Thursday, December 29, 2016

My Little Gryffindor Seeker

One of the things I was looking forward to most about being a mother was getting to dress up SHB. I made a couple costumes for him when he was a baby, but ever since he started growing like a weed and taking up most of my mental energy, I haven't done much sewing for him. But since I made myself a McGonagall costume for Halloween, I figured I should make him some Hogwarts robes to match. While I identify somewhat with McGonagall, being a teacher and all, SHB's life is not much like Harry Potter's; he is loved and well fed and of course, his parents are alive. There are still some similarities, though: he is well-known at school and he sleeps in a closet.* And Harry Potter is the youngest Quidditch player in a century and SHB is definitely the youngest kid at Gryffindor Quidditch robes it was!

I don't know what to do with my hands. 

I very briefly entertained thoughts of cutting out and sewing on the letters for "GRYFFINDOR" but dismissed it after thinking for like, five seconds about how tedious it would be.

I used the hooded jacket pattern from Kwik-Sew 3127 as a basis for the robe. Following these tutorials/patterns, I slashed and spread the body and sleeve pattern pieces and cut out stripes and such. I used regular fleece from Joann's, figuring that the warmth would be nice for the end of October -- WRONG! It was still quite warm so the robe wasn't quite comfortable for SHB. Add in the fact that I made it bigger on purpose so that he could wear it next year too, and he was not happy about wearing it. Of course. After all the time I spent, too! How like a toddler! I suppose it's my own fault for treating him like a doll...but oh how cute he looks in his robe!

Why am I wearing a fleece robe when it's 70-something degrees??

I also made him a little Nimbus 2016 broom as a prop. Thank goodness for the abundance of decorative brooms in stores around Halloween; I just painted the handle and added gold duct tape, then Sharpie-d the logo and model number on.

Um, why am I holding this? (Also I can't get enough of his little curled up toes sticking out of the bottom of the robe!)

In the end, SHB got sick and didn't go trick-or-treating on Halloween at all; he only wore this costume for half an hour to take pictures a week after Halloween. Turns out it was a good thing I made it so big, then! Next year! Or maybe for a con?

Or just endless pictures with Mommy.

Trying to get my phone to do autofocus and capture opposite colors was just too much, I guess. 

What are you, a young Napoleon? 

Pattern: Kwik-Sew 3127, modified.
Fabric: 1.5 yards of burgundy fleece, half a yard of goldenrod fleece for the lining and decorations
Notions: Tiny eyelets for the front fastening and some black twill tape
Hours: At least ten. Topstitching and cutting all the stripes and such took the longest time.
Total cost: $10
Final thoughts: I think SHB looks adorable, but now that he's older and definitely has his own opinions I do feel a little bad making him wear a costume when he doesn't understand why or want to. I guess it's a good thing I don't make many for him? I always wonder how other geeky parents manage this; I see so many blog parents say things like oh, my kid loves Star Wars or Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, but their kids are quite young. Do they actually have them watch the movies or read the books, which to my mind can be quite a bit beyond say, a kindergardener? I would love to have SHB love my fandoms, but I can't see having him sit and watch anything longer than a fifteen minute Daniel Tiger segment right now, and even then he has trouble sitting through and following the whole thing (I know this depends a lot on the child and what they're used to, but we try to keep SHB's screentime minimal so he hasn't developed that kind of attention span). I suppose one could get a simplified version of the story (how cute is this imagining of The Hobbit?), but the purist in me wants SHB's first experience to be the original medium. Any geeky parents want to weigh in on this?

*I bring SHB with me to school and he naps in a Pack-N-Play in a cozy little supply closet while I teach. This is not nearly as awful as it sounds. There are no spiders, for one.


  1. SHB looks super cute. You look fantastic together. I have thought about this too as I have a one year old daughter and love to dress up for Halloween. I figure you get one or 2 Halloweens (depending on birthday) where you get to choose the costume. After that it's probably up to your kid depending on their temperament. I love geeky stuff and look forward to sharing it with my daughter when she can truly appreciate it. I think doing it earlier is either too mature and possibly scary or they just don't get it and they love it to please you. It is hard to wait though. I still remember my dad getting so excited when I was reading lotr for the first time when I was 12 and loving it.

  2. Speaking as someone who's been excited about reading Tolkien to Hobbit since before he was born, I'm still trying to figure this out! I've got my quiet books, of course, and we do have some Star Wars picture books that we were given. I'm figuring that will be an easier place to start, thanks to the Star Wars Lego cartoons (honestly, I find those hilarious, so watching them wouldn't be a chore.) In the meantime, I figure that picture books with dragons and talking animals and such might be a good gateway to fantasy books, especially since he is showing a preference for dinosaurs and animal stories anyway. As for costumes, I agree with Renee-- a friend and I already have plans to dress our same age boys as Harry and Ron for next Halloween, since hers is a redhead anyway, but after this year, I'm sure Hobbit will have more of an opinion and I'll just have to honor his preferences within reason. (Meaning no last minute costume switches when I'll probably have to start sewing in the summer to get two boys' costumes done in time.)

  3. I keep my fingers crossed that SHB inherited his nerdiness from you and will love to wear Harry Potter inspired garb next year. He looks so cute!

