Colleen Crafts Domestic Church Feast Days Liturgical Year Saints Uncategorized

No-Sew All Saints’ Day Costume {for the procrastinators!}

If you are spending today putting the finishing touches on your children’s All Saints’ Day costumes, or the completed costumes are already hanging by the front door ready for the party, I salute you! If you saw the announcement about your parish All Saints’ Day party in this week’s bulletin and your eyes widened as you started wondering if your kid can go as himself, a modern-day “St. Jack” who wears a Thomas the Tank Engine shirt, or maybe as pirate saint – this post is for you. I usually find myself in the latter group.  But it really is possible to pull off an epic All Saints’ Day costume in a short amount of time – even WITHOUT your sewing machine.

A favorite movie in our house right now is St. Francis Xavier and the Samurai’s Lost Treasure. I suggested to my two older boys (ages 4 and 3) that one of them should go as St. Francis and the other should be St. Ignatius, who makes a short appearance in the movie as Francis’s friend and the one who inspires him to give up his life in the service of God. My 3-year-old was up to the task.


So I set about making a costume that resembled the above picture, on two conditions:
1) It didn’t take very long to make
2) My blood pressure didn’t spike while working on it.

I know how to sew – that is, I know how to operate the sewing machine and produce something mostly wearable. But between stitches skipping, needles breaking, puckering (oh, puckering!!!), and just the general frustrations that come along with sewing when you are a relatively impatient person who is also kind of a perfectionist, I usually end up with a beautiful finished project and a bloodstream full of cortisol. A “20 minute skirt” once took me 4 hours.

heygirl(I’m not really a fan of the Hey Girl memes, but this speaks to me.)

Therefore, I present to you: The Incredibly Easy No-Sew All Saints’ Day Priest Costume.


{I am making it for St. Ignatius, but there are several famous priests who are usually portrayed with Roman or fiddleback chasubles: St. Philip Neri, St. Padre Pio, Servant of God Emil Kapaun, and Pope Benedict XVI. If your saint is a priest who lived between the 17th century and the mid-1900s, his vestments probably looked like this. Gothic vestments, which are the flowy chasubles that are worn by most priests today, can be made using this tutorial as well – “poncho-style.” Saints that are portrayed in this style include St. Thomas Becket, St. Nicholas, and St. Patrick.}

You will need a glue gun. Fabric glue will work, but it takes a lot longer to dry; glue guns dry almost instantly. I use a lo-temp mini one I snagged from Hobby Lobby for $2.99. My whole project used about 5 glue sticks.

I was looking for brocade fabric, and planning to make the drive to Joann Fabric to pick out some fancy red and gold. However, I discovered that the Walmart near me still carries fabric. The thought of going to Joann’s the Saturday morning before Halloween (aka 40 people in line at the cutting counter) made me determined to find something at Walmart that would work. The red fabric is cotton, the green is a thick tapestry fabric found in the clearance section. 1 yard of each. $6.44 for both. (You can also use felt.)

allst2(I hope St. Ignatius forgives me for using fabric with gold swirls.)

Cut out two matching pieces in a bowling pin shape. (For Gothic-style, keep the length at 40 inches, cut each end 16 inches wide and the center 20 inches wide – more of a hexagonal shape than a bowling pin. Keep neck hole 6″ diameter.) This is a one-size-fits-many pattern – my boys wear 4T and 5T and it fits both of them well. If you have an older child, you may have to add an inch or two to the width and a couple inches to the length.

picallst4(The “15 inches wide” bottom does not look straight – but it should be.)

Whip out yer ol’ glue gun and glue the two pieces together around the border and the neck hole. MAKE SURE you have the fabric lined up with the pretty sides out and the ugly sides in – you want to glue the ugly/backs of the fabric together, so that both sides of the chasuble look nice and it is reversible. Double-check before you start gluing or you might end up with the front on the inside accidentally. (Don’t ask me how I know.)


