Posts filed under All Saints' Day

All Saints' Day Prep and links

I was smack in the middle of first trimester sickness during All Saint's prep and festivities last year so I never posted pics here. Better late than never! Since I had accidentally thrown out or given away (we don't know which) 15 years of handmade costumes the year before, 2015 was my year to energetically begin again. But... pregnancy happens! All things considered, I thought we did pretty well. 

I don't know what we're doing for costumes this year yet but I see an active sewing machine in my future. Thanks be to God for great feast days, all nighters, and family memories!

Also, I've included a few links (at the bottom of this post) to previous articles on All Saints', All Souls', Hallow'een, and how our Catholic family approaches that collision of the secular and sacred. 

Okay, so... Our slightly belated 2015 crew of saints...

From left to right...

St. Olaf: Store bought viking costume because I was desperate. He paid half.

St. Bathilde: Ebay find. $15

St. Lucy: Ebay white dress with sewn in sash. Handmade felt crown. I will hopefully have a crown tutorial on the blog soon.

St. Philomena: Hand-me-down dress. Crown from this sweet kit she got for her birthday. Anchor courtesy of duct tape and a shipment of large styrofoam sheets which I did not order but which Amazon said I could keep.

St. Maria Goretti: Goodwill linen dress and eyelet petticoat. Hand-me-down shawl. Wood dagger made by brother.

St. Michael: Store bought king costume purchased in a previous year. Wings (yes, they are black... that's all that's left on the shelves on October 30th) from a local Walmart.

St. Thomas Aquinas: Sewn the previous year by me. Pics of full costume with cape at the link and in the thumbnails below. 

Click on pics to enlarge...

We also had an All Saints' Day party of which I have zero pictures except one of our treat bags. Thanks to Jessica at Shower of Roses for the tag inspiration! 

More posts from this blog about All Saints' Day, All Souls' Day, and Hallow'een below...

Posted on October 11, 2016 and filed under All Saints' Day, Family Life, Liturgical Year.

All Saints' Day Costume--Mother Teresa of Calcutta

I'm resurrecting this All Saints' costume tutorial in honor of the upcoming canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta on . It's fairly easy to put together and an ambitious person could certainly get it together over the weekend. On to the original post... Enjoy!


 All Saints' Day will be here soon and we are in full preparation mode!  Since we do not celebrate Halloween, we have some extra time and resources to pour into some really creative costuming. I made this Mother Teresa costume several years and ago and it continues to be one of my favorites. It's super easy to put together but does take time so it's best to plan ahead. Or you can just do what I do and pull an all-nighter (every. single. year).

Why don't we celebrate Halloween? The better question is "Why should we?"

It simply isn't clear what the secular holiday is intended to celebrate... and for all the money invested (costuming, candy, dental bills), we don't feel compelled to participate.

The word "Halloween" is a derivative of "All Hallow's Eve" or the "Eve of All Saints". Instead of prioritizing the religious holiday second, we place it first. We don't have the time or interest to do both; so Halloween gets the boot.  The kids love our All Saints' Day celebrations and the adults always succumb to the temptation to include plenty of candy! For more of my thoughts on Halloween, see this post: Halloween {A Failed Catechesis on Holy Death}

Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.
— Mother Teresa of Calcutta

To make the Mother Teresa costume:

Here's a very basic explanation of how I put together the Mother Teresa costume. It was a while ago so I apologize that I don't have more detailed figures. It isn't too complex though and I think worth sharing.

I have no exact measurements to provide because few are needed and the ones that are used are specific to each child. 

First, I examined photos of the habits of Mother Teresa's order (Missionaries of Charity) until I had a basic idea of the design. You should definitely take the time to do this, too...  the sisters are lovely and sign of hope and joy in a suffering world.

Fabric:

I brought my daughter to the fabric store with me and headed to the muslin aisle. I found 33" white muslin for $.99 a yard and wrapped it loosely around her in the style of a sari in order to estimate yardage. 

