.
  • Brown Broadcloth inner, 1″ smaller all around than the outer felt cookie.
  • The felt outer was hand-pleated and pinned to fit the smaller broadcloth. Then sewn around, leaving an opening. When it is turned right side out the felt bunches out at the pleats, giving it depth.
  • I added a bit of stuffing, and then “quilted” it between the chocolate chips to help the stuffing to stay in place.
  • The straps are double-thickness felt, sewn only to the broadcloth.
  • The sides are about 4″ wide and sewn to the edges of the felt and broadcloth.
  • She wanted a bite out of the cookie, so I cut that out of the original circles before sewing. Top-stitching it afterwards helped it to stand out.

Milk Carton:

I contemplated taking tutorial photos – but since my time was limited, here are a few quick details.

  • The whole thing is white felt on the outer, with white broadcloth as a lining, to prevent the felt from stretching once it gets filled up.
  • I started with a flat rectangle and appliqued the blue and red ribbon onto it.
  • The sides were sewn together by flattening the fabric and sewing up the edge.
  • The bottom is a square, each side is sewn on separately.
  • The top is folded like a carton of milk – I used one from our fridge to get it right. The fold lines are top-stitched and I added Velcro around the top as needed for it to fold properly. Surprisingly this worked really well! The felt was stiff enough to hold the shape.

Cup and Straw Headband:

  • The cup was glued to the headband, with a piece of felt underneath to hold it on.
  • A round piece of cardboard, covered in felt “milk” was glued in. Before gluing, we added a hole for the straw and hot-glued it in as well.

Unfortunately, we have a lot of photos of the headband (being top-heavy) falling off. So we’ll need to augment our strategy before next week. Even if we don’t find a fix, the Milk Carton makes a great place to hold the headband!

On our early trick-or-treat trip to Niagara Falls, we went to the Hershey Store – it’s our family favorite MUST STOP for the kids – and they were so pleased with her cookie costume that the manager gave us a free personalized extra-large chocolate bar! It pays to dress up early, I think!

Over the Rainbow – a Dorothy Halloween costume

“There’s no place like home… *click, click* There’s no place like home…” *click, click* Unless, of course, you can trick-or-treat at other people’s homes and get free candy!

This year, we watched The Wizard of Oz with our girls, probably in the spring or early summer. They LOVED it, and my oldest declared she should be Dorothy for Halloween. Of course, I LOVED that! (lol)

This  costume is so fun to make, and like most years, I used a simple elastic-back bodice (as in Anna and the Pirate Princess) since it will fit more easily. This costume was pretty simple – and I have a good base of knowledge (read: lots of practice!) for making these now, so I could concentrate on making the fun details.

A few things we took from the original costume:

  • Bias-cut bodice details and hem detail
  • Rounded bodice top
  • Straps and buttons on both front and back
  • Puffed sleeves! (though we chose to make them long for our chilly Canadian weather)
  • Bias-cut neckline detail
  • Red ruby slippers
  • Toto (flat, more details below)
Notes on the sewing/glittering:
  • Dress and Shirt:
    • Dress: Annabelle pattern – bodice sized-up a bit for a longer fit, simple gathered skirt
    • Shirt: Vintage V-Neck pattern with puffed sleeve variation, self-drafted the length for the sleeves
    • The buttons are sewn-on without working buttonholes.
  • Ruby Red Slippers:
    • We glittered some old ballet flats with regular glitter. (It will stick well enough for Halloween, but not much longer!)
  • Toto:
    • I made a “Flat Toto” (similar to Flat Stanley) with a fabric printout on the front and felt on the back.
      • To print on fabric: Cut a piece of freezer paper to letter size. Adhere it to a same-sized sheet of (in my case) broadcloth. This will allow it to go through your printer. Print the image.
      • It will be a bit light in colour, and won’t withstand washing – but it is a quick alternative to buying a stuffie.
    • We sewed a metal loop to one side and attached a toy leash, so it could be attached to the basket.
  • I found actual Wizard of Oz fabric on sale at my local shop and bought enough to hide a border of it underneath as the dress lining. It’s fun that she has the actual characters in her costume!

We went to Niagara Falls (very near to us!) and did an early trick-or-treat run last weekend. My Dorothy had so much fun being recognized and the photo-shoot was impromptu at a cute picnic area we found to eat our lunch.

As my “little” girl gets older it’s fun to note what things she’s excited about. This year, it was thrilling to get to wear real pink lipstick as part of dressing up, and important that the costume was as perfect and “real” as possible. I am imagining that soon I will be hovered over as I sew – just to ensure each part of it is exactly right!

Spring Bunny Quilt Block

I am overwhelmed by the amazing comments and emails in response to my last post! Thank you, thank you! It reminds me just how much I am not in my own sewing bubble, and how the DIY community is so lovely and supports it’s people so well. I already feel more energized and excited to begin this new way of thinking and writing along with you.

In the works over the past month or so I’ve written instructions for a Bunny Quilt Block! Cute, cute for Easter, or any spring project. But of course, my mind also thinks it would be perfect to use in a baby quilt – if I only had the patience (#notaquilter) and someone with a baby that needed a quilt!

So I’m popping in today with the block instructions for you. Plus, to let you know I’ll be posting about how I quilted it (on my Janome embroidery machine!) and also with a quick tutorial on how to turn any 12″ block into an 18″ throw pillow. **Update: Find out How to Quilt on an Embroidery Machine.**

Click here to find out how to sew a 12″ Finished Bunny Quilt Block!


