My Very Hungry Caterpillar

I haven’t had much of a chance to craft during the past couple weeks. I have had plenty of time to sit around and catch up on crafting blogs, gather all sorts of great ideas and inspiration, and then get frustrated when my attempts to pursue those are interrupted. If it’s not by Cailyn then it’s by my own conscience drawing me to take care of other, more necessary, things like laundry or the dishes. Boo.

On the upside, Cailyn slept for seven hours straight for four days last week. Even better, this week she has slept between eight and NINE hours every night (except last)! I’d like to say I feel amazingly refreshed. And in the mornings, usually I do. But by the end of the day I am still completely drained. I think my body is finally realizing how much sleep I have to catch up on from the last few months. That, and Cailyn seems to think if she sleeps well at night then she doesn’t need to sleep during the day. At all. There have been several days where she’s only gotten in a few half hour snoozes. Which wouldn’t be terrible except that she gets herself so exhausted that she’ll just cry and cry and not let herself fall asleep even though she’s obviously so incredibly tired. And that doesn’t make for a fun (or productive) afternoon. But we’re working on that and she’s gradually improving. Yesterday she finally got the idea that she CAN fall asleep on her own, even if it is after a crying fit!

In the meantime my project list continues to grow: I have quite a few Christmas gifts I’d like to make, a few items for Cailyn’s nursery I have yet to tackle, my advent calendar for Sam, Cailyn’s stocking, and the throw pillows that I bought fabric for while I was nesting. It’s getting hard to decide which project to attack when I do have a few minutes to spend! Last night I tackled the first of four throw pillows. It turned out rather cute if I do say so myself, even if I did keep it simpler than I planned in order to just get it finished. I’ll post about it soon!

A project I DID finish (and just in time) was Cailyn’s halloween costume!

I told the back story in my last post. We decided she would be The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

And after perusing the internet a bit, I found this adorable (and simple!) option at www.scholastic.com that suggested using felt to make a sack, not unlike an infant sleep-sack.

I picked up several shades of green felt at the craft store. I got a 3’x3′ piece of dark forest green for the base and a couple small squares (12″x9) each of two lighter shades of green for stripes. I also got pipecleaners (pink) and pom-poms (white) to match a pink cap that Cailyn already had.

After a little brainstorming I sketched this pattern:

I was prepared to wing it a bit, as that’s my usual modus operandi but hopefully between the photo and the sketch you can get an idea of what I did. I did change some of the measurements from what are listed on the sketch, so I’ll explain that below.

The words “Forest”, “Pirate” and “Apple” refer to the shades of green felt I had.
I did buy some glittery felt which I ended up not using because (a) It was a bit stiffer than the others and (b) I realized that I didn’t want glitter everywhere!

The measurements I determined just by some rough measurements of Cailyn (2 months and 12lbs at the time) and gauging what fabric proportions I thought would look good.

– The narrow stripes: 24″ around- Because each piece of felt was only 12″ long and I sewed two together, so it ended up closer to 23″ around when finished.
3″ tall –  I cut each felt square into3 strips 3″ tall (which resulted in 2.5″ of length added to the costume once sewn together.) I only cut four strips of each color, to make two stripes of each color, but only ended up using three stripes total.

– The wider stripes: I wanted them  to have some bunch-iness to give it more of a caterpillar affect. So I left that felt the 3′ long that it was originally (35.5″ after being sewn together in one piece.)
I cut 3 strips of the dark green felt (from the 3’x3′ square). Two of them were 6″ tall (to give room for seam allowances at the top and the bottom) and then I decided that adding only one more would give plenty of length to the costume, so I cut that one 5″ tall, leaving them all 3′ long.

I then sewed a basting stitch along the edges that would meet with the narrow strips, in order to gather it from 3′ to the 23″ that those strips now were.

Here it is all gathered and ready to pin and sew together. I only used 1/4″ seam allowance for the whole project except here where I used 1/2″ seam allowance on each seam where there was gathering, to give myself plenty of forgiveness to cover the basting stitch.

To give it some nice texture and visual affect, I sewed the narrow strips on top of the wide strips instead of trying to hide the seam.

During all this time, Cailyn was only happy one way:

Sorry for the blurry photo and how huge my nose looks. Her in the baby-pack did make for some awkward maneuvering to get the job done, not to mention a sore back by the end of it!

Brody kept himself entertained too:

On with the project, though!

– Elastic bands: I sewed an elastic band into the top (14″) and bottom (16″) of the costume so it would fit her snugly under her arms and still allow for easy butt access if/when necessary, i.e. I didn’t sew it closed at the bottom, so it wasn’t a sack after all just a long tube with elastic at both ends.

– Shoulder straps: I added straps at the top although the elastic held it up snug enough I probably didn’t need them. They were two inches wide and I decided their placement by holding up a pair of her overalls against the costume and putting these straps where her overall straps were. It was rather difficult aligning them properly and then sewing them with the elastic already in place bunching the fabric up, so I would suggest rethinking that process.
I had two red buttons that I sewed onto the front of the costume and it would’ve been easiest to sew buttonholes in the straps but my machine’s buttonhole setting wasn’t working so I winged it and sewed a nice little loop thing for the button to fit into.

– Legs: Once the costume was in one piece, the last step was adding the caterpillar legs! This is actually another part that would’ve been better done at an earlier stage in the project, as I ended up gluing the legs in place (they were only decor) because it would’ve been way too difficult to try to fit the finished costume around my machine to get those legs sewn on. Here you can see the legs pinned in place.

– Hat: This was the finishing touch! I used needle-nose pliers to push/pull a pipe cleaner into one side of the cap and back out the other side, so that the mid-section of the pipe cleaner would be against her head and the ends would be sticking out opposite sides at equal lengths. I then wrapped each end around a pom-pom. It definitely wasn’t the most pristine job, but it worked! Even after that, the hat was still missing something, so I cut out pieces from leftover felt to make eyes and a nose. The nose I just hand-stitched on with a few place-holder stitches and the eyes I used a wide basting stitch so that they would be easily removed later and the hat reusable!

Here’s a good shot of the hat and Cailyn hanging with Uncle Andy. Oh, and for the record, underneath the costume she’s wearing a green, long-sleeve onesie.

I wish I would’ve gotten more good photos from the night. I didn’t get any great ones of her modeling the costume, it was too much of a whirlwind just to get her dressed, to the party, and then back home again. But my friend Gillian took this really cute one:

The end!
I know this was hardly the best explanation/tutorial but I really did just wing a lot of it as I went. I’ll try to be more organized next time! Hopefully it was enough to give inspiration to anyone who wants to recreate it. Feel free to comment and ask any questions or get clarifications!

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Filed under Children, Crafty, Sewing

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