OPTIONAL: Add decoration. Leaving it plain is perfectly acceptable (after all, the only reason you are gluing your child’s costume together is because you are short on time), but if you add a little gold ribbon it will look more finished and legit and the other moms will be amazed at your mad crafting skills. I used one entire spool of 97 cent gold Walmart ribbon for mine, and since my little guy is a Jesuit, I added an IHS – the symbol for the Holy Name of Jesus and the monogram of the Jesuit order.

Grab a $3.97 men’s Large white t-shirt for your surplice, slip the chasuble over your child’s head, scribble on a beard with eyeliner if necessary, and you. are. done.


Time to completion during naptime: 20 minutes without gold decoration, 30 minutes with decoration.
(Time to completion not during naptime: 87 minutes – includes 2 baby feedings, lunch for the kiddos, and eating Butterfingers throughout.)

You CAN sew this project if you really don’t want to use glue, and if you have an embroidery machine you could embroider a beautiful Sacred Heart or cross on the front or back. You could also make a stole instead of a chasuble and wear it with the white t-shirt surplice to portray St. John Vianney. Even if you don’t need an All Saints’ Day costume, this is perfect for the kids who like to “play Mass.”

For more All Saints’ Day ideas, including other costumes, crafts, games, and educational materials, check out this post. And if you need a quick and easy no-sew costume for a little girl, check out Catholic Icing’s Blessed Teresa of Calcutta costume!

Guest Posts Liturgical Year Ordinary Time

Of Ghosts, Goblins, and Birthdays




By Mary M.

My birthday is on Halloween, and it hurts a little when Christian families, some of them friends of mine, belittle the day’s festivities, label them evil or ignore it altogether. I know their intent isn’t to damage my psyche, but it makes me feel as if I’m living in the days of the Salem witch trials, when one would simply know better than to ask, “So-o-o-o, watcha you doin’ for Halloween?”

No worries. Despite the date making me one year older every year, I have a pretty balanced view of it. Thanks to my Mom, who made it neither forbidden fruit nor anything that would rival Christmas. Note: I do have neighbors with lights – yes, colored lights – in their yards along with Halloween decorations this year. They’re upping the creepy factor, I suppose. Or maybe they’re using the retail holiday calendar.

Paper Halloween decorations, that’s what we had. Construction paper silhouettes in gray, orange and black, delicate and faded from years of use and placed on our house front window, would herald the coming of my birthday every year. Witches in black. Ghosts in gray. Pumpkins in orange. My mom had traced the images, and then cut them with the perfect care of a seasoned seamstress. Even when the stores began selling plastic, multicolored window clings, we put up the same paper cutouts, plus a few pumpkins I’d crafted and added to the collection. I wasn’t about to throw my mom’s creations away, ever.

Eventually I was old enough and eager to put them up myself, but that didn’t last long. High school costume parties have a way of competing with – and beating out – childhood traditions.

As for costumes, I breathlessly waited to grow into the next size up of Princess and then Colonial Girl. It seemed I’d forever be Little Miss Muffett, consisting of a pink jumpsuit and a brittle plastic mask with a painted face, which I thought looked like a baby face, held on with an elastic string. My big sisters got to wear one of two princess costumes, their masks having painted-on blonde hair, pink lips, arched eyebrows and 3-inch crowns; Colonial Girl had white, “powdered” hair, painted-on eyeshadow and a painted-on hat angled on her head. My older sisters wore those until they outgrew them. The clothing tied on with ribbons and was silky, in vibrant colors. All masks had quarter-sized eye holes. This was years before anti-flammable costumes and concerns about blocked night vision.

My dear dad would mark my birthday each year by going dove hunting. I think he took me trick-or-treating once, and I voluntarily went dove hunting as many times, but I’m okay with that since he had a part in giving me life. He raised me, too, from tantrums, through the moody teen years, and stood by me through the know-it-all 20s, which altogether must have been more hair-raising than any modern-day horror house.

