Bonding Over a Homemade Halloween Costume

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Does a witch need a hat? I gather modern witches don’t wear them much. Most make do with a garland halo of flowers or something. For Halloween, I thought sewing a costume would bring hours of mother and daughter bonding.

Bonding moment number one: Flipping through the pattern books, she asked, “Is this all they have? No Skulls and Stars Gothic Fairy?"

Thank goodness there was no Gothic Fairy. I began the delicate task of steering her toward a costumes with nothing too difficult. Simplicity implies simple, doesn’t it. Nothing using the word bias or anything about cutting on the nap. How would I know about a fabric nap? I haven’t had a nap of any sorts in years.

She selected a fairly straightforward witch. No glitzy Broadway wiccan or corseted dark fairy with fishnet stockings modeled by an 11 year-old wearing too much lipstick and a disturbing pout.

Bonding moment two: Cutting out the fabric. With scissors that couldn’t shear a spider’s web, a task that should take a couple of hours took most of a Saturday.

Day 69: Red and BlackBonding moment three: Our sewing machine had been M.I.A. for seven years. A friend offered hers, but the pressure of learning another’s machine terrified me. I needed my ancient Singer. Just like me, it’s uncomplicated and easy to figure out. By fiddling with the knobs, I usually can get the tension right. It’s got a bobbin, stitch length and width levers and a needle. What more does one need?

Other than to find the thing.

After a few anxious moments, we discovered her in a closet under four sleeping bags, a table leaf and an electric blower. Free again, she seemed to breathe a deep sigh.

“What’s that smell?” asked my son.

“That’s the scent of creativity, Joe. Along with a little petroleum.”

The poor machine looked awful -- all dusty and dry drips of oil down her side. The bobbin chamber was taped shut by a curling piece of masking tape. We plugged the old gal in and pressed the pedal. Nothing. No light, no little whirring hum. No little wood-pecking needle hammering up and down.

Then I remembered to turn her on.

Bonding moment four: Sewing requires long periods of active brain waves. Things have to be interfaced, matched at notches and right sides sewn together. My heart warmed at the thought all this was happening with black thread on black fabric.

Bonding moment five: Above smarts, creativity and four-letter sentence enhancers, sewing requires patience. With an abundance of deep breaths and a seam ripper, one can eventually muddle through any outfit. I became reacquainted with my stitch remover -- a handy tool which earns a little spending money moonlighting down at the dentist office removing plaque.

As some crafting Pushmi-pullyu, we sewed her costume sitting in the same chair. I guided the fabric while she pressed the pedal. Things worked well -- till the hat.

Bonding moment six: The hat looks like the Wicked Witch of the West’s spent a long winter on the closet shelf with Betsy Ross’ mop hat and together they figured out a way to alleviate the boredom.

I’m disappointed with our hat, but my daughter seems happy. Why on earth did I expect perfection with something I haven’t attempted in seven years?

Funny, I never seem to have dashed expectation problems in the kitchen.

Photo Credit: quinnanya.


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