Monday, October 30, 2017

Behold! I Am the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog! (In Which I Make, and Wear, a Giant Toddler Costume for Halloween)

Good afternoon, friends!  Happy Almost Halloween!  Have you ever noticed that my husband Bernie bears an uncanny resemblance to Tim the Enchanter, and that I am just the spitting image of the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog?

Tim the Enchanter and the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog

In case you're unfamiliar with killer bunnies and Tim the Enchanter, refer to this classic Monty Python clip below:

So Bernie and I were invited to a Halloween costume party, and I was disappointed by the options for women's costumes that were available at my local Party City store:

Women's Costumes at Party City
Um, NOT what I had in mind.  I wasn't in the mood to go out in public wearing a costume that barely covers my tushy, but the sleazy bunny costume sparked the idea for making a Monty Python Killer Bunny costume instead.  I bought a pair of bunny ears on a headband, a tube of fake blood, and a pin-on tail from the accessories aisle and then headed to Jo-Ann's for my DIY costume supplies: a basic, loose-fitting pajama pattern, and several yards of white faux fur.

It turns out that thick, fluffy faux fur is annoying to work with, so I thought I'd share how I tamed that furry beast.  My faux fir was similar to a Minkee in its drape, but with barely any stretch to it and a VERY thick furry pile.  It was very difficult to cut through two fabric layers, and it shed so much white fluff all over the dining room that, when my son Lars came home from school, he said it looked like I had slaughtered the Easter Bunny.

I had originally planned to whip this costume up on my serger, but the two fabric layers were just too thick to fit under the presser foot of the serger and a few minutes of fiddling with it were enough to convince me that my regular sewing machine was going to be faster and easier for this project.  These are the settings that worked well for faux fur on my Bernina 750QE:

Straight Stitch No. 1, Stitch Length Increased to 3.0, Presser Foot Pressure Increased to 65
I was using presser foot 1D with Dual Feed engaged, regular polyester all purpose sewing thread, and a size 80/12 Universal needle.  The other challenge is that the thick furry stuff wanted to stick out past the cut fabric edges -- so I couldn't even SEE the fabric edges, let alone see the 5/8" seam guide marking on the stitch plate of my machine.  First I tried using the seam guide that screws into the bed of the machine, like this:

Using the Screw-On Seam Guide that Came With Foot 97D
It helped to have a "wall" to guide the fabric edges against, but I had issues with the bottom layer of fabric curling under and getting stuck in the seam.  So I took my biggest acrylic quilting ruler, smashed it down against the wrong side of the fabric, and trimmed away all of the fur that extended past the cut edge of the fabric, all the way around each cut-out pattern piece for my pajama pants and top.  This extra step made a big difference, because after I did that I was able to see and align the top and bottom fabric edges more accurately as I sewed the seam, and I was much better able to monitor that bottom edge to prevent it from curling up into the seam.

Furry Rabbit Pants In Progress
Do you see how thick that fur is?  It felt like I was like wearing a down comforter.  I'm glad I left the furry arms off the pajama top and wore a long sleeve cotton T-shirt underneath instead of doing long sleeves in fur.  I was already plenty warm in my furry outfit.

Anyway, that's all I have to share today.  The party was fun, but the faux fur made a huge mess in my house.  I'd like to return to my quilting projects today, but first I've got some vacuuming to do!

Quilty Goals for this week include:

  1. Cheater Cloth Practice Quilt:
    Now that it's quilted, I want to photograph some of the issues I had with it, trim the excess batting and backing, and then serge the edges (rather than binding it) so I can toss it in my washing machine and evaluate how washing shrinkage affects my oopsies.  
  2. Math Quilt:
    Backing fabric needs to be seamed together, and then this will be my first real pieced quilt on the quilting frame.  Not sure whether I'll attempt a simple edge to edge pantograph or continue working with my rulers and free motion fills.
  3. Butterfly Bear Paw Quilt: 
    This one needs its final outer border cut and sewn, backing fabric pieced, and then it is destined to be the second real quilt for my longarm machine.
  4. Anders' Modern Building Blocks Quilt:
    I adapted the Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt to work for an XL Twin bed and pieced the first block for this quilt over a year ago, so I think it's time to make the second block now, don't you?  This one should be fun to quilt on the long arm machine since I get to do something different for each block.
  5. Jingle Quilt:
    This is a pieced and hand appliqued WIP that I set aside about 3 years ago because I didn't know how I wanted to set the center medallion and I discovered that one of my red fabrics is a bleeder.  That sapped all motivation for continuing to work on it.  However, with the holidays right around the corner, I've decided to take it out again and finish it up.  At the very least, it will be good practice for quilting around applique on my longarm machine, and I've gotten some good suggestions from other quilters that I can try that might save the finished quilt from the running red dye.  Worst case scenario, I end up with a pink background instead of off white.  And this quilt definitely needs to go through the wash when it's finished, because I glue basted all of those turned edge applique shapes in place and I want the glue out of the finished quilt.
  6. Pineapple Log Cabin Quilt:
    I suppose I ought to make another paper pieced pineapple log cabin block for this quilt.  
  7. EQ8:
    Last but DEFINITELY not least -- I downloaded the EQ8 upgrade a few days ago and I love it so far!  I'll be taking some time this week to get comfortable with the new interface and playing with the new features.

Today I'm linking up with:


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

LOL - at the costumes available yes I would have felt uncomfortable in those too as I bet a lot of us would - sounds like you had fun. Love all the quilts you show!

Ramona said...

I'm glad you had fun at your Halloween party. After all of the work making your costume and then cleaning your house, it would have been sad if the party was a bust. I love each and everyone of your projects. Looking forward to seeing progress on whichever one you decide to work on next.

Debbie said...

Looks like you bit off a huge project and yet you persisted! Those costumes these days! Love the to-do-list!