Tuesday, January 31, 2017

One Pair of Pants into Two Costumes: BB8


Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  I love Halloween so much that I even have a whole category dedicated to the holiday here on ChemKnits with over 42 posts.  I wanted to hand make coordinated costumes for my boys for their first Halloween together.  In my last post I shared the handmade R2-D2 costume I created out of an old pair of white denim pants.  In this post, I will share with you the details behind the BB8 costume I made out of the other half of this pair of pants.

One pair of pants turned into two droid costumes.  
I started out with my "blueprint" sketch of how I would convert the pair of pants into these two costumes.  For the BB8 costume, I hope to turn the widest part of these pants into a bubble that would be the spherical droid.


As my blueprint shows, I really wanted the arms to com out of the BB8 Ball.  However, as I started trying the fabric on Rowdy it would be MUCH easier to gather the fabric below his arms and then above his knees and add straps like I added straps to Lucky's costume.  It was October 15, and I wanted these done by the next weekend so I don't have a lot of choices left! Let's go with the "easy" way.


I cut the leg off where it is no longer a tube and then created some elastic casings on both edges.  I cut the elastic too long to insert into the castings so I would have plenty of space to adjust the costume.  I secured the elastic with safety pins so I could adjust it as needed.  I wasn't going to shorten the elastic until after I was done with all of the embellishments.   (This way I could test the tightening with a bow to see how it fits on my little BB8.


I straightened the tube out a bit with a basting stitch and then tried it on Rowdy.



I tried the outfit on Rowdy to see how it fit with the elastic tight.  It didn't quite stay over the bum, but it is a little bubble.  I still need to stuff it but it is staying up pretty well.  To attach the embelishments, I un-stretched the elastic and left it pinned through an opening.  I could tighten it after I have added on all of the appliques.


I wasn't not sure there was enough volume to get the orb that I want, but it is a decent first attempt.  I thought I might need to add a crotch strap to keep it from riding up, but I had plenty of extra fabric to make something work.


After it was such a pain to turn the R2D2 straps right side out, I knew that I didn't want to create straps out of the 2" pieces I had cut for BB8. I recut straps that were 3" wide, sewed a 1/4" seam with right sides facing and then turned these right side out and pressed flat.


Now it was time to get to the fun (and scary) part of this project, the embellishments.  I found a great image of BB8's circles all laid out which I used as my guide as I designed the circles.   

Originally, I planned to have any white pieces be the jeans showing through cut outs, but I realized that I wanted the circles to be pretty stiff so they are really visible on my little baby.  I went and purchased some white felt to help with this. I decided to sew all of the pieces together since I didn't know if Elmer's glue would hold in the wash.


I used a take out container to trace out the circles with a fabric pencil and cut them out from doubled over felt.  The scale is PERFECT with Rowdy's bubble droid template.  It only took 1.5 pieces of felt to make all 6 circles.


Next, it was time to decide whether I would cut out gray pieces or just do them with puffy paint. I considered doing a mixture but the puff paint was SO easy and why try to sew through three layers of felt if I didn't absolutely need to, right?


Trying to sew over puff paint was the WORST!  It stuck to the foot of the machine and the fabric couldn't move.  What could I do?  I lifted up the presser foot and just stitched freehand without using the foot to feed it.  I had my tension pretty low to begin with anyway and looking at it you almost can't tell.  Phew, I'm so glad I didn't have to hand stitch this!  (I started stitching on Wednesday with a Saturday deadline)


I wasn't going to worry about the orientation of the different circles around my BB8.  I would look at the direction of the notches and that is it.  I knew that I would need to cut two circles in half for the top and bottom of the costume, and I wasn't not sure how I was going to stitch it down.  Maybe I'd leave some gaps around where the elastic goes, sewing at the top hem and then around the bottom of the semi circle.  I suppose I could have tried to fuse the gaps with hand stitches or with some fabric glue, We'd see how it turns out once I try to bubble it.


Even once I decided not to worry too much, it was REALLY hard.  I knew they weren't all in the same orientation but I just had to go for it and make the cuts where I thought it would look the best.  I finally just went for it and put my favorite circles around the middle and cut my least favorite ones in half.


I pinned the circles to the tube and machine stitched around the outside of the orange circles.  At times I needed to raise the presser foot but it was mostly okay because there was enough border between the orange and white.  Phew!  


I saw the stitched costume and felt, hey, this isn't so bad.  Even though I knew I wasn't done with the embellishments something still felt missing.


Trying the costume on Rowdy helped a lot.  Isn't he so cute?  


I used my favorite air soluble fabric marker to draw the lines and dots on the costume.  WOW, the puffy paint really brought this droid to life!  This was so AWESOME my joy in the costume just went up 100 fold!  I loved it so much that I started thinking about making a onesie for the kids or a tshirt for myself, but that would be a project for another day.


I still can't believe how complete a few little lines made this costume feel!  



As soon as the paint was dry (on both sides), I tried the whole costume on Rowdy.  I was lucky to find an orange long sleeved onesie that he could wear inside out to be the arms and some black leggings for the legs.  (I wanted tights or leggings in case it was cold on Halloween.  Un-tight pants ride up so much that they leave his legs exposed!)  


The costume looked great, but I still needed to poof out the bubble a bit.  I came up with an elaborate plan to make a pillow to tie around Rowdy, and while the idea was sound, it didn't work out quite as I expected.


I think Rowdy's face says it all.  The pillow is too stuffed and too big to work for this project.  I'm not even going to share the construction details with you because I don't want to waste blog space (and as someone who is verbose and shares a million pictures that is saying something!)  I ended up poofing the costume with some loose polyfill stuffing and removed it when Rowdy was done wearing it.  I don't know why I didn't try this in the first place!  



The nice thing about these costumes is that if they end up dirty or stained it will only add to the costumes!   R2D2 and BB-8 aren't new droids, they've lived!  They're dinged!

I separated this story into two posts because I thought it made better narrative sense.  I do have a bunch of side by side photos from the construction that I cannot resist sharing with you.

Tubes and straps!
Costume bases ready to go
The embellishment pieces
Drawing the final lines
I'm not sure what Rowdy thought of his costume, but Lucky LOVED being a pair.  We had so much fun as a little Star Wars themed family.  I'll leave you with some cute photos of the boys now, but maybe I'll share some trick-or-treating pictures in another post sometime. 


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