|Cheer Bear playsuit: because what's not to love about a nearly 30 year old dressed as an 80s cartoon character?|
Meet Cheer Bear! She is an original Care Bear, has a rainbow on her belly, a heart on her bum, and just loves to make people happy. She also happens to be my completely self-drafted costume for a "Kids" themed 30th birthday party I went to a couple of weeks ago (complete with bouncy castle and fairy bread*)!
|All clothing must have pockets, this is non-negotiable.|
|Ain't no care bear romper like a care bear romper with a FACE.|
The whole thing is made of 100% cotton flannelette. I had a serious crisis on my hands when I came to deciding on fabric- this was going to be worn in Perth, in February, where it could easily be in the high 20s or even low 30s well into the evening (celsius, obviously!). That ruled out anything fleecy or synthetic, unless I wanted to be a boiling, sweaty mess who no one wanted to talk to. But I still wanted it to be soft and bear like. Truth be told, I wanted to make it out of stretch terry towelling, but for some reason, Spotlight's not big on terry towelling these days. Apparently that's not so fashionable anymore, I can't imagine why! I'm sure given enough time, I could have rustled up some baby pink terry towelling online, but I didn't really have enough time for that, so settled on flannelette instead, in the hope that being cotton it wouldn't be too awful if the party ended up in the middle of a heatwave. As it turned out, the evening was actually relatively cool, and this costume was perfect!
|Care Bear bums: best with a bit of heart|
I wanted to get as many Care Bear details in as I could. The face is a combination of hand embroidery and both hand and machine appliqué, and the belly badge rainbow was machine appliquéd from quilting cotton. I realised way too late in the game just how unstable the flannelette was - there's a bit of rippling around the face where I machine appliquéd it on. If I appliqué on flannelette again, I'll a) switch to my walking foot, and b) stabilise the area with interfacing first. I did both for the heart on the bum, and it turned out a lot better.
My inspiration for this costume was multi-faceted. I'd planned to make a Care Bear costume for an 80s party last year, using a hoody and track pants, but it never happened. Then earlier this year, I came across a terry towelling playsuit in a book on vintage fashion, and decided it would be awesome to have one for the beach (I'm not crazy enough to want to wear terry towelling as an everyday casual outfit, although if that's your thing, PLEASE send me a photo because you are awesome!). Finally, there was the playsuit I came across in a vintage Handmade magazine. When the party invitation came through, I knew instantly that this was my opportunity to fulfil my Care Bear costume dreams while also trying out a playsuit. The fashion police would tell you fat girls shouldn't wear playsuits, to which I say the fashion police can fuck right of (mind my language).
|Left: From "100 Years of Fashion: 20th Century in Pictures". Right: From Handmade magazine, Spring 1991.|
After starting on my playsuit, I discovered I wasn't the first person to think of a Care Bear romper - check out the awesome rompers from this Etsy store! Who knew there was a market for Care Bear rompers (and that I wasn't the first to think of it!)?!
As I mentioned above, this baby is 100% self-drafted. I started off with my personal easy-fitting bodice and straight skirt blocks, and eventually ended up with this (technically, the shorts half were a culottes pattern). Rather than boring anyone not interested in the technical challenges I went through to pull this together, I've got another post coming up with some of the ins and outs of drafting this costume (including the multiple muslins I went through).
Here's some of the things I love (beyond the obvious- hello, it's a Care Bear costume!): the shape of the hood, the fit around the bodice, the armscye darts (if you look really closely, you might just be able to make them out), the rainbow ribbon zipper pull, pockets!
Should I make this again, here's a few things I change: that CF zipper has to go. It's nearly impossible to get this baby on and off (especially off), without doing structural damage to the CB, or dislocating my shoulders. I'll be moving the closure to centre back, which will be much easier to get on and off. The crotch length could do with being a little shorter (it hangs a little low right now), and the bodice a little longer to balance out my bottom half a little more. I'd also add a little to the shorts length- the front is okay, but the back is a little roomy around the hems, and flashes my knickers if I bend over. It's because the culottes are A-line- a little extra length, or taking out some of the fullness, would make all the difference there. I wore leggings underneath for the party, so everyone was spared the horror of my knickers!
|Final, gratuitous Care Bear playsuit shot.|
What do you think? Don't you feel the need to run out and get started on your own crazy playsuit now?
* I can't believe there's actually recipes on the web for fairy bread!