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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hope you had a lovely Halloween!