Halloween 2019: Bastet, a scarab and two mummies

This year’s Halloween theme was solely founded on my son’s interest in going as a mummy which quickly segued into a family costume theme. I normally am not huge into family themes as I have a lot of my own ideas that I want to see come to life but I was glad that this theme was easy to work with and inspired some originality. Unfortunately, I couldn’t talk my husband into wearing any tight pharaoh pants so we had 2 mummies in our Halloween brood. What are you gonna do?

The only downside to this holiday is living in Michigan. Michigan is notorious for having the WORST weather for trick or treating. The running joke is that you get all dressed up, only to put on a coat, hat and gloves and then are forced to tell everyone what you’re dressed as because no one can see your costume. With the wind, rain and sleet, we only made it to three houses before throwing in the towel. We decided to head out for dinner and warmth instead. This dilemma made photo opportunities of the finished costumes pretty scarce but I did take some photos of the creation process from beginning to end. If you haven’t had a chance to poke around my blog, check out my post on how I made the mummy costume for my son. I used the same method to create an adult version of this for my husband using fleece lining and added pockets.

https://sewfrockncute.com/2019/10/19/diy-mummy-costume/

So let’s talk about these costumes! It all started with the mummy. While shopping for costume fabric, I found the gauze I wanted for the mummy suit. I continued poking around the store, touching everything as usual. When I came across the cosplay section, I pulled down a bolt of this silvery gray “skin-like” feeling fabric that immediately brought sphynx cat to mind. After I called my husband and told him I purchased the fabric to make the mummy costume, I went on to describe this cool skin fabric I found, which I realize sounds SUPER creepy. He entertained me by suggesting we go with an Egyptian costume theme. I went back to Joann’s, bought the rest of the fabric I needed and from there, we settled on 2 mummies, a scarab and a sphynx cat, which later evolved into the Egyptian goddess, Bastet.

Visual inspiration

The Scarab

This particular costume was especially fun to make between using my visual reference as a guide, shopping for the materials and assembling the costume. I used smooth foam for the beetle shell that I separated into 3 pieces to replicate a beetle’s back. I was so excited to find an oil slick finished fabric since it PERFECTLY matched my photo inspiration. The most challenging obstacle to this costume was deciding on how to assemble everything AND have it stay together as one piece. You’ll be shocked to know that I didn’t use a single drop of glue! The second most challenging obstacle, fitting the mask onto a toddler sure was a hoot and a holler!

Bastet: Egyptian Goddess

I did a little bit of research into Egyptian goddesses and based my costume around Bast or Bastet, the Goddess of Protection who is also the daughter of Ra. My interpretation of Bastet was pretty simplified and involved mostly accessories to create the look, although I did draft a bodysuit pattern from scratch that was the core of the outfit.

This bodysuit took me 3 attempts. Remember that skin fabric I bought? Bust number one. When I initially drafted this pattern piece, I was too intimidated to go for the one-piece design. I was crunched for time and I didn’t want to waste time drafting without enough time to perfect. So, I went with a two piece pattern with a seam in the center front. FAIL. Not only a fail because my machine just did not want to sew through this fabric but the seam in the front…oof. Trust me, I will spare you the photos. The seam placement was not….ummmm….flattering…

Attempt number 2. Since I had extra downtime the next morning, I went ahead and drafted the one piece bodysuit. I ran a test fit and success! Since the first attempt didn’t turn out, I was apprehensive and careful of my next fabric choice. I went with a matte pleather. I was still nervous after all the mishaps with sewing the previous fabric. These types of fabrics are unforgiving; once a needle penetrates it, it leaves permanent holes. I was worried I would have the same issues again. The issues mildly persisted but I was able to assemble most of the second piece. Once I test fit the main piece of the pattern, I had a new issue…popped seams…the leg openings were too tight. I forgot to mention that I also bought fabric to completely line the interior or the bodysuit, because Michigan weather… but I failed to account for the added compression of the two stretchy fabrics combined. Enter sausage legs. This just keeps getting better, I’m telling you. My mistakes keep me humble. Haha. I made some pattern adjustments and ended up back at Joann’s. I basically live there now. I purchase the fabric I knew I should have bought instead of the pleather and opted for the 4-way stretch matte. I worked with this fabric when I made my Jessica Jones costume in 2016 and loved it.

What I ended up doing instead of lining the main bodysuit, is make a sleeveless bodysuit to wear as a separate undergarment to add more saturation to the outer fabric and minimize the chance for that undesired see-through effect. It worked out pretty well, plus it gave me another opportunity to make any fit adjustments to the final pattern. Here is a look at the completed bodysuit. Meow.

