Sunday, October 30, 2011

iSew, iGlue, iPaint

Hey, remember me? -waving- Yeah, probably not, since it has been almost a year since I last posted. Anyone still out there? -crickets- Anyway, looking back I see that it was almost exactly a year ago that I posted my sock monkey costume post. This year's costume for my friend's son Cheeks turned out so well that I wanted to share.

Ms. J is awesome at coming up with ideas. I think we make a great team. She has the ideas, and I have a sewing machine. We are a good pair. This year she suggested an iPod and since I received one for my birthday several months ago, I was all over it.

Since Cheeks is only 3, and all about comfort, we knew that the typical box costumes that people make for iPods was not going to work. So I had to come up with a soft costume that was easy to get out of for potty breaks and naps. And it had to be fun or Cheeks would just not wear it.

Here is a walk through of the steps I took to make the iPod costume. Please remember, iPod and the Apple logo are copyrighted and if you decide to use this tutorial, do not sell the costume. I gifted this to my dear friends and made no money off of it.


I measured the span of Cheeks' shoulders and from the base of his neck to the backs of his knees. I added 4" to the shoulder measurement and used both measurements to come up with the width and height of the front and back panels. I used black felt by the yard for structure on both the front and back, with a silver satin overlay for the back. I used a zig zag stitch to attach the satin to the back felt piece. Satin is very slippery, so make sure you pin A LOT.

I used strips of 1" wide felt to edge the back, but in retrospect, I would use broadcloth if I did it again.

Painting the Back

For the back logos, I had Ms. J print out the silhouettes, which I cut out and used as patterns. I used a black micro pen used for scrapbooking to trace the pattern. I then used a stiff brush and metallic silver fabric paint to fill in. It needed two layers of paint, and I made sure that each layer dried overnight.

The Apps

We started with Cheeks' favorite iPod apps, and added a Facebook one for mom. I had Ms. J print off 4" square "patterns" that I would use to make the felt apps. You can adjust based on the size you are making. After cutting out each colored part of the pattern, I used either a fine line black pen (I like the micro ones for scrapbooking) or a white fabric paint pen to trace the patterns onto the felt. I need to test the white or silver scrapbooking pens, as the paint pen is really too wide. Plus you have to add on dry time.

Next I cut out each piece and stacked it for gluing later. I rounded the corner of each base square but tracing the edge of a medicine cap. Keep in mind that apps with more colors need some creative cutting, so you don't have too many layers. For instance, I cut out the HD letters from the red portion of the Angry Bird, so that it would fit like a puzzle piece. I did the same with the Fruit Ninja watermelon. For that I cut out the entire top and top and bottom in two different greens, stacked them, then cut out the "stripes." Stacking insures that the cuts are exact and they will fit snugly.

Adding details

For some of the apps, I added paint details before gluing. This was especially needed for Angry Birds, which has a thicker outline. I used a black fabric pen and carefully marked along the edge. For the line on the beak I used my black scrapbook pen again. The eyes didn't have all the detail I wanted, but I started with a dot of brown, followed by a smaller dot of black and and even smaller dot of white. You MUST wait for each dot to dry, or they will run together. Pac Man's detail comes from Scribbles paint. I love the fine line and and brightness that those paints offer.I glued him down first before adding the detail. Netflix also needed to be glued down before adding details.

Tacky glue is my favorite to use for felt. I like to cover the entire back of the piece to be glued. I just glob it on and use my finger to spread it. If you don't spread the glue, it will show through on lighter felt and I find that it does not hold as well. Make sure you use enough though, because the felt will absorb some. Depending on which side of the felt you glue, you may or may not need to trim strings before gluing down a piece. If you haven't noticed before, felt really has two different sides. One is more fuzzy than the other. The non fuzzy side takes the paint detail better, but the fuzzy side can be hard to work the glue in. I glue the fuzzy side only if I needed strong details on the other side.

Putting it together

Originally I was going to sew the shoulders together and then down the sides, leaving space for arm holes. At our fitting, when I had the seams safety pinned, I realized that Cheeks was not going to stand for this. It wold fit a little slim. Also, Cheeks' brother, Little Budda, might not be able to use it as a hand-me down. With homemade costumes I think it is very important to consider the sibling factor. So instead I used straps. I cut 1" x 4" straps and added Velcro to the ends that would attach to the front. I then attached the other end of the strap to the black binding on the back. The two shoulder straps were cut down to just the length of the velcro, so they fit more snug.

Happy Halloween!

Cheeks was a hit at the party his family went to. The other kids kept trying to tap the apps to make them work. And as you can see from the pictures above, he had no trouble moving around. My biggest regret is that we didn't have time to make a matching Nano costume for Little Budda.

I can't wait to see what ideas Ms. J comes up with next year. She also took all these pictures. Check out her own blog at:

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