I found Blue cotton in my stash that resembled the color of the blue stripes on the habits of the order. Not perfect but it was free! I have no idea how much I used but eyeballed it and guessed that I would have enough (sorry...I know that's not incredibly helpful).

Sari Design:

I designed the costume in 3 pieces:

  1. White turtleneck (had one in her drawer)
  2. Veil -The veil of the the Missionaries of Charity drapes down the back, around the front of the body, and across the opposite shoulder. This is one piece of fabric. To measure for size, I took the short end of the fabric length (33" width) and pinned it over her hair (as shown in the photo). I draped it down her back to the desired length, across her opposite shoulder, down her back, and cut it at the desired length. 
  3. Skirt - Basically just a tube with elastic. I wrapped a piece of fabric around her waist to determine fit. I measured her waist and cut elastic to that size (normally I would size the elastic smaller for a better fit but I wanted extra room to tuck in  the turtleneck and to allow the costume to be used the following year!). I rolled the waistband until the skirt was the correct length instead of hemming (hurrah!). That allows for a taller child to wear it as well. I added the stripes to the skirt fabric before sewing the seam or waistband.

Adding the blue stripes:

The habit of the order uses 3 solid blue stripes along the edges of the sari material, One larger stripe and two smaller stripes. I eyeballed the stripe widths and went a little larger to make the stitching easier on myself. I was not going for a replica of the habit but an overall representation of the habit. Would someone know who she was by looking at my design? Yes. Then it's all good. 

I sewed the strips (4" and 1.5") into tubes and pressed them so that the edges would be nicely finished and the extra fabric would add weight and better drape to the lightweight muslin. The finished stripes were 2", 3/4" and 3/4" wide. If you want a more authentic look, reduce the size of the smaller stripes. 

Stripes are applied to the hem of the skirt and to all 4 edges of the veil cloth.

Then I pinned and sewed. Lots of strips onto lots of fabric! But well worth the effort.

You can also color or paint the stripes on if you prefer. That would have driven me mad with this size costume but I've seen it done rather well on a much small version. Remember... it isn't a replica but a representation!

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
— Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Click on images below to enlarge.

To wear:

Put on the turtleneck and skirt first. Start the veil at the head. Pin it in place at the nape of the neck (we used a safety pin).  Let it fall down to desired length in back, drape it across the waist at the right side and bring up to and over the left shoulder. We pinned it in place with a religious medal.

Enjoy your celebration! If you email me with a photo of your little saints wearing their Mother Teresa costumes, I will add it to the photo gallery on this post. :)

Posted on September 1, 2016 and filed under All Saints' Day, Liturgical Year, Family Life.

All Saints Links and Musings...

Today is a good day. To put it simply... I'm able to sit up and type. I am reminded of when I was a kid and had "good" sick days... the ones where I was sick enough to be relieved of responsibilities but healthy enough to play and read all day. Then there were those "bad" sick days when I just cried in bed wished with all my heart to fall into a state of blissful, ignorant sleep. This week has been mostly like the latter. So I'm calling it all gift and moving on. 

Deep thoughts elude me. I'm going with an All Saints' dump...

COSTUME TRAGEDY

I don't consider myself a particularly sentimental person when it comes to stuff... but the loss of 15 years worth of handmade All Saints' costumes was a crushing blow to the delicate balance of my pregnant emotions. I'm over it now (mostly) but am intentionally avoiding thoughts about the countless hours of labor (and cash) that went into all of it. It is a year when I needed to fall back on the huge selection of generic tunics in different sizes and uniquely lovely items that I was ready to be put back into circulation. But alas... 

Gone. Like Elvis and his mom.

And that's not a knock on Elvis. It's a reference to the obscure Switchfoot song, Gone, that plays like clockwork every time I am reminded of the impermanence of stuff and life itself. Because my brain... "like Al Pichino's cash, nothing lasts in this life." If I live a long life and my mind fails me at the end, I imagine that I'll still retain a mighty cache of odd music with which to torment my caregivers.

