Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pebbles Flintstone Costume - The Real Deal

I'm very anxious to dress my daughter up in every Disney Princess costume we can get our hands on, but for her first Halloween I thought it was the perfect opportunity to dress her as the infant daughter from my All-Time Favorite TV Show, Pebbles Flintstone. Not only is she the perfect age as Pebbles was in the original television series, but she would make an awesome compliment to my super awesome Fred costume that my mom and I made 20 years ago. (Yes, I still have it!)

Before we get into Pebbles, let me tell you about my Fred Flintstone costume. My mom and I made this back in 1993 for a costume contest when I was in college. Taking a cue from all the Star Wars, Star Trek and Superhero nerds out there, I wanted my costume to be as accurate as possible. So, in the days before the internet - my mom and I designed the costume with various shots of Fred on VHS, paused on the TV while we jotted down notes. I also had a few old books that stayed true to the original design that we used. So many costumes of Fred Flintstone put an animal print on the tie and put the spots all over the outfit, when in actuality he only had a few. The spots shapes and placement on my Fred costume are modeled after the appearance in several episodes. Also, Fred's tie is pure blue and was always drawn the same way, even though you can't see it in the above picture, the tie is cut to resemble Fred's own tie.

The major difference in my costume versus the 1960's cartoon Fred is that we added some small sleeves so that my fat, ugly arms weren't fully exposed. Hey, I was in school - people make fun of that kind of stuff! But we tried to make the sleeves as minimal as possible and added a smaller version of the jagged cut that is found at the bottom of Fred's outfit.

Anyhow...the costume (along with a friend as Wilma) went on to win First Prize at the Halloween Dance costume contest that year. I've held on to this work of art for many years...I've worn it for various other Halloween events as well as in parades and even at the opening night of The Flintstones live-action movie in 1994.

Now...let's move on to Fred's daughter, Pebbles...

When we first started looking at Pebbles costumes to buy they all came in one of two varieties: a green top or an animal print top. Neither of these felt right to me, yet every picture I found of Pebbles in a book had her in the green top. I popped in a DVD and went to the episode where Pebbles was born. (Still one of the most watched episodes in TV history.) In the first few episodes that Pebbles appears in, she's in a pink baby outfit but fast forward to the next season and she's always seen wearing a brownish/orangish top with diamond and crescent shapes all over...similar to her father's wardrobe.

This time I had the help of the internet for some visual reference. I found a color picture from an actual episode and this nice black & white sketch, which is a later drawing of Pebbles but the basic look of her outfit is the same.

Now, I have absolutely no sewing skills but I figured this outfit was simple enough that I could pull it off. I went to a craft store and found a shade of brown that I was happy with. I them bought enough fabric which was double the length of my 6 month old daughter. My plan was to have enough material that the entire outfit would be the same piece of fabric, avoiding the need to sew shoulders and sleeves. I also purchased a small amount of black material to make the spots. I could have colored them on with a permanent marker, but the actual spots made of fabric look so much better. Also at the craft store I picked up a bottle of Fabric Glue a.k.a. Liquid Stitch which will take the place of any sewing that needed to be done.

Ready to make the costume (a day before the Halloween party we were going to,) my first instinct was to just trace my daughters outline onto the cloth but then I got the idea to take a dress of hers and trace that instead. I used a dress that's a bit big on her, I also folded up the sleeves for the Bedrock fashionable sleeveless look. I actually traced the dress once onto a piece of fabric that was folder over to create a two-ply effect. I also did not trace or cut out a hole for the head just quite yet.

Since I free handed the area around the arm holes/sleeves, I folded the dress across from left to right and lined up the arm holes and trimmed both sides together so they came out evenly. I cut a small hole for a head, using the fold in the double-ply fabric as the shoulders of the outfit. I didn't want the head hole to be too big for my baby so I tried it on once and it was not going over her head. I cut a small slit in the neck line on the back of the dress to give a little leeway, and that did the trick. I was planning on using a safety pin to close up the slit, but it turned out the costume didn't need it.

I used the fabric glue down the sides of the dress from under the arm holes to the bottom of the dress. Unlike Fred, Wilma and Barney, Pebbles' outfit does not have the jagged zigzag cut at the bottom. Actually, her dress usually doesn't come all the way down past her tummy. My version is a little longer, I thought about cutting it but decided to just leave it long since it was cold outside at this point in time.

The shapes on her dress are a mixture of random patterns. I like the look of the shapes in the black and white sketch pictured at the top. They have a very 1960's Hanna-Barbera feel to them, but they were hard to cut out and look that good so I just cut random shapes from the black fabric. I went with 5 on the front and an additional 3 on the back.

London as Pebbles with her cousin Lucas in his Chewbacca costume

The bone in her hair is a bone hair clip that I found in the Caveman/Cavegirl section of the Halloween store. Since my daughter does not yet have enough hair to support a hair clip, we went with clipping the bone onto a headband of hers. I suppose an animal print headband or a brown one matching the costume would have been most appropriate but I used this pink one that we had, not only because the bow was small and the bone covered it nicely but I thought the pink added a slight touch of femininity to sell that she was a baby cavegirl. In the cartoon Pebbles always wore a black diaper cover with her dress. Since it was chilly out, we opted for black leggings and a long sleeve t-shirt underneath to keep her warm.

I'm pretty proud at the way it turned out considering I had no idea what I was doing with the materials I bought. The fabric cost $4.00, if that. The bone hair clips were $7.00 for a pack of two, fabric glue was $5.00, we had the shirt and I bought leggings (which she can wear with other things) at Target for $6.00.

Besides all the work put into the costume, it was really cool to get to add my daughter to my Fred costume and obsess over a 50 year old cartoon just a little bit more!
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