It’s about that time of year for kids to explore their alter-ego’s, mom’s to go crazy trying to create a super cool costume that is cost effective, and candy to wave it’s magic wand of desire adding a lb or two to each parents hips! So, how do we give our kids the costume they want without breaking the budget? I say find out what they want to be, and then get creative! Once you have a goal, head to your closet/goodwill pile/or the local thrift store and find the cheapest or in best shape with maybe one hole pair of jeans you can find. Now, we get to creating!
One pair of jeans in decent condition
Start by cutting the legs off the jeans as high as you can go.
Now, in the middle of each leg, cut straight up giving you a large piece of fabric with which you can work. Stitch the legs together making a huge circle. Do this by putting the open legs one on top of each other with the good side of the jean facing each other.
I secure with pins the two ends that I’m sewing on both sides for accuracy. You may find when doing this that the legs are uneven. To fix make sure the part of the jean that was the bottom of the leg is even since that has already been stitched over for less fraying. Next, take your scissors and cut the other end even.
Once you have made your large circle of jean you will need to measure your child. Have them come over and slip this over their head. Decide where the back is and measure where their waste is. Mark this with chalk. Next decide how tight you want it to be by pulling until it fits their top. Bring the extra fabric together in the back and with chalk make a line up. Now, take this off the child and lay it flat so you can see the chalk.
This next part is tricky. Where the chalk mark for the waste is will need to be your stopping point so either put a pin where the waste line chalk and the line you made for the top fitting or use your own method of indicating where this intersection occurs. Cut down from the top unfinished end of your jean following your child’s upper fit line to the waste line intersection.
Now, start finishing your unfinished edges. Keep in mind which side will be showing fold the fabric so the frayed end will be inside the clothing. Stitch each unfinished end closed, the top, the now open upper section, the fold over piece that is hanging from the waist.
Once this is done, again have the child come and slide it over their head. Decide where their arms will go and mark with an X in chalk. While, it’s over your child also see how much elastic you will need for the open part of the back(the elastic allows for it to be slipped over their head while making the skirt more flowing since it brings the fabric closer. Take if off the child. Add 1 inch to the elastic measurement.
Depending on your child, typically the bottom of a cup works best for arm holes. Finding a cup that is close to your child’s arm thickness is suggested! Place the cup with the X at the center and draw a circle on each side. Now cut out the circle. Cut a small slit at 12, 3, 6, and 9 on the circle. Fold the fabric in and stitch down the fabric for a finished arm whole.
Next, add as many slips of Elastic as you want to the back giving each ½ stitched on either side for security (kids can be rough on clothes).
Again, slip this over the child to see how your fit is coming along. You can either stop here adding bedazzles, patches, or paint for flare or continue on with the buttress in the back and the neckline.
You have a few options for both if you do continue on further.
For the Buttress in the back (the flap of fabric you cut down early on) make sure your edges are finished. You have two options with this past just leaving it to hang. You can either take the end of the buttress and bring it up to the waistline attaching it on either the underside of the buttress itself or to the waistline. Or, you can measure 3-4 inches from the bottom of where it hangs naturally and stitch it there leaving the sides open. Now stuff with tulle, or if heat isn’t an issue, scrap fabric to make it puffy. Once you’re as puffy as you like stitch closed both sides. Decorate as you see fit with lace, spray glitter, puffy paint, or whatever else you can imagine.
If you choose to do more with the neckline or have more fabric than you need you can create a fold over off the shoulder neckline one of two ways. The first way is to fold over the extra fabric and stitch it with your stitch starting 1 inch above the arm holes. Now, you can stuff this with tulle or extra fabric before stitching closed each end. The second is to decide how wide you want the fold over flap to be. Measure this out starting at the end of the fabric folding it down that same amount as you go. Once you are about an inch above the arm holes stitch the top making sure to go through all the layers of fabric (remember your thimble here). Once the fabric is secure at the top, stitch closed the sides making sure to attach them to any elastic at the back of the dress.
Now, decorate away! You can add lace, patches, bedazzle, tulle, puffy paint, fabric paint, or whatever else you or your child feels makes this outfit! Want a different color, use tye dye and color the jeans! Once you’re done decorating all you have to do is add a crown make of paper as seen in this blog: http://mommymomentswithabby.blogspot.com/2011/08/king-me.html and you are all set! For added flare you can have them put a tutu on underneath that is either shorter (this just adds puff to the skirt) or longer which adds to the decorator factor if the skirt is shorter than desired. Another fix if the skirt is shorter than desired is to add the legs of another pair of jeans to the end! Just stitch them on and you’re set!
This is a great Halloween Costume that can be based on your child’s creative flare that no one else will have because it was made by you! Best part! It is cheap and you’ve just put some old jeans to good use! Get ready for a fun season and never stop looking around your house for ways to keep the spirit handy on a budget! Trick or Treat!