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Don't Be Scared - You Can Make a Halloween Costume

Image: halloween costumes (ARA) - If the words "Mom, can you make my costume this year?" strike terror in your heart, never fear. You can make a great costume that your child will love even if you have little sewing experience (and even less time).

Making a Halloween costume doesn't require professional sewing skills. If you can stitch a straight line with your sewing machine, you're in business. And since costumes are for short-term use, don't fret over perfection - you can hem your costume with fusible interfacing in a pinch, for example. Let your imagination run wild and take advantage of all the novelty fabrics, trims and embellishments that are available at this time of year.

You can save time by starting with clothes from your closet or the local thrift store. For example, a leotard can be the beginning of a ballerina costume, or maybe a princess (with the addition of a poufy skirt) or a fairy (add wings to the princess outfit). If you need to start from scratch, look for a simple pattern. If you haven't followed a pattern in a while, the fewer pieces you need to deal with, the better.

The right equipment makes whipping up a costumer easier, too. Bernina recently introduced a new machine that helps make sewing simpler. The bernette for Bernina is a user-friendly machine that features outstanding performance at an affordable price. Simple operation and variable stitch width ensure sewing satisfaction. Optional features like an automatic needle threader, LCD, slide speed control and a one-step buttonhole maker let even the occasional seamstress sew like a pro.

Here are some costume ideas that combine pieces you may have in the dress-up box with a little creative sewing for a fabulous end result.

  • Happening hippie: This favorite never goes out of style, and it is an easy costume to put together. Start with a pair of jeans, top them with a tie-dye shirt and add a fringed vest. Extra touches, like a long, straight wig and granny glasses complete the look. Make the outfit your own by embellishing the jeans with embroidery, crystals or liquid embroidery pens. If you don't have a fringed vest left over from the '60s, it's easy to add fringe from the fabric store.
  • Wild wizard: Another perennial favorite, and almost as easy as the hippie. A dark pair of pants and dark turtleneck are the basis for this costume. Then just add a simple cape made from fabric with glittering stars and moons or black cats. Top with a conical hat and a magic wand made from cardboard and tinfoil.

    For the cape, cut fabric to the desired length plus one inch for hem. Hem the sides and both ends. Gather one end until it is approximately eight to 10 inches across. Center a 36-inch length of one-inch ribbon over the gathered edge and stitch in place along the edges, turning the ends under. On the underside of the gathers, stitch a length of hook-and-loop tape. Sew the opposite part of the tape to the back center neckline of a T-shirt or sweatshirt. To wear, attach the cape to the hook-and-loop tape at the back of the shirt, then tie the ends of the ribbon in a bow in front. The hook-and-loop tape supports the weight of the cape.

  • Rowdy rock star: Dig out that electric guitar that's gathering dust in the basement for this costume. Both girls and boys can go wild with this option, from long hair to makeup to fake tattoos and piercings. Grab an old pair of jeans to glam up with embroidery and sparkles for her or to cut holes in for him. Fray jeans by dampening area around the cut and putting the jeans through the dryer several times.
  • Project Runway experiment: One of the most popular shows on television is a great costume idea, too. You could use one of the themes featured on the show (beauty pageant outfit, dress for Barbie, design for dog and owner) and make it your own. Or simply put together the wackiest outfit you can think of, and when someone asks you what you are, tell them you're a Project Runway model. Adults might want to steal this idea for their own grown-up costume parties.
For an easy to make Halloween bag or for more easy sewing tips, and to see the entire line of bernette for Bernina machines, visit

Courtesy of ARA Content

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