Buffy the Vampire-Slayer Costume (in progress)

As I mentioned before, it took quite a bit of convincing to get Syo to agree to “Movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer” as opposed to “TV-show Buffy” for her Hallowe’en costume. Not that I have anything against Sarah Michelle Gellar’s take on the character—I haven’t watched enough to judge one way or another, but plenty of my friends and family, kids included, are firm fans—but in my mind the movie version is more iconic. That’s where Buffy started, y’know, the wonderful juxtaposition of teen-cheerleader-ditz with stark, undead horror. Or something. (OK, it’s been a while since I saw the movie, either, and unforgivably it’s not on Netflix. Dude.)

So, now the costume is progressing, and she’s still not overly thrilled. /sigh. I’m torn. On the one hand I have an intense recollection of that sinking dread/obligation feeling that goes with a costume being made for you that you don’t like. (Hmm, I think I was less tactful and thoughtful of my mother’s feelings than Syo, actually.) On the other hand, as an adult, I am serenely confident that my idea is better, and she should just suck it up. Gotta love how parenthood can bring out one’s inner dictator. Sigh.

In any case, the essential, iconic bits are done—crop-top and twirly skirt. Hopefully Syo will like the skirt better than the top (as I write this I just finished the skirt and she’s already in bed, so she will have to check it out tomorrow). Although technically she already had a skirt picked out (the black one in the photo. It’s not one I made). I’m hoping she’ll be amenable to layering them, with the yellow one on top. This may go over like a lead balloon—we’ll see.

T-Shirt pattern

Anyway, the top is drawn straight from the T-shirt portion of this Kwik Sew pattern, but cropped off at the handy “lengthen or shorten here” line. It’s snug in the sleeves and loose in the body, which works in my opinion but is less than thrilling to Syo who’d prefer it to be skin-tight. She likes everything skin-tight these days. >_<

Hem and navy strip closeup (I used Steam-a-Seam inside the hems, too, which makes them pretty much effortless)

The photo I’m going from has navy trim on the yellow costume, so I pulled out some navy stretch-velvet I bought on a whim last winter and have been too terrified to actually do anything with. It wasn’t actually cheap, and I have some very traumatic history involving sewing polyester velvet, although that horrible stuff wasn’t stretch. I cut some rectangles and topstitched the strips down the sleeves using a a handy-dandy stretch stitch on my machine that looks vaguely like the athletic-style coverstitching you get on some RTW. Most importantly, it makes a nice, stretchy topstitch—I actually used it on the hems in the shirt, too. It’s stretchier and less fiddly (and less tunnelly!) than twin-needling.  Anyway, I’m quite happy with how it worked for appliqueing the strips on the sleeves. I actually (first time ever!) used the pattern-piece for the neckband strip, and I have to admit I was a little disappointed. All my reading plus previous experience suggests to me that a neckband strip needs to be a wee bit shorter than the neckband when working in a knit. This one was dead on, if not in fact a teensy bit longer. Boo. It was easy enough to shorten, but if I’d been trying to put it on in the round and hadn’t checked, it would’ve been a bad situation. Perhaps the instructions have some clever notes about this—if I ever make an outfit from this pattern that isn’t a complete throwaway I may actually read them.

Skirt pattern (View D)

The skirt comes from this McCall’s pattern. View D is the handkerchief skirt in the middle. Now, remember my whining about excessively dumbed-down patterns? Well, my next-biggest pet-peeve is pattern-pieces that are shaped like squares and rectangles.

Square and rectangular pattern pieces

Now, just for the record, I understand why people selling patterns include pattern pieces like these. And I would actually be a bit dissatisfied if I opened a pattern and got a bunch of directions for cutting squares of a particular size. But square pattern pieces are still silly. The handkerchief-skirt piece almost has a right to exist because of that circle in the middle… almost.

Although I did a pretty decent job on the shirt, construction-wise (if I do say so myself), everything went to hell a bit on the skirt. First, I was comparing the yoke-size to the RTW skirt, which is also a pull-on elastic skirt that I knew fit Syo (perils of sewing for a child when the child is in bed—no fitting opportunities), and it was way too long (the smallest size in my envelope is 7, which is a bit big). So I shortened it. Of course, I did this from one edge, which threw all my notches off. Oops. Next, the skirt appears to be cut to a somewhat larger size than the yoke. WTF?