  4. Aw, Pack'n'Play in closet while you work is an awesome idea. Wish I'd been able to do something similar.

    By four my child could be consulted somewhat about her costume, and then it wasn't hard to get my spouse, at least, to coordinate for taking her trick or treating. (I don't dress up much myself--still figuring out fit.) This year she remembered about the two earlier consultations, and she made a list unbidden of what would be needed to dress as the Princess in Black (Shannon Hale's books); she and my mother put together the whole thing. My work here is ... not done, exactly, but I'm glad my child felt encouraged to figure out a costume she thinks is cool.

  5. I don't recall having an costume opinion until it was blatantly ignored.

    I can't quite remember when my kids became adamant about their own costumes; by three they were animals for the longest time. We had a bee costume, the bird costumes, the jaguar. Animal print pants and vests were in heavy rotation. We were zoo people (we do live within a mile of Woodland Park Zoo, Thing One was a zoo camper until he was a counselor in training at zoo camp through his senior year of high school).

    Blondini was a pirate at three, Robin Hood at four (he wanted a real compound bow just like our friends have).
    And then he was Batman/Joker/Naruto/Television or Comic Book Character. It was a really quick jump. All the costumes had weapons, a comic book and a vendetta, though we owe a great debt to Avatar/Aang/Uncle Iro for focusing on the art and humor in the martial arts. I did make a hood jacket but refused to make the arm blade for Assassins Creed, even though I did figure out how to make a workable one.

    I read to them for years past other people's expectations. I honestly recommend the Classics Illustrated versions of books like Moby Dick or the Odyssey; Moby Dick is actual text, just cut down to the bare story. The D'Aulaire's Norse and Greek myths never ever ever lose their flavor. We did try to make a Slepnir multilegged horse costume. I would have worn it, too.

    I do need to point out: they wore the costumes all the time, not just Halloween. The jaguar costume got worn out, as did Naruto's. And Blondini still dresses up pretty often, but in high school, it's band major jackets and cutaway tuxedo jackets.

    Sadly, he's all booked up the weekend of Emerald City ComicCon, so our conversations about doing a team cosplay have gone out the window. He is going to be in A Winter's Tale, so perhaps I'll be making a bear suit...

    I will say that as SHB grows, he'll want to do what you want to do until the day he doesn't. And he will let you know EXACTLY when that is. And remember, as long as he's weather appropriate, it's okay. No reason arguing about that stuff.

  6. This is SO CUTE!!!!!!! I think I was three the year my mom made me a bat costume. A week before Hallowe'en I decided I wanted to be an angel. I'm amazed she ever made me anything again.... 😂

  7. We do themed costumes as a family every year. I've tried to strike a balance between choosing things that my kids like as well as costumes that are fun for me and my husband. We've done baby Captain America (the CUTEST), hobbits accompanied by J.R.R. Tolkien, the cast of Frozen, the cast of Octonauts, and most recently a group of Jedi, including a baby Yoda.

    My oldest is 4, and while we haven't yet introduced him to the source material for any of our geeky interests, he's beginning to pick up on things and get excited about them just because we are. For instance, he has a general idea about Star Wars. He has some SW toys, plays LEGO Star Wars with my husband, and has seen the trailers for some of the films. He's seen enough to know there are spaceships and blasters and Darth "Bader" and thinks it's all just the coolest. We're going to show him Episode IV soon, which will blow his mind. It's been so much fun to guide him toward our interests while also allowing him to develop his own.

    I think most kids will naturally pick up on whatever their parents are involved in, so I'm sure SHB will come to appreciate your amazing costumes and cool geekery as he grows and becomes more aware.

  8. My parents (fans of the LotR books before they were cool) read The Hobbit out loud when I was maybe seven, and decreed that I could read LotR when I was eleven- going in to sixth grade. Forbidden fruit, you know, and they thought that I would be old enough then to appreciate it. Of course, having read it again since I appreciate the books quite differently, and I am SO glad that I read them before seeing the movies, which came out when I was in high school.

    Not sure how to handle this when my daughter is old enough for LotR (she is two. Is she ready??). I do feel very strongly that she should read the books first, but I don't want to make a big THING of it either.

    Speaking of two year olds, I am impressed not only by your creations but by how you find time to sew! I just cut out the pieces for a quilt top and I am not at all sure when they will get sewn.

  9. I think I found your blog while searching for trouser alteration tutorial, and have now been browsing back since yesterday evening (because of which I stayed awake until 3 am..) admiring your creations and humor. SHB has an awesome mom!

  10. Fabulous costumes - such attention to detail as ever!
    As regards introducing the core material, we have all the audiobooks of the HP series (read by Stephen Fry so they're phenomenal) and my son was listening to at least the Philospher's Stone in the car on mid-length journeys from about 2.5yrs. He did get somewhat freaked out by the 'Ginny, don't die!' part in the Chamber of Secrets, and once memorably yelled 'Muggle!' at the top of his voice at a guy in the gym car park....Didn't start watching the movies until about 7.
    Star Wars he started at about 4.5 with Clone Wars and then A New Hope and Phantom Menace which are to my mind the most kid friendly. Tolkein he's listened to the BBC radio dramatisations but still hasn't watched the movies - I read The Hobbit at 8 and I think the first half at least is a great children's story but Peter Jackson did away with that sadly.

  11. I know you've been super busy, but I absolutely love your blog and am so glad you were able to share some new projects. Thanks!


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