Elvis In The House! -Part 3

October was Elvis Mania in our house, hence this being the the third of approximately five Elvis posts.

The previous post left off with me being stressed out two weeks before Halloween and still needing to finish two costumes.

Next up was the Gold Suit for Eleanor.  Here’s the Real Deal:

The only Elvis the fabric store had was the Jumpsuit With Cape costume.  Not that I blame them.  I mean, really, who needs more than one option for an Elvis costume?

Oh, yeah.  Demented people such as myself.

So, I would need to adapt other patterns to work for the next costumes.  For the Gold Suit, I found this one:

The martial arts pattern looked like it would fit the bill.  The pants are super easy, with just an elastic waist.  My thought process was to modify the top so the gold fabric meets in front instead of overlapping and then add the band all the way around the front edges in silver, like the real suit.  Then the banding would overlap and I could put a button on for closure.

There is a key word in the paragraph above that needs some special attention.

Can you guess it?


Me, modifying.  I don’t modify.  I follow directions.

I can’t cook by throwing stuff together and hoping it works out.  I just can’t.  I follow the recipe and it’s either a good recipe or it isn’t.  The most wild I get is adding more garlic because I LOVE garlic.  My Love teases me because I don’t taste what I’m cooking along the way.  I wait for the finished product.  He’s trying to teach me to taste and adjust.  I’m trying but it’s hard to learn a new way to cook.

Anyway . . .

Me?  Modify a pattern?  This is unheard of.  Modifying patterns is only for people who know what they’re doing and know HOW to modify.

But I must be brave and do it.  That’s the only way I was going to get a Gold Suit.

Luckily, the wonderful people at McCall’s must have known that I would someday have this very dilemma.  See, they had a line down the front of the pattern piece that said “Midline.”

{Cue angels singing}

The midline is the line that shows the center front of the garment.  All I had to do was cut the fabric on the the midline instead of around the full pattern piece.

Yay for not needing to think!  Yay for someone else doing my work for me!

I did, however, need to modify the band that goes around the edge.  Since I’d changed the length and the angles, the pattern band would no longer work.  I traced the edge of the jacket on tissue paper and then measured out from there the same width as the pattern band to create a new one.

You know what I mean, Vern?

(Ten points if you get the movie reference.)

Now for the visuals.  They’re showing up a little blurry here but if you click on them to enlarge, they are much more clear.  Go figure.  Anyway:

I added the decorative pocket tops (but not actual pockets), cuffs, and the silver stripes down the sides of the pants.  I chose not to turn the band as it goes up and around the neck to create lapels.  I used buckram to keep the silver sequin fabric band standing at attention, otherwise it would have been very drapey and fall-ey.  Turning the band made the costume look messier so I left well enough alone and I felt that the silver fabric still got the point across.

I made the pants flat in the front by pulling all the extra fabric to the back and tacking the elastic at the sides of the waist.  I thought they would hang more nicely that way, considering the sheen of the fabric.

Speaking of fabric, I chose gold satin instead of gold lame because I couldn’t imagine my 3yo would like the feel of an entire outfit made from lame.  I bought some silver lame for the shirt but I’ll talk about that in a minute.

The tie: I sewed some lengths of leftover fabric into a tube, turned it, sewed the ends, and ironed it flat.  Then I used the glitter paint from Josephine’s costume and made glitter glob studs on the tie.

The shirt.  This is were I ran into problems on this costume.  I had found a classic button-down shirt at Old Navy on clearance for $1.98.  I figured that I would be able to sew silver lame onto the front of it and add a few ruffles to replicate the look of the Real Deal without the work of making a whole shirt from scratch.

Scratch.  I was ready to scratch my eyeballs out working with that Horrible Lame fabric.

Anywhere a needle poked through the fabric it would pull threads 3 inches around it.  To say it looked awful is an understatement.  And I didn’t even get very far.  It was pitiful.  I took a break to regroup.

I needed a ruffled shirt.  Well, ruffles are in fashion right now.  Maybe I could buy a ruffled shirt instead of making one.

I looked online at places that have brick-and-mortar stores in our area.  On Children’s Place I found a ruffled shirt in their holiday line that came in either a shiny white or shiny black.  Hmmm.  Maybe that would work.

I loaded kids into the car and took a little drive to the mall, bringing along the gold jacket.  Luckily, the store had both shirts and I was able to put the jacket over them and see which looked better.  I ended up going with the white and I’m very glad I did.  It looked so much better than anything I could have made with that Horrible Lame.

Plus, Josephine had a cute plaid skirt that I wanted her to wear for Christmas.  This shirt would look great with it.  I bought it a size too big so it would fit Josephine but no one would notice the size on Eleanor under the jacket.

I love it when costume pieces can be used in their regular wardrobe later.

Eleanor’s costume is completed.  Whew!  Three down, one to go.

As I was waiting in line to pay for the ruffly shirt, I spied with my little eye something .  . .


And leather.

I went in for a closer look.

It was a Black. Leather. Jacket.

I had put off thinking about the Black Leather Elvis costume until I had the other three completed.  I was a bit intimidated by working with leather.

This cute, cropped jacket at Children’s Place was just what I needed.  So what if it was technically a girl’s jacket?  Dutch isn’t even two yet.  He’s not going to care.

I picked out the size 4, the smallest they had.  I tried it on him.  It fit amazingly well.  The sleeves were a little long but that would be easy to take care of.

I looked and the price, holding my breath.

It had been $34.50 but was marked down to $24.99.  Not bad.  By the time I bought nice looking leather-ish fabric and the notions and spent time making the jacket, I felt like $25 bucks was a steal.  It saved me time and stress and I’d be that much closer to being done.

I got back in line with my gold jacket, ruffled shirt, and good-as-gold black leather jacket.  And here’s where it gets really good: the jacket rang up as . . .

Are you ready for it?

Are you sure?

This fabulous black leather jacket, that would save me money and time and stress and was yet another piece of clothing that one of the kids could wear later, rang up for $4.99.

{Cue angels singing}

Five bucks.  A leather jacket for five dollars.  I was so excited about the jacket that I hadn’t seen that it was hanging on a clearance rack.

I floated on a cloud through the mall to Target where I had to pick up a couple household things.  I wandered through the girls clothes, lured by a 30% off sign.  I spotted some leggings on a table.  We don’t often put our girls in leggings but a pair jumped into my arms.  When I looked at what my hands were holding, I saw a pair of shiny. black. leggings.

Leather-ish black leggings?  That are only $6?  Could I really be this lucky?  You mean I don’t have to sew anything for Dutch’s costume?

Thank you, Universe.

I really felt like I was in the right place at the right time to find these items.  I hadn’t even been looking for them.  I’m so glad it all came together, though.  It relieved my stress ten-fold.

The fact that Dutch’s costume wasn’t homemade did bother me a little bit.  But it was a put-together costume, even if it wasn’t handmade.  And being realistic about the price, stress, and quality of the finished product helped me get over it.

Before you think I’ve gone totally un-perfectionist, the wrinkles in the jacket did bother me.  I hung it in our bathroom for a week, hoping that the steam from our showers would smooth it out.

No such luck.

I didn’t know if leather would iron well.  My guess was that it would not.  My Love, once again the voice of reason, convinced me that the wrinkles wouldn’t be noticeable once it was on Dutch.

Now . . .

I couldn’t help giggling that . . .

I had just bought a girl’s size 4 jacket and girl’s size 4 leggings for my son to dress up like Elvis.

And even better?

I bought him a girl’s size 4 leotard to wear, too.

I spent a few days looking for a plain, black onsie for him to wear to bridge the gap between his jacket and leggings.  The closest thing I found was a $12 Batman one and it would be slightly small on him so he’d never wear it again.  Ah, no.

I racked my brains as I walked the children’s clothing at Walmart, trying to find something, anything that would work.

On my third pass by the dance stuff I realized that a leotard is very similar to a onsie.  And it was lower cut in the front so it would work better to have his jacket unzipped a little.

‘Cuz you know Elvis liked to show a little skin.

Leotards start small and stretch so, again, the size didn’t matter.  I just didn’t try it on him before dressing him up on Halloween so it would stay as small as possible for as long as possible.

Now it’s a week before Halloween and besides gluing more jewels on Josephine’s costume, I have the major parts decided on, assembled, and under control.

Next up . . . accessories.


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