Monday, November 05, 2007

Easy Giraffe Costume

In this post I’ll show you how I turned these “materials”:

Into a toddling giraffe:

I wasn’t going to make my son a costume this year since he is to young to go trick-or-treating or understand what Halloween is about. But he got invited to a costume birthday party, so I decided what the heck. Plus, the zoo has an event and he loves the zoo, hence the giraffe idea.

First I looked on the internet to get some ideas. Then I made some sketches of different concepts. My main considerations were that I didn’t want to spend a lot time or money and that the boy doesn’t like loose clothing, getting dressed in general, but does love running. So I made the tunic easy-on, sleeveless, with slits. The “horns” were a little more difficult to figure out. I contemplated making a cover for his ball cap or something elasticized, perhaps knitting the horns.

I went to the fabric store and bought way too much giraffe print, a pack of seam binding, brown yarn, and black fun fur yarn. I picked up a girl’s headband at Target just in case things got desperate with the horns, figured I could glue fabric and horns on. Bubba already had brown pants, shirt and hat.

The first thing I did was trace half of the front of an existing sweatshirt of his to make a pattern. The front of the tunic is one piece of fabric and the back seamed in the middle in order to have a place to attach the tail and have a back neck opening. I added a half an inch to the center seam to make it roomier, extended the side seams to make it longer, added 1/2” seam allowances on the side and neck. Then, since I am lazy and didn’t want to make a separate pattern for the back, I added another 1/2” for a seam allowance to the center which is folded back when cutting the front (which is cut on a fold); and drafted a higher neck line with s.a. for the back which I cut to the side s.a. line, so it could be folded back, too.

Next I sewed a tube for the tail, turned it right side out leaving both ends open. Sewed the center back seam with the tail in the seam (leaving a couple inches open at the top), then the shoulder seams, and the sides, leaving the bottom couple inches open. Tried it on my model to discover the tail was way too high; tore out seam, repositioned tail and sewed back up.

I didn’t do fancy finishing and couldn’t properly sew since I couldn’t have the iron on with Mr. Toddles running about. Kept telling myself it was just a costume. I just turned under and stitched around the armholes, the edges of the side slits, the straight part of the neck opening. I used the seam binding to cover the raw neck edge leaving tails to tie the back closed. I mistakenly bought single-fold bias tape so I didn’t have much to work with. It’s the one part that looks kind of bad. I folded up the bottom edges to make hems. Finally, I took a bunch of lengths of the fuzzy yarn and stuck it into the end (raw edge turned under) of the tail and simply stitched it closed back and forth, catching the yarn inside. The tail was really cute, I'm bummed I didn't get any photos of it in action. Here it is:

And the back closure:

I was still not sure how I was going to make the horns, and was determined not to stay up all night. So I tossed aside the idea of covering the ball cap. I made small tubes of fabric for the horns, stuffed them with fabric scraps and added yarn as for the tail. I sewed a tube to cover the head band, the horns in the seam, with a slit open near the end to slide the band in. The horns wouldn’t stand up so I unfolded a big paper clip, and from underneath ran an end into each horn. Slid the hairband in and didn’t even bother to hand stitch it shut. I'm glad I didn't spend a lot of time on it because he refused to wear the horns much.

All in all I was happy with the costume and entered it in a contest at "The Poop". We didn't win but got to see a lot of really inventive, cute costumes. Check it out. There are more "after" photos on his blog. Email me if you would like the link.


Offshore Wife said...

I love the costume and your little boy is darling. :)

Softi said...

aww that costume is great! you're little one looks cute as a button :)