Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Wesley the Dinosaur! {Toddler Dinosaur Halloween Costume}

Wesley loves dinosaurs. He watches them on TV, reads about them in books, and pretends he is one. His room is decorated with dinosaurs. I ADORE Halloween and have been planning Wesley's costume for months. Jarrod's not as into Halloween so I pester him to get his ideas on what we should be as a family.


Um, what? How can we all be dinosaurs? I don't know how to do that...

Obviously there are lots of patterns out there to make toddler dinosaur costumes, but they are expensive, hot, and involved. Who knows if my son will even wear his costume... I want to make it as easy on him as possible. I also want to be sure that I spend as little as possible in case he doesn't wear it!

After a TON of pinteresting, I found literally nothing that I liked. Nothing that I thought I could recreate for my boy. So I decided to go rogue! After seeing a cape-turned-shark, I decided I could do that with a dinosaur!

I found this cape pattern and went from there! The entire costume cost me less than $15! It took about 3 hours to make, but most of that time was thinking through the concept. The best part? Wesley will wear it!
I tried to get him to try it on while I was making it, but he wanted nothing to do with it. His little girlfriend was over the other day and I tried it on her. From that moment forward, he was sold. No struggling to get him to wear it!
The cape is awesome because he can wear whatever he wants to under it. I hoped for a lime green t-shirt, but couldn't find one in his size. The XS is still too big for this little guy! He can wear a long sleeved shirt if it's cooler on Halloween.

I used ric-rac for the teeth and sewed it into the hood. The spikes and toes are fleece. Everything is doubled. The green was super-cheap cotton that I scored for about $2.50/yard. The shoe covers were easy too and might be my favorite part of the whole costume!
The spikes were a challenge because obviously a cape doesn't have a center seam down the back... And spikes need a seam. So I created a seam and just folded a small 1/2" crease for the spikes. In retrospect, I should have accounted for that in the lining, but I'd already sewed the cape. If I were to do it again, I'd either make the cape out of 3 pieces of fabric rather than two and sew the two pieces together with the spikes in the middle. Or I'd make the lining about 1" shorter than the outside to account for the seam for the spikes.

Unfortunately I didn't capture any pictures as I went, but I think I can accurately describe what I did. Here we go!

2 yards of green cotton fabric (or one yard for the outside and one yard for the inside)
White ric-rac
scrap fleece for the spikes and toes
scrap white and black fabric for the eyes
Matching thread - I used green to avoid changing with each color
Length of the cape - measure from the nape of the neck to wherever you want the cape to fall. For my boy it was about 20".

Fold your fabric in half and cut down the center. Take the two halves and fold them in half. Stack on top of each other. Use a pencil and a string protractor-style to create a curved line the length of the cape. Start the pencil at the fold and curve to the unfolded side.

Confused? Check this pattern.

Cut along this line through all 4 layers of fabric. Parallel to this cut, cut 2 1/2" off the opposite corner. This is for the neck. This will be the cape. Put this fabric aside.

Use remaining fabric to create the hood. Trace an existing hood onto the fabric. Trace it about 1/2" larger than the hood. I used a simple sweatshirt hood for Wesley's. You need 4 pieces of 1/2 hood fabric. Put aside.

Cut fleece into triangles. I needed 5 triangles for Wesley's costume, so I cut 10 total. Sew the two short ends together and flip the triangles.

Sew two spikes into the hood's center seam, sewing together the outside seam of the hood, right sides together. At the same time, sew the middle seam of the lining of the hood as well. Continue sewing the hood by attaching the ric-rac to the seam around the face of the hood. You'll want to attach the ric-rac to the right side of the outside and lining of the hood. I followed this tutorial to learn how to sew ric-rac. Turn the hood right side out. It should be complete except for the bottom. Set aside.

Take the top of the cape and line up 3-4 more spikes in the center of the fabric. Fold the fabric over and pin in place. You essentially created a dinosaur cape/spike sandwich! Sew the spikes in place. Line up right sides to right sides with the outside and lining of the cape. Sew around the sides and bottom, leaving 5" open at the bottom.
At this step I added velcro straps to the hood. I hoped the hood wouldn't need them and I could attach the velcro to the hood, but Wesley needed a little more room. I just created two short straps by cutting rectangles, folding, sewing 2 sides, flipping, and attaching to the hood. The velcro can go right on the strap. Be sure to pin them to the hood before you sew the hood to the cape. 
Right sides together, attach the hood to the neck of the cape. You'll need to be careful to attach the lining to the lining and the outside to the outside. This was the most complicated step for me! With the hood inside the cape, sew along the neck of the cape. Pull everything through the 5" whole at the bottom so that it is right side out. Topstitch along the entire bottom of the cape.

If you didn't add velcro straps, you can add velcro directly to the hood or cape at this time. Try it on your child to see where and how much to add.

Cape done!

I decided to go the extra mile and make shoe covers. It was fairly simple. I traces Wesley's shoes and used paper to create a model of what I wanted. I made two rectangles and two half ovals (all lined!). They were all lined. I sewed little spikes (toes) into the curved part of the oval. Then I sewed the flat part of the oval into the long side of the rectangle. I sewed velcro onto the short sides of the rectangle and bam! Dinosaur feet!

He's definitely the sweetest dinosaur at the pumpkin patch!
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