Sunday, October 23, 2011

Another quick an easy one: Halloween capes

Halloween is not exactly a German holiday. But it's increasingly popular here, and to me it's a nice fall holiday. Besides, I like pumpkins. For carving, not so much for eating. So we had a pumpkin carving tradition before we had kids, but it's definitely one of those things that's much more fun with kids. Last year, big brother did his very first own pumpkin.

This year we got pumpkins and we carved them today. I was planning to also do Halloween decorations and all sorts of things this weekend, but big brother has had a fever since Friday afternoon and the doc wasn't really sure what it is yet. So today we took advantage of some afternoon sunshine and those few hours that he was feeling fairly good (after taking ibuprofen). More on those hopefully sometime this week.

We'll also do ghost cookies and something with sprinkles, as my friend Elizabeth was so nice to send us a package with all sorts of Halloween goodies. As mentioned before, part of the package was a book that big brother kept dragging around the house, pointing to the image of the kid in a magician's costume and announcing that he was going to wear this, exactly this, for Halloween. This is a little funny, because my kids have never dressed up for Halloween yet. We did the pumpkins, cookies, decorating and we did have candy to give out, but we haven't done any trick-or-treating yet. Apparently he was fully aware of what he had been missing out on.

So magician it is. A quick Internet search yielded a lot of great tutorials on how to sew a cape. And a lot of cheap ugly capes and one really nice (not so cheap) cape to buy. Of course I need two since little brother is not likely to be left out of this one, or anything for that matter. Now, looking at my goals for the year and my recent thoughts on how much is too much and saying no to things, sewing two lined magician capes just didn't seem like a good idea, and spending 40 EUR for ONE costume (without the hat, mind you) wasn't an option either.

What's a creatively challenged, still non-sewing mommy to do? Felt! At least I thought felt, until I started looking at prices. Plus shipping costs, because I live in the middle of nowhere and there are no decent fabric stores nearby, or maybe I just don't know where.  Thinking about other no-sew options, it hit me: Ikea! Of course, my trusted Swedish solution for almost everything. Not the highest quality but in a lot of cases just about good enough. Ikea sells a black fleece blanket for 3,49 EUR. So on my recent trip to Ikea I picked up two of them, figuring that maybe one blanket was enough and using the other as backup and return if not needed.

Loosely following this and this tutorial folded the blanket in half, draped it around the boys' shoulders and decided that half a blanket was long enough, in little brother's case even too long. Following the tutorials I cut a half circle in the center of the double-folded blanket to make the neck, making little brother's cape a bit shorter.

Most tutorials also cut the cape into a round or half-round shape, but when I had the boys try it on, the immediately grabbed the excess fabric in front, holding it close. Apparently they liked their cape to wrap all around them. I ended up just cutting a small curve off the front corner to keep it from hanging lower than the rest of the cape.

I also didn't want to cut off too much from the cute border than the blanket came with.

You know by now that I can't sew. I had ordered silver, red and yellow iron-on stars from this seller on Dawanda, the sort of "German version" of Etsy (yes, I realize there is a German Etsy, too. But I still like Dawanda, it's just been around longer over here). The red and yellow ones were a little more temperamental, but the silver ones went on really well. So as the boys played nicely upstairs (miracle!) I actually finished cutting both capes and ironed on the stars.

Still left to do: use some silver ribbon for the neckline and closing the cape, make a hat and a magic wand.

Of course there are much nicer capes in blogland, but if there's anyone else out there who is trying to get rid of perfectionism and have a cheap and quick cape for Halloween, I can recommend using Ikea fleece blankets.

Now I only have to keep the cats from sleeping on them!

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