Totoros and Rain Clouds Galore!

Well, Halloween is over!  All that preparation and it’s gone in the blink of an eye!  We had a great time taking Yuki on her first real trick-or-treat outing and she wore her costume for most of it, so that was a big success.  Did you all have a great Halloween?

Today I’m super excited to be sharing a bunch of costumes made by readers!

When I made the Totoro costume for my daughter last Halloween, I was excited, but figured most people would have no clue who or what she was.  While we definitely had to answer the question more than a few times, it quickly became an internet hit.  It is, by far, my most popular post EVER.  Totoro has a big following!

When people started showing interest in the costume, I thought I might make a pattern for it or sell custom costumes, but I did neither.  I didn’t even make a tutorial for it.  But as Halloween approached, I started getting emails from people who were making the costume just based off of my pictures and brief description.  Some of them had questions, but they all drafted their own patterns and they all came out sooooo incredible!  Each of them unique in their own way.  I was thrilled when I started seeing pictures of the finished costumes and even more so when they said I could share them here on the blog.

As you guys may know, I love Halloween and costumes are probably one of my most favorite things to create.  Unfortunately, my daughter does not feel the same way!  She doesn’t like costumes and it makes me feel like I should give up on trying to get her to dress up.  But when I see that my costumes have inspired other people to create for themselves and their families it makes me so so happy.  Some of them are sewing for the first time or for the first time in years and I think that’s pretty incredible!  And as for Yuki, I won’t approach her with another costume until she’s ready (and hopefully she’s ready by next Halloween)!

Anyways, let’s start the Totoro parade!!

 Ina made this costume for her son’s first Halloween and I cannot get over the cuteness!!  See more of her beautiful pictures here.
The whole gangVenus of Suburbia Soup made this adorable costume for her daughter.   She calls it Totoro on a diet – haha!  But I think it fits her daughter perfectly.  While you check out her blog, you definitely must see her Hoodie Scarf tutorial!
Bree, momma blogger of Shark and Crow, made this for her daughter and it was her first sewing project EVER.  Can you believe it!?  (My first sewing project was 2 pieces of fabric sewn into a rectangular pocket.  And it sucked.)  More pics of the cute costume here.
Raquel sent me pictures of her son, Javier, representing Totoro all the way from Spain!  Look at that lil belly!
Elisabeth made this for her son and I love how she stuffed the tummy and nose and the exposed zipper in the back looks great!

Sarah made TWO Totoro costumes, one of the big gray Totoro and one of the medium blue one.  How cute is this sibling picture!?The Catbus was booked, so these Totoros had to walk the streets for candy tonight.Kristina made this costume for her youngest even though she hadn’t sewn since 7th grade Home Ec class.  She borrowed a sewing machine from a friend.  Didn’t it come out amazing?
And last in the Totoro parade, is this incredible costume that Sandie made.  She used my hood and leaf as inspiration but created the rest of the costume on her own and don’t you just LOVE the soot ball bag and those shoe covers?!  It’s also so awesome to see a slightly older kid as Totoro.  So super cute.

The Rain Cloud costume was a tutorial from this year and there were a few created by readers for both kids and adults!  This costume is a bit more simple in construction, but equally as cute, and it was fun to see some pop up so quickly after I posted the tutorial.

Kristina of Sir Bubbadoo created this adorable costume for her son and he LOVED it!Rachel, of Stitched Together, made her daughter into a little gray rain cloud and I especially love how two of her older kids helped with painting, stuffing and decision making!

Kady, a children’s librarian, said her costume was totally appropriate for her job and super comfy too!
And last, but not least, one of my staff members and her friend dressed up as a couple of clouds for a Halloween party!  Maddee (left) is a rain cloud and Laura (right) is a snow cloud!  I love the variation!

Thank you to all of the talented people who shared their beautiful costume creations with me and allowed me to share them on the blog with you!  I really loved seeing every single one.

If you ever want to share your photos with me OR have any questions, please feel free to email me anytime (see contact tab above)!  And remember there is a you & mie flickr group and I’d love to see your creations added to the group as well.

Now that Halloween has passed, I know that the holiday season will creep up on us so quickly.  Can you believe it’s November already!?  Here in the US, today is election day, so if you’re a registered voter – PLEASE GO VOTE!  It’s truly one of our greatest rights and responsibilities.  I know I’ll be anxious until the day is over, but I’m hoping for good news :)

So get out there and vote and have a great day!