The headband I’m wearing I modified to include in the final look by removing the flowers and added ear covers using the pleather fabric. For the accessories, I used the photos from above as my inspiration. I made a more simple waist piece to resemble the long flowy skirt. This ended up being a really simple piece that cinched at the front with the blue diamond accent placed at the cinch. Next is the shoulder piece. This ended up being my favorite part of the costume. I had bought a few different types of fabric, intending to make a pharaoh costume for my husband. I originally planned to make him a cool texturized shoulder cape. I was so disappointed when he opted out so I made one for myself! To stabilize this 3D looking, shiny fabric, I used batting. This also helped the piece retain the shape I was going for without it being too stiff. To texturize it, I sewed lines about 1/2″ apart around the whole piece. I also installed a zipper in order to get it over my head.

Lastly, there was the staff. I took empty paper towel rolls and cut a slit long ways and then wrapped them around each other to create a long tube which I wrapped in tape and then again in colored duct tape. I used copper wire to shape the curve of the staff and then gave it bulk by wrapping tin foil around the wire. My craft is obviously NOT in props. I achieved the shape I set out for, but the finish definitely could have been smoother. If you have any tips, please comment to share!

This is Halloween!

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DIY Mummy costume

My oldest son has been begging me to make him a mummy costume this year. For the past week, at least 3 times a day, he asks, “but where’s my mummy?” Each time I tell him “its not ready yet, buddy” and explain that I literally have to make something from nothing. Needless to say, he’s not following. Lol.

Having 2 boys in the house under 5 years old, there’s not a lot of time to devote to my craft. Add 13 chickens and 3 dogs to that mix and you’d think I was losing my head…like a chicken with its head cut off… So what to do? Arrange for a visit to Grandma and Grandpa’s of course! After the kiddos leave the house, there is this period of silence followed by me staring at my phone, catching up on social media, gathering ideas all while stuffing my face and then before I know it, 20 minutes just whizzed by and I’ve done nothing constructive. I then look at my work space, which is sadly placed in the midst of my chaotic kitchen, take a deep breath and then snap a photo because I, and every crafter knows that once the mayhem begins, you can kiss the neat and tidy work space good bye! It was pretty for about 10 minutes. I can dote on my clean work space photo later…

And so it begins! I gather my materials and start processing my ideas for construction. This post is NOT a step by step tutorial but you can borrow concepts to use on your own if you’re looking for ideas. The materials I used for this project include: knit lining, gauze and a 20″ zipper. I took a footless pajama onesie and used that as my pattern guide. Once I cut out the body and sleeves, I began tearing the gauze into about 2-3″ thick strips, just tearing along the cross grain of the fabric. Tearing this fabric is so satisfying by the way! I then arranged the strips how I wanted the final look to appear. Starting with one of the sleeves, I sewed on one strip at a time and placed each strip on the sleeve from the bottom up. This ends up giving the fabric a cascading effect down the garment. 

After I have sewn on each strip to the entire arm sleeve, I trim away the excess fabric. I use this method throughout the process of the costume.

Since the costume is essentially a bodysuit, I cut one front panel and two back panels in order to install a zipper. I see lots of mummy costumes for kids and wonder how the heck these tiny humans are going to use the bathroom when they can’t remove the costume without deconstructing it? I have a 4 year old boy, he needs quick and easy access to do his business!

Once all the excess was cut off and the panels were pieced together with the sleeves, it was time to install the zipper! My mother in law had gotten me a narrow zipper foot this past Christmas and I will admit I was excited about it but was also avoiding it like the plague. I hate installing zippers. They are irritating and cumbersome. A few years back I did a Sesame Street costume theme and my only son at the time went as Elmo. I had the worst time installing the zipper into that shaggy, furry fabric. So much that I attached strips of fleece fabric to the panels of the costume and sewed the zipper onto those. BUT this narrow zipper foot sewed like a dream! I pinned once and sewed it right on. No seam ripping, re-aligning and re-pinning. It was flawless. I may have lost my fear of zippers in the process! Woop! Woop!

Before attaching the zipper, I serged the raw edge of the panels. I did this just to give the inside a clean, finished look. You can see that the tail of the zipper is not pinned in the second photo. I ended up cutting off the excess since it was too long. Once the zipper was set in, I sewed the remaining parts of the bodysuit together.

After I was finished, I took some time to photograph the suit so I could show my son that his “mummy” was ready for him to try on when he got home!

He was so happy he finally got to wear his mummy costume! We promptly went to our “graveyard” for a mini photo shoot.

Here is the final look. I may be biased but I’m pretty certain that’s the cutest mummy I’ve ever seen!

Happy Halloween!