Halloween Random: File This One in the What Was I Thinking Category

I had all sorts of great plans yesterday. Sunday. A day of rest. We try to preserve Sundays as a family day, letting the day unfold as it will. We might come home and make brunch. We may go for a hike, or ski, or play a rousing game of family flag football, or recently for-the-first-time-in-my-life-as-a-long-suffering-fan, watch the Detroit Lions be on the winning end of a 45-10 victory.

But yesterday, on the Eve of All Hallows Eve, a.k.a Halloween, I had a decidedly different Sunday than originally expected. This is in direct correlation to the fact that I remembered that Halloween was the following day while on the way to church. Which meant that I also remembered the fact that I had promised Son #1 that I would sew a costume for him.  Like three weeks ago.

This is probably a good time to mention that I do not really know how to sew. Sure, I’m comfortable with rectangles. I have no problem sewing a straight mostly straight kind of straight hem on a rectangular piece of fabric. I do it all of the time at least every other year. Or three. Sometimes I even get lucky and remember how to thread the sewing machine without having to look it up in my manual.

Get the idea? I don’t really sew. I can’t read a pattern. I have to look up how to thread my machine on the alternating years that I may use it. And yet, none of these facts stopped me from promising to sew my eldest son a cloak so that he could be a Ranger for Halloween. I guess I’m a sucker for literary characters. For Son #1, as well, it seems.

So rather than enjoying the natural rhythm of Sunday, I spent the day trying to decipher seemingly random lines printed on impossibly fragile tissue paper, with terminology that means absolutely nothing to me.  Where was the Glossary, Sewing for Dummies?  The only basting I am familiar with involves a turkey. Not to mention, the pattern that I bought was all illustrations and arrows. Who knew pictures and arrows could be so convoluted?

Sideshow photo courtesy of Bacon Slayer

Eventually, I was able to make enough sense of it all that I felt I could safely plug in the sewing machine and give it a go. With my intense confusion concentration, I didn’t realize that I had an audience, until the Baby started clapping and cheering “Yay! Good job, Mom!”

Cheering section aside, I’m not going to lie–it got ugly, fast!  The fabric feeder-thingy wasn’t moving the fabric. I adjusted the tension (whatever that means) in every way I could decipher. Nothing. I stood on my head while balancing a spoon on my nose just to see if it would help. OK, not really.  But I would have if I thought it would’ve helped my cause.

Finally, I consulted my BFF Jen, who happens to be a sewing guru.  She happily answered my frantic late-night texts, and patiently gave enough pointers for me to know that I didn’t not have the proper needle for the type of fabric I was using.  Huh. I guess sewing machines have different needles. Who knew? I thought you used the same one until it broke, then…well, I don’t know what because I’d never broken a needle before.

Seven hours, two broken sewing machine needles, and a lot of mental anguish expended on a supposed two hour pattern for Dummies, we had a functional Ranger cloak. I like this Ranger. He’s a cutie-pie that isn’t afraid to hug his Mama in public.

The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice, Book 1)

Rangers are supposed to be nearly invisible so as to blend into their surroundings. Near invisibility is how the Rangers protect the Kingdom without the citizens realizing that they are in need of protection. They’re kind of like Stealthy-Super-Secret-Knightish-Ninja guys. Or so I am told.

Bleary eyed, I left the Ranger cloak draped across a dining room chair so that Son #1 would see it as soon as he came down for breakfast. In his excitement, he woke up an hour and a half early, and came bounding into my room.

“You are the best Mom ever! You are so getting all of my 100 Grand bars!” he exclaimed.

I opened one eye long enough to ask, Did you see the cloak? Do you like it?

“No! Where is it? I’m just so happy that you made it for me! It’s going to be so cool!”

Which is exactly why I will continue promise him the world and do my best to deliver it to him.

