My five year old son is just precious. He is just old enough to realize what my sewing means to him and in his eyes, nothing is beyond my ability. Aside from his persistent, “are you done yet?” inquiries, he also frequently visits my sewing space to tell me what a great job I’m doing , how awesome it looks, or just to hang with me and see how it’s all done.
One day in my blog reading, I stumbled upon a Delia Creates post on some ninjago costumes she made (which he saw) and for the last few weeks he’s been begging me to make a green ninja costume for him. So earlier this week we went to the warehouse fabric store, grabbed some green and black knit and used a combination of patterns to make this:
- 2 1/8 yd green knit (60″ wide)
- 1/4 yd black knit (60″ wide)
- 1/8-1/4 (or scrap) of a stiff silver fabric (vinyl or what I used was waterproof bag material) for “armor”
- McCall’s 6184
- McCall’s P344
- 1/4″ Elastic
- 3/4″ elastic
After taking my son’s measurements, I pulled out the pattern pieces for the karati gi (McCalls 6184) only to realize I had used the pattern previously for his Luke Skywalker Costume. The size cut was a 4 and even though he is 5, his measurements were right on target for size 4. I must have made some alterations in his Luke Skywalker costume to make it shorter, etc. because that was a year ago. But I was glad to realize I had made it before because his Luke costume was pretty wide for the size and this time I used a knit so I decided to thin it out a bit by taking an inch out of the width both on front and back
Also, I noticed that the ninjago gi has a lapel of sorts so when I was cutting the pieces out, I cut along the curve of an imaginary crew-neckline and then straight down to meet the pattern. Also, note that taking an inch out made the shoulder seam a little wonky, so when cutting, just cut straight across. There are more formal ways to add to a pattern and true up lines, but hey! It’s a costume, right?!?
I knew that making a 4 would fit his body measurements but I knew they’d be too short so I cut the pattern for sleeves and pants on the line that says “lengthen or shorten here” and spread about 1 1/2″ to add some length.
I cut the belt from the black knit, but did not use the neck piece from the pattern since I had altered the neckline for the lapel and would be adding a black band on the front edges. To do that I just measured the length of the front edge and rotary-cut a strip about 3 inches wide. I folded the strip right-sides-together (RST) and sewed one short edge. Then turned it inside out and placed the sewn edge at the top of the shirt and attached one long edge with a 1/4″ seam. I pressed a 1/4″ seam in the other long edge, folded the strip to the inside and topstiched it in place. I also measured the neckline and cut a similar strip to add in green along the neck edge (no, my seams are not finished on that part – this was actually the last piece I made of the three and the boy was getting anxious!)
The mask is in two pieces – a mouth and nose cover, held on by elastic behind the ears. Since the knit I was using wasn’t very stable, the mouth piece started to stretch out in the few minutes T was wearing/playing with it so I later added some elastic to the edges to help it keep it’s shape.
Then the hood goes on over that
The pants made up like your typical elastic waist/pajama pants so I’ll move on to the “armor”. I looked high and low for silver vinyl at the fabric store with two kids who were getting a little weary so when I found this bag material that was silver and stiff, I just grabbed it and ran to the cut table. I wasn’t sure how it’d do in the wash so I took my cue from Delia Creates and attached some velcro to make it detachable. To make the shoulder armor, I found this printable box template and used the top two-thirds of it (minus the bag handle) as my pattern.
The “armor piece on the hood I just cut freehand and zigzag stitched in place.
So there you have it! I was rewarded with, “Mom, I love how you can make me all these cool things” and that’s good in my book. We will be living with a green ninja for the next two weeks straight, I’m sure, so if you see us around town, say hi!