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Tutorial: Easy DIY Zebra, Horse, or Unicorn Costume

 

DIY zebra costume tutorial

Every year for Halloween I try my best to make the biggest impact I can with the costumes for the least amount of work and money – it’s a necessity with 3 kids.  Some years I’ve found great deals on Ebay or at Goodwill and gotten a store bought costume (my littlest will wear his big brother’s skunk costume this year which was an awesome Ebay find).  Other years I’ve made key elements paired with some items we already had to make a really fun costume.  You can see the costumes I’ve made in the past here.

DIY Zebra Costume

This year my 4 year old daughter asked me to turn her into a zebra.  I had planned on finding a white hoodie and sweat pants to paint but wasn’t finding anything.  I ran into Walmart to see if they would happen to have some and instead found the perfect thing…someone else already did the work for me and made a fleece zebra sweat suit!  I am not a big fan of most animal prints and zebra print particularly can be hard on my eyes unless done in small doses but for actually dressing up to BE a zebra, it’s perfect!  Of course my daughter was content to just wear that to pretend to be a zebra but I knew we could do a bit more work and make it really cute.  And she was using a snake plush stuffed into the back of her pants as the tail…and that wasn’t gonna work long term.

DIY zebra costume from The Nesting Spot

A great thing about this costume is that by changing the color and making the mane longer it could easily become a horse costume.  And then if you make a horn and add that on top it can be a unicorn!

 

To make a zebra costume you’ll need:

Zebra hoodie and pants  I found mine at Walmart for about $13. If you can’t find ones already made you could find a white outfit and either paint black stripes or use black duct tape to put stripes on.

Comfortable black shoes

1/4 yard zebra pattern fleece

1/4 yard black fleece

Small amount of white fleece

Black thread

Hot glue gun

Safety pins

Cardboard…can be from cereal box or anything from your recycling can

1 sheet white card stock

Templates for head, ears, eyes, and muzzle

Zebra Template 1

Zebra Template 2

 

Cut everything out.

From the zebra fleece:

-2 ears facing opposite directions

-1 tail rectangle – 8″ x 3 1/2″

-2 faces, with one cut about an inch bigger all the way around so it can fold over to the back of the cardboard.  (It doesn’t have to be perfect, just eye ball it.  The edges will be hidden.)

From the black fleece:

-1 tail tip -5″ x 5″ piece

-1 mane -10″ x 20″ piece

-2 muzzles

-2 eyes facing opposite directions

From the white fleece:

-2 ears facing opposite directions

From cardboard:

-1 face

From card stock:

-2 ears cut a bit smaller than the fleece ones

 

Make the Ears

zebra ears inside out

Place one white piece and one zebra piece right sides together.  Stitch around, leaving the straight edge at the bottom open.  Repeat one more time for the other ear.  Clip the curves and the top of the ears seen in picture above.  Turn the ears right side out.

zebra ears

Cut out two ear pieces in card stock making them about a quarter inch smaller all the way around.  I had to cut a little extra off the bottom making it about 4 inches tall.  Place each piece inside the ear.  It will make the ear bend a bit and help it to stand up straight when worn.  After the card stock is in I put a big dot of hot glue at the bottom middle to press hold the sides together and give it that zebra ear shape.  I waited to do this until I was glueing the face together.

Make the Mane

Zebras’ manes are actually striped but I thought the black would be a nice contrast so it wouldn’t just blend in with all the other stripes.

zebra mane

Fold the large black rectangle in half (hot dog style as seen above) then fold it in half again.  Sew a line along the edge of the folded side.

zebra mane

On the side that was not sewn there will be a folded edge and two raw edges.  Cut the fold open so that there are four raw edges.  Then cut slits all the way down to make the hair.

