Sunday, November 2, 2014

Squirrel and Nut

Sometime in September we had a lovely weekend, so we took a walk to the tot lot down the street.  At the park there was the boldest little squirrel.  He came right up to our bench and I was inspired by his fluffy tail.  It was then that I started talking to Z about being a squirrel for Halloween.  She was all for it.  She even learned a little squirrel impression by bringing her fingers (and a pretend acorn) up to her mouth for nibblings.   And then my husband came up with the companion costume:  Miss Trix as an acorn!  

Maybe Miss Trix had other ideas.

Anyway, it's always my goal to use up what I have already have on hand.  I had light brown felt for the acorn hat, stuffing for the tail innards, and baby clothing to dye.  I did not have dye, gray felt, yarn, or gray sweatshirt.  I found the sweatshirt at Target the weekend before Halloween, a packet of dye from Wet Paint, and the rest came from JoAnn's.

For the acorn cap I used a pattern out of a book called Sweet Booties! by Valerie Van Arsdale Shrader.  (I've previously used this book for bibs only, I think.)  Because I was using brown felt, I was able to skip a number of steps in the pattern (especially all the lining steps).  
I then zigzagged around the stem for the acorn pattern.  I tried another technique, but it was completely botched.  Maybe I'll post my crap attempt on Wednesday.  Easy.  I think the whole thing took an hour, if that.  

Another hour, another day:  White clothing turned brown using a packet of iDye.
The color came out great in a rich chestnut brown.  See for yourself:
Well, maybe she came around to the idea of being a little nut!

As for that little squirrel, I had no pattern.  That's right.  I made that tail without any sort of assistance.  I sketched out a squirrel tail on a brown paper bag and cut it out of the gray felt.  I considered gussets to give it a little more oomph and to have it rest flat against her back.  And, of course, I didn't take any process shots.   Maybe I'll look on my phone and post any I find along with the crap cap on Wednesday.

I didn't want to use fake fur for a number of reasons, the first of which involves hours upon hours of wiping clipped faux fur from my clothing for weeks after exiting the craft room.  Blah to that.  The second reason belonged to my muse squirrel's tail, which was fluffy and wispy.  I wanted to recreate that in a way that the faux fur would not be able to replicate.  So I did a mental inventory of craft store supplies and decided upon that decorative yarn that has all those soft, silk strands popping off of it.  I don't know what it is called.  I then wrapped the yarn around the tail...actually, two strands of yarn were wrapped around it -- one in white and one in a gray-white-black blend, which resulted in a pretty accurate representation of my muse squirrels coloring.

A simple blanket stitch around the white tummy area worked out just fine.  I also whipped up little ears
I made the straps and the waistband last.  The straps start at the shoulders, cross on her chest, and then end at a snap

I think she was pretty happy with it, but it was hard for her to sit, so it kept coming off.  The strands of yarn made it through the trick or treating, but they are practically dragging on the ground at this point.  I'm going to unravel them from the costume and send the yarn to my mom for her projects.

Anyway, speaking of trick or treating, I made a special nutbag to as treat bag.  My best friend always makes up a themed trick or treat bag to go along with her kids' costumes, so I decided to follow her lead.  So simple.  I didn't use a pattern for this, because it's basically three trianglish shaped panels with some dark brown rectangles sewn onto them. I used that same zig zag approach to represent the acorn cap.  
I'm pretty happy with these efforts.  Yay for Halloween!

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