My basic approach at this point became: It’s a knit. It’ll stretch.

I’m not sure the original skirt calls for an elastic at the waist (again, I could have read the instructions), but I figured one was in order. And then it just seemed easier to keep it place by turning the yoke into just a regular elastic-casing waistband. And then when I started to sew the skirt pieces to the yoke, I tried to match my notches, forgetting that that would throw off one side of the skirt. Also there are a lot of gathers, staring from the skirt’s centre hole being cut to a larger size, and ending with me taking a wider hem to narrow the yoke.  And because of the notches being off, the gathers are not particularly even.

It’s not quite the sleek, cute thing on the envelope cover. Oh, well—hopefully it’ll work anyway. I mean, what little girl can resist a handkerchief skirt?

Don’t ask that.

Kwik Sew 1670

So that’s the major bits. If I get time/energy, I may turn the rest of the velvet into a leotard and/or leggings from this pattern. I do in fact have a leggings pattern I drafted for Syo back this summer, but it has a fair bit of negative ease—which was perfect for the fabric I was using at that point—and this stretch velvet doesn’t stretch that much. On the other hand the smallest size of the Kwik Sew pattern is a bit big for Syo… but she’s growing. And I’m pretty sure she’d live in stretch velvet leggings.

We’ll see.

Probably I should figure out some pom-poms, too.

Oh, and it turns out we are actually going to the Hallowe’en dance on Friday, so everything needs to be done by tomorrow, not for Monday. Oopsie.



Filed under Sewing

10 responses to “Buffy-tastic

  1. I think it looks great, but my heart gave a little flutter when you said it has to be done by Friday! Here’s hoping Syo likes the skirt and everything fits, etc.

    We also have a Halloween event on Friday as well as trick or treating on Monday, plus an event my older kids helped out at last night. Since when is Halloween a week-long holiday anymore? Geez. I’m halfway tempted to make myself a costume, but I’m not sure I’m tempted enough to actually get anything done.

    • Yeah, apparently they were supposed to wear their Hallowe’en costumes to dance this week, too. Oops. 😛

      I still wanna see you in the punk fairy costume, but I definitely get the motivation thingy ;).

  2. Yikes! I hope you don’t have too much left to do. But saying that some impressive knit pieces. I hope she likes it when she puts it on … With pom poms…. Can she really resist? She’d look too cute. Don’t even think that she won’t and your power of positivity will create the right (ie yours because you know you’re right!) response….good luck getting everything done and have fun

  3. Well, for what it’s worth, I think the costume is looking really Buffy-like, and isn’t that the entire point of the exercise?! This post totally cracked me up. This is usually how I sew up a lot of projects, I’ve just never seen the entertainment value in documenting all the twiddling and fixing, figuring and running mental commentary on ridiculous pattern pieces/instructions that generally goes into a project. I totally like your reference to dictatorship, and heck, my response to the suspected dread/ungratefulness would be quite dictatorial after all the time it took to make up a costume from, of all things, a movie still: “You can wear this, or go in your pajamas!” *evil dictator laugh* :)))

    • Glad to entertain! I know details posts aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I love them. And I love hearing about the challenges a project presents—after all, that’s what makes a sewing blog interesting, right?

  4. Yeah, I love all the details too. I have been traumatized by halloween costumes both on the receiving and creating end, but it can also be great fun. My guess is that once you get the costume on and the makeup slathered on Syo will be thrilled. The makeup always seems to be the turning point in the transformation.

  5. I loved the part about bringing out your inner dictator, LOL! I feel like that sometimes too. I even find myself breaking out some of the “mom-isms” that I hate.

    I think the costume is going to be awesome, and I think you are right to go with the movie version–mostly because SMG’s version just wore pretty regular clothes. Which would kind of ruin the fun of being Buffy, IMHO.

  6. Heh, kids… I’m sure she’ll come around to the costume, it’s great!

  7. LinB

    HAHAHAHA! I hope that your children won’t sue you when they grow up, for all the amusing comments you make about them now. Thank you for sharing details, of sewing projects, and of your warm and loving family. Hope your Halloween is a happy one, as it seems to be extended in length this year.

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