Make the Tail

zebra tail pieces

Roll the small black fleece square onto itself.  Lay the zebra tail fleece rectangle right side up and put the rolled black square on top of it in the middle with the edges lined up.

zebra tail step 1

Fold the zebra fleece over the black fleece with right sides together.  It will make a little burrito.  Sew carefully along the long open edge and the side where the black fleece goes to the edge.  Make sure to not sew the black fleece in the long side, only the bottom edge where the two ends are.  Leave the other end open.

zebra tail step 2

Turn it right side out.  Cut slits in the black fleece to make the hair and shape it to come to a point if you like.

zebra tail step 3

Make the Face

zebra face materials

zebra face cardboard

I used cardboard from toy packaging but a cereal box would work great too.  Just something to help the face not flop down over the child’s eyes.  Bend the cardboard to make it rounded.

zebra face

Glue with hot glue the bigger zebra fleece onto the front of the face.  Glue the black muzzle and black eyes.

Note:  Please be careful with the hot glue!  I have been using hot glue forever but burned three of my fingers doing this and one of my thumbs has a big blister!

zebra face step 2

zebra face step 2

Cut slits around the fabric that is hanging past the cardboard.  You can see this in the pictures above.  This will make it easier to turn it over and glue it down on the back without lumps.  Use the hot glue to glue all those slits down on the back. Do the same thing with the muzzle.

finished back of zebra face

Glue the smaller zebra fleece on the back to cover up all the overhang on the back.  Glue the muzzle down on the back and trim the extra off.  This way if any of the bottom is showing it will still look nice.  (The picture above is of the back.)  This was also helpful because I was able to attach the head to the hoodie using safety pins to attach the fleece on the back.

Assembly Time!

Now that you have all the pieces you can choose how to assemble it.  I had thought about sewing the ears and mane on but decided to try just safety pinning them and it ended up working great.  Hot gluing is an option as well.  It depends on if you want to be able to use the clothes again for another purpose.

First, I put the hoodie on my daughter to see where the face should be on the hood.  Once I got that I used two large safety pins going through the hoodie and the back fleece of the face to hold it on.

Then I could play around with the ear placement.  I just played with it until I found a spot that looked natural.  At this point I also just had the hoodie sitting on my knee so that my daughter didn’t have to keep standing there and I could work it easier with all that maneuvering/pinning.  I used 3 safety pins per ear to make them stand up the way I wanted them to.  This took some trial and error but only took a few minutes.

I started the mane a little bit on the forehead of the zebra face and then followed the seam on the back of the hoodie.  I made my mane long enough to go onto the back a bit but if you’d like yours to end at the neck you could just make it shorter.  I put a safety pin through the hoodie and edge of the mane every few inches.  To keep the “bangs” of the mane attached to the face I ended up hand sewing them onto the face fleece since I figured a safety pin would show.

Lastly, pin the tail to the back of the pants.  I pinned mine just below the waistband.

simple zebra costume DIY zebra halloween costume

And that is it!  It looks like a lot when all written out step by step but it is actually pretty simple.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  And remember that fleece is very forgiving and hides lots of flaws.  I didn’t pin anything when cutting or sewing it and didn’t cut perfectly straight lines and you’d never know.

And just because she’s too cute I’ll add a couple more pictures.

DIY zebra costume DIY zebra costume

zebra out take
Ha, the donkey wanted to get a little taste of the zebra ear I think! Thought this was pretty funny.  Congrats for making it this far in the post.

And this tutorial is part of a Halloween Craft Tutorial Link Up with 12 other Halloween crafty ideas!  Thank you Alicia from Felt with Love Designs for organizing the link-up!

Halloween Crafty Tutorial Link-Up

Bugs and Fishes // Family Living on a Budget // Felt With Love Designs

Good Critters // GYCT Designs // House Full of Boys

Hugs Are Fun // Knot Sew Normal // Mommy in Sports

My Pinterventures // The Nesting Spot // Woods of Bell Trees // Year of Sarah

DIY Tinkerbell Costume

Well, these posts are taking longer than I’d hoped, but now that we made it past Josiah’s 6th birthday party I’ll try to speed things up.

I’ve already written about my littlest Peter Pan costume here.  Now it’s time to talk about Tinkerbell.

DIY Tinkerbell Costume from The Nesting Spot

While Josiah took to the last second to make a decision on a costume, Audrey knew from the beginning that she wanted to be Tinkerbell.  I figured it would be easy enough since she looks like her.  I think she turned out pretty cute if I do say so myself!

