The first step was to make sure we were on the same page, since we were talking about an imaginary animal and I needed to get a sense of what she had in mind. I asked Mona to draw me a griffin, and she quickly sketched out this:
that iguana costume look easy, doesn't it?
I don't know if a griffin costume is the best place to begin learning to use a sewing machine, and I'm not the most qualified teacher, but I was impressed with Mona's ambition and really proud of how much she did. Mona cut and sewed (with minimal guidance) the entire body suit, half the zipper, the tail, the ears, and a wing. I did a little sewing in the crotch area, the other half of the zipper, and the other wing. I hand sewed on the feathers she cut out for the body, and attached the tail, ears, and hood she made. She made the mask herself. I put on the furry chest piece so that it closes with Velcro to cover the zipper in front.
|Dog being ever helpful offering up a toy|
|lots of feathers to cut|
|chest flap covers the zipper!|
Mona fully intended to do the wings herself, and then I was going to help add straps so she could wear them, but the design kind of got away from her and I had to jump in for a bit. Unfortunately I jumped in at a point past where I would have done some basic construction differently, so I'm concerned about stability. There is a lot of cardboard, duct tape, skewers, and hardware bits involved that probably could have been avoided if we'd built a more solid framework to begin with, but that's okay. If she wants to wear the costume again in the future we can certainly start fresh with new and improved wings then.
|Dog being helpful again by lying on the fabric Mona's using.|
Check out my daughter the griffin:
The biggest challenge was not about anything technical, but just communicating artistic vision. I had to keep asking questions because my solutions to how to make her a griffin were going to be different from what she had in her mind. We're too much alike in some ways, my little Mona and I, so when she would get emotional about seemingly innocuous queries I understood it.
Not that it made the tears any easier to work with when all I wanted was for her to explain how she imagined her tail. I was just going to make a regular droopy tail, but she wanted a wire inside so it could hold a shape. When I presented her with what I would do it somehow made her feel trapped rather than free to make suggestions. After much prodding and emotional back and forth she eventually was able to articulate what she had in mind, and I told her that was fine, of course we could do it that way. Other things she had to compromise about (like the necessity of being able to remove her wings), and some she came around to my ideas about once she saw examples of what I meant (cutting the feathers out of fleece and layering them on the costume was not what she originally pictured, but once she saw it she liked it). For the most part it's what she envisioned.
Can't wait to see what she wants to do next year! And we'll see if she even needs my help at all by then.