DIY Superhero Costume

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Finley wants to be a superhero this year and I know I could buy a superhero costume for him at the store (complete with built in muscles), but I knew this one would be fun to make and I couldn't pass up the chance to use the tackiest, shiniest fabric I could get my hands on. 

This costume was pretty easy to make and took me about 3ish hours total. You'll notice above that he is wearing a headband rather than the mask I made. He hated wearing the mask. He hated wearing his mask last year so I should have had a clue. Anyhow, I made him a headband instead. I'm including templates for both so you can choose which one floats your kid's boat. 

I broke this tutorial down into three different segments: the t-shirt, the cape, and the headband/mask. You can make just one part or all three. 

What you'll need for the superhero t-shirt:
  • T-shirt in color of your choice
  • Two sheets of felt in contrasting colors - for washability and durability, I recommend eco-fi felt by Kunin
  • Fusible webbing - for this project, I used Heat n Bond lite
  • Lighting bolt template (or you can draw your own) - download here
  • Child's initial template. There are a lot of free comic fonts available online. I used comica bd. You can download the font of your choice and create your own template for the initial. (The initial template will need to be backwards because the image will be reversed once you've put your applique together).
  • Sewing machine/thread

  1. Take your lighting bolt and initial templates and place them under your fusible webbing. Trace them.
  2. Iron them onto your sheets of felt following the instructions for your fusible webbing. If you're using Heat n Bond, iron them for a few seconds on the wool setting (NO steam).
  3. Carefully cut them out.
  4. Iron the lighting bolt onto the t-shirt following the instructions for your fusible webbing. Again, if you're using Heat n Bond, you'll iron on the wool setting (NO steam). I like to place a scrap piece of fabric over the appliques on this step just to be safe. Make sure the applique is firmly adhered. Machine stitch the lighting bolt to the t-shirt (I used a running stitch). 
  5. Iron the initial on top of the lighting bolt applique. Machine stitch.

What you'll need for the cape:
  • You'll need a cape. There are so many great tutorials on the web (like this one and this one) for making capes and I didn't feel the need to reinvent the wheel. Laziness on my part? Perhaps. Both of the tutorials I linked also include instructions for the applique on the back so you can go with theirs or you can follow below to make one that matches the tee.
  • Three sheets of felt. One to match the color of your t-shirt and the other two to match the applique that you made for the the tee. Again, I recommend eco-fi felt by Kunin.
  • Lighting bolt template - download here
  • Child's initial template (use the same one you used for the t-shirt).
  • Fusible webbing
  • Sewing machine/thread

  1. Just as you did for the t-shirt, trace your lighting bolt and initial templates onto fusible webbing. Iron them onto the felt and cut them out. You'll also want to cut out a circle large enough to fit your lightning bolt and initial inside. I did NOT use fusible webbing on my red circle since the shiny cape fabric I used cannot be ironed.
  2. Iron the lightning bolt onto the red circle.
  3. Machine stitch the bolt onto the circle
  4. Place your initial onto the lightning bolt and iron. Machine stitch on.
  5. Since I did not use fusible webbing on my red circle, I pinned it onto the cape and machine stitched it on.

 What you'll need for the mask or headband:
  • Two sheets of felt. I used contrasting colors to match the applique on the cape and tee but they could be the same color if you choose.
  • Fusible webbing
  • Elastic
  • Sewing machine/thread
  • Template - download the headband here or the mask here. These templates are sized to fit my 5 year old's head - you may have to adjust accordingly. The instructions are the same for the mask and headband.

  1. Place your mask or headband template under the fusible webbing and trace.
  2. Iron it onto the felt.
  3. Carefully cut it out. Iron it onto the second sheet of felt.
  4. Carefully cut it out.
  5. Machine stitch together.
  6. Not pictured. Stitch on some elastic for the band (measure your child's head for best fit).

In case you were wondering, Oliver is going to be a bat. I made him some killer ears and a mask to match his wings but he won't wear them either (these kids!).

If you get hung up on any of the steps or have any questions, don't hesitate to let me know. Good luck!

As if having three legs wasn't hard enough

Monday, September 24, 2012
I was looking forward to photographing Finley in his superhero Halloween costume so I could get the tutorial posted a few days ago. However, my poor Johnny had other plans. Fin was all excited to be dressed up in his costume the other evening and before I could snap the first photo, we noticed that Johnny could hardly walk across the yard. Every second or third step, his front leg (the only one he has!) would give out on him and he'd do a face plant. I panicked and took him to the doggie ER. Since he only has the one good leg up front, I was worried that he'd injured it.

