Thunderbird is GO!

Finn turned seven a couple of weeks ago, and all his little heart desired for his birthday was something he’d seen for less than 15 seconds in a TV ad more than two-and-a-half months ago. Someone give that ad agency a raise. No really.

I was like, you don't even know what Thunderbirds are!!
… Does that say “POOS DISENGAGE”?

It was love at first sight, and he didn’t even know who they were. I  barely knew; we’d never got Thunderbirds on the telly. My knowledge of it was limited to a few funny ads and a sketch on Fast Forward in the late 80s. Apparently that 15 seconds was enough for Finn though; for over two months I subtly tested his resolve but he steadfastly refused to change his mind. He wanted Thunderbirds. Ok fair enough then!

Dancing Brains.
Groove is in the Brains.

I also found a DVD of the original 1960s series at the library which we watched together at family time – it turns out J is quite the expert! I was a newbie, same as the boys, and while I did snort a bit (funny puppet walks! lolz) I hadn’t expected the miniature sets, articulated machinery, and model rockets to be so detailed and realistic – they even blasted real flames! The boys especially loved the explosions and real-life setpieces getting wrecked, and sat there enthralled, every couple of minutes muttering in awe whoah that is sick.

So then naturally enough Finn wanted to go as Virgil Tracy from International Rescue – ie the pilot of Thunderbird 2 – for Halloween. Cue mild panic.

Me: (Realising it’s way too late to Ebay) I’m going to sew your costumes this year!

Rory: What does ‘sew’ mean?

Yeah I don’t sew so much. Or at all. I mean I’ve made their costumes for the past couple of Halloweens but as I’ve mentioned my sewing machine of choice is a stapler. Thankfully Justine is storing her machine at our house and HALLELUJAH IT WORKS!

Of course since it’s October and stinking hot already in Queensland and there’s no long sleeved t shirts or trackie pants to be found anywhere, I had to make frickin everything. I spotted some adult t shirts in the right shade of blue, and in a shiny kind of space age gym shirt material for only 5 bucks each. Got some blue felt from Spotlight. Went to Bunnings and got the squirts.

Where'd you get the Squirts? At Bunnings. I got the silver Squirts. It smells a bit when you spray, but after a while you don't notice any more.
Got the Squirts did you, hon’?
Yeah, got them at Bunnings. Silver squirts. It smells a bit, so when you start spraying don’t get it on your clothes.

Did the shirt first. Remembered Finn is in 3D this time. It helped that the shirt was already made, I just had to make it smaller. Much smaller. And extend the sleeves. There was bunching in the armpits, but if Finn didn’t care, I wasn’t about to.

Next: convert large men’s t shirt into pair of size 7 kids pants.

These pants are pants. But considering they started off as a shirt and I haven't used a sewing machine since Year 9, not bad. Disregard large suspicious lump in pocket area.
These pants are so pants.
But considering they are actually a shirt and I haven’t used a sewing machine since Year 9, they’re not bad. Disregard large suspicious lump in pocket area, it’s probably just how he’s standing.

I even got the hems straight by ironing them first… willingly sewing AND ironing? Someone call a doctor.

I was going great until suddenly…


The cotton ran out.

Rethreaded the bottom bobbin and from then on the threads kept getting tangled up and jamming the needle. Tried YouTube videos, checking for stuck crap, and calling Justine to swear for a while, but nothing worked. GAH f&@*ing thing!

Shoved it back in the cupboard and finished the last bit by hand. It didn’t have a waistband or anything, I just tucked the top into his shorts and pulled his shirt over it. Next I cut out a sash and a belt from the felt, sprayed it with the silver squirts, and once it dried printed off the International Rescue logo from the Internets and stuck it on. Easy peasy.

Last bit I thought would be the hardest, but the making part was relatively easy. The annoying part was trying to get Finn to stop moving his noggin for a fraction of a millisecond so I could measure it.

Not humblebragging; totally bragging.

Shaped it with an icecream box, glued the felt on, carefully cut off the extra bits, then sewed the top and added some silver braid I dug out of the Christmas ribbon box.

Had a great time wandering around the spooky neighbours! Collected enough chocolate to last until next Halloween...
Had a great time wandering around the spooky neighbours! Collected enough chocolate to last until next Halloween…
They still wear it, when they play with Thunderbirds 2 and 4, or watch the new series we found. I'm really enjoying it too - miniatures created by Weta Workshop!
They love the cap and still wear it on missions with Thunderbirds 2 and 4, and when they’re watching the awesome new animated series we found, released in April! I’m really enjoying it – miniatures created by Weta Workshop!

This isn’t humblebragging. Nope, this is good old honest bragging. Look what I made, y’all! I am chuffed to buggery. However I still can’t hold a candle to Mum, who was cosplaying like a boss before it was even a thing.

Behold: Antony and his Cleopatra. I remember Mum made Dad's armour out of cardboard covered in Con-tact, and the 'jewels' in her collar were squares of coloured paper.
Behold: Antony and his Cleopatra. Mum made Dad’s armour out of cardboard covered in Con-tact, and held together with little fold-out metal poky studs. I think the ‘jewels’ in her collar were squares of coloured paper and cellophane. The costumes were so good our school got them for drama classes.

Speaking of candles, my lovely Uncle Herm was just in time for the Halloween party this year. He was one of Mum’s older brothers, and one of my favourite uncles. And a straight up national champion pigeon racer too! Even General Melchett himself couldn’t fault Uncle Herm’s pigeon pedigrees.

The real meaning of Halloween and All Souls' Day - remembering those we've lost.
The real meaning of Halloween and All Souls’ Day – remembering those we’ve lost. Missing Dad a lot still, but at least he’s got good company up there.

Hope you had a lovely Halloween!

– Michelle

Tired Rory with Pa

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Mel Kettle says:

    Am laughing at the thought of you sewing – and am VERY impressed! I never “got” Thunderbirds either. We have every episode somewhere – S bought them all when Mr15 was about 3-4 and they both had many happy hours watching them all. Lovely pic of your dad xxx


    1. Michelle says:

      Ha yeah I laughed at myself a fair bit, both shaking my head at my own numptyness and in shock when something actually worked! Well kind of worked. There was certainly less swearing and quick-unpicking than I expected.
      And yeah, I love that photo – it captures so many things that have passed on… Dad of course, but Rory’s dummy-sucking stage too, and that tired, staring look they get right before they zonk 🙂 At least Rory still likes to sit on me 💟


  2. Ange says:

    the outfit you made was flipped amazing!!! Well impressed, you totally allowed to brag!


    1. Michelle says:

      Thanks Ange, Miss Super Seamstress! I really have to come to yours sometime and get some refresher lessons. And some tips how to fix Moesy’s sewing machine before she gets back…


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