Rain Cloud Costume

Halloween is almost here!!  I LOVE making costumes and a few weeks ago, I posted this tutorial as part of The Train To Crazy’s Handmade Costumes series – click the link to see all the creative costumes that have been shared so far!

Since then, this costume made it onto the list of 21 Most Clever Halloween Costume Ideas for Kids on Babble, was selected as inspiration for Craftbaby’s DIY Halloween Costume Contest (go check it out and enter your costume!) and yesterday it was featured in a Martha Stewart Living article, DIY Kids’ Costumes from our Favorite BloggersMartha Freakin’ Stewart, people!!  I nearly died.  (Check out Kristin’s Fanstastic Mr. and Mrs. Fox outfits on the Babble and MSL lists too!)  I really didn’t expect any sort of reaction to this simple costume, so I’m, quite frankly, shocked.  And psyched.

Anyways, I wanted to bring this post home in case you didn’t see it and since Yuki was feeling under the weather (get it!? :P) the first time around, I decided to take some new pictures for this post.  Enjoy!

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Over the last several years I’ve made quite a few costumes including a Totoro costume for my daughter (it was a big hit!) and several others you can see here, including Russell from the movie, Up.  But I’m a total procrastinator and also super indecisive, so I haven’t even started figuring out what my daughter, Yuki, will be for Halloween this year.  So in the meantime, I thought I’d whip up a simple costume using only materials I already had a home.  Presenting . . . the Rain Cloud costume!

I wanted to make something pretty simple and very comfy.  I knew that Yuki would not be down with anything too big or cumbersome attached to her, so I kept it small.  And a lot of this stuff, you might already have at home!  So let’s get started.  Here’s what you’ll need.

For the pants:
– Pants or leggings in a “sky” color (blue, gray, white)
– Fabric paint
– Contact paper (or freezer paper)

For the cloud:
– White fabric (cotton, fleece, a white sheet, anything will do!  I used fleece and gauze because that is what I had at home)
– Ribbon (for the shoulder straps)
– Fiberfill or batting

The part of this project that took the longest was waiting for the fabric paint to dry on the pants, so I would start there.  Make rain drop stencils from the contact paper and stick them to your pants.  Use fabric paint to fill in your stencils (be sure to read and follow all the directions on the paint that you use).  I made 3 shades of blue and used two for each rain drop for a kinda gradient/ombre look.

I painted the pants in 3 stages – first the front of the pants, then when that was pretty dry, I removed the contact paper stencil and flipped it over and painted the back.  Then I split the pant legs open and painted a few more drops down the outside of the legs.

After the paint is almost completely dry, I hung them up to finish drying completely over night.  And those are da-DONE!

In between the stages of painting and drying, you can work on your cloud.

First, use a shirt to draw out a cloud pattern.  You’ll want the sides of the cloud to extend past the edges of the shirt (we’ll connect them later), but the pattern shouldn’t go past the shoulder to restrict arm movement.  Add seam allowance.

Cut out 4 layers of the cloud pattern.  I used fleece for the inside of the costume and gauze for the outside, so 2 clouds of each fabric.

Cut 2 pieces of ribbon for the straps.  Lay the inner fabric right side up, then the ribbons right side up.

Lay the outer layer right side DOWN, being sure to tuck all the ribbon inside the cloud.  Pin the layers together.

When you sew the back of the costume, be sure that you flip the direction of the pattern.

Sew around the cloud leaving an opening in the bottom.  Snip each point close to the seam.

Turn it right side out and press.  Fill with a thin layer of batting or fiberfill.

Hand sew the opening shut.  Quilt the cloud however you like to hold the filling in its place.

Stack the clouds right sides out and sew the edges together.

Try it on your model and mark how long you need the straps to be.  Trim your ribbon, fold the edge under and sew it to the back of the cloud.

Done!

Pair it with some rain boots if you got ‘em!

Sad cloud . . . err, happy cloud?

Yuki actually has a pair of rainbow striped pajama pants that would give this outfit a totally different look!  I bet there are a bunch of ways this costume could get adapted.

Thanks for having me, Andrea! I’m loving all the handmade inspiration in your series and feel lucky to have been a part of it!

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Have you picked out Halloween costumes for this year?  Are you making or buying?  I’m still looking for costumes for our family, so if you have any brilliant ideas to spare, leave me a comment :)