Halloween Costumes That You -- Yes, You -- Can Make in a Weekend

(ARA) - There’s something special about making a Halloween costume for your child. Sure, you could head to the nearest big box retailer and pick up the latest superhero or cartoon character outfit, but why not get creative this year and come up with a costume that won’t get lost in a sea of look-alikes?

Making a Halloween costume doesn’t require professional sewing skills. If you can stitch a straight line with your sewing machine, you’re in business. If you are a more experienced sewer, you can get as intricate as you like. But even casual sewers can achieve great results that you’ll be proud to include in the family photo album.

Bernina, a leading sewing machine manufacturer, recently introduced a new machine that helps make sewing easy. The bernette for Bernina is a user-friendly machine that features outstanding performance at an affordable price. Simple operation and variable stitch width ensure sewing satisfaction. Optional features like an automatic needle threader, LCD and slide speed control and a one-step buttonhole maker let even the occasional sewer create like a pro.

“Halloween is the second largest sewing holiday, next to Christmas,” says Gayle Hillert, vice president, education and training for Bernina of America. “What could be more fun and creative than sewing a great costume for your child -- you don’t have to worry about fit, you can use all kinds of exciting fabrics, feet and machine stitches, and your kids will be the talk of the neighborhood in their creative creations lovingly sewn by Mom.”

Here are a few costume-making tips from the experts at Bernina to get you started:

* Look for fast, simple patterns -- the fewer pieces, the better, especially if you haven’t followed a pattern for a while.

* Use patterns that can multi-task -- for example, a cape pattern can be used for a superhero or a witch. A princess, a fairy and a ballerina all dress alike with a few changes (wings and magic wand for the fairy, pointy hat with netting for the princess, etc.).

* Details make the difference -- don’t forget to include props and makeup in your costume planning; they contribute to the illusion. A broomstick horse completes a cowboy outfit; a cat needs eyeliner whiskers. Costume jewelry and scarves add pizzazz to a pirate’s ensemble.

* Don’t sweat the small stuff -- costumes don’t have to be perfect. They are usually for short-term use and are only worn one or two times. No one but you will know if your hem isn’t blind-stitched or your seam allowances aren’t finished.

* Use what you have -- dig deep into your closet or visit local thrift stores for costume pieces. A velour top and pants are the beginning of a great puppy or kitten costume, for instance. One leg of an old pair of tights makes a great tail for those outfits, or use several pairs to add extra arms and legs to an octopus or a spider.

* Check your presser feet and accessory collection -- the right tools will make the job easier. Use a gathering foot for fast ruffles, a bias binder attachment or serger to finish edges, elasticator to quickly apply elastic, bulky overlock foot to attach fringe, coding and other trims.

* Use reflective fabrics and tapes -- this makes the costume safe for children to wear at night. If you live in a cold climate, make sure the costume is big enough to be worn over something warm.

* Get your kids involved in the process -- they’ll be proud to wear a costume they’ve helped make.

For more easy sewing tips, and to see the entire line of bernette for Bernina machines, visit www.berninausa.com.

Step-by-Step Directions for Three Easy Halloween Costumes

These costume ideas from Bernina don’t even use a pattern and require minimal sewing, but deliver maximum cuteness.

Ballerina or Princess

Start with a leotard and tights; add ballet slippers and a purchased tiara. Finish off the costume with a beautiful tutu or skirt make from several yards of netting or tulle gathered and attached to a ribbon waistband; tie around the waist like an apron.

For really simple gathering, use a zigzag stitch with a length of 4 mm and a width of 4 mm. Stitch over heavy thread or dental floss, pull up gathers as needed, then tie thread tails together to secure. Cut a length of one-inch wide ribbon 40 inches longer than waist measurement. Matching center of ribbon to center front of skirt, pin in place along the top edge. Stitch in place, sewing along the outer edges or the ribbon.


Make a cape from lightweight fabric cut to the desired length plus one inch for hem. Hem the sides and both ends. Gather one end (as in tutu above) until it is approximately eight to 10 inches across. Center a 36-inch length of one-inch ribbon over the gathered edge and stitch in place along the edges, turning the ends under. On the underside of the gathers, stitch a length of hook-and-loop tape. Sew the opposite part of the tape to the back center neckline of a T-shirt or sweatshirt.

To wear, attach the cape to the hook-and-loop tape at the back of the shirt, then tie the ends of the ribbon in a bow in front. The hook-and-loop tape supports the weight of the cape.

Scarecrow or Hobo

Sew patches to worn out clothing. For straw stuffing, cut rectangles of gold, orange and yellow felt to fit around the hems of the clothes, cutting each strip about six inches wide. Use scissors to cut the felt into fringe, stopping about one inch from one long edge. Tuck the fringe into the lower edges of pants, sleeves, and shirt with some coming out of the shirt collar; stitch in place.


-Courtesy of ARA Content


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