This project requires a little preamble. Yes, this project required sewing. Yes, I own a sewing machine. First, I learned to sew on huge industrial sewing machines in a manufacturing plant and second, my machine is one of my favorite presents my wife has ever given me. And this is the specific reason I have it. My point is, I’m secure enough in my manhood to post this blog and, if I ever question why, I need only look at the last picture of this post.
It all begins with the pattern. This project took a lot of visualizing as I am kind of pulling this out of my head. The idea was to be similar to a beach ball, composed of 6 panels sewn together. Unlike a beach ball, the panels are an oblong shape. The top will come together flat, requiring a 60 degree angle (360/6) while the bottom must be less than 60 degrees so it will come to more of a point. I used Abby’s arm span, height, and distance from neck to thighs and some rough geometry to calculate the height, width, and placement of widest point of my panel.
I then used my pattern to cut 6 panels out of red felt. The costume will have a liner on the inside to after I cut out the red panels, I repeated the process cutting 6 panels of black felt for the interior. I am very interested to see what this will look like when all of the panels are sewn together. To this point, everything has been in my mind. For the record, everything went perfectly in my mind.
Here’s the tricky part. Each panel is going to be stuffed with 1″ foam. This will force the costume to maintain it’s shape. It should allow Abby to walk, move, even fall down and then immediately resume it’s shape. This was the particularly brilliant part of the design. I used my pattern but ended up cutting the foam pieces smaller by about a quarter of an inch on each side. I wanted to make sure it fit easily between the inner and outer panel and still give me enough left to sew together.
Before I sew the panels together, I cut the upper tips off and sewed it closed. Once all the panels are attached, this will give me my neck hole. Also, at this stage I cut holes for Abby’s arms and legs. It was really tricky sewing the holes closed because I couldn’t get the 1 inch foam under the foot. I had to physically remove the foot, put the piece in place, then put the foot back on. Once I have all the panels together, I will finish the holes by hand.
Sometime it scares me a little bit when my geniouslyness shows how smart I is. When I finished sewing all the panels together (it got tricky the more pieces I attached) the shape was perfect. Exactly like I imagined it. The height is great, the width is great. The only variable left is the amount of time Abby will stay in it before she starts yelling.
The used a needle and thread to finish the raw edges. Here you can see the neck. I did the same thing with both arm holes and both leg holes. These not only gave it a finished look, but it also will probably make it quite a bit more comfortable for Abby. As comfortable as this costume can be, that is.
The next step was to create the hat. I had a vague idea of how this would work but I just went for it and knocked it out in about half an hour. I used an existing hat of Abby’s as a pattern, then simply cut out four leaf shaped patterns and attached them to the hat. Nothing too fancy but it’s one of my favorite parts of the costume.
The final component to the costume is to add the seeds. This was a pretty simple process of cutting out tear drop shapes and glueing them to the costume. Originally I was going to use a glue gun, but when I went to the store to get some glue sticks, I ended up just getting a small tube of fabric superglue. That plus 3 minutes and I was done.