It turns out that he has hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD). It's a bone disease that can affect young, rapidly growing dogs. Fortunately, he will outgrow this disease when his bones are done growing. Unfortunately, it is extremely painful for him to walk right now so his leg gives out every few steps (as if it wasn't hard enough with three legs). His mind is still incredibly active but his body can't keep up so he's feeling down in the dumps. Anorexia and depression are symptoms of HOD so we're doing our best to snuggle him, support him, and entertain him. This poor guy has had such a rough start to life - he needs to catch a break.

Even Sodapop is bummed out that her wrestling buddy and partner in crime is out of commission for a while.

We were able to entertain him for most of Sunday. He sat on the porch and watched Oliver make snow angels (yep.) in the water.

Love that wacky kid.

Anyhow, have any of you heard of HOD or have any experience with it?

9/25/12 Update: Johnny seems to be feeling a bit better this morning. He's spent a fair amount of time walking around the yard. His gait is off but he's not falling quite as often. Hoping this is a sign of good things.

PS - will have the superhero costume tutorial posted in the next couple of days. Promise!

Signs of Fall

Monday, September 17, 2012
After enduring a scorching summer here in the desert, I am always clinging to and looking for signs of fall. It is my favorite season and sadly, we don't get too much of it around here. However, I am definitely noticing some early signs of cooler, crisper weather this year. It might be a stretch since our days are still hovering around 100 but the mornings and evenings are absolutely perfect.

One sure sign for us that cooler weather (remember, it's a relative term for us) is here is that the girls don't touch their feed. They are out ranging all day foraging for their own food. In the summer, they're too hot to work that hard so they gobble their feed right up. Also, egg production is way down because the three older hens are molting and I'm thinking that the young girls will start any day now too.

Even Sodapop and Johnny are noticing the change of seasons. They pretty much hole up inside during the hotter months but they are spending as much time as possible outdoors - especially in the mornings. Johnny can't get enough of the cool, soft dichondra.

We've been getting out more too. We've resumed our evening walks around the neighborhood to visit our animal friends. We were stoked to see some new turkeys down the road. These guys (and gals?) are a kick to watch and listen to. I'm pretty sure they'll disappear in a couple of months though.

I gave Finley an old point and shoot camera and he is in absolute heaven. The kid loves to bring his camera on our walks to take pictures of the animals (and other random things).

And the best sign of fall? HALLOWEEN! My favorite holiday by far. I spent a few hours this weekend whipping up Finley's costume (tutorial coming soon) and plan to get started on Oliver's this week.

We've got a lot of fun plans for the season including the boys' first trip to Disneyland, a visit to Page Springs Cellars, some college football games, Halloween hijinks, and a few concerts. Good times - looking forward to it all. I hope you guys are enjoying this change of season as much as I am.

What He Wore: BOY style

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I've had several lovely people send me photos of their little men for BOY style but I took a break from regular posting over the summer so they've had to wait month and months. Sorry, friends. I am excited to *finally* share these cuties with all of you! Love how they are all rocking their own unique styles. 

First up we have handsome brothers, Sam and Will!

On Sam:
Plaid shirt and shorts: Janie and Jack

On Will: 
Shorts and hat: Janie and Jack

Beautiful photos by Michelle Tiek Photography

Next we have Oliver and Peyton! Loving their matching outfits from one of my favorite places to shop for my boys.

Shirts, shoes, and pants: H&M

And last but definitely not least, we have little rocker Jackson!


Hat and T-shirt: Gap
Plaid shirt and jeans: The Children's Place
Shoes: Converse

Photos by Jackson's mama at DFP Photography

Thank you ladies for sharing some great BOY style with us and for being patient with me the past couple of months.

DIY Skeleton Costume

Tuesday, September 11, 2012
I love making the boys Halloween costumes each year and I'm busy prepping for this years costumes. Finley wants be a super hero (Super Fin) and Oliver wants to be a bat. I'm glad that they both chose things that are still kind of classic and will be fun for me to make. I hope to get them made soon so I can document the process in case any of you would like to see.

