On Poodle Costumes And Mommyness
I have so enjoyed having time to be home with my family this past couple weeks. My daughter had a school play in which she was the announcer and also a miniature poodle. She needed a poodle costume. In my previous life as a harried full time Ob/Gyn, I never had time to enjoy things like making poodle costumes. Instead, I was filled with dread, knowing that I didn’t have time to come up with anything good. I would throw something together, half-assed, seeking solace in the fact that A would probably think my offering was fine, not knowing that I was capable of much, much better.
I spent several days on this poodle costume. I went shopping for costume pieces. I found a gray hoodie on sale in the boy’s department at Target. I found gray capri yoga pants in the girl’s section at Wal-Mart, on sale. I found furry white slippers at Gymboree as back paws, as well as a pair of gray leggings with sequins on the lower legs, as possible substitutes for bottom legs in case the capri yoga pants didn’t work out. I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a yard of shedding white fur, and went to Pet Smart and bought a fancy pink dog collar in a size that would fit my daughter.
When A came home, we tried on the yoga pants and the hoodie. They fit great. I measured the length of the capri pant bottoms to my daughter’s ankles: about 4 inches. We checked out the slippers and the dog collar. I was ready to start sewing.
While my daughter was at school the next day, I started working. I cut 4 inch wide strips of the white fur and stitched them firmly to the hem portion of the yoga pants, all the way around. I was able to hide the join of the completed circle of fur by stitching down the side of it with white thread. I found a plain white t-shirt A could wear under her zip up hoodie.
It was then time to put the wrist cuffs on. I measured about 3 inches I needed to put around the cuffs of the hoodie, and cut out a strip of fur 3 inches wide, and long enough to make a full cuff around each arm. I stitched these on as well, anchoring to the thicker cuffs of the sleeves of the hoodie, but left the lower part of the fur unstitched to the very bottom of the cuffs, since they narrow and are stretchy. The rest was anchored down well. I then cut another 3 inch wide strip of fur, long enough to stitch all the way around the bottom of the hoodie, from one side of the zipper to the other, but not encroaching on or covering the zipper. I stitched this down onto the thick cuff material on the bottom of the hoodie.
It was then time for a tail. I have all sorts of craft materials stashed in my attic, because I have always known I would have a daughter, years before I had her, and because if you keep craft materials long enough, you will eventually always need them. I had three boxes full of leather scraps, including a big piece of white suede. I cut a strip of this, long and wide enough to make a good long tail. After all, poodles have shaved tails until you get to the ball at the end. I folded a ball of the white fur and sutured it down to the end of the tail. I then sewed the opposite end of the tail to the seat of the capri pants, taking care not to put it too high or too low in the crotch where it would be irritating.
Then it was time for ears. I drew a pattern of poodle-like ear shapes, folded a piece of the white fur in half, flat sides up, pinned the pattern to it, and cut two identical ears. I picked a spot on the hood of the hoodie that made the ears look as realistic as possible: not too far up, since dog ears don’t start at the top of their head, and not too low. I stitched a rectangular portion of the ears down, leaving the rest at the bottom to move freely. As a final touch, I cut apart three of her hair elastics and removed pink bows from them. I sewed the larger one to the ball of the tail, and the smaller matching two to the bottoms of the ears. Voila! Instant poodle!
We tried the costume on when she got home and she was ecstatic. It looked great! They had to bring their costumes to school early in the week of the play to have them approved; she passed with flying colors. She was poodle-ready!
Unfortunately, I missed the actual play, as Kevin and I took a little trip to Costa Rica right then. My parents, however, were keeping her that week, and both attended the play and Mom took copious pictures, which she posted on Facebook. I think she had one of the best costumes in the whole play! I felt like a real mom, not just a wooden one. It was so exciting to really take part in creating something special for her, that I knew that she would enjoy and that would make her stand out. I felt like an involved mom and not a slacker mom for the first time!
Here is the full view of the poodle costume:
Here is a pic from Mom, of the poodle costume in action: