Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Halloween: Baby Flamingo Costume Tutorial

I sewed this on from scratch and it was a really fun project. You could also make any sort of other bird from the basic template: owl, kingfisher, eagle etc. 



Scroll down for the full tutorial.

I’m a little hesitant to post this tutorial since I’m not an experienced seamstress. In fact, I’ve probably made three articles of clothing in my whole life. That said, this was a pretty easy costume and it could be tackled by most.

First of all: this tutorial is for the bodysuit and hat only. The pants we already had and by some sort of magic coincidence, matched the bodysuit perfectly.

1 yard light pink fabric (I used a non-stretchy lightweight fleece)
1/2 yard dark pink fabric (again, a non-stretchy lightweight fleece)
4 sheets white felt (8"x11” is fine; it just has to be large enough for a ‘wing’)
1 sheet black felt
10” eleastic
2 large googly eyes
coordinating thread
hot glue gun

To begin: find a baby bodysuit (that fits your child), fold in the arms, and trace the outline on a sheet of wrapping paper. If you squint really closely you can see my pencil tracing. Because my fabric is non-stretchy, I added in about an extra inch on all sides:

Cut out your template and then fold in half. Trim as needed, to make sure it’s symmetrical.


Fold over the light pink fabric and pin the template down. You should have two layers of fabric.

Cut out.

On a separate piece of fabric, fold in half to make two layers. 

Cut out lines of ‘feathers’, making sure to keep a 1/2” band at the bottom to connect them.

Make several (10-20) rows of feathers, enough to cover the body suit. Include several rows of the darker material as well. This is your personal preference, do as many colors as you’d like, in whatever pattern suits you best.

Pin the rows to the front of the body suit piece. They don’t need to extend all the way down to the bottom (crotch). I left about two inches free of feathers.

 Starting at the bottom, sew each line of feathers along the top.

Sewing is completed. Set aside front piece.

For the back: decide how to add additional baby entry/exit capabilities to the garment. You’ll have the bottom access but given the non-stretchy nature of the fabric, it’s nice to slide the baby in from the top. If you’re crafty, put in a back zipper. If you’re not comfortable with zippers, do like I did and do a big gap with a hook at the top. This works ok although it does ‘gap’ quite a bit when it’s on. She’ll wear a shirt under the costume so it’s not a problem but do take it into consideration.

[You’ll notice that I put the back entry in after I’d already sewed the front on and it was a major pain in the patootie. So: ‘Be not like me, friends!’]

Then do a little hem around the edges in blue.

Since this is a halloween consume that will be worn once, I simply folded over the fabric, sewed, and called it good.

Do the same for the front.

Placing right sides together, sew the two sides and top of straps together.

Turn right-side out. Add snaps at the bottom flaps. And the body suit is done!

Now for the wings.

Out of paper, draw a wing shape. I measured the arm lengths of that original blue body suite in the top picture and then based my wing length off of that measurement. Basically it looks like a big leaf with the ‘base’ being the spot where you sew it onto the bodysuit.

Next, cut the wings out of white felt. (or pink felt would be nice here too. your choice). You need 4 wings. 

Next, cut some more pink feather rows and attach them to two of the wings. 

I did a slightly different pattern of feather alignment for the wings then I did for the body. Here’s a visual. The bodysuit feathers mostly line up with the feather below it. The wing feathers are offset. 

Remember to start at the bottom.

Next, trim up your wings.

More wing trimming:

I didn’t bother to hem as I kind of like the loose, shabby chic look.

Next, take your two remaining wings and add arm/wrist straps.

Hot glue the back sides of a feathered wing to an arm strap wing. Do the other one and then sew both of them onto the bodysuit.

I sewed the wings on the seam closest to the neck (the inner seam, not the seam closest to the arm).

Now, for the hat.

My best advice: buy a pink hat and add the felt beak and eyes afterwards. :(

I struggled with the hat.

My main problem was that I didn’t measure Emma’s head right off the bat. Be ye not so dumb, friends! My second problem was that I used a hat for measurement that is constructed of cotton knit, and stretches a vast amount when stuck onto the head of my child.

So, if you’re going to preserver with the hat, measure your kid’s head first and secondly, add in a lot of extra material. Or use a stretchy cotton knit. Your choice.

Here was my hat. Trace ‘em out. You need two.

Hem the bottom of the ‘front’ hat.

Add elastic to the ‘back’ side of the hat. This also serves as a hem.

That’s the back on the left, and the front on the right. 

At this point I also added in a dart on the front side which I didn’t take any pictures of. Basically I cut a line down on the front of the hat and then promptly sewed the two pieces together at a inward angle, creating a little ‘top’ part to the hat. That’s a miserable explanation, I know. This site actually has a good visual for what I did, using their white lace hat base.

Putting the wrong sides together, sew around the edges.

 Next, spend some time looking at flamingo beaