This year, with A at school, we had our first Book Week parade. The children could either dress up as a favourite book character or, because the theme was "Reading Across the Universe", something space-related. I thought maybe we'd get away with the astronaut costume in the dress up box, but A was keen to be an alien and I do really love making costumes so I was happy to make something new, but nothing too complicated or expensive. So, here is my recipe for a fairly quick and uncomplicated Alien costume, brought to you by polar fleece and the hot glue gun.
This was the initial sketch I did for A, because I knew that if he didn't like the idea there was no point making it. Luckily he was on board.
So I found a plastic drainer that some ricotta had come in, and bought a cheap packet of ping pong balls, 70cm of green polar fleece, 20cm of blue spangly stuff and 2 springs.
I added an elastic chin strap to the ricotta drainer and then covered it in green polar fleece with regular glue and help from the hot glue gun to secure the edges. I hot glued polar fleece "eyelids" around the ping pong balls and stuck yellow stickers on them as irises and drew on the pupils. I hot glued the eyes on to the top, and on to the springs, and then trimmed the drainer with blue spangly stuff. Ali helped me with some of this - he's too small to use the hot glue gun, but he could hold things together as they cooled down and dried, and spread regular glue on the back of fabric with a paintbrush.
For the rest of the costume I just made a vest that could be worn over a long sleeved t-shirt and trousers. I traced around a slightly-too-big t-shirt (with the arms folded inside) to cut the polar fleece out, and then just stitched it up and sewed the spangly stuff around the bottom and armholes (not the neck, I thought it might be scratchy). This was the hardest bit, because my sewing machine, raised on a diet of quilting cottons and Tana Lawn hated the polar fleece and spangles and kept refusing to stitch. I ended up putting the walking foot on which appeased it somewhat, but it still kept making menacing choking sounds and I was scared I might have to finish it off by hand (I was, of course, sewing it the night before the parade).
I originally planned to stitch some of the blue spangles on as a lightning bolt, but A wanted a flying saucer which seemed too fiddly to applique in separate pieces. I found a clip art saucer (here), coloured it in Photoshop, printed it out on some of that inkjet printable cotton and stitched it on. Done! He was happy with it, and the eyes-on-springs, which I was worried might fall off, stayed on for the parade (these were a big hit). Although this is not the most technically skilled sewing or beautiful fabric, it makes me so happy to be able to make something for my little boy, and hopefully he will remember us designing and making his costumes together.