DIY Tinkerbell Costume from The Nesting Spot

DIY Tinkerbell Costume from The Nesting Spot

I wanted to try and make something that looked like the actual Tinkerbell from the different movies, not just a green tutu dress that is Tinkerbell inspired.  I looked around the web for tutorials or pictures to help.  I did find some handmade costumes for sale that looked like I wanted but didn’t find any tutorials.  Ken and I were at JoAnn’s and I was looking around at all their green fabric to see what could work.  I wanted something comfortable.  I found some green knits but nothing quite light enough.  Then I saw another pretty fabric that was a shimmery and looked like leaves because of the texture of it.  In the newer Tinkerbell movies her dresses are made of leaves so I liked copying that.  The fabric was a bit sheer though so I bought the knit fabric to go under it.  I figured extra layers would help keep her warmer in this minimal dress as well.

diy tinkerbell dress from The Nesting Spot

I used another sun dress that she has as my reference for size.  I made the under layer first.  It is very simple with just front and back pieces.  I cut it long so that I could cut the bottom later.  I really didn’t want to end up with it being too short.  The top layer I made using four pieces.  I really just made it up as I went and kind of winged it.  I was inspired by this.   I did use her measurements though.  I also had to try both layers on her a couple times and take in the sides or make other adjustments to make it just right.  After getting the two layers the way I wanted I put them on her again to measure how much tulle would be needed for the straps.  Tinkerbell’s dress doesn’t have straps but we’re not doing that on a 3 year old.  I did want to give the illusion a bit though so I bought a quarter yard of nude colored tulle for a few cents at Hobby Lobby.

Note: You may notice a crease in the different parts of the dress.  I’m assuming that is where it was folded on the bolt.  I prewashed both green fabrics and am surprised it didn’t come out.  I really wasn’t paying attention to it and didn’t notice it until I was finished.  I don’t know if that kind of fabric can be ironed or not.  If you know tell me in the comments.  But really, it wasn’t too noticeable in real life.

tinkerbell dress sized from sun dress

tinkerbell dress straps

I pinned the two layers together and the tulle in between them as well.  I also tried it on her to make sure I was putting the straps in the right place.  The dress is FAR from perfect if you look at the seams closely but I try not to worry too much about a costume that will only be seen a few hours.  After it was all pinned I sewed two  rows around the top and backstitched over the straps to make sure they were extra strong.

Finally, I put it back on her and just needed to measure how much to cut off the bottom to make the skirt with the cutouts.  I debated sewing the layers together or doing other things but ended up just not worrying and just cutting the two layers to match (although they often lay in different positions when she moves).  I just kind of eye balled it.  I was afraid that the top leafy layer was starting to fray so I did a zig zag stitch close to the edge all the way around just to keep it from fraying too far.  I kind of liked the added detail.  Knit doesn’t fray so I left it alone.

tinkerbell dress

Surprisingly, the hardest thing for me to find was the wings. I looked everywhere….at least twice.  Finally, I ended up accidently seeing at the 11th hour that a local gift shop was selling Halloween accessories and I popped in to find that they indeed had angel wings for only $3.50!  I had been seeing every type of wing imaginable in my quest for good Tinkerbell wings but they were every other color of the rainbow.  I also saw some really awesome fairy looking wings but they were around $18.  Um, no.  Can’t do it. You may be asking yourself why I didn’t just make some.  Well, I could have but I really just wanted to keep this simple and not go through the trouble of trying to form coat hangers and get the panty hose to work etc.  I just figured this would be an easy short cut. Who knew it’d be so hard?  But in the end the angel wings (with halo) worked great.  They definitely looked more to me like fairy wings than angel wings.  I did bend the corners of all four wings though to make them a bit more pointy and fairy-like.

tinkerbell wings

Because there was such a large piece of cloth in the middle of the two halves I wanted to disguise it a bit so it wasn’t so obvious that it was fake wings on her back.  I wanted them to look like they were just coming out of her dress…you know, like a really fairy would.  I also didn’t want to use the arm straps that came with it because that would detract from the look.  I didn’t want to cut the straps off though so that when Audrey plays with them later at home she can just slip the wings back on.

