Wednesday, July 15, 2015

SuperJoe!

Super Joe!!


OMG, so behind on everything!!! Whew! Things have been busy around here. Maggie's third birthday was last Thursday (party on Sunday, photos to share!) and Joe's last day at Peter Pan Cooperative Nursery School was last Friday. He had an extra year there (we held him back from kindergarten a year), and now he's going to kindergarten. Of course, Maggie still has a couple more years in preschool, so we are not saying goodbye as a family yet, but seeing Joe "graduate" is still a bit emotional for me.

Super Joe!!


Super Joe!!


I really can't say enough good things about our Peter Pan community. Since Joe started attending as a three year old, I have never worried that he wasn't wholeheartedly loved and accepted, with all his quirks, strengths, and weaknessess, just the way he is. His teacher Gail (the kids call her "Gay-Gay") is just the best. I secretly wish Joe could stay there forever! Who cares about reading and mathematics, right? It has truly felt like such a blessing, and I'm so glad that Maggie gets to spend another couple years there.



Super Joe!!

Because Joe was speech delayed, we are getting Joe assessed by the school district to see if he might benefit from additional services in kindergarten in the fall. I've shared some of Joe's journey here on the blog - Joe was a late talker and is a shy and reserved child with a quirky "Joe logic." He's also a fantastic builder and engineer and shows natural aptitude for spatial reasoning tasks and puzzles (and having fun). We are hoping to learn more about what makes him tick and what we can do to support him in school. Of course, no matter what we learn from these assessments, Joe will always be our Joe, and he'll continue to delight us with his unique humor and logic. Joe was pretty much a superstar for the testing sessions, and actually seemed to enjoy the intellectual challenge!

Super Joe!!


He's funny, he's understated, he's kind and smart as a whip. He's SuperJoe!!!

Super Joe!!


Wait. What's this awesome cape, you ask?

Super Joe!!


Well, that's Joe's new Superman cape, which he specifically commissioned from me and helped to make. Joe requested a "Superman Cape" from me a while back, and then he helped me pick out this lovely (but tricky) red poly satin at Stonemountain. Although it's polyester, I must say it has a really nice feel and isn't too statc-y or grabby on the fingernails, if you know what I mean. Still, I was a little alarmed at the prospect of having Joe helping me sew something so slippery.

Super Joe!!


I ended up using a friend's kid's cape to cut a pattern from, which was awesome. I do a monthly "craft night" with some mama-friends, and one of them just so happened to have a kid's cape laying around. I used that as the starting point for the shape of this cape.

Super Joe!!


I decided to use some fleece to make a Superman logo. I had to get a little creative with the coloring, because the old Superman comics show a plain red cape, with a blue shirt with the logo (in red). Joe is a stickler for authenticity, so he insisted on a red cape like the original comics, but then wanted the logo on the cape. So I decided to play with the colors and do a yellow "S" on a blue field. Not perfectly authentic, but looks good.

My mom was in town while I was working on this project and she and my brother gave me invaluable editorial assistance on the logo. I printed out the Superman logo and then, since I didn't have a copy machine around, enlarged it by eye. They helped me adjust the proportions until it looked right. I used double-sided fusible web to stick the blue onto the red satin (I'll tell you right out it was only going to hold temporarily to this slippery satin and furry fleece, it was not a strong attachment), and then I sewed around the shape with embroidery thread in a simple running stitch. The fleece holds to fleece pretty well, so I just used embroidery thread on the yellow fleece and didn't need the web (which probably wouldn't have adhered to two layers of furry fleece very well, anyway).

Super Joe!!

After I sewed on the logo, Joe help me sew up the sides of the cape outside and lining (pillow case-style). As I've mentioned before, Joe is great with my old knee-lever Singer 99 and goes nice and slow! I handled the curvy edges but he turned the corners just fine all by himself. We turned the cape right side out, and I topstitched the edges. Although this fabric is slippery and shifty, Joe went slowly and it turned out great!
 
