Spiderman Birthday

Robert standing in front of his birthday tree which we planted when he was born.

For his fourth birthday party, our grandson Robert decided on two themes, Autobots and Spiderman. It was just too hard for him to chose one over the other, so it was a duo-theme celebration. For this special occasion, I would so love to have made him a button on suit with an heirloom style lace edged collar.

But Robert is a Huckleberry Finn kind of kid– no fuss, no shoes and, if he thinks he can get away with it, no clothes.   He prefers to wear what he calls “short sleeve pants” and loves nothing better than a new Spiderman or transformer shirt. The hugs he gives me when I deliver his “character”  duds make it all worth while.

For his birthday, I made Robert two Autobot and  two Spiderman shirts.   On party day, he grinned from ear to ear as he got dressed in  one of the Spiderman shirts. But he was awestruck when Spiderman himself showed up at the front door.

All of the boys, from three year old cousin Mikey who has had open heart surgery twice in his short life, to eight year old cousin Zachary, stood silent and gawking as Spiderman squatted down to their level and wished Robert happy birthday.

Then little Mikey broke from the crowd and tackled Spiderman with a big hug.  It’s a good thing Spidey is in such good shape, because Mikey nearly knocked him over.  Apparently, this little guy has dealt with scarier individuals than a lanky dude in a Spiderman suit, so he was nonplused.  After that hug, it was supervised chaos.

For party favors, each boy got a superhero cape.   They were made from $1 py satiny fabric from the WalMart clearance table and simply serged with a 3-thread rolled hem.  The serging was done in a contrasting color that matched the 1″ neck band which bound the gathers.

A clear vinyl pocket was sewn just above the hemline at the center back.   When the boys arrived, they selected their favorite superhero from an assortment of images and logos sized to slip into the pocket.  Suddenly, the young guests were transformed into Batman, Superman and others of great renown, most of whom I didn’t recognize.  Now the boys were bona fide and empowered.

Robert’s  mother throws the most fabulous children’s birthday parties. She combined the themes by sending the superheroes on a mission to bombard WANTED posters of bad transformers with water balloons. Other undesirables lurking in the back yard were hosed down by the boys with huge squirt guns. Spiderman played games with them, like Spidey Says.


After making the neighborhood a safer place and spending some time cooling off in the pool, the hungry superheroes chowed down on Spiderman or Autobot cake and ice cream.

I used a Wilton pan for the Spiderman cake but was stymied when it came to drawing out the necessarily precise geometric design for the Autobot cake. Then I recalled the design templates I had printed out for the Autobot embroidery on the table cloth (see photo below). I cut up the template pieces, placed them on the plain frosted cake and scored the frosting to get the die lines.  I removed the paper piece and then filled in the shapes with buttercream frosting. Robert liked his cakes as much as his shirts.

Before our grandchildren were born,  I vowed that I would never sew cartoon characters or some of the garish characters I saw other grandmothers stitching for their grandsons.  But now I realize that the goal is to make the boy happy. If Spiderman and Autobots make Robert happy, then that’s what I will sew for him.

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