tinkerbell wings

So, I used a scrap of fabric leftover from cutting the top dress layer and just wrapped it around the middle a few times and then safety pinned it down.  Then I just slid the straps under the cloth and they stayed put.

tinkerbell wings

I safety pinned the wings to the back of her dress.  I actually didn’t do this until we got to the Fall Festival because wings and car seats don’t mix.

tinkerbell dress and wings

Tinkerbell wears huge pom-poms on her shoes.  These are super easy to  make.  I grabbed some white yarn that I already had and cut out a piece of cardboard to wrap it around.  Choose the cardboard width to be half the diameter of the finished pom pom.  There are tons of tutorials online on how to make them.  Here is one.

Tinkerbell shoes and pom poms

At first I had trouble figuring out how I would attach the pom poms without hurting the shoes.  But then I had a flash of brilliance and remembered some barrettes I had bought long time ago to use for something else.  Thank goodness for hoarding supplies!  I simply used another long piece of yarn, tightly tied it around the center of the pom so you couldn’t see it and then tied it to the barrette.

pom pom clip diy

Then all we had to do was clip it to the top of the shoe.

tinker bell pom pom

I had been going back and forth about what she should wear for shoes.  Tinkerbell wears green shoes but I don’t see those often and wasn’t sure how to make them.  Finally, I decided that she could just wear some brown mary janes that she has but I was staring at her new gold shoes and thought that even though they aren’t true to the movies, they were fairyish and would also be comfortable for lots of walking.

tinkerbell shoes

And I think they turned out pretty cute!

At the last minute before we left I finally had a chance to look up how to do a sock bun. I had heard of them but hadn’t never seen how one was actually done before. I watched the first youtube video that popped up on Google and it looked very easy. I found an old sock that had no mate, cut it and started wrapping it around Audrey’s hair. First of all, it is always hard for me to pull her hair back because of the way her hair lies. It does not like all going back in one direction. Lots of lumps happen. Second, her hair is still very thin so it really wasn’t enough to fully cover the sock and it kept trying to slide out all night. But I just kept tucking it back in and it looked good enough. For someone with fuller hair this is definitely an easy way to get the Tinkerbell hair look.  Oh, and this photo shoot was done after Halloween so her hair was done quickly just for the photos.  It actually was a bit better on the actual night.

Okay, well, about wraps things up. If you have any questions please ask! I hope to get the last costume written about before Thanksgiving. haha!

DIY Tinkerbell Costume from The Nesting Spot

Halloween Costumes 2011

Here they are!  I can’t believe they are finished a week in advance.  That hasn’t happened before.  But it is a great feeling because I have so many other things I need to be doing and these are the most handmade costumes I have done..except for Audrey’s little strawberry costume last year which was a nice attempt but didn’t turn out like my vision of it.

I finished Josiah’s late last night and was so thrilled.  I had gotten the idea from Martha Stewart but after looking at her pattern it wasn’t at all like I thought it would be.  I had assumed I’d be making it like her other cape tutorials (like I used for Audrey’s) but they did it in a non-sewing way.  It actually looked harder to me and used a lot more materials.  And since to print out her pattern would have used 22 sheets of paper, I just made it up myself.  I used a piece of yarn and my disappearing ink pen to make a compass to make the circle for the cape.  I cut out a quarter of the circle and made a smaller circle for the neckline.  I made a collar to match the neckline, sewed it all up and voila!  A CAPE!  I was amazed at myself that I made Josiah’s costume from start to finish in about 2-2.5 hours total, including the hat.

Audrey’s hood alone took me that long or more because I couldn’t figure out what in the world Martha’s instructions were telling me to do.  Her cape was as simple as they come but I finally realized that the hood instructions are lacking the pictures that were originally with it when it was published in the magazine.  So, they are very cryptic.  If anyone needs help deciphering them let me know.  I had to figure it all out using paper first so I didn’t ruin my fabric.  And thankfully I did that because I totally thought they were wanting me to fold and cut it a different way at first.  I also didn’t like how they wanted me to put the hood together because it would leave the unfinished seams showing in the hood.  I noticed that when it was almost too late, but was able to sew it so the edges are hidden.  But if I had realized what they were doing from the beginning I would have sewn the pieces of fabric together differently to give an even more professional look.  oh well.  No one will notice or care but me.

