Friday, November 01, 2013

DIY Dinosaur Costume for a Toddler

Ben’s dinosaur costume was pretty easy to pull together, with only a bit of basic sewing required and liberal use of a hot glue gun. 

My first stop was Old Navy as they were having a PJ sale. I was hoping to use the pair on the far left as they were a loose, fleecy material that would have been great for chilly trick-or-treating as we could have layered regular clothes underneath. And my slim little boy would have looked a bit more like the plumper dinos, rather than a stick-thin little bean sprout. But it wasn’t to be. He went for the skinny-fitting blue and yellow stripes. 

Which, in hindsight, aren’t a bad choice. He usually wears close-fitting PJs so once halloween is over I’m going to remove the spikes and they’ll revert back to their intended use. Also, I like the fact that the close cut PJs aren’t treated with flame-retardant chemicals, while the bigger fleecies are. 

The next step was finding an appropriate tail fabric from my stash - I was determined not to buy any more fabric.


Dots (this one almost won):

I was set on this one until I realized that I didn’t have enough fabric. Shucks. 

For the dino head I bought a winter pilot cap from Hanna Andersson. This too, will revert back into a spike-less garment once halloween is safely behind us. They have a less-expensive summer cap (one layer of fabric) but this one is nice and thick. Perfect for keeping those ears warm. And they look so stinkin’ cute. 

Here are the final fabric selections:

I did cave and buy some new matching felt.

You’ll want to make your felt spikes proportional to your toddler size. I played around for a bit before settling on my final size. I also cut the pieces in a diamond pattern so that I could sew them down the middle and them glue the two ends together, making a thicker, studier spike.  

Here’s a good example of that: one line of sewing straight down the creases of the spikes.

I used this pattern and tutorial for the tail. It was great. I made a few minor changes, namely, I used felt for the spikes and sewed them on after the tail was already assembled. Those I did by hand with a curved needle. Which was ok, but the end result was a bit on the floppy side.

Here is a closeup of the stitching and the needle:

And a (slightly blurry) finished product. 

So they got beefed up with some contrasting side spikes. 

I actually ended up glueing these down with the hot glue gun. Which worked just fine although I probably won’t be willing to run it through the wash now. 

One other modification: I added some interfacing between the belt layers to add a bit of strength. It was a good decision and helps hold the whole thing up. The belt is a simple velcro deal that Ben can take off himself. 

We also did a few fabric claws:

But opted for regular shoes, rather than proper dino feet. You could easily do shoe covers though. These were originally footed PJs but have since been de-footed. We end up cutting them off anyway, as Ben outgrows the PJs before he’s ready to move up to a bigger (read: wider) size. This kid is skinny! [One related note: There were several negative reviews of the jammies on the Old Navy website due to the fact that they’re so tight-fitting. They’re perfect for Ben for precisely that reason, but probably not a great solution for a stockier kiddo].

 The googly eyes are held on with double-sided tape, mostly so I can easily remove them and we’ll have a googly-free winter hat.

And that’s it! Happy Halloween!



See more pictures of the finished costume here