Friday, October 31, 2014

Olive's Howl-o-ween: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

We went really nostalgic for this year's Howl-oween. While technically DH and I are the same millennial generation, we're enough apart in age that most of my childhood memories aren't his, with the exception of a a few shows like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? I credit this to the long run it had and the fact it was pretty ageless (we watched a few episodes on youtube and thoroughly enjoyed it, partly for the cheese factor.) I wanted something iconic (do you know how many CS costumes there are out there?) and pretty comfortable for Olive. Carmen's red fedora and trench and her yellow* turtleneck fit the bill.
Fun Fact: Season 1 of the game show was not entered into syndication, even though seasons 2 through 5 were. Why? Geography changed too much between Season 1 and 2... the Soviet Block collapsed.

This was a somewhat lazy costume compared to her BUGWB uniform. Lazy in that I used a commercial pattern as a base for the jacket and legwarmers for the turtleneck dickey. The hat was not lazy but I now have a go to for canine fedoras should I ever need it (because everyone needs one of those, right?) The jacket pattern needs more tweaking, you'll notice the fit issues in the profile shots.

It was really well received at the events we went to. It was clear who was around our age (low to mid 20s-mid 30s it seemed) or had children in that age because they either got it right away (DH and I wore "ACME CRIMENET" patches on blue sport coats and wore the Neo-Swing uniform of bad fedoras, ties, and vintage-y pants. I had to explain the game to a couple people who just gave us sidelong looks because she wasn't a skeleton, plane, lion, or taco like everyone else. Olive came away with a stash of cookies that she's generously sharing most of with a dog with less of a sensitive GI.  Kudos to Unleashed by Petco for letting us choose what treats we wanted and have a couple low/no allergen varieties at the Treat Bar. We did the Old Town Dog Walk, the only problems there were that some people automatically assumed they could give the dogs treats, and A LOT had Milkbones- Olive had some tummy issues that night. I really appreciated the ones who asked if she was saving her treats for later and had wheat free treats.

Olive herself had a lot of fun, surprisingly. I think she's mellowing out a bit (I say that knowing full well that she barks far more than she used to and is far less tolerant of dogs in "her" greenspace outside our porch.) There were a couple times she was even doing a full body wiggle. Usually this involved a lot of treats right at her level. But even other dogs sniffing her didn't result in the grumpiness she usually offered. Her favorite spot was walking down the rawhide/antler/exotic meat aisle of Unleashed. We came very close to getting her alligator back scales and lamb heart (gross sounding but when you think about, better in concept than Bully Sticks.) I think a lot of her comfort also came from being in a harness over the leash.

Fabric was from FANTASTIC customer service there, not sarcastic fantastic either, genuinely left me very pleased when something (not their fault) went wrong. I used red canvas and yellow broadcloth (yellow petershem and swimsuit elastic were sourced separately.)

I chose Simplicity Crafts 9850 (now out of print but you can find outrageously priced patterns on ebay and etsy, try for something less than 5 USD and you're doing pretty well). It's one-size-fits-all but only if all is a shallow torso'd dog that's less than 20 lbs. Olive doesn't fit that bill. She has the typical deep barrel of herding dogs, she also doesn't carry as much weight in her chest as the pattern seemed to suggest.
- Lengthened the sides (note the drop)
- need to extend the center down
- need to cut in the armholes
- made the belt functioning and sewed the lapel shut (no need for velcro, yes need for functioning buttonhole)
- sewed the belt buttonhole at the very end to be hidden by the keeper
- installed a bound buttonhole for her harness right above the keeper
- added a pocket for her to carry her map around 

I was originally going to sew a velcro secured dickey out the same yellow cotton I lined her trenchcoat with but while in Wisconsin I saw hideous yellow cable knit legwarmers in the Halloween aisle of Goodwill (my mom's vacation destination, 15 mn after we settled into the house they rented for the wedding my mom pulled out the phone book to find the closest Goodwill, or pawn shop, she wasn't picky.) I simply snipped a line halfway up the one side to allow for her shoulders and tuck the cut ends into her harness to stay out of the armholes. It's a little warm but at least her belly is exposed with the jacket.

The hat was a nightmare. Once again, I forgot I hate millinery. Unfortunately no one makes dog sized red fedoras. I can't imagine there's a big market for them. I was going to make a cute sporty topper similar to Wearing History's (view 3) but DH said it didn't look fedora-y enough. He was right. So we drafted her a fedora. I used the same fabric as the coat to match (pain in the rear to sew through for the thick layers.)The brim and crown are lined with buckram, and I used petershem ribbon for the outer ribbon and the hat band. Swimsuit elastic makes a pretty good chinstrap, though Olive hates it. She's fine with the hat but hates anything under her chin. I'm wondering if mini hair combs should be used in the future?

*In many of the computer games she's wearing black but that's boring.

Update: Olive won best group at the Dog Park's Dog Walk! You can see our quick CRIME NET jackets... quick in that they should have been less work than I made them by hand stitching instead of ironing straight on. Photo courtesy of The Dog Park

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