First, let me apologize for the long long LONG break in the blogging cycle. We are expecting a little girl soon and EVERYTHING they say about girl pregnancies (sick, tired, sick AND tired at the same time etc etc) has been true for me this time around. Needless to say, simply keeping after my toddler while trying to stay awake and /or not sick has been a great challenge… the good news is, we’re almost done (no joke, the below gown is the FIRST thing I’ve made for her, and I’m at 8 plus months pregnant… that is how rough it has been!)
Now onto the main reason for this post! I enjoy making halloween costumes for our son. I’m a firm believer that while store bought costumes can be REALLY cool, part of the fun from Halloween comes from using your creativity and whatever you can find to make your own! So far, we have been a Black Cat, an Engineer with a Thomas the Train wagon (paper mache and cardboard boxes!), and last year he and I went as Woody and Jessie, from Toy Story!
This year, after asking my son on no less than 5 different occasions and getting the SAME answer (which means in toddler language that they REALLY REALLY want to be that character for Halloween), I knew what costume I’d be making – Mr. Potato Head (again, Toy Story is really a favorite in our house!).
The costume was very easy to make (maybe about 1.5-2 hours of time) and VERY inexpensive, as I used felt for the costume.
First, gather your supplies… to make your own Mr. Potato Head costume, you will need:
Tan Felt (this will be the body, so make sure you get enough for length and width of your costume) – for my son, I purchased 5/8 a yard of craft felt from the local Joann Fabrics – I believe it was about 4 dollars for this purchase (it was also extra wide, which is an added bonus!)
Red or Orange Felt (one piece of the 8.5 by 11 sheets they sell in the crafts section is fine) for the nose
White Felt (2 pieces of the 8.5 by 11 sheet should work!) for the eyes and the smile
Black felt (2 pieces of 8.5 by 11 sheet) for the mustache and eyes/eye brows
Pink Felt (2 pieces of 8.5 by 11 sheet) for ears
Bag (can be a small bag) of poly fill – these are usually 3 dollars or so at any craft store
20 inches (or so) of small 1/4 inch ribbon for a neck tie on the back of the costume.
Step 1: Measure you little potato head and figure out how long you want the costume to be from top to bottom… with my son I ended up with about 20-22 inches of length.
Step 2: Cut out 3 pieces equal in size (length by width) for the font and back. The front of the costume will be two pieces, back will be 1 piece of felt
Step 3: Trace and cut out front and back neck line.
To get the right estimate for arm hole and neck hole size, I laid out one of my sons loose fit tank tops and drew the neckline (for front on one piece and for back on another). For the potato shape, I honestly just made an “egg” shape for almost the full width of the felt from the armpits on. You can adjust yours as needed.
I also cut a 4-5 inch slit in the center back of the costume to allow ease for the little putting on and off the costume.
Step 4: Start cutting out your accent pieces (eyes, nose, mouth etc). I found the best way to do this was to lay the full size piece of felt on the costume, then draw whatever shape eyes/nose/ mouth and cut an initial set, then trim up and adjust size wise from there.
Once I had all the accent pieces cut out, I laid them out on the costume front to get the right placement and fit… here is also where you can do some additional trimming to make sure that everything looks correct size wise.
(It’s also an occasion to encourage your little guy or gal to “help” make their costume by putting the pieces where they want them!!)
Step 5: Sew your accent pieces and where desired onto ONE of the front pieces (set aside the other front piece), fill with some of the poly batting. I hot glued the eyebrows on initially (and came back later to do decorative stitching on them) and then placed the eyes (the black eye dots were just hot glued on to the white portion). While pinned in place, I sewed 3/4 of the way around the eyes and then stuff some batting inside to give it a 3D look.
Then simply pin the opening down and stitch closed!
Next up to be sewn was the nose… I wanted to make sure that I left enough “space” for the nose to be puffy, so I “pinched” about 3/4 of an inch of the felt up, then pinned in place and ease sewed 3/4 of the way around as well.
Fill with batting and sew closed, just like the eyes… repeat for the mustache and the mouth and you’re all set with your decorative pieces! Don’t sew on your ears just yet though!!
Step 6 – Attach the two front pieces together. I used a 1/4 inch seam (as I was using 3/8 inch seam allowance) to stitch the front pieces together- WRONG sides together (although with felt it doesn’t really matter). I stitch ALL the way up one side, the whole neckline and down the other side, leaving the bottom open. I then put some poly batting /poly fill in the center of the two fronts to make the costume a little “puffy” like Mr. Potato Head is! Once you’ve got the amount you want to use (you don’t need a lot) sew the bottom of the front closed as well.
Step 7 – Attach the front to the back of the costume at the shoulders and the sides (leave the arm holes and neck line open!) This is the part where you will attach your ears as well – I placed mine about 1-2 inches DOWN from the armpit bottom. Also, I added some decorative stitching to the ears (basically a “c” in matching pink thread to give them some detail)
Step 8 – Use some of your scrap tan felt to make a neck binding and the arm hole binding… Attach your ribbon pieces at the upper corners of the back when you’re sewing on the neck binding to finish.
Turn binding to inside and top stitch , then trim excess… repeat on arm holes as well.
So there you have it – an inexpensive and CUTE Halloween costume for under about $10 dollars in materials (even less if you have a lot of the items hanging around like most fabric hoarders do!).
What about you readers- what are your thoughts on handmade costumes? Share some of them in the comments section that you’ve done!