I am excited about how Josiah’s hat came out.  On Martha’s site they have two fitted baseball caps glued on top of each other.  But I couldn’t find any brown hats at all until I thought to try Dollar General and they had two khaki ones.  They had those velcro straps on the back to alter the size though so I cut off the back half of each hat and sewed them together.  I kept resewing the hat smaller and smaller until it fit Josiah’s small head.  I cut the brims and hot glued bias tape on them.  The glue job isn’t perfect but it’s good enough.  Then I just sewed the little flaps and hand sewed them inside each side of the hat, added a bit of hot glue behind them on the outside for added strength and tied them together on top.  That is the same bias tape on top, I just sewed it in half to make it thinner.

I found Audrey’s little basket at Goodwill yesterday for 99 cents.  I just cut an extra piece of red fabric to lay in it.  She loved that basket and didn’t want to put it down.  I love that it is small and she won’t be able to accumulate much candy in it!

Josiah’s shirt is the same one we used to make him a hobbit.  It is just a white dress shirt.  The khakis are ones he already had too.  Audrey’s dress is the vintage one I showed you that I got from a little shop on Etsy.

I think my favorite part of her outfit is the ribbon I sewed around the edge of the cape.  I was afraid that my machine would growl at me and give me a hard time going through all that fabric but it worked perfectly and didn’t give me any trouble.  I wanted to hug my machine for its compliance with both of these projects.  They couldn’t have gone as fast as they did without its cooperation.

Fall is in the Air

I saw two things out my window yesterday.  The first one was a bit shocking at first because when I saw it from afar I thought it was the beginning of a birds nest.  I couldn’t believe the birds had done so much, so fast, without me seeing them.  But as I focused on it I realized it was a GIANT moth, probably about the size of my hand.  The picture doesn’t do it justice since there is nothing next to it for scale.  I kept telling Ken he needed to put his face in the picture but he wouldn’t play along.  I guess the moth (which I have seen before at our house in the past) was just trying to stay out of what is in the next picture.

Rain!  Glorious rain!  We haven’t seen this stuff in way too long.  And this wasn’t one of those 10 minute puny rains that we’ve gotten this summer but an actual downpour for hours rain.  Our yard is still damp and muddy from it.  We were woken up by the sound of it during the night and it was the happiest sound ever.  The day before I had the kids with me in Austin to get some fabric for Audrey’s halloween costume and it started to rain as we were getting out of the car.  Audrey stuck her tongue out to catch the mysterious stuff.  Poor girl has only seen it rain a few times in her life.

Oooh, did someone say halloween costume?!  Why yes I did.  I bought this cute little vintage dress off of etsy for a good price.  And then we took a ride to Joann fabric’s to buy some pretty red corduroy to make a hooded cape.  Any guesses as to what she’ll be?  I loved that I got a dress that can be worn again as a regular dress.  And I went a little crazy on the fabric buying so her cape is going to be much nicer than it needs to be and will probably be able to be passed down to her children.

I was all set to make a similar cape for Josiah to be Sherlock Holmes because the boy loves him and all things detective and mysterious.  But we went to Goodwill as soon as they started selling halloween costumes back at the end of September to see what cheap alternatives they had and we found a cool dragon costume.  It was marked $16 dollars but had orange highlighter marked over it so I asked what that meant and the guy said that it just meant that it was from last year and didn’t change the price but he would give it to me for $10.  So, I figured even if Josiah still ended up being Sherlock, he would have an awesome costume to dress up in.  So, while at Joann’s I went ahead and picked up some suiting material to make him a sherlock costume for either halloween or just for play.  He loves dressing up so it’ll get a lot of use.  And since his birthday is fast approaching I can give it to him then if I want.

Here are the tutorials I’ll be using to make the attire.  You can click on the pictures to see them.

Ok, so I want to hear.  What are your little ones going to be?  Are you going to dress up to?