My nephew is about to turn two, and he has one of the biggest imaginations I’ve ever seen in a kid his age. Last year, his obsession was with monsters/Monsters Inc. This year, he is all about the superheros. Spider Man and Batman are his favourites, but he kept telling my sister that he needed an “ornange” (aka orange) shirt so that he could be “Super Matthew” – and a birthday idea was born!
I started by designing a “Super Matthew” logo in Adobe Illustrator. The colours were more just a guideline of what it “could” look like.
I ended up going shopping for fabric after creating the logo, and I found some cool orange and mint-green/turquoise based prints that I loved so much! I also dug deep into my mom’s old fabric stash and found some vintage options that were super cool. The vision was definitely coming together in my head.
Now, keep in mind, I don’t really fancy myself a sewer, so this was a bit of a challenge for me.
I decided to start with what I thought would be the easiest part of the costume – the mask.
I picked out my orange and mint green felt, some matching embroidery floss and ribbon and went to town on making a reversible mask.
I based my work on this tutorial over at slowmama.com that I came across on Pinterest. I didn’t follow it exactly, but I *really* loved the tip about using packing tape to affix the mask to the felt when cutting the pattern – that worked so much better for me than pins!
The next step was to begin turning the logo I made in Illustrator into a textile version with fabric. This was a bit more challenging than I anticipated, because in graphic design, there are all kinds of tools to help you make straight, precise lines. With fabric, not so much.
I created two versions of the “M” – one for a cape, and one for a t-shirt. They definitely had a bit of a “handmade charm,” but they were pretty good, I thought! I used fabric glue, rather than sewing the pieces together.
I created the cape using this tutorial from The Southern Institute. It was pretty easy to follow – all I did was buy a large men’s t-shirt, cut off the arms and front, add a velcro closure to the neck, and glue on my logo. Voila – instant cape!
For the wrist cuffs, I just free-handed them using felt, and stitched on a little M.
And for the t-shirt, I found a shirt that was one size too big for my nephew (so he could wear it for a while) and glued the logo on. I folded them all up, wrapped them in some blue tissue paper and set them into a reusable box.
Finally, I created a card using various matching papers and washi tape, carrying through the “Super Matthew” theme.
I also included a Spiderman board book, and an Incredibles book – both of which he was more interested in when he opened up his present! Oops. I think my family was more excited about the present than my nephew was… UNTIL my niece decided to put his cape on herself, and he realized exactly what it was that was in his present. Then, he immediately wanted to put the cape (and the shirt) on, and he ran around the house yelling “FLY!!!” … it was just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!