Wholecloth and Pompom Christmas Pillow

I have a general lack of Christmas pillows, so I’ve been trying to make one each year to add to my collection.

This pillow was designed to be super simple. Two square sides, some quilting, and an invisible zipper closure + pompoms for some fun! My husband isn’t sold on them (yet?), but the kids and I think pompoms are definitely the way to go.

I’ve been stashing the materials for this in a project bag since before last Christmas. Which (of course) is when I planned to make it. As usual – the number of ideas “to sew” were bigger than the time there is to actually sew them. Sound familiar?!

This year I decided to buy all of my gifts, save a few simple zippy pouches for the babysitter and our teachers. I am so much more relaxed, and (thanks to online shopping) we only need to find a couple more things! I really miss planning homemade ideas and sharing them. But to be honest – it’s pretty stressful since I am a procrastinator and never (ever) start early enough. (Plus, there are always birthdays to make up for it!)

I’m also happy to be part of Janome Canada’s series “12 Days of Best Loved Accessories and this pillow fits perfectly into my favorite! I have LOVED the AcuFeed Flex (dual feed) system on the Skyline machines I’ve been loaned.

The dual feed system works like a walking/even foot – but the top feed dogs are connected directly to the machine – so it’s more accurate. Since I’ve been using it I’ve haven’t had any bunching or shifting on my quilted projects – and they worked great when sewing the matching the plaid pattern on the seams of my new pajama pants.

The Skyline S9 (and some other Janome machines) include more than one width of the foot – so I have a narrow and a wide foot available to me. Plus a 1/4″ quilting foot, open toe foot and a zipper foot! Great for making sure everything moves along evenly!

I spray basted these layers together and quilted them in a grid pattern with creme thread. I marked a few lines and then used the quilting guide bar to keep them “even”. I prefer a slightly wonky look to my quick projects since I generally can’t keep the lines perfectly straight anyhow! After that, it was simple to trim the pillow into a square, add the pompom trim and zipper and done.

Hmmm… as I’m writing this I just realized there’s a gold shirt in a project bag that is due to be upcycled into a pillow as well… maybe next year?!

Are you hand-making your Christmas gifts?

Fabric: Riley Blake Designs “Lost & Found Christmas” by My Mind’s Eye, from Country Clothesline (out of stock)

Frozen Halloween – Anna Costume

We’re big fans of the Disney movie Frozen over here.

Since we have two girls – so it’s hard to avoid! But, my husband and I are also impressed with the direction Disney has been taking in their movies lately.

Less “Princess + Boy = Happy Ending” and more “Princess/Girl + Bravery = Happy Ending”.

It’s a win-win for us and our kids. They get the princess story, and we get the more positive role model.

Anna Costume - Dress CloseUp

Earlier this year (think spring!) my oldest decided to be Anna for Halloween. No questions asked – this was happening. From here on in there was talk of being Anna. Especially as costumes started to appear for sale.

With my time being directed at getting ready for Creativ Festival, I didn’t think I could make costumes. But, even when face-to-face with the “perfect” Disney Store Anna costume my daughter decided that a mommy-made version was better. Awwww…. good for this sewing mama’s heart – and of course I could be convinced to make a costume!

I really am pleased this year – it’s a minimal effort, maximum effect kind of deal – like their Jake and the Pirate costumes. Thankfully it was also a quick one.

Here is a run-down of how I sped things up:

The Cape:

  • Non-fraying and no-hem-needed Fleece for the cape
  • Trim inspired by the Simon and Co – Simple Anna Costume tutorial
  • Pattern: Cape from “Little Things to Sew” by Liesel Gibson (Same as this Little Red Riding Hood costume )
  • KAM Snaps on the front instead of a tie.
  • Cut a shorter duplicate of the top of the cape for the second layer.

The Hat:

  • self-drafted using the hood pattern pieces from the “Little Things to Sew” Cape (see above)
  • I placed our previously made cape inside-out on my daughters head and traced the general shape of the hat. Then transferred it to the pattern pieces, adding a facing to finish the edges.
  • To get it to stay on, my daughter had the idea to use a headband – which easily slipped into the facing around the front of the hat.

The Dress:

  • Bodice is based on the Annabelle pattern by Violette Field Threads (also made in my favorite blue chambray, and as Easter dresses)
  • I had some quilted knit in my stash that was perfect!
  • We put a blue ready-to-wear shirt underneath instead of sewing sleeves.
  • My daughter drew and painted the “embroidery” herself using fabric paint.
  • Skirt is sewn from broadcloth, with a bit of a “V” self-drafted into the front.

What about the little one?

She was happy to wear an Owl costume we found at the consignment shop. Easy peasy – photos later today on Instagram I’m sure!

Funny thing though. I wanted to wash it – being thrifted and all – so it went in with all the week’s socks and underwear. When I opened the washer – Surprise! I had a tub full of stuffing! The owl’s lining fabric frayed, leaving holes where a large bucket of stuffing escaped and mixed with my clothes.

After spending 1/2 hour cleaning stuffing off of socks and underwear I’ve learned my lesson – always read the label. This one says “Spot Clean Only”, of course!

What are your kids dressing as this Halloween?