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 Last Minute Costumes
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Even occasional sewers can whip up these simple kids' costumes

(ARA) - Have you put off thinking about Halloween costumes until the last possible moment only to find that there's nothing left at your local discount store? Now's the time to tap your creative side to come up with a costume that is original - and easy to make.

The good new is that making a cute, or scary, Halloween costume doesn't require professional sewing skills. Even casual sewers can achieve great results that you'll be proud to include in the family photo album.

Bernina, a leading sewing machine manufacturer, recently introduced a new machine that helps make sewing easy. The bernette for Bernina is a user-friendly machine that features outstanding performance at an affordable price. Simple operation and variable stitch width ensure sewing satisfaction. Optional features like an automatic needle threader, LCD and slide speed control and a one-step buttonhole maker let even the occasional sewer create like a pro.

"Halloween is a great time to put your sewing skills to work," says Gayle Hillert, vice president, education and training for Bernina of America. "There are many choices for simple costumes that you'll be proud to say you made, and your kids will enjoy wearing."

Save time by starting with clothes from your closet or the local thrift store. For example, a leotard can be the beginning of a ballerina costume, or maybe a princess (with the addition of a poufy skirt) or a fairy (add wings to the princess outfit).

If you need to start from scratch, look for a simple pattern. If you haven't followed a pattern in a while, the fewer pieces you need to deal with, the better. Since costumes are for short-term use, they don't have to be perfect - you can do your hem with fusible interfacing in a pinch, for example.

These costume ideas from Bernina don't even use a pattern and require minimal sewing, but deliver maximum cuteness.

Fairy, Princess or Ballerina

Start with a leotard and tights; add ballet slippers and a purchased tiara. Finish off the costume with a beautiful tutu or skirt make from several yards of netting or tulle gathered and attached to a ribbon waistband; tie around the waist like an apron.

For really simple gathering, use a zigzag stitch with a length of 4 mm and a width of 4 mm. Stitch over heavy thread or dental floss, pull up gathers as needed, then tie thread tails together at each end to secure. Cut a length of one-inch wide ribbon 40 inches longer than waist measurement. Matching center of ribbon to center front of skirt, pin in place along the top edge. Stitch in place, sewing along the outer edges or the ribbon.

Superhero

Make a cape from lightweight fabric cut to the desired length plus one inch for hem. Hem the sides and both ends. Gather one end (as in tutu above) until it is approximately eight to 10 inches across. Center a 36-inch length of one-inch ribbon over the gathered edge and stitch in place along the edges, turning the ends under. On the underside of the gathers, stitch a length of hook-and-loop tape. Sew the opposite part of the tape to the back center neckline of a T-shirt or sweatshirt.

To wear, attach the cape to the hook-and-loop tape at the back of the shirt, then tie the ends of the ribbon in a bow in front. The hook-and-loop tape supports the weight of the cape.

Scarecrow or Hobo

Sew patches to worn out clothing. For straw stuffing, cut rectangles of gold, orange and yellow felt to fit around the hems of the clothes, cutting each strip about six inches wide. Use scissors to cut the felt into fringe, stopping about one inch from one long edge. Tuck the fringe into the lower edges of pants, sleeves, and shirt with some coming out of the shirt collar; stitch in place. Use a length of rope for a belt.

For more easy sewing tips, and to see the entire line of bernette for Bernina machines, visit www.berninausa.com.

- Courtesy of ARA Content

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