The making of Chickadee the Pink Owl:
Felt (3 light and 3 dark pink): $1.50
Half yard of dark pink canvas: $4.45
Giant Bottle of Fabric glue: $9.98
Fabric scraps: free
Fabric paints: free
Time: ~3-4 hours
So…after a summer of indecision (mermaid, princess, ghost, skeleton, fairy, witch, cat and super-hero), Chickadee determined, in the last hour to be a pink owl.
The conversation (at the fabric store) went something like this:
Me: Chickadee (yes, I really call her that IRL) I don’t think anyone would know what you are if you decide to be a purple ghost. Ghost costumes are usually white.
Chickee: But MO-OM, I want to be a PURPLE FUZZY ghost.
Me: I get that, I’m just saying that the other kids might be confused at school. Ghosts are usually white, like…a sheet with some eyes cut out. I know you want to be a Dia de los Muertes ghost, with the flowers and skeletons and stuff…but I’m not sure anyone will know what you are supposed to be if you are fuzzy and purple. Plus…don’t you think the skeletons and stuff might be scary? (school has a prohibition against scary costumes)
Chickee: Oh, you mean like Miss ***** said no scary costumes ’cause the little kids might cry?
Me: I don’t think your teacher said the little kids might cry…
Chickee: Can I be an owl?
Chickee: Good, ’cause I wanna be a PINK owl. With FEATHERS. And a MASK.
Me: Ummmm…okay. But this is your last chance to change your mind. Are you SURE about the pink owl? Because once I buy the stuff, there is no going back.
Chickee: Yeah! A pink OWL! I’ll have the bestest costume EVER.
Since the kiddos like to play dress up, we’ve mastered a quick, easy and relatively cheap way to make an easy costume (with an even cheaper and easier alternative no-sew method). Its a good thing too, since the Chickadee took until the last minute to make up her mind!
Sewing method: Start out with two pieces of fabric as wide as your child, line them up together (back to back), fold them in half and cut out the armholes and neckline as shown on the left. Decorate*, leaving enough room on the edges to sew up later. Allow to dry if necessary. To sew, place the fabric face to face and sew a single seam or sew (the slightly more involved but far sturdier) French seams up either side (my preference). Attach ribbons for tie straps, buttons, snaps, buckles, etc to attach the top, or just sew top seams together.
No-sew Method: Take an old t-shirt (thrift stores are great for this) and cut out the neckline and armholes. Trim to fit as necessary (including bottom edge). Decorate.*
*I recommend decorating (particularly if using fabric glue, paint, etc) before sewing because of seepage. Nothing worse than realizing you glued the costume together after putting all that work into it! If you decide to sew it up first (or are using the no-sew method), take a piece of cardboard and lay it between the layers of fabric, then pin the layer of fabric to the cardboard to keep it in place.
For Chickadee’s owl, I used scraps of patterned fabric in which pink was the main color from my scrap bag and a couple pieces of pink felt that I cut into feather shapes and glued onto the fabric, randomly layering to look like feathers. I then cut out two layers of canvas for wings, glued them together, attached straps on the inside for her arms and sewed them on to the back. We also made a little “feather” caplet and mask from the scraps and extra feathers, added some trim to the top and cut the bottom to look like feathers. Since she has so many pink clothes, we are set for inclement weather.
For Sharkbait (whose knight costume is not quite dry enough to sew up or try on yet), I painted a simple sort of Knights Templar cross (I had considered a griffin, but it seemed out of my skill set…though a printable iron on transfer would have worked). We actually bought our accessories for his costume (helmet, shield, etc) , for under $5 at the thrift store (I think they might be Dollar Store-esque overstock or something), but they could easily be made from cardboard, duct tape, paint, foil, etc.
Another option might be to add sequins, a belt, etc for a “fancy dress”, to paint or glue parts for a robot (find some pieces of dryer tubing for arms and legs), or to keep some plain of different colors to mix and match with different accessories like butterfly or fairy wings or a turtle shell.