Thursday, November 01, 2007


So the Big Man wanted to be a spider for Halloween. Perfectly reasonable costume choice, especially compared to previous years.

In fact, it was almost a work-free costume. My sister in law had made a spider costume for her daughter a couple of years ago - a black turtleneck with extra sleeves sewn on. I borrowed it and could have been home and clear. I was all stretching out, thinking about eating bonbons and all, especially after Mr Four decided he would use his same Scientist costume from last year and be the Mad Entomologist who created the monstrous spider and who was now studying him. Wow. Thanks, little boy - cute idea AAANND easy!

Unfortunately, the poetry picture books are in my collection at work, and one day while weeding I came across the version of Mary Howitt's The Spider and the Fly illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi.

Now, THAT spider is a classy spider. In fact, DiTerlizzi got a Caldecott Honor for him.

I immediately had a vision of the costume I would whip up for the boy. Find a little suit at a thrift store, rip down the side seams and insert extra arms cannibalized from little black sport coats, stuff the sleeves, run a seam across each stuffed arm to make an elbow, and attach all the sleeves together with ribbon.

I'd punch fake eyes through the brim of a hat or something, and I'd find him some fancy little gloves.

Oh yeah.

Thing is, I don't sew. I don't own a sewing machine. And, as far as I know, you can't actually make something purely out of vision.

Did not stop me. I collected all the supplies, went to JoAnn Fabric and found fake eyes, found a fleece headband at Target, scoured the thrift stores til I found a suave little suit. Couldn't find black sport coats, oh well, navy blue is close.

But I really was going to throw in the towel until, oh, Tuesday of this week. I had the other costume, and really, not knowing how to sew was an obstacle. And then all of a sudden on Tuesday, I borrowed my neighbor's really nice sewing machine, found a pair of scissors, and just - did it.

I remembered some Home Ec stuff from the truly dim past - like how to cut the thread and how to bring the footer down, what you call the little spool in the bottom (a bobbin!), and the fact that there might be a hidden compartment in the machine where maybe just maybe I would find a seam ripper. There was! It was totally like Adventure!

Spider suit, rear view, originally uploaded by your neighborhood librarian.

I kind of effed up the elbow seams - you can see that at least one is totally at the wrong angle - and I didn't have any stuffing for the arms so I used plastic grocery bags, and if I had to do it again I might re-think the rather yonic design on the back... but all in all, it came out a lot like my vision. And the boy loved it. He looked great. He danced like Shiva, he invented martial arts moves, he scurried along the ground. He insisted we add antennae with blue pompoms.

And it was all Tony DiTerlizzi's fault.