IRONIC BLESSING

The children who initially frustrated me by failing to obediently return their last years' costumes to the appropriate storage box... are now finding my full favor upon them as we discover that we haven't lost everything. Thank you, Jesus.

COSTUME SOLUTION

So after a brief (sort of) pity party, I picked myself up by the bootstraps, returned to my couch of nauseas misery, and immediately began looking to eBay to solve my problems. Because, you guys, I no longer even have a basic white tunic or a piece of fabric that can do duty as a veil. I had carefully packed them up... so that we could accidentally donate them

We then trekked to Goodwill where we found one lonely item. After which I returned to my couch. 

WHY THE FUSS?

So I tried to rebuke that prideful part of me that wants a souped up All Saints' costume showing. Doesn't your fixation on the material aspects of the holy day just fly in the face of the whole purpose of the day? Hmmmm?? Yes. But...

It's a holy day. I'm lousy at making cool things happen on holy days. I am not at all that kind of blogger. This is one of my only claims to success in the whole liturgical year. Detachment? Sure. I just involuntarily detached from 15 years worth of loving costume labors! But I suppose you could say that I'm clinging to the hope that we can still pull off something cool. The kids love it. It's our Halloween replacement. Bring it.

HALLOWEEN

I do promise to share the fruits of this year's mad dash to costume glory in the midst of pregnancy misery... after the fact. I already know now that I will not have anything together in time for a significant sneak peak. What I can offer is stuff I've already done, primarily in the way of explaining our approach to the beautiful pairing of two of the most excellent holy days of the year: All Saints' and All Souls' Day. And also why Halloween doesn't make the cut. There are multiple reasons...

1) Practical... Two amazing holy days in a row is pretty much all this mama can handle. Since Halloween isn't a holy day, it gets the boot without much thought.

2) Theological... Not claiming that the Church specifically teaches one thing or the other about a secular celebration of Halloween (she does not), but applying our understanding of our Catholic faith to the practical decisions we make regarding participation in culture.

3) Spiritual... I've only got so much energy to bring to the table. I'm going to invest where I see the greatest dividends.

I've written a few times on these topics but was finally able to capture last year what was really at root of my emotional and intellectual response. It's not an argument about the historical roots of Halloween, but rather the more important question of: How does Halloween impact the way we encounter Christ in our culture?

I'd love it if you'd take a read. This really isn't about fighting over family preferences, but about how can we all better serve the Lord in our unique ways. My response won't look exactly like yours. But the conversation is worth having...

ALL SAINTS' DAY

Here's the real power behind the costumes and cupcakes... the great feast of All Saints! I regret that it has so often been reduced to the-holy-day-that-we-celebrate-during-the-day-at-our-Catholic-school and (maybe naively) hope for a revival of what could be a day full of great joy and powerful graces for the entire Catholic community. I've written far less than I've wanted to over the years about this blessing of a holy day... certainly in no small part due to exhaustion from pulling all nighters making handmade costumes... but here is a summary of last year. I love the memory because it shows the how the dynamic energy and love and talent of youth - toddlers to teenagers - can positively impact culture.

ALL SOULS' DAY

Ah... the great overlooked beautiful holy day! Let's bring it back, shall we? I've been seeing a revival in recent years but it is TOUGH to find the energy right after All Saints' (and often Halloween) festivities. Not many moms have that kind of energy. That's one of the reasons we give Halloween the boot and we still often find ourselves tacking on All Souls' as an afterthought. My ideal All Souls' Day activity? The cemetery... hands down. Hoping we can make it this year.

RESOURCES

There are many, many great resources out there for this one-two punch of holy day excellence. However, when I am running short on time (and I always am), my one-stop shopping for feast day resources is Shower of Roses. Jessica's site isn't just a collection of fluffy craftsy stuff... but activities and resources that truly reflect the depth of beauty of our liturgical year. Definitely look up her All Saints' and All Souls' posts! HERE


Posted on October 23, 2015 and filed under All Saints' Day, All Souls' Day, Liturgical Year.