Which brings us to the topic I know you're all thinking about ... this cape does not fasten around the neck, but has backpack-pack like straps instead ... what's with that?

Super Joe!!


Well, of course, there's a story. My first version of this cape had a velcro closure at the neck. After I finished sewing the velcro on, I excitedly handed it to Joe. He put on his new cape and jubilantly ran around like Superman for about 30 seconds before his hands went to his throat and tried to adjust the neck and then a couple minutes later, he wanted to take it off and went to go pout on the couch. I was so disappointed, it was such a great cape! Yet another promising make that Joe refuses to wear. I must have looked dejected, because Joe said, "Mama, I know I'm making you sad."

At that, of course, I bucked up a bit. "No, no! It's not comfortable! I'll fix it. I can fix it. Will you let me try to fix it?" Historically, once Joe gets his mind made up about a garment, it can be so hard to change it, and all subsequent efforts may be in vain. But he said, "I don't like the neck!" "Okay! I can fix that!" So he gave me a chance.

Super Joe!!


I thought about different solutions (ties that cross over the chest and tie or velcro behind the back?) and decided that simple "backpack straps" were the simplest, most elegant solution. I added little extensions to the existing neck ties, which required only minimal seam ripping, and then I folded the edge of the extensions down and sewed them securely to the cape under the arms.

Super Joe!!


And it worked!! He loves it now! Huge sigh of relief on my part! It does fall off the shoulders a little bit, but it doesn't bug his neck anymore, and that's the big thing. (As we know, I hate turtlenecks with the passion of a billion burning suns, so I am familiar with "bugs my neck.")

Super Joe!!


While I don't think I'd ever want to do "costume" or dress-up sewing all the time, it is a really fun way to connect with my kids right now, and I'm pretty proud of this cape! Look at Joe! It really makes him feel "Super," which he is, in every way that could possibly matter, of course. I love to see him full of confidence and power!

Do you sew costumes or dress-up clothes?

8 comments:

  1. You know I love making costumes. But selfishly I make the ones I want to make. I can't imagine how much begging would be required for me to sew an animal fur onesie!
    Just today I met up with my former kindergarten (4 year old preschool) teacher. You can guess how long it was since I was 4 but I still knew who she was and she knew me. A good kindy will set you up for life!!

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  2. Joe's cape looks awesome! I really like your solution to make the backpack style straps. I'll have to remember that if I am ever asked to make a superhero cape. So far my boys haven't ever asked for any costumes-- well, actually Luke wants a mermaid (merman?) tail, which I haven't attempted yet. One of these days...

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  3. The strap adjustment is ingenious! So glad it worked out and he likes it.

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  4. Nice save on the straps - that was a genius idea. Also, I am clearly not read up on Superman because I had no idea your design was not historically accurate - it looked totally Superman to me. Great job!

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  5. Totally get the neck thing, and love your work on the straps! (I can see the promotional Pin: "Cape pattern hack that's borderline genius!") Maybe having Joe help with sewing will get more buy-in from him for future clothing?
    I hope Joe has a smooth transition to kindy. I know I was a bit emtional abut my kids leaving their lovely childcare centre. They used to still take them back for casual days until they turned six so mine would go for occasional 'visits' in school holidays for the first year.

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  6. Great save, Inder! The cape is awesome! I got a little too into your writing-story and was completely empathazing. Man that would be hard to put in all that effort and have it rejected. I am so glad you were able to save it! super Inder! Beautiful photos too!

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  7. The cape fix was so clever! Well done! And I think it's so smart to have Joe tested before kindergarten starts. The testing process can be so slow and drag on for months and months, meaning kids might miss out on valuable services or helpful information to transition. Hope you get good info!

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  8. He IS super! Costume sewing is my favourite sewing task and I love how you made the cape more wearable for Joe.

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