My life is a whirlwind of wonderful birthdays: my sisters and parents singing around one of my mom’s homemade cakes; watching scary movies with girlfriends;  a special trip to an ice cream parlor with “Sixteen Candles” playing on the juke box for my 16th birthday; designing and sewing  my own Snow White costume to wear to work; and dressing up with friends from out of town to go trick-or-treating at different apartments within walking distance, sort of a candy-and-beer domestic pub crawl. I spent one birthday on a solo trip overseas, and another campaigning my heart out for a presidential candidate.

I’ve been a mom to five girls for nearly seven years now, and what began as anxiety over what my daughters could and should wear (saints vs. secular, saints modified into secular, just plain secular) is now relaxed enjoyment as they flutter around the house on Halloween piecing together their fifth change of costume from what they’d originally planned to wear at the end of summer. In other words, my perfectionism has moved to the backseat, along with my youth.

Of course, Halloween, being All Hallow’s Eve, it should never overshadow the holy day of All Saints. Nor should it blacken the beautiful feast of All Souls, during which Catholics pray for the holy souls in Purgatory, a devotion very dear to my family. While growing up, my sisters, parents and I would attend All Soul’s Day Mass with few exceptions. Those are less memorable than my birthdays, although I will never forget the one following my sister’s death in the mid 1970s, when my mom and sisters were certain they’d heard her call to them from another room in our house.

You just don’t tell a 7-year-old her dead sister is making efforts to communicate, no matter how much she loves the deceased sibling. I still get chills thinking about it, because I know in my heart they heard something, even if I only saw them quietly in unison prick their ears and I didn’t hear it myself.

And so this is what Halloween is to me: another birthday, another day of dress-ups for my girls until they’re grown, a moment to reflect on the scenes of my past and dreams of the future. I even use it to make resolutions: on my next birthday ending in “5,” I want my husband to send me to California to take surf lessons. It’ll be even better if my daughters and sisters come with me.

And here is a beautiful prayer to the Holy Souls (my parents would take my sisters and me to visit my sister’s grave every Sunday and we would pray this prayer):

All you Angels of Consolation, go and visit those patient sufferers,

offer for them the merits of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

and obtain their speedy unions with Jesus, Whose vision is bliss, and Who yearns to have them with Him.

Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. Amen.

A link to a Holy Souls novena:


::Mary M. is the youngest of five girls, raised by saintly parents, and a Catholic mom living in Texas bringing up five beautiful, lively daughters with the perfect husband.::

7 Quick Takes Getting to Know the Ink Slingers Ink Slingers Kerri Misty

7 Quick Takes Friday, no. 3

Today’s 7 Quick Takes post features one of our more prolific ink slingers, Misty. We hope you enjoy getting to know Misty through these 7 intriguing questions.


What is your favorite animal and why?

This is the cat my husband claims I have an “unnatural attachment” to…I have no idea why he thinks that.

My favorite animal is my jet black Bombay cat, Raven. She’s essentially a dog in a cat’s body–you can walk her on a leash, she fetches, etc.–and we have an “unnatural” attachment to one another, according to my husband. Bombays are super-affectionate and Raven is the balm to my soul at the end of a long day, when she comes purring up to me and puts her little face up for a “kiss” from her CatMama! It also helps that I’m allergic to cats and she’s essentially hypoallergenic. She sleeps each night with her head on my pillow, sometimes with her paws around my neck.


How do you come up with such awesome post titles?  
During the early years of my marriage, I was a writer for Civil Engineering magazine. We had staff meetings where we’d brainstorm for short, pithy titles to dry engineering articles. After the mental torture of devising catchy titles for that year’s fifth article on a municipal sewer system upgrade, writing headlines for consumer articles is a breeze!

When writing a headline, I try to write something that will get the article in front of audiences that wouldn’t normally read Catholic Sistas. I keep in mind that the headline is often the only thing people will see and it has to be compelling enough to get a person to click on the link for more. If possible, I make it titillating and a clever play on a pop culture trend, such as “Fifty Shades of Porn.”


If you homeschool, what is your favorite part of homeschooling and what is your greatest challenge?
My favorite part of homeschooling is being with my children. I truly love children as persons and I revel in the joy of getting to know my own kids’ unique personalities. When their behavior is rotten, I don’t want to send them away from me–I just want them to behave better.

