T is for Tree + Vine | Costumes that match a child’s imagination.

I have owned a sewing machine since I was thirteen. My Mom handed her’s down to me in almost new condition. It was a Singer and came with a cabinet so you could put it away when not in use. It was a workhorse that stayed with me through multiple apartments and homes. It finally died but it was a slow death. My grandmother, who was an amazing seamstress and quilted right up until her death at 93, knew a repair guy who could fix my sewing machine. He did. He fixed it many times. But, he was also in his nineties and eventually passed away. I could never find anyone else able to repair it.

Eventually, someone bought it at one of our yard sales. I hope they know someone with that special touch who might be able to breathe life into it again. I miss that sewing machine. It was the one I learned to sew on. My other grandmother taught me. We made a Gunny Sack dress that I adored and wore for years. We also made pink satin shorts and a matching jacket because I was in love with Shaun Cassidy of Hardy Boys fame and he wore a satin jacket. The shorts were a bonus.

For years, I used my sewing machine mainly to make decorations for my various apartments and homes. After my girls were born, I began to sew elaborate Halloween costumes for them. Even with my occasional, mid-level skills some of the costumes actually came out pretty amazing. But, here’s the thing. I don’t enjoy sewing. It is always a stressful endeavor for me. I am in awe of the end result, just not the process.

Probably because of my own tortured relationship with sewing, I have a special appreciation for those who do it well and have a passion for it like my grandmother did. When I attended this years Picnic Holiday Sale, I saw many beautiful Maine made crafts and found one seamstress creating irresistible costumes out of felt.

Tree + Vine produces colorful wings and other costume pieces that range from bright primary colors to more subdued earth tones of brown and green. Whatever the color, they are all beautiful and will be sure to help any child’s imagination go to new places.

Below and included in the featured image are some pictures from the Tree + Vine Etsy Shop that owner Ellen Okolita graciously gave me permission to include with this post. She also answered a few questions for me and her responses can be found below the pictures.

How did you end up in Maine?
We ended up in Maine after losing the lease on our loft apartment in Brooklyn. Seeking fresh air and a closer drive to the family camp on Sebec Lake, we packed our bags, pets and 300 houseplants and moved to Portland! A week after arriving we knew Maine was for us!

Have you always enjoyed sewing?
I grew up sewing, helping my mom to make clothes, costumes and quilts. There was always fabric around and I learned how to use a sewing machine pretty early on!

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

I find most of my inspiration from my daughters, the places we go and the books we read. I also draw lots of inspiration from my customers. I love it when I get requests for birds or creatures I haven’t had to opportunity to make yet.

How often do you add new designs?

I’m always adding new designs and playing with different color combinations!

Have you designed other things besides costumes?

I love to design all sorts of things, plush toys, dresses, felt flowers, the list goes on…..

Is there a costume that is especially popular?

The blue jay costume is one of my first designs and best sellers. I love seeing how kiddos become a bird when those wings go on!!

What has been your favorite reaction to your costumes from either a child, or an adult?

When kids put on the wings and flap around, the power of imagination is so strong for little ones. They really think they are a bird and can fly!! It’s the best 🙂

You talk on your site about using eco-friendly, durable materials. Did it take you a while to find the right materials to use in your costumes?

I love working with Eco-Fi felt, it’s made in NH from recycled plastic bottles (local and eco-friendly for the win!) I fell in love the moment I started working with it. I have a great relationship with the company that makes it, their support has been instrumental in the growth of my business. Not many designers can say they pickup their material directly from the factory! I am proud to be able to label my costumes “Made in USA”!

If you’re not patient enough to see if Tree + Vine turns up at a local craft fair, you can visit their Tree + Vine Etsy Shop to purchase these creative costumes. Children are already full of imaginative play, how exciting for them to be able to do it while wearing these colorful costumes. And, if you really fall in love with something they make, their wings come in adult sizes too.

What is your favorite costume or cosplay outfit? Have you ever made your own costume?

things to know
Company Name Tree + Vine
Location Gray, Maine
Website Tree + Vine
Favorite ♥ Unicorn Costumes

WIM Signature

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19 thoughts on “T is for Tree + Vine | Costumes that match a child’s imagination.

