My Little Duckling: Simplicity 2788

I hadn’t really planned to make Jude a Halloween costume this year. I figured I would wait to make him a costume until he was old enough to choose what he wanted to be or old enough to actually go trick or treating or old enough to even, you know, roughly understand the concept of Halloween. And then I found myself at Joann’s buying a pattern and a bunch of fleece and suddenly I was making a tiny duck costume that might be one of the most involved sewing projects I’ve ever taken on.

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Sewing really takes you on a journey, doesn’t it?

Simplicity 2788 Toddler Duck Costume

This is Simplicity 2788, View E. The pattern includes a jumpsuit, a puffy body worn over the jumpsuit, little duck feet, and a duck hat. I decided to alter the jumpsuit, basically cutting it off at the waist and then sewing a little pair of leggings in my accent fabric. I honestly can’t remember exactly why I did this but I think I was mostly concerned that the orange cotton interlock I bought for the legs wouldn’t work well for the jumpsuit. Regardless, it was an easy alteration to make. I also lengthened the arms of the jumpsuit top so that I could add an elastic casing at the sleeve hem. This just meant that I didn’t have to track down a coordinating fabric with enough stretch for the sleeve cuffs originally called for in the pattern.

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The jacket, the hat, and the body of the duck are all made in fleece. I used a yard of yellow cotton interlock I already had in my stash for the lining of the body and the lining of the hat, and the bottom of the duck feet are actually cut from Jiffy Grip. The only other change I made was to add ties to the hat—I just attached a length of white cotton twill tape to either side of the hat while I was attaching the outer fabric to the lining. Like most babies, I imagine, Jude is not a fan of hats and I knew there was no way the hat would last for more the 60 seconds without some ties. But even if he wasn’t likely to tear the hat off, I think it benefits from the ties. Since the hat is a bit shallow and isn’t elasticated at the back at all, it seems like it sits on his head more than fitting snugly. I also wish that I had made the lining pieces for the hat a bit shorter–I think that since the interlock is stretchier than the fleece, the lining is pretty loose and there is a significant amount of extra lining fabric inside the hat.

 

I made the size 1, which most closely matches Jude’s current height, and the hat is the size small. I’m happy with the way that everything fits. Although this costume involves a handful of different components, the sewing was pretty straight-forward and the pattern instructions were clear. The most tedious and time-consuming part of the project was cutting everything out. The body, for instance, involves the main fabric and the lining but also has another layer of fleece between the two for extra padding. All in all, the whole costume required at least 3.5 yards of fabric, which seems kind of bananas when we’re talking about a costume for a 14 month old. I’m not a fast sewist, but I’m also not particularly slow, and making the whole costume took me at least a week and a half of naptime sewing on the weekends and 30-40 minute sewing sessions on the weeknights.

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There were lots of times that I thought I was being ridiculous for making a whole costume for Jude, especially during mid-terms when I probably should have been doing more work in the evenings. But I had a lot of fun doing it and he looked super cute in his costume at his school Halloween party. And when I went to the Simplicity website to remind myself of the pattern number for this blog post, I was reminded of all the other adorable toddler Halloween costume patterns they have available.

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I mean, that kangaroo!? Can’t wait until next October. 😀

Costumes and Cookies

This past weekend, our friends hosted a Halloween party at their house full of good food, plenty of drinks, fun costumes, and one incredibly nerdalicious rap from one of my office mates about composition and rhetoric. I’m sure pictures and video of said rap have been posted to facebook by now (I don’t know for sure because I don’t do the FB thang anymore) but the best part was definitely the last two lines, which were something along the lines of “Like that Burke guy, can I get an ‘I identify’?” Seriously. We grad students are a strange breed.

Aidan and I went as Stan and Wendy from South Park, and I knit hats and mittens for us to wear for our costumes. This is what Stan and Wendy look like on the show:

SP Stan and Wendy

And this is what Aidan and I looked like in our costumes:

Aidan/Stan and Anna/Wendy

Not a great picture, but you can see how something that was supposed to be a fun costume got a little frightening when I put a black wig on. Still, we had fun.

For the party, I made another batch of the pumpkin cupcakes I made for a department potluck a few weeks ago, but I also made a batch of some peanut butter candy corn cookies using a recipe featured that week on Tasty Kitchen. These start with a basic peanut butter cookie dough with some peanuts mixed in. You shaped the dough into balls with a piece of candy corn in the middle so that the candy corn melts while the cookies bake. Then after you pull the cookies out of the oven, you top them with a couple more pieces of candy corn. The result is a nice sweet and salty combination and the melted candy corn in the middle of the cookie adds a nice chewy texture.

PB Candy Corn cookies

And here, I have to cite Aidan who gave the best synopsis of these cookies when he told me that they weren’t the best but were “tweakable.” These are definitely a “good, not great” kind of cookie. I like the concept, but I also would have preferred a slightly softer cookie, which I think might be achieved by cutting some of the butter with shortening. Aidan also suggested that the peanuts were too much texture, and I agree. At times, the addition of the peanuts also made it difficult to get the candy corn into the cookie dough. You would probably get just the right amount of crunch with these cookies by simply substituting crunchy peanut butter and omitting the peanuts. If anybody out there makes these or has made them, I’d love to hear about it.

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Great cookies or not, we had an excellent Halloween. Hope you did too.