DIY Ninja Costumes.

Maybe you’re getting a little bit anxious because Halloween is right around the corner and you don’t have a costume for your little ghoul yet. That’s where I was at this point in the month a couple of years ago, but lucky for me Luke and Levi wanted to be Ninjas! You know I’m all about making things EASY.  The most popular post on my blog is my DIY Superhero cape tutorial which requires no sewing at all.  Apparently there are other moms out there who likes things easy too because it has been pinned thousands of times!  I thought I’d share another super easy costume idea with you all (and it’s no-sew too!)…

My boys love ninjas, so when they asked if we could buy ninja costumes I said what every craft blogger would say, “No…but we can make them!”  So I set out to find the pieces that I would need, black pants and black shirts (because ninjas are stealthy).  You can sew the shirt or pants yourself if you are so inclined, you’ll find a great pants tutorial here and an awesome shirt pattern here.  For the sake of time, I went to Walmart and bought the shirts and pants super cheap.  I spent about $13 on each boy’s costume… not bad compared to store bought ninja costumes that will run you well over $20 each!

All you need to make awesome ninja costumes is a pair of black pants (soft and comfy is the name of the game) and two long sleeved black t-shirts.  What makes the outfit is the “hood”.  It’s created by one of the long-sleeved t-shirts, by tying it around your child’s head like so…

This could not be easier to do.  Your boys will think you are the coolest when you show them how to make a ninja hood out of a t-shirt!  Paired with the black pants and black long-sleeved t-shirt you have the perfect ninja outfit.  I would suggest putting the clothes on first, then the doing the hood.  If you want to you can create a throwing star to accessorize!  I cut two out of cardboard and painted them with a few coats of silver spray paint.

Here’s Levi, my littlest ninja!

DIY Ninja Costume Tutorial at www.thesoutherninstitute.com

DIY Ninja Costume at www.thesoutherninstitute.com
DIY Ninja at www.thesoutherninstitute.com

Levi thinks he is the absolute coolest in this outfit!  I love that it’s an easy dress up play outfit and that he can wear the pieces by themselves any day of the week!  Bonus! One thing to remember is that if this costume is being worn on Halloween, and you trick or treat after dark, you will definitely need to add some reflective tape.  I think it would look cool integrated into the outfit by adding some to the bottom of the shirt and a stripe down each side of the pant legs.  That way your little ninja will be visible while he’s out knocking on doors.

Thanks for reading!  Have a great time with this costume and don’t forget to check out more Halloween projects at The Southern Institute.

Discovering Oxford and searching for Alice.

I was compensated for this review. All opinions are honest and my own, as are all of my reviews. Thank you for visiting!

Just about two weeks ago my husband and I embarked on the trip of a lifetime, of our lifetimes at least. We hopped a plane or two and crossed an ocean to visit Ireland and England! Neither of us had ever been out of the country before, and got our first passports for this trip. In fact, mine arrived only 3 weeks before we were due to leave, which was cutting it a bit too close for my taste! Thankfully, it got to me in time, the kids went to spend a fun-filled week with the grandparents, and Tom and I went on a grand adventure.

One of the cities that we spent time in was Oxford, England, the city of dreaming spires. It is absolutely magnificent! The history, the architecture, and the tradition are awe-inspiring to say the least.

photo 4-9

Oxford maintains a bit of whimsy as well! Did you know that Oxford is the home of Alice? Lewis Carroll (a pen name) was Charles Dodgson, a maths lecturer at Christ Church, Oxford. His famous books, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass were stories that Charles told to the Dean of Christ Church’s daughter, Alice! Many of the locations in her adventures are based on parts of the college itself. So I went looking for Alice in Oxford and imagined where she might have wandered and played.

The first place was Christ Church Cathedral itself, which is just beautiful. Can you imagine a more beautiful setting to base story books on?

Oxford Uncommon Goods Review

The meadows across the way are populated with deer, and if you explore a bit you’ll find Addison’s walk, where C.S. Lewis liked to walk and think.

Some places were not so obviously found. On my adventure I took Alice with me everywhere I went! I wore my Alice In Wonderland literary scarf from Uncommon Goods Gifts under $50 page! It seemed like there wasn’t a place that could be more fitting to wear it. After all, Oxford is where her adventures started. The weather called for a scarf, and this was just the right thing to wear. The entire scarf is covered with text and images from the book-I love it! It was honestly just what I needed, and if my adventures had taken me elsewhere, I could have chosen from a few other literary scarves. In fact, if I were Alice, I might take a drink from that little bottle and shrink myself down so that I could play in the postcard garden found on this page (in Gifts under $25). How cute is that?

Uncommon Goods Review

Uncommon Goods Literary scarf review

There are other more obvious places to find Alice… she’s quite popular around this town. There’s a quaint little shop called Alice’s Shop where you can find just about anything Alice related, from stationary to jewelry, teapots to tea towels, and books to wall clocks. It really is a cute (very small) shop, and I would have taken a photo of the inside except that they were not permitted, so here’s a shot of me and my Alice scarf in front of Alice’s Shop.

