A Princess and Kwazii: Halloween Costumes for the Gals (using the Patsy Party Dress and Bonny Leggings Patterns)

I hope we can all agree that Halloween this year was strange but I suppose we should expect nothing less from life in the time of Corona. We weren’t even sure if there would be a reason for costumes, but luckily the numbers in our area haven’t been surging (as they have in other places) so our church felt comfortable doing a masked and gloved trunk or treat. We felt comfortable going and I’m glad that my girls were able to dress up and have fun (and, you know, eat 17 pounds of candy in less than 24 hours).

I love the idea of doing a family costume but I also really love letting the girls choose what they want to be. I was worried there would be some last minute mind changes, and maybe even some jealousy, but the girls stuck with their choices and absolutely loved their respective costumes.

Wendy chose to be Kwazii. What? You’ve never heard of this underwater-exploring cat pirate??? You must not have children…Actually, even if you have kids I think there’s still a really good chance you’ve never heard of Kwazii. He’s from the show The Octonauts, which is on Netflix. I wouldn’t go so far as to call the show obscure, but it’s definitely not one of those ones that everyone has heard of. Well, Wendy is obsessed with it (and she learns so much from it too: “Dad, did you know daddy seahorses can have babies??”) and she’s been asking to be Kwazii for weeks now.

As far as her costume went, the hardest part was actually finding knit orange fabric to turn into her cat body. But this actually worked in my favor as I ended up just getting a couple shirts from Old Navy: one to use as her actual shirt and one to turn into pants, which you can see I did in the picture above. The best part about turning a shirt into leggings is that the bottom is already hemmed for you, so if you cut it right, there’s no need to hem! Great for me so I didn’t have to buy two spools of never-to-be-used-again bright orange thread. For the leggings, I used the FREE Bonny leggings pattern from Made for Mermaids. I’ve never used their patterns before but I really like this one! It comes in like 4 different lengths plus you can add on a circle skirt, not to mention the sizes range from 6 month to 14 (!!!), so it definitely has many uses. One of my favorite things is that it fit my very skinny Wendy, without any alterations. I’m sure it’ll work for less scrawny kiddos, just make sure your fabric has some good stretch (mine did not).

For her tummy, I just sewed on a piece of felt which corners I had rounded. For her hat, ears and tail, I used crafting foam and just drew up something similar to the hat Kwazii wears and glued it all onto a headband. Her costume was pretty easy to bust out, once I got all the materials I needed. I think the only frustrating thing about this costume is that it’s not likely to be worn again, but it was cheaper to make it than it would have been to buy (I think I spent about $13 for everything I needed). Plus I did a pretty loose stitch on the top so I could always take the felt off and use it as a regular shirt in the future.

Anyway, Chiquita was happy with it and so was I! She got super excited anytime someone knew who she was.

If costume choices don’t reflect my girls’ personalities accurately, I don’t know what would. Greta chose to be a princess and, like Wendy, has been certain of this choice for weeks. In fact, she’s been saying, “I princess” at the most random but adorable times. For example, we were out on a walk and Greta was getting super filthy playing in the dirt. I said, “How do you get so dirty so fast??” Greta coolly replied, “I princess.” “You’re a princess?” “Yeah. I princess. Get dirty. Wash hands.” Like, no big deal, mom. Hahaha! This girl cracks me up. She also isn’t super into big parties or crowds, but for the trunk or treat she suffered through all that because candy is definitely worth it, in her opinion.

For her dress, I also chose a free pattern which is the Patsy Party Dress from Rebecca Page. This dress was actually trickier than I was expecting, but I think the end result is gorgeous. I think there are a lot of great free patterns out there but I think it’s rare to have one that has so many great details. In particular, I loved the back of the dress and the fact that elastic is used to make the dress fit instead of something more finicky like buttons or a zipper. Since I knew this dress would likely become a favorite in our dress up box, I loved that it had this kind of fit factor. The dress is easy for a toddler to pull on and off and since it uses elastic, it will fit for a long while yet.

Aside from my favorite feature as a mom (the back), Greta’s favorite feature is definitely the twirl. The skirt is a full circle skirt so it’s got that awesome drape plus an amazing spin factor. We picked up the fabric for this at Hobby Lobby (I think we spent less than $6 on a yard and a quarter…also we have a Hobby Lobby now!!!! Happy day!!!). After finishing it and trying it on her, Ben and I felt like it fell short. Like it needed a little bit extra pizazz or something. So I started brainstorming ways to class it up without having to sew a totally new one. But when I asked Greta what she preferred, she was adamant that she wanted nothing changed. Bless you, child. So gratefully I just left the dress as is.

Her cute crown was made by my mom and has been a staple in our dress up box for a couple years now. Greta kept saying she wanted a crown that wasn’t “wobbly” (aka fabric). We looked and looked but never found any plastic crowns (???). But I pointed out that this crown had sparkles (it has some heat set gems that you can’t quite make out in the pictures) and so she was all for it after that.

I mentioned that the dress was kind of tricky to construct. First, the bodice has quite a lot of pieces, which weren’t difficult to assemble but takes more time. The circle skirt was also not difficult to put together but I really struggled with hemming it. Next time I will definitely use some baste stitches as a guide to help me out, but this tip surprisingly wasn’t mentioned in the instructions. Finally, that elastic insertion was a bit finicky and felt kind of odd, although I don’t think there’s a better method, so you just have to kind of go with it. I will admit that I did not do any hand sewing, but rather just stitched in the ditch to attach the bodice to the skirt. Also I did make one change to the pattern which was my addition of the ruffles to the straps. I didn’t want bare shoulders. Oh! And a microtex needle was absolutely essential for this fabric. My sewing machine did not handle the fabric well at all without that.

I will say that I would definitely make this pattern again, if occasion calls. I was really impressed with the quality of the pattern but I do think it’s better for sewists who have a bit of experience under their belt. I was especially happy with the total cost of this costume. I often feel like making costumes costs either the same or more than what it would be to just buy costumes, so I never know if it’s worth it, but I think this dress was a happy exception. Also, I’m sure the quality of this dress is far above store bought, so that’s awesome too.

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