Thursday, October 31, 2013

Doctor Who-loween (Part 1)

It's no secret. My family is a bunch of nerds. If I was in denial before about this fact, my children's choices for what they wanted to be this Halloween would have been the face-smack of reality.

For those of you not familiar with the sci fi series "Doctor Who", these two series of posts may be a letdown. Unless you like super cool and resourceful use of materials to make kick-butt costumes. In that case, you should totally read on.

Cara had decided that she wanted to dress up as the Tardis from "Doctor Who". Those outside of the Who-verse loop, the Tardis is the blue wooden box that the Doctor uses for time/space travel. (Man, I am really resisting the urge to expound on that description and talk how the Tardis is much more than just a space ship and about the episode when the Tardis manifested itself as a woman and now I want to say that resistance is futile, which is a whole other can of nerd worms, so I'll just stop.)
So much more than just a time and space travel box. It's bigger on the inside.
Instead of doing a literal box costume, we had seen several interpretations of the Tardis that we were inspired by.  Because of my love of blue and my mother's thoughtfulness in keeping my old prom dresses, I actually had two royal blue dresses to choose from. Cara chose the strapless dress that I wore to my junior prom as the garment we would turn into a Tardis. 
Cara (age 6) in the dress that would be her costume six years later.
Cara did not want me to make too many actual changes to the dress itself, so we looked for a bustier to use over the dress instead of having to sew directly onto it.  We found a black girdle-type thing at a thrift store for $5. We used white scrap fabric to sew window panes to resemble the ones on the Tardis door.
The windows.
The size of the bow on the backside of this dress from the eighties seemed to be trying to compensate for the lack of shoulder pads and puffy sleeves in this strapless dress. Out came the seam ripper and off went the bow.
No more butt bow.
Most of the fabric from the deconstructed bow was used to sew wide straps onto the dress. Oh how I wish I had done this alteration before junior prom. Hours spent trying to keep my dress up would have been saved.
Much more 12-year old appropriate.
So far, we were into this costume five whole dollars. Man, I love a good deal.

I had to break down and buy white fabric paint but a good friend of mine (whose craft room is one I whole-heartedly covet) had some black satin that we were able to use to make a sash. I used letter stencils that I made to paint the sash and three coats of paint. Once this was done, it really felt like the costume was coming together.
Fabric paint ($1) on black satin fabric (free - thanks, Katherine) that I sewed into a sash.
One of the websites I like to visit had posted someone who made Doctor Who shoes. I promptly filed this idea in my brain (surprisingly, in an area of my brain that actually retained this idea) and talked Cara into using these as her shoes.
Brown flats that I painted to look like the Doctor (from the neck down, at least). Flats from the thrift store ($4), red fabric $2 (the rest of which was used for Connor's costume), and buttons from my giant button stash.
Originally, I had made a head lamp myself which was okay, but not perfect. Craig was very tactful in offering to upgrade this part of her costume and I heartily supported this project. 

Using a recycled cardboard canister, a couple of electronics pieces he bought at Radio shack (including the LED light), a switch and wires he removed from an old toy car, power tools, and a soldering iron, he got a MUCH improved head lamp for Cara's costume.
LED light with a switch that Craig designed and built. From scratch. With tools. It was glorious.
Once that was done, I used a sheet of vellum and some ribbon I bought at the craft store ($3 total) and most of the leftover bow fabric to cover the headband and lamp.  With the black netting that had also been a part of the bow (it was unsed inside to help it maintain its stability in its giantness) and some iridescent blue beads I had in my craft stash, I made a little fascinator to attach to the head piece.
Head lamp fully assembled with fascinator attached.
And then it was all finished.
Cara in full costume with trick-or-treat bag.
Cara "being the box" with her friends dressed as a Dalek (evil robot from the DW series) and the 10th Doctor.
We are all so thrilled with how great this turned out.  I love that it was truly a family project.  What's even better is that a couple of her friends from school got inspired by her choice in Halloween costume and made some themselves. They were three little Whovians at her school's Halloween Ball. This nerd couldn't be prouder. 

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