By the way, Son’s #3-4 were kind enough to wear costumes from our dress up stash, which pretty much made them my instant favorites in the wee hours of the morning when I was still sewing. 😉



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  1. says

    I’m impressed! I sew almost as much as you do, not quite though. I have grand plans to sew more, one day, when they give us more hours in the day but until then, my sewing machine is getting dusty.
    Love the ranger costume, and your boys are just adorable! Even Darth!

  2. Sandy says

    Baby is ADORABLE in his costume. I was so happy to know that I’m not the only person who has to dig out the manual every time I need to thread my machine. You’re a good mom.

  3. says

    The Ranger costume is awesome, I love the picture of your son wearing it *almost invisible* in the wood! You did a great job, even with the *sideshow* watching. These are the things that childhood memories are made from and remembered long into their adulthood.

    P.S. Happy for you that it was only one costume you had to make, the sons 3 & 4 have great costumes too though. So cute!

  4. says

    Lady, you have my awe and admiration. I think I would have just said to hell with it, cut the fabric into a cloak-ish looking operation sans-seams and called it a day.

    All of The Sons look adorable in their costumes (though I suspect they would prefer to be called ferocious or forbidding) – I hope they had a blast trick or treating!

    • says

      Somehow I doubt your tenacious self would have chucked the whole endeavor. However, I have a new respect of fabric glue and stitch-witchery. By that I mean that I will be sourcing some of both immediately in case of another such emergency.

  5. says

    I love your tenacious conquering of the Ranger cloak. Why, I could barely see him in the trees, it was so well made. There’s just no quit in you, Kirsten. Nothing ever comes between you and the devotion you have to your sons. You’re such a good Mommy. I loved that last photo. The baby is adorable as a lion, and it left me wondering if #3 started your car with his mind. (love that commercial) But where’s #2? Or did he go as The Invisible Man. If so, that is one heck of a costume!

    • says

      Awww…aren’t you sweet! I was determined not to burst Son #1’s Ranger-clad bubble. Funny thing is we have a cloak of nearly the same color, only it’s decidedly not-tough-enough because it’s a crushed velour.
      Son #2 is sans costume next to the Baby. He’s not a huge fan of Halloween, so he passes out candy with one of us. He relishes in that job, unless of course a scary costumed trick or treater comes to the door–then we’re on our own. :)

      That Darth Vader commercial is awesome.

  6. says

    When my oldest daughter was in kindergarten, I got the idea that to be a good mother, you had to sew your kids’ costumes. I don’t sew, AND I don’t own a sewing machine. So I ended up borrowing a machine, carrying it home on the subway, and planning an elaborate cat costume that ended up as ears, tail and a black bodysuit. The following year I decided that I could be a good mother and buy a costume.

    • says

      Ha! I thought the same thing when Son #2 was a preschooler. I made a costume–by that I mean I bought the materials, was quickly overwhelmed, and my Bonus Mom took over. I never made the attempt until this year, so I figure I’m good for another 8 years until I think I should try again. 😉 I’m positive that I would never have made a costume if I had to carry a borrowed machine home on the subway!

  7. says

    The costume looks great! You should be proud. I would have probably used fabric tape on an old sheet and called it a day. And honestly, I think I sew faster by hand (which I do with the same regularity as you) than with a machine, because it takes me far longer to figure out how to set it up and work the machine. The only machines I can operate effectively are ones I use daily and have done so for months first to get to the point of proficiency, which basically means I’ll never be proficient at the sewing machine. My oldest used an old costume too, but in his case, it was because his mother ordered the wrong costume (Mom, I don’t want muscles on my costume. Whoops.) and he gave up hope of me ever getting it right, apparently.

    • says

      Yeah, if I had heard of the words “fabric tape” before I started what became the costume odyssey, things may have been very different. 😉 I give you credit for hand sewing because I am absolutely horrible at it. Consequently, I always have a huge pile of clothes just waiting for me to mend piled up next to my sewing machine.


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