 Some of you might remember that I made skeleton costumes for the boys last year. I've had a bunch of questions about the construction of their costumes so I thought I'd share how I put them together. These were a bit more labor intensive (time wise) than other DIYs I've posted but they were not hard to make and they turned out RAD! Totally worth the effort.

What you'll need:
  • Long sleeved t-shirt 
  • Matching leggings 
  • White felt (Eco-fi felt by Kunin is the best for holding up in the wash)
  • *Fusible webbing (I used Heat n Bond Ultrahold for this project)
  • Scissors (small scissors with a pointy tip work best)
  • **Skeleton Template - download here. The mask is not included in the template.
  • Embroidery floss in color of your choice (I used black on Oliver's and red on Finley's)
  • If you make the mask, you'll need elastic for the band and a piece of black felt and white felt

*Since I use Heat n Bond, my instructions will follow Heat n Bond's instructions. If you are using a different fusible web, simply change out my instructions with the instructions on the package.

**I scoured the web last year for a template I could use for the boys' costumes. I wasn't able to find one so I came up with my own by taking measurements of the kids. I'm warning you that my template is pretty rudimentary but I like it that way. It would most likely fit costumes in the 3T/4T size range. If you want to make the costume bigger or smaller, just adjust the size of the template.

I did not take photos when I made these costumes but I know you guys are smart and I will answer any questions you may have. If you want to see photos of my applique process, check out any of my applique tutorials and you'll get a good idea of what's in store for you.

  1. Print out skeleton template and adjust size if needed.
  2. Place the template under your fusible webbing and trace all of the bones.
  3. Iron the webbing/bones that you traced onto your felt. For Heat n Bond, set it on the "wool" setting (NO STEAM). Iron the design onto the felt for about 3 or so seconds
  4. Cut out all of the bones. Small, pointy scissors will make it easy to get in between the ribs and cut out some of the small openings.
  5. Peel off the wax paper from the back of the bones.
  6. Carefully place the bones where you want them on the shirt and leggings and iron them on for about 10 seconds (remember, no steam). For this step, I like to place a scrap piece of fabric between the applique and the iron for extra protection. Check to be sure that all of your bones are firmly adhered.
  7. Now that your bones are attached, you're ready to start the applique process. You can do this with a machine or by hand. I'm a hand stitcher and although it took a while with both of these costumes, it was totally worth it - the stitching was the icing on top! To stitch by hand, cut about 3-4 feet of your embroidery thread. Your skein of thread will have six strands. Separate two of the strands from the piece you've cut and thread them through your needle. I used a blanket stitch for these costumes but a straight stitch (running stitch) would look great too. Pop in a movie (or two or three) because this part takes the longest. 
  8. I do not have a template for the mask and to be honest, my kids hated wearing them. If you want to make one, it's pretty simple. I took two pieces of different colored felt (I used black and white for one mask and white and grey for the other) and cut out two matching ovals that would cover the top half of their faces.  I guesstimated where the boys' eyes were and cut out circles through both pieces of felt for the eyes. For the nose and teeth, I cut out just the white felt so that the darker, contrasting felt would show through. I then sewed an elastic band in and hand stitched them together using the same blanket stitch that I used on the body of the costume.

Once you're done, sit back and marvel at the handmade awesomeness that you've just created for your kiddos! And remember, it doesn't have to be perfect - that's part of the charm.

ETA: The leggings and tees are from American Apparel.

As always, feel free to comment or message me at if you have any questions. 

What He Wore: BOY style

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It's been a long few months but BOY style is back and I can't wait to show you guys my newest discovery for the little guys. Several weeks back a friend of mine posted a link on Facebook to iLego. The second I clicked on over I knew my boys would flip when they saw the iLego tees.  Especially the Ninjago ones.

I admit that I'm not a huge fan of character tees but I am a huge fan of anything LEGO and these shirts are pretty darn rad. They are well priced, well made by two creative mamas, and my boys think they are the coolest things ever. Win/win.


On Finley:
Blue ninjago tee - iLego
Jeans - Denizens from Target
Shoes - Converse
Hat - Crewcuts

On Oliver:
Grey ninjago tee - iLego
Green pants - H&M
Shoes - Vans

Be sure to pop by the iLego shop and check out their awesome tees. Also check out their Facebook page because they offer some pretty generous coupon codes from time to time.