October began with setting a costume-making timeline. I figured nothing would be more difficult than Josephine’s so I should be able to make a costume each week and be finished one week before Halloween.
We decided Eleanor should be Gold Suit Elvis. It’s a bright, shiny costume for our bright, shiny girl. Black Leather Elvis and Hawaiian Elvis were the other two we were planning on, and needed to decide which boy should be which Elvis.
But then My Love had another brilliant idea. Instead of the slightly lame Hawaiian Elvis, what about . . . Jailhouse Rock Elvis?
Woooooo-hooooooooo! Now there’s an exciting costume.
Andrew would be Jailhouse Rock Elvis since he’d be able to rock the moves. Which meant Dutch would be Black Leather Elvis and I couldn’t think of anything cuter than my little man in leather.
I told Andrew the plan and then showed him a video on YouTube of Jailhouse Rock. He immediately recognized it because Grandma Diane, who is a huge Elvis fan, has a Dancing Elvis Telephone similar to the one below that sings and swivels his hips whenever anyone calls.
The lesson I learned that day: Recognition counts. Since Andrew had previous knowledge, he was very excited to dress up and imitate Elvis.
We bought a collection of Elvis movies and had the kids watch some of them. They were made back in the day so there wasn’t a lot of risqué stuff that we wouldn’t want them to see. They’re kind of like the Simpson’s in that most of the inappropriate material is done in a way that people old enough to understand recognize, but younger people don’t see it.
At least I hope.
Viva Las Vegas was first because it has race cars in it. And what 6 year old boy doesn’t like race cars? They found the movie hilarious. Eleanor liked the songs especially.
Jailhouse Rock costume seemed fairly straight-forward.
Jacket, pants, and a striped shirt. Not so bad. I decided to buy dark jeans instead of making them because, hey, let’s be honest, they’ll look better. And instead of spending money on fabric that will only be worn a handful of times, Andrew can wear them after I take the white stitches out until he grows out of them. Or until there are massive holes in the knees. And let’s be honest again, that’ll happen in about two months.
Shirt. The shirt in the picture looks like a knit button-down with a polo shirt-type collar. I have never seen a shirt like that. And the white stripes are slightly wider than the black stripes. The chances of me finding fabric where the stripes are a different width were slim to none. My sister noticed that the stripes only went to the side seams, too. Brilliant costumers, that’s for sure. As he’s moving and dancing, if the jacket flies, there won’t be distracting lines; it’ll all just be shadows.
Andrew had a black polo that was getting a little small on him. Perfect. I took some white fabric paint and painter’s tape and went to work. It’s not perfect but it got the job done.
The painter’s tape I used was 1 inch wide. I made the white stripes 1.5 inches so they’d be a little bigger, just like in the photo. However, once I was finished I thought it would have looked better if I’d done 1.25 inches. My Love needed to remind me once again that I was nit-picking and that the stripes would still get the point across. Sigh. He was right.
Next up, the jacket. Once I found the plainest, darkest wash jeans I could find at Target, I took them to the fabric store and matched a denim to them. I found a pattern for a zip up jacket and figured I’d just leave the zipper out and put buttons and buttonholes on it.
I didn’t notice until I had all the pieces cut out and had the front and back sewn together that it was one of those jackets that is longer in the front and back than it is at the hips. Crud. Elvis’ jacket is cut straight across the bottom. I fixed it by laying out my leftover fabric and placing the jacket so that the bottom lined up with the edge of the fabric. Then I pinned and sewed and turned up the now straight across bottom edge to hem as normal. I didn’t worry about the fuzzy cut edge of fabric. I figured it would blend in and if anyone noticed, I’d give them a piece of candy, an “atta girl,” and send them on their way.
See? I can learn to relax and let things go. Sometimes.
To customize the jacket to look more like Elvis’, I turned down the edges of the collar and turned in the lower part of the jacket edges.
I sewed buttonholes and corresponding buttons, not bothering to open the buttonholes. The edges of the jacket only meet, they do not overlap. Plus, I think that’s how Elvis’ was done, too.
Next comes the stitching. Three strands of white embroidery thread and more time in front of the television. I did a simple running stitch, trying to replicate the look from the pictures I could find online. I did the back of the jacket some but not as much as I could have. I didn’t bother with the back of the jeans, except for continuing the stitches around the waistband.
Lastly, but this is actually my favorite part, the stenciled numbers.
Ack! Couldn’t you just die? I love those things. I thought about using different numbers than Elvis, thinking maybe Andrew’s birthday numbers would be cool or his age and . . . I don’t know. Something. But I ended up using the original numbers and I’m very happy I did. I makes it more authentic to me.
I used a font in my Photoshop Elements program called, you guessed it, Stencil, typed the numbers, fidgeted with the size, printed them out on freezer paper, cut out the numbers, and then used the freezer paper stencil method to paint them on. There are many tutorials online so I won’t go into details here; just know that freezer paper stenciling ROCKS.
The final product:
Two costumes down, two to go! My costume-a-week plan didn’t really go as planned. By this time, it was getting close to two weeks before Halloween with still two costumes to make. I was starting to feel the pressure, that’s for sure. So many details to finish up. My brain was on overload. More to come . . . soon.
P.S. I must apologize for the not fabulous pictures today. I’m still learning where the good light is in my house at the different times of day. There are better photos to come when Andrew is actually wearing the costume. xoxo