Uncommon Goods Review

Alice's Shop Oxford

Oxford is truly an amazing town. It was hard to decide if I felt stupider by comparison or smarter by osmosis just walking through its streets. It seemed as if everyone there must be highly academic and have some grand goals for their lives. They’re in Oxford, after all! I enjoyed soaking in the sites; the bell towers, cathedrals, spires, canals, lovely old buildings, and eager young faces of the students walking or riding their bicycles past us. I wish we had allowed ourselves more time to explore.

Radcliffe Camera Oxford

Our next adventure takes us to New York City, where Uncommon Goods is based, coincidentally! They were founded in 1999 and are headquartered in Brooklyn, which we just so happen to be visiting during our stay. They’re actually based out of the historic Brooklyn Army terminal, which is so cool. They are such a unique, or should I say uncommon (lol) company, supporting and providing a platform for artists and designers to share their creative work. In fact, one of my friends just so happens to have been one of those designers who Uncommon Goods gave a chance to shine, so I know first hand that they do what they say they do. So if you find yourself in Brooklyn you might want to check in and see about touring because they offer studio tours… how fun would that be? Or just check out their website while you’re doing your holiday shopping.

We saw so much more than Oxford on our trip. I hope to get some photos of our adventures in Ireland posted too. I fell in love with Ireland, even more than I did England.

Have you traveled to Oxford or Ireland before? What is your dream vacation?

September Showcase: Small Fry Skinny Jeans.

Small Fry Skinny Jeans pattern review at www.thesoutherninstitute.com

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of meeting Ashley and Emily of Frances Suzanne at a sewing bloggers meet up here in Nashville. They are two of the sweetest women you will meet, and it was so much fun to hang out with them for the afternoon. When I got an email from them a couple of months ago with an invitation to be a part of the September Showcase for the Flip This Pattern series I was so excited!

September Showcase

For two weeks, the September Showcase features 10 Indie Pattern Designers that have released fewer than 5 patterns, and bloggers like me get to review the patterns for you. There are fun giveaways and discount codes for you to take advantage of too! For the September Showcase there’s no need to “Flip”, we were able to just sew the pattern “as-is” for review, which was good for me because I chose to sew the Small Fry Skinny Jeans pattern from Titchy Threads. I was really excited about this for two reasons…

1) Laura of Titchy Threads is a friend and has been a contributing designer in the Sew Fab Pattern Sale… I love her and I love her patterns.

2) Never in my life have a attempted to sew a pair of real deal jeans before. This seemed like the perfect time to do it!

SF front loops

First of all, I’ll start by stating that this is a great pattern. I have been really intimidated by the whole make-your-own-jeans thing. I’ve seen other sewing blogger friends make the Small Fry Skinnies for their kids and figured I couldn’t do it. But I was wrong, because Laura has created a pattern with wonderful instructions and great photos, which make it very doable for someone who knows their way around their sewing machine.

The exterior details that this pattern includes are so amazing! Everything that you would see in a pair of jeans from, say the Gap, is on these jeans, from the top stitching on the side seam, to the flat felled seams, to the coin pocket inside the front pocket on the right leg. It’s all there! Except for the rivets that I didn’t get on in time to take these photos. Oops.

SF single front pocket

I sewed these as basically as I could, with plain back pockets. We don’t really go for the fancy top stitching on the back pockets in our family. If I had put any on these, chances are my husband would not have let our son leave the house in them, lol. So I kept them basic, and I love them that way. I prefer my back pockets plain too.

SF full back

What details are not shown in the photos are the interior details, which are great. The Small Fry Skinny Jeans include an adjustable waist! You heard me right… an adjustable waist, just like those more expensive manufactured jeans do, with buttonhole elastic that grows with your child. I LOVE that detail!!! Luke is very petite, but he has a high waist so typically he needs length in the legs that his waist size can’t keep up with, so an adjustable waistband is a necessity for him. Putting one in was a cinch when following this pattern. I was shocked at how easy it was! The pattern was true to size as far as I could tell. I measured, consulted the sizing chart in the pattern, and made the size 6 (which is what he is wearing in Old Navy jeans right now) and they are just a little bit bigger, not much at all.

The only problem that I have with the finished jeans (and I stress that this is my problem) is that the fly cover pulls away from the zipper when he moves, so the zipper shows, and I’m not a fan of that. Laura has already given me some feedback on where I went wrong there and I’m excited to get it right next time. Other than that, I couldn’t be happier with the way these jeans turned out, and though they were a labor of love and stretched my sewing skills further than I’ve taken them, I can now say that I have made an actual pair of jeans! And Luke loves them… that’s the icing on the cake. I know you know what I mean.

SF collage

Check out the other designers/patterns/and bloggers that are part of the September Showcase:

September Showcase Patterns