Any seamstresses here?


I’m preparing to start buying the fabric and notions for my kids’ halloween costumes.

I have made an oath not to get help from my mom this year. Every year I say I’m going to do it myself, and every year, I end up crawling to my mom… :frowning: This time I vow to do it myself!!!

So here are my questions.

  1. Both patterns call for fusible Interfacing. I’ve never used that kind. I’ve only used the regular interfacing (this is the part my mom usually has to pin together for me so I can sew it.) Is fusible better than regular?


  1. What kind of thread do I use to sew the following fabrics:
    -Ponte Double knit
    -Cotton/Poly Velour
    -Crystal Organza

Also, I live in a remote area and am planning to buy the bulk of the stuff online. I can’t find any Metallic Ribbon 1/8" wide, or any Braid Trim at the sites I’ve been looking at. Does anybody have any advice on where to find good ribbon and trim? There is a Jo-ann fabrics in a bigger town 45 minutes away and also a Hobby Lobby. Would I be able to find that stuff there?

Thanks in advance!!!


I don’t have the answer to your thread question, but I love fusible interfacing. You just iron it together! You won’t even miss mom during that step! Good luck.


You should be able to use cotton thread for most of the material. With stretchy knits you should use polyester or cotton/poly. Here’s a link to an article about choosing threads:

Here’s a learn to sew site that might help you as well.

You should do fine with the fusible interfacing, since you just have to iron it on. Make sure you follow the directions on the package or it won’t “stick” correctly.

You should be able to find the trim at Jo-Ann’s, not sure about Hobby Lobby, but I’d take the opportunity to go either place as I love arts and crafts stores! :slight_smile:

Good luck on your projects. I know you can do it!!!



Fusible interfacing is the way to go. I have used it on all types of fabrics and for lots of different applications. It’s really simple to use, just follow the directions on the packaging.

About thread: Plain old “Dual Duty” in appropriate colors is probably what you want to use. It’s pretty much available anywhere and in lots of colors.

Trims…look on sites that sell upholstery fabrics and trims, as long as you don’t anticipate washing your costume alot. You also may be able to find web sites that just sell trim. I was just in JoAnn’s near my home in CA and they did not have a very good selection of trims but maybe that’s just here. We don’t have Hobby Lobby here (I’m jealous!) but do remember that they seemed to have a good selection of fabrics and notions from a visit to one in Colo.

Good luck with your costumes!


you could also try and search for braid trim and 1/8 metallic ribbon and you can order online :slight_smile: (I found examples of both)



Thanks for the links. I saved them in my craft folder.:slight_smile:


Thanks everybody. Now I feel much more informed. :smiley:

I was worried that an iron-on interfacing wouldn’t look as tidy as the other kind. I’ll give it a whirl! I think I’ll try to talk my husband into driving over to the “big” town where I can get to Jo-anns and other places.


I’d go for cotton/poly thread for pretty much everything. The danger with cotton thread is that it shrinks a little, and that can pucker your stitching. Even if your fabric is cotton the shrinkage factor may not be the same.

Good luck and happy sewing.


From my in-store experience, Hobby Lobby has a wider assortment available.


My experience with iron-on interfacing is that it tends to be tidier than sew on - you get no gap between the fabric and the interfacing that you can get if you don’t “sew it just so”. Just remember to follow the directions that should come with the interfacing and cut it slightly smaller than the piece that is being interfaced. Also, make sure the person cutting the interfacing - if you are getting it off of a bolt -gives you that piece of plastic that is on the bolt, that is where your instructions are (I have had that happen and it is okay if I make the item right away but if I use the rest of the interfacing later - I forget the temp. for the iron or some other important small detail!)

Brenda V.


I am personally a take it or leave it with different types of interfacing. Sometimes I need to use very heavy and that doesn’t work well for iron in. I use whichever works for a particular project and I don’t seem to have a preference.

Just remember to follow the directions that should come with the interfacing and cut it slightly smaller than the piece that is being interfaced.

Brenda V. makes a very important point here. With iron-on interfacing it does need to be smaller than the facing. Iron-on will gum up your needle if made the same size as the item being interfaced. Try to avoid putting your needle through iron-on interfacing.

If you need heavier sew-in interfacing try clipping “V’s” into the interfacing seam allowance after you sew. It will take out much of the bulk. Regular interfacing is just made the same size as the facing so I am not sure which part of pinning it has caused a struggle for you. Clipping it and then pressing it right side out will make it lie down correctly.

I wouldn’t say fusible is better. It just serves a different purpose. Have fun with your projects! Some of my old “mistake stories” are what make for fun sewing! (ie. "I can’t believe I did that! :doh2:)


i am so envious, i have made plenty of halloween costumes in my time, but they all either used the basic PJ pattern with additions, or just ponchos with trimmings and embellishments. or cardboard boxes cut and painted. you guys are terrific.


The one big problem with iron on interfacing is that if you make a mistake it’s glued on and you can’t undo it and start again. I admit I’ve never used iron on interfacing (I make historical clothing for a medieval reenactment society and they didn’t have iron on interfacing back then ;)) but I have never had a problem with sewing in interfacing. If you do choose iron on interfacing I would make sure to pin it to the fabric really well (only small gaps between the pins) before you iron so you can’t get accidental wrinkles ironed in.
A regular polyester thread should work fine for all of these fabrics as they are all synthetics and are unlikely to shrink.
I would get a ball point needle for your sewing machine for the knit fabric, it helps to avoid runs or puckers in the fabric.


Good idea about the ball point needle! I need to buy some new needles anyway. I am still not very accustomed to my new machine and somehow I break a needle every time I start a project… :confused: I have no idea how…


Love fusible interfacing, would never go back to the sew on kind and I have been sewing for over 30 yrs!


You’ve gotten lots of great sewing advice. I just want to comment on something else in your post. Having your mom help with the costume making is NOT ‘crawling’! She’s their grandma and probably loves to be involved in the process (I know my mom was!). Maybe you can think of it as a fun 3 generation thing. You and your mom making the costumes together, teaching your littles to sew something easy if they are old enough, taking about the Saints and the reason behind Halloween (All Hallow’s Eve). A little cider and some cookies and what a fun time!! :smiley:


Thanks Sr Sally. I guess when I end up getting flustered and going to my mom for help, I feel like a failure.:blush: She took home-ec in high school where they learned all the proper stitches and terminology and stuff. I didn’t and she’s showed me things time and time again that I just can’t seem to grasp. Part of it is that I’m used to using her machine and then when I get home to mine, I draw a blank. Maybe if I break my vow and :wink: go to Grandma for help, I’ll tote my own machine down there! :thumbsup: Then it won’t seem so wierd when I get home.


OK. Another question about the trims I need. (Metallic ribbon and Braid trim) What kind of thread do I use to sew it on? Surely I would pick one the same color as the ribbon right?

I think I’m going to be coming back here alot…:o


My 2 cents.

Make sure you buy the correct “weight” of fusible and that it is suitable for knits or wovens (whichever you plan to use it on). They do make a lot of different kinds currently. Even Wal-mart has a small sewing department with enough sparkly trims, etc to probably make all of the costumes. They carry lots of light cottons in various colors and patterns for quilting plus some cute trims at good prices.

If your needles keep breaking, perhaps you are using one too small/fine for the fabric or you are pulling on the fabric to “help” the feed dogs to move it along? You can end up tugging a needle over where it hits the throat plate and snaps off.

The big boo-boo when you first start fusing your interfacing is to not keep track of the sticky side. Nothing beats fusing that junk to your iron instead of the fabric. Usually the fusible side feels a little rough, but it is not always easy to tell them apart. Can you tell that I was a huge ding bat when I first started to sew?

I don’t know what part of Illinois you are in, but don’t forget to leave room under the costume for long underwear if it gets cold there for trick or treating. My mother was really good at fitting our warm stuff under our cute costumes when I lived in Ohio. It always seemed to be cold and/or rainy so that 1/2 of the kids had costumes hidden under a regular coat.

I hope it works out for you. It seems like you are starting in plenty of time.


You might also order the book “Teach Yourself Visually Sewing” I love this series because they have books on many topics with tons of clear color photos of every step and written instruction to supplement them. Books usually do it the other way around with too much writing and not enough demonstration. I learned to knit using a book from this series. You may be one of those people who likes to see something done correctly over and over before you get it right yourself.

I would buy black and white (or off-white thread) for doing seams unless either color would show up looking strange. If you have to top stitch then pick a small spool matching the fabric or trim. I usually apply trim by hand sewing and the thread color does not have to match exactly because it is not really seen. If you are going to try to sew it on using the machine be aware that needles can break trying to punch through sequins or beads, etc and pieces can fly up at you. You might need a sturdier needle than you would want to use for seams when you do the trim.

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