In light of it being Halloween weekend, I thought I’d dedicate this one to the lion costume I made Charles in 2008. I bought my first sewing machine for my first real sewing project. Aside from making small throw pillows as Christmas gifts in high school and a couple of pillowcases on my grandmother’s old school sewing machine, I had no experience. I knew nothing about sewing patterns, tailoring, or just about anything that would have come in handy at the time. I literally just went to Jo-Ann’s and bought enough lion-esque fabrics to cover him up.
I started by holding up one side of the tan fabric to his back and traced an outline around him on the wrong side of the cloth. Charles made one thing really clear before I got started – the costume needed to keep him cool. I cut and stitched together an extremely baggy body suit and purposely made the legs short so that he could get some extra air circulation. After a few more episodes of repeatedly having him try on the suit, pinning it, and taking in like the n00b seamstress I was (and still am), here is what I came up with:
I stitched velcro closures on the back, and then sewed the arms on. I thought I was done with the body suit, but at the next fitting, I noticed some unusual and awkward flaps in the crotch area. I had turned Charles from a lion to a (quite anatomically correct) lioness:
Yikes. After a few nips and tucks, he looked a bit more like a Ken doll and less like a woman. I gave the tail some life by stuffing it with polyester pillow form and made the paws out of the same cloth, black felt paper, and some faux fur. The paws also had a velcro closure. I didn’t want to create a full on lion ‘do because it definitely would have caused overheating issues, so I made a headband-mane by rolling the faux fur into a tube and sewing it closed. Then I sewed ears onto the sides with ties at the ends.
Here is the outcome from my very first apparel-making experience:
I included some more photos in the gallery – click on a thumbnail to view it larger.