  1. Denise says:

    I am actually quite good at sewing. I used to make all my clothes from Vogue patterns. And I HATE sewing. My husband used to joke that if a button fell off anything he might as well throw it away. I still have my Singer downstairs. Not sure why, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      That’s me too! My oldest learned to fix her own buttons and darn her own socks because the pile would just sit there otherwise. I’m impressed you use to make all your clothes. That’s a lot of work.


  2. Courtney - Maui Jungalow says:

    Beautiful work! And your presentation of it is quite nice too. I’ll check you out on Instagram. My relationship with sewing is more tortured. I like the end results, but sometimes the actual doing isn’t easy for me. For Christmas this year, I had a sewing bee holiday party and the gals exchange gifts, and there were 17 of them i think. So I sewed 17 little bird ornaments, and yikes, I haven’t sewn so much of the same thing ever, but deadlines do work. They all got done, and I was finishing up the last hem at the party. Maui Jungalow


  3. Sue Bursztynski (@SueBursztynski) says:

    I don’t have a sewing machine, alas! I never got the hang of it at school and never learned afterwards. My mother, who spent her teen years in a concentration camp, where they didn’t teach you these things, never learned to use one either, but taught herself eventually. By then, it was late for her to be teaching me. I’d gone on to other interests,

    I can sew, though – I just do it by hand. It takes longer but it feels so good when I go out wearing a skirt I made. My embroidery was the only thing I passed in school needlework. And actually, I enjoy sewing.

    But I understand how you felt about that machine which gave you so much faithful service. It was a link to your family, so it meant a lot to you, even though you could have bought a new one. It just wouldn’t have been the same!

    U is for Undercover Agent

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      I really did have a connection to that machine. I still have a small portable one but it’s not the same. Sewing by hand is impressive. I’ve done a little but never made any clothing that way. How scary that your Mom was in a concentration camp. What a horrible thing.


  4. Louise says:

    I love the bottom one in the pink. My eldest would adore that – I can just see her flitting around the house like a big pink bird :).

    As for sewing, well done for being able to do it. I took a course while on my second mat leave – bought a machine and everything – and that was just enough to teach me it was going to take a lot more effort than I thought to be any good at it. And that’s pretty much where I’ve left sewing at this stage!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      That costume is great. I love the tail. I think to sew well it really is a lot of effort. I like that I can fix things and make curtains – that sort of thing – but I know it’s risky when I try anything beyond those types of projects. Maybe you’ll revisit your sewing plans someday, or maybe one of your daughters will show interest. It is a good skill.


  5. Deborah Weber says:

    I’m a kindred in that the process of sewing just isn’t enjoyable to me. But what a delightful share of the Tree + Vine shop. I’ve always wanted a pair of wings, and maybe someday I’ll get them.
    So glad I stopped by today – happy final week of A-to-Z-ing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Cathy Kennedy says:

    Howdy WIM!

    Good to meet you and thanks for visiting. Maine is one of our favorite destination spots and we’ve been three times. Our youngest daughter and her husband are looking to move to Portland next spring. This makes our hearts heavy but I say if you’re going to experience other places then do it while you’re young and don’t mind the hassles as bad. lol I grew up in the 70s. Every girl was expected to take Home Economics in school. That’s where I learned to sew. I knew just enough to get by. My parents bought me a sewing machine for my high school graduation present. I have not put it to a lot of use over the years, except I made some maternity dresses, vintage style Christmas stockings for the family, and a few other DIY projects. The one thing I would like to do is learn how to quilt. Maybe when we get into our next house I’ll have room enough where I have elbow space to do such an involved project as this. Your costumes look amazing and I’m sure they delight your children. Have a good day and happy a2zing!

    ~Curious as a Cathy
    Art Sketching Through the Alphabet “T” (Treehouse)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      If your daughter moves to Portland you’ll have even more reasons to visit Maine again! It’s a great place to live. I’m sure they’ll enjoy it here although it’s always tough to be away from family. For me, returning to Maine was coming home to family.

      Quilting is amazing. There are some other A to Z participants doing quilt themes and they’ve been fun to visit.

      Ellen’s costumes from Tree + Vine are so beautiful. Dress up was always my girl’s favorite thing and these creations would have topped their list.


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