The hardest part is trying to accommodate their different learning styles. With four kids, I just want what worked for Kid #1 to work for all of them. But that’s rarely the case. I spend more time trying to find a curricula that will actually work with an individual child than I do teaching them the subjects.


What is a random fact about you most people don’t know?
I have a very strong sense of whimsy, much to the chagrin of my husband and to the delight of my children. I’ll dress up as a clown one day a year (not Halloween) and run my regular errands that way. There is nothing like seeing a clown picking out hamburger at the grocery store. It’s important that people know clowns live regular lives, too.

I’ve been known to wear one of my daughters’ dress-up tiaras to the doctor or post office. When we moved from Virginia to Alaska two years ago, I finally got to indulge one of my longstanding desires at our going-away party: to fight friends in giant, Sumo wrestling suits. My latest dream is to dress up with my kids as PacMan characters, complete with sound effects, and run around a mall simulating the game.

Turns out, those suits aren’t nearly as fresh as you’d imagine. Especially in the hot Virginia sun.

Oddly enough, I despise personal praise. But I get a major kick out of doing quirky things that make others laugh. I think it’s the GenXer in me. My husband just shakes his head and insists I’m on my own if I get arrested.


What do you find most attractive about your husband?
A lot of things, but two stand out: 1) his sense of honor, and 2) his intelligence.
Nothing gets my husband angrier than hearing about a man who has shirked his duties as a husband and father. He goes out of his way to help domestic violence victims break the cycle of abuse when he encounters them. It’s heartwarming to hear him rant about the men who hurt women or children, or recount the lectures he gives women in crisis about how they deserve better.

He’s also one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. I can rarely tell him something he doesn’t already know and he’s responsible for turning me around on nearly a dozen social and political issues purely by the force of his respectful, logical, evidence-based arguments.

The amazingly funny, intelligent man who still calls me his “bride” 15 years later.


Where were you born and do you still live there (or nearby)?  
I was born in southwestern Virginia and grew up in a small town near the West Virginia border called Covington. The town sports a papermill that spews rancid pollution into the air that will probably result in a raging case of lung cancer in my sunset years.

As a kid, I couldn’t wait to get out of Covington and “see the world.” I recently went to visit my sister and realized something important, though: no matter how you dress me up or how much you edu-ma-cate me, I will always be a hillbilly at heart. Nothing makes me happier than flat footing to Proud Mary while swilling down RC Cola and gossipping about the neighbors. Few people know I went into adulthood with a thick southern accent, purged during college because of Yankees who teased me mercilessly about it.

Other than a brief time in Pennsylvania, I lived in Virginia most of my life. Two years ago, our family decided to move to our dream state, Alaska. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been an amazing adventure to live here.


What do you wish everyone knew about the Church?
That it’s not about rules, but about relationships. Primarily, about a relationship with a purely loving, compassionate God who would do anything to have us with Him for all eternity.

And that what you “give up” to become a faithful Catholic is entirely eclipsed by the ocean of blessings God showers on you when you embrace a friendship with Him. You give up your Pill or your condom and the false sense of security that brings, but you get a husband who respects your fertility and doesn’t feel entitled to sex. And whose self-control gives you confidence he could be trusted in a room full of naked Victoria’s Secret models. You give up lying, but you gain peace of mind because you no longer have to keep track of your lies. You give up investing your identity in things that change, such as your looks, your career, your financial status. And you gain a rock-solid sense of your own value, knowing that no matter how you look or how much money you have or even whether other people like you, you are loved deeply by the most powerful, intelligent, amazing person who exists: God himself.

So many people I know who were raised Catholic but don’t practice their faith have the mistaken idea that being Catholic is about giving up all that makes life fun, not realizing the deep, abiding joy that comes from being close to Jesus, the holy angels, and all the saints. This is a peace that never leaves me, no matter how tumultuous my life gets or how many hits my self-esteem takes from the world. Being Catholic is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me.

For more Quick Takes head on over to Conversion Diary and tell Jen we sent you.