Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Superhero Birthday Party: DIY Superhero Capes

Dear Em,
I had convinced you to go with the Superhero theme for your birthday, but if I was going to be able to pull it off, we needed Nonnie's help. You see, I don't sew...except for buttons & a little hand sewing. I had tried to learn once when I was younger, but it didn't go very well. Your nonnie basically ended up sewing the dress I had set out to sew. Your nonnie is such a talented seamstress. She's even sewed a gorgeous wedding dress. We definitely needed her & her talent. If I tried to do it on my own, it wasn't going to be very pretty.

We were in luck that Nonnie agreed to help. I can't tell you how thankful I am that she did. She took me to a great fabric store. We picked out all different types of fun tie dye fabric that was on sale & bought enough for twenty capes. I found a free online Cape Pattern & Tutorial over at Craft Buds. I printed out the downloadable pattern, & Nonnie & I started cutting out the fabric. For someone who has absolutely no sewing experience, it seemed pretty easy, & I think it would have been if we were making one cape. It probably would've taken about an hour. However, we were making twenty capes, & that takes a long time- like twenty hours long. Nonnie worked on them so often, Daddy started calling our dining room "Julie's sweat shop." If we had to do it all over again, I don't know if I would have decided to do it. Nevermind, scratch that. I totally would (hopefully Nonnie would too), because the results were amazing.

Of course we also needed Superhero masks.

Here are the materials we used:
- A mask pattern (you can download or create your own)
- Felt (I bought 1 square of black & one square of color for each mask)
- 2 circle patterns (I traced them: one was 1 1/4 inches in diameter & one was 3/4 inches in diameter)
- scrap material leftover after making the capes
- pins to pin the patterns to the fabric
- zig-zag scissors & regular fabric scissors
- Fabric Glue
- Fun Buttons
- black elastic
- a sewing machine
- needle & thread

I looked online for ideas. I found some free templates online, & then free handed a pattern on a piece of paper that was more of the shape I wanted. I purchased felt from the fabric store in multiple colors that would match the tie dye material (we used purple & pink for girls & blue & green for boys, with black for the backs) & used the pattern to cut them out. We used two pieces of felt for each mask to make them sturdier & used fabric glue to keep them together. Your nonnie sewed elastic bands on the sides of each mask (we used your head to estimate how much elastic was needed). I cut circles out of scraps of the tie dyed fabric. Then I used my amazing button sewing skills to sew a star button & two circles of fabric on the left side of each girl mask (giving it a kind of flower effect). I loved how they came out.

After Nonnie had finished sewing the Superhero capes, I used gold glitter fabric paint & these stencils to paint the first initial of each child on the back of their Superhero cape (I did this last so that we would have all the RSVPs by then & would know which children were coming). It gave each cape a little extra special touch.

Once the painted letters were dry, we put the masks & capes into colorful gift bags with tissue paper so that we could give them out as favors after your birthday party. I had taken you outside for a little photo shoot, & used the pictures to make a "thank you for saving the day" note. We used sparkly ribbon to attach the notes to the bags.

On the day of the party, your best friend was dropped off at our house before the party. You two couldn't wait to put your Superhero outfits on (or maybe I just couldn't wait for you to put them on). You were seriously the cutest Superheros I had ever seen as you "zoomed" across our yard. It made my heart happy when you didn't want to take them off, not even to put your shoes on or get into the car.

I didn't have the heart to ask you to take them off once we got to the party, & we couldn't very well give them to you & not the rest of the kids. So, we changed up our plans a little. Instead of giving out the Superhero capes at the end of the party, we handed them to each child as they walked in & gave them the option of wearing them during the party or waiting until later. Some kids didn't want to wear them, some kids did, & some kids never wanted to take them off.

It made all the work more than worth it seeing you all jump around & play & zoom. You were the most adorable group of Superheros I have ever seen. Preparing it all was a labor of love (more labor for Nonnie than for me), & it was all worth it to see you smiling ear to ear as you ran around with your little friends.

I love you so,

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