Thursday, December 27, 2012

the zwinky that ate my life

Not to get dramatic or anything, but it did. Every year I ask my niece to draw me a picture of what she wants her Halloween costume to look like, and then we make it for her. This year, the internet interceded.

As anyone with girl children probably already knows, you can go online to one of several sites and change up fairy and animal and people avatars with different colors or noses or outfits. When visiting, my niece did several animals, pink zebra-striped dogs, birds with gemstones for eyes (and other girly things), while I was watching. I chose this time to remind her that I needed her sketch for her costume that year.

She worked on the dragon above for less than thirty seconds. Declaring it finished, she printed it out and I agreed, sure that she was just having fun with the options available to her on the site and that the fiddly bits weren't what she really and truly wanted. However, my most reasonable questions were all met with bizarrely well-reasoned responses:
"Are you sure it needs wings made out of bone?"
"It's a death dragon. Yes." 
"Do the see-through bits really need to be see-through?"
"They're bone wings; if there's no skin then you wouldn't put heavy stuff on them." 
"Do you really want it to be navy blue?"
"It's a death ice dragon. Its breath freezes you and then it eats you while you're still alive,   but too frozen to move!"
Et cetera. Don't underestimate the imagination of a seven year-old, 'cause it's probably a heck of a lot faster than yours, especially if it's getting what it wants. 

So, we measured and measured and measured her, and I got to work altering a pattern for a kangaroo outfit whilst my better half made the wings.  

He bent wire into long pieces and then molded an air-drying polymer clay around them. 

Then he fitted them inside a flattened poster tube and wired this into place. Inside the poster tube I ran a length of sturdy, thick elastic that I'd made sleeves for out of the same felt that I used for the suit. It went on kind of like a backpack.

 I used boning to make the spines on the tail stand u straight and then sewed these directly on either side of the thin, diaphanous material for the ridge on the tail. The fleece hood, spats, suit and tail were otherwise as made in McCall's M6106 Kangaroo Costume pattern, and drew on scales. Adding triangular fleece cut-out "claws" to the spats, hood and a pair of navy glove liners completed the outfit. The mask was bits of crafter foam on an elastic cord.

Unfortunately, I have no photos of the final on her. Anticlimactic, but definitely works as an example of why this kid is worth me spending four straight weekends on a costume she's only going to wear once.

Hope you enjoyed seeing the final product, and in case anyone out there has a kid that really wants to look like a scary blue swamp-thing on Halloween, here you go!