Thursday, November 3, 2011

pinterest challenge — max + wild thing costumes!

Pinterest Challenge time, sponsored by the Young House Love blog and the Bower Power blog, joined this month by Ana White and Erin!

When it was time to get started on a Halloween costume for my kiddo this year, I started searching Pinterest and the web-at-large for a pattern or tutorial to make a copy of Max's wolf suit from the book Where the Wild Things Are. My search turned up this:

a free, downloadable BurdaStyle pattern in exactly the right size—2T. Thanks, SuzeB! I'm almost certain that the poor rating on this pattern isn't a reflection of the pattern itself (it all fit together just fine), but the result of dim bulbs like me trying to click on the bubbles to see other people's ratings, and thereby giving it a poor rating accidentally. The pattern is great. Here's my kiddo wearing it now, up to mischief of one kind and another, as the story goes.

I started with an ivory-colored, slightly stretchy, minky-feeling, polyester faux fur instead of the recommended polar fleece, because I don't really dig the way polar fleece pills after washing—even the "no-pill" kind. The lovely, bushy, furry tail is made from a quarter-yard remnant from JoAnn Fabrics.

Other alterations to the pattern: I made the hood very slightly deeper and made the front closure a velcro closure so that the sewn-on buttons are purely decorative (I like a quick-release one-piece costume for diaper emergencies). No need to get too in-depth on the alterations; SuzeB provides a nice tutorial on how to put the suit together. I just left off the front facings and folded over a narrow hem on the front edge, then stitched in the velcro. Easy peasy.

That's them at the library, right before Halloween story time. Which brings me to the other part of this costume: my husband's Wild Thing. Not something I'd planned on originally, but then I came across this:

while looking for a "quick" way to make a Wild Thing costume head. Hah!

The directions Seamster provides with his Instructable remind me of the way I crochet: intuitively. You see what you want the end result to look like, you get out some materials and a basic set of directions, and you interpret and innovate where necessary. Voila!

A couple of weeks later, you have this guy.

Now, a couple of people on the Instructable commented that they started this project mere days or hours before Halloween, and finished in plenty of time. I guess I forget sometimes how quickly things can get done when a person has all their evening hours free! For me, working a couple of hours a day a few times a week, it took a little longer than anticipated, which is how I ended up at the mall on Halloween in my Where the Wild Things Are t-shirt (or, as my husband called it, my "cloak of invisibility") instead of a matching costume. Never mind. The boys were instant celebrities.

We were sitting at the table, just like this

eating dinner in the food court and cooling off, and still had people coming up to compliment the costumes and take photos. While we were eating. Back off, paparazzi! I'm trying to eat my enchilada!

As for alterations to the Seamster's Instructable, I started with felt instead of polar fleece, this time for cost concerns as well as to make the Wild Thing have more of a Muppet-like appearance. The base is made as described here, except I enlisted my husband to cut it in a 18-inch diameter circle since his head is larger than a child's head.

I used 4 mm newsboard for the base, then, for the step in which I built up the hat base, I used cheaper, more flexible kraft board attached with tape and hot glue.

In the next step, in which I sewed the dome out of felt and attached it to the base, I followed the advice on measuring and cutting the fabric (felt, in my case), but the part about using trial and error stood out to me as being time-consuming . . . so I did this instead:

After stuffing the bubble with polyester fluff, I folded over the saggy parts and used a whipstitch to hold them down. I made sure to keep the whipstitching where I knew it would be out of sight under the Wild Thing's fur. It made a nice, relatively smooth dome shape, without having to rip the thing apart and re-machine sew + stuff a half-dozen times.

Since the whole thing is made out of felt, I also left off the step about stitching together a facade of felt for where the cheek lines would be, and used an alcohol-based marker to sketch those lines in instead.

I followed the instructions for shaping the nose and eyes from newspaper and masking tape (!) which are not materials I would ever have thought of using for this . . . kind of like dry paper mache. Once covered in felt, I was really impressed by how nice and smooth + solid the pieces turned out. I attached them as directed, accented around the eyes with the alcohol marker, then sewed the horns out of the same felt and stitched them on before beginning to hot glue the fur in place.

Next alteration? Instead of gluing down the teeth on top of the red mouth felt, I cut slits through the felt as I was attaching it so that I could poke the teeth up through the felt, concealing the little tabs. Because I have just a touch of the crafting OCD.

I finished the lower jaw mostly as directed, but I used a piece of foam pipe insulation instead of a 2-inch x 3/4-inch piece of foam. The curve presented some challenges, but in the end it looked pretty good, I think!

Here's one more of the boys in the wild (the kiddo's crown is something I sewed out of wool felt and dyed golden yellow):

Materials list:

Max's Wolf Suit
1 yard of 72-inch wide furry stuff (from JoAnn's with coupon)—$7.49
3 large plastic buttons (on-hand from Grandma's button box)—free
1 package bargain velcro (from JoAnn's)—99 cents
1/4-yard faux fur remnant (from JoAnn's)—$1.30

Wild Thing Head-Piece
1 30x48" sheet of 4 mm newsboard (from Oregon Art Supply)—$5.50 (with enough left over for a couple of other projects)
1 24x36" sheet of kraft brown tag board (from Paper Plus)—45 cents
1 9x12" yellow eco-felt rectangle (from JoAnn's, on sale)—25 cents
1 9x12" orange eco-felt rectangle (from JoAnn's, on sale)—25 cents
1 9x12" dark grey eco-felt rectangle (from JoAnn's, on sale)—25 cents (or use a scrap of something you have on-hand)
1/4-yard red 72-inch wide eco-felt (from JoAnn's, on sale)—75 cents
1 yard antique white 72-inch wide eco-felt (from JoAnn's, on sale)—$2.99
1/2-yard "Grizzly" black fur (from JoAnn's, on sale)—$5.10
elastic (on-hand)—free
masking tape (from Jerry's hardware store)—$2.29
20 extra-strength long glue gun sticks (from Jerry's hardware store)—$4.99
1 32-oz. bag polyester Fiber-Fill (from JoAnn's, with coupon)—$5.00
alcohol-based marker (on-hand)—free

Wild Thing Costume
1 heathered-red long-sleeved t-shirt (from Target, on sale)—$6.00
2 yards beige flannel (JoAnn's, on sale)—$4.78
acrylic paint (on-hand)—free
alcohol-based marker (on-hand)—free

(Other Pinterest inspiration posts: here, here, and here!)

(p.s. you can make these photos bigger by clicking on them . . . but you probably knew that!)

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BrittanyEVIL said...

I've been making this project, following your directions/changes and the ones on the Instructable. I think yours turned out better actually haha. But I had a question about the eyes. I used a styrofoam ball cut in half and covered it with felt. They look great, but I was reading the instructions on cutting X's in the fabric and then gluing the eyes in. I'm hesitant to cut the fabric, bc if I make a mistake there's really no coming back from that. So I was wondering if you cut the eye X holes, or if you just glued it to the head? Thank you in advance! :)

Night Garden Design said...

Brittany, I'm so sorry to be getting back to you so late, but maybe this will help someone down the line: Yes, I cut the X's. And it was frightening. Now, the part about "no coming back from that" . . . there actually is. If the placement is slightly off the eyelid will cover it. If it's more off, you can always stitch it up and try somewhere else. It's not perfect, but it's a solution. And the inset eyes just look a ton cooler.