Low-Sew Halloween Costumes

Folks seem to already be looking for Halloween costume ideas, so I thought I’d round up previous posts on the topic. My favorite handmade costumes are  ones that don’t take too much effort.

Here’s our fireman costume from two thrifted shirts:

Another oldie and goodie—-the Turtle Costume from a sweatshirt and a sweater:

Turtle Costume Front 100N-0148_DSC

andf lastly, the Princess Dress from Upcycled Fabrics:

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For more ideas, go to elsie marley’s post here.

For the best Halloween decorations ever, look to Blair Peter of wisecraft’s posts here and here.  And here.  She does the WAY coolest stuff with things found for pennies at the thrift store.

I’m not sure what we’ll do for Halloween this year. It’s not really done in Germany, so last year we called friends around the neighborhood to warn them we’d be coming and begging for candy. It was fun, but I do miss our neighborhood Halloween back in the U.S.

Semi-Handmade Halloween: Quick and Easy Fireman Costume from Two Shirts

Lately  my little man has been looking for the turtle costume  that I made two years ago. Sadly, I left it in NC in his memory box in storage, thinking he wouldn’t want to wear it for a 3rd Halloween in a row, not realizing that he might just want to dress up in it. Twice he’s been looking for it and I’ve had to tell him it’s in NC. Both times he burst into tears and totally broke my heart. So you can imagine how much incentive I had to make a new costume for his third birthday.

The first shirt is cotton with a little stretch, which is ideal because it wrinkles less, but any adult-size red button-up will do. Actually black or gray would work fine, too. I got this one at Goodwill. Short-sleeves are best, but you can always shorten long sleeves if you need to.

Step 1) Size it down

I left the shirt long so that the costume will fit for a long time. I cut down the sides in a slight A-line and cut down the bottom of the sleeves as well so they weren’t quite so wide. It’s good for them to be a bit wide, though, for easy dressing. I used my son’s bathrobe as a rough guide for sizing.

Step 2) Decorate with strips of yellow cut from a knit shirt

After sewing the sides and sleeves back up, it’s time to decorate. You could use yellow felt, but I had this old, very stained t-shirt of my daughter’s handy. I cut it into strips and pinned them around the bottom of the jacket and around the sleeves. Some of them I sewed together because I needed a longer strip. I must’ve pinned them a little crookedly, but who cares. Then, sew the strips down. My mom, who was visiting, did this part (thanks, Mom!).

Voila! A fireman costume. My parents bought him a hat to go with it, though you could try sewing one of those, too. There’s a pattern for a hat in the new book One Yard Wonders. I haven’t had a chance to check it out yet.

The little man loves his new costume and says it’s his favorite birthday present. It’s pretty big on him still, but oh well, this way it will last a long time.

** Edited November 11 to add: my son wanted to wear this over his winter coat today. It was a little tight but it worked. I realized this would be a really easy costume to make to go over  a coat if you’re using it for Halloween in a place where it’s already cold at that time of year.

Upcycled Princess Gown from Thrifted Items

gownI decided that I would make this costume for my daughter from things I already had on hand. I started thrifting when I lived in Boston and couldn’t get to a fabric store easily. Luckily, Boston is a great place to thrift (I miss you, Urban Renewals!) and I often found fabulous things to wear as well as wonderful, sometimes crazy pieces to tear up and sew back together. I haven’t lived in Boston for several years, but all the materials for this costume (except the back of the bodice) came from my time there.

The bodice of the dress is made from something that looked like a long jacket made out of a sofa from an ancient sitting room. The skirt is made of various table covers that were once used at the performing arts organization where I worked. I saved them from the trash, what a hero. I did line the inside of the skirt with muslin, though, to make it less scratchy.

Taking a cue from the Disney-fied costumes sold in stores, I made the back of the bodice from an old knit nightgown so that it would stretch to fit.

The applique and the pink edging were the only things I purchased. Can’t wait to see her in it tonight!

Handmade Halloween: Turtle Costume from Castoffs

My 2-year-old little boy is going to wear the turtle costume I made last year, which still fits because of the way it’s put together (and because the pants are very stretchy). I started out by going to Goodwill and finding a sweater and sweatshirt in two contrasting colors of green. It was important to get things that were very finely knit so that I could cut them without having to worry about finishing them off to keep them from unraveling.

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I cut the arms off the light green sweater (a very soft, stretchy chenille) and sewed them into the pants, using the waistband of the sweatshirt as the pants waistband (cut down to size). It was still a little too large, so I cut a slit in the waistband and threaded a cord through them so I could pull it tight and tie the cord.

I re-sized the body of the light green sweater by taking it in, then used it for the body of the costume, sewing on dark green shapes cut from the sweatshirt. I’m not sure why I did this by hand—it could certainly be done by machine. Again, the pieces didn’t need finishing because of the fine knit.

Turtle Costume Front

For the turtle shell, I took a really large platter and traced it onto the dark sweatshirt, then applied light green shapes to one side of it in the same manner I had done to the turtle body. I sewed the two ovals right sides together, then cut a slit in the plain side, flipped it right side out, and stuffed it with fiber fill. Then I sewed the shell to the back of the body.

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For the hat, I took two U-shaped dark scraps and sewed them together at the top—no finishing.

The little man is still a bit young to object to having mom pick out his costume. If I can just get my daughter to agree to wear the one I made for her last spring, I’ll be all set.