I've concluded that I can put time and effort into one Halloween costume a year. That means that the other child (the poor, neglected, unloved child) gets a ready-made costume. At least unless I start working on this in....like....August. Which isn't going to happen. I'm the type of person who is frantically shopping Amazon the three days before Christmas while thanking my lucky stars for Amazon Prime and two-day shipping.
Also note: I actually *like* working on things like this. If I hated it, I'd be store-bought all the way. Store-bought costumes are awesome. I just wish I had the time and energy or make them both; but I don't.
This year, Carys has wanted to be one thing: Wonder Woman. She's been into superheros lately, so she saw the costume, fell in love, and requested it. Sure, kid. Done. Easy enough. (Note: if I did it again, I'd order a size up. We got a "small/4-6" and she wears a 4T or 5T currently, but it fit perfectly and so it won't last long as a dress-up dress after Halloween. Bummer. Also, she DEFINITELY needed leggings under it due to the fairly short length.)
I did a few modifications to make it more wearable and a little "nicer," though. I sewed the front of the belt onto the dress, because when she was wearing it around the house, the belt and skirt would bunch up (it ties in the back, so I left the back loose). We also bought a couple yards of "rope" (drapery ties) to use as the Golden Lasso of Truth. When I sewed the belt onto the skirt, I also left a space to loop the lasso through. We ended up making an entirely new tiara, as the one that came with the costume was super flimsy and small, whereas actual Wonder Woman's tiara (as Carys informed me) is big and takes up her whole forehead. So I used some gold fabric, stiff interfacing, red felt, and some sparkly gold elastic to make a new tiara for her. I cut a piece of interfacing in the correct shape, sewed the piece of gold fabric over it, then sewed the elastic to each side. Then I covered the back side - the side that would touch her forehead - in a soft red felt.
We threw a white long-sleeve leotard (actually from her Elsa costume last year) and a pair of fleece-lined leggings for warmth/modesty. And then we were done. So Carys's costume modifications and DIY parts were easy and took less than two hours. Easy peasy. My kind of DIY!
She also insisted over. and over. and over. that Wonder Woman has black hair (and she's not wrong) and that she needed black hair. So I bought a can of black temporary hair color to spray her hair. I wasn't entirely enthused about that hair spray. 1. It never completely dried, so the entire night it was rubbing off on her leotard and costume and on anyone/anything that it touched. When she was riding in her carseat, I had to cover the back with a towel to prevent transfer, and she couldn't sit back on a couch at anyone's house. 2. It kind of faded/came off quickly. Within just a couple hours her natural color was already showing through. 3. Although it did come out fairly easily, it was a giant mess to get out.
In retrospect, I should have tacked or pinned her leggings up so they stayed in place. Oh, well.
I bought a purple hooded sweatshirt off Amazon to use as the base. I wasn't thinking and got her current size - 2T - and I totally should have gotten at least a size bigger.
I sewed elastic around the inside of the body of the sweatshirt to make three equal-ish segments. The plan was to stuff these to give it the fluffy look of the source costume, but after doing some testing, I determined that Emmeline wouldn't wear it if it was stuffed, ha! So unstuffed it was left.
I also ripped the arms out of the sweatshirt and replaced them with a soft white minky fabric that had a dot pattern. I closed the end of the new sleeve, but left a flap so she could put her hands out of it if she wanted (and had her hands out pretty much the entire time).
For the head of the costume, I cut "teeth" from stiff white felt and sewed them around the edge of the hood opening. I bought an actual mop head off Amazon (ha!) and cut pieces of it to use as the hair. Figuring out how to get it to flop in the same manner as the original character was REALLY HARD. I ended up gathering the pieces into two bunches, then hot glueing and sewing the bunches to the hood on end. I then took random pieces and hot glued them in spots that looked sparse. The eyes were two styrofoam balls with the back half covered in purple fabric (from the sweatshirt sleeves I cut off) and black felt pupils (both hot glued onto the ball). I then stuck pipe cleaners (three twisted together, then folded and twisted again to make a short stalk of six) into the back of the balls (secured with hot glue again). I bent the last inch of the ends of the pipe cleaner stalk out at 90 degrees to make kind of a stand to attach to the costume. I never really figured out the perfect way to attach them to the hood - plus if they were attached permanently it made it a much harder costume to wear in her carseat - so I just used safety pins and pinned the ends of the pipe cleaners to the hood.
You'll note in these pictures that she pretty much refused to keep the hood on...at all. This is probably the best picture of the hood on that I got all night (and even here you can see we didn't have time to make sure the hair was lying correctly or anything - it was a "put it on and take a picture before she realizes it's on!):
To finish the costume off, she wore purple leggings and we put her hair in pig tails. She DID have shoes and shoe covers made of the same minky fabric as the new sleeves, but....well, Emmeline doesn't love shoes. And it was warm enough out that she didn't have to wear them, so I let her be.
Carys has already informed me that next year she's going to be a fairy - and it's a little disconcerting to realize that Emmeline might have an opinion next year and want to give input! Although to be completely honest, I'm hoping I can get her to wear Carys's bird costume from 2013 because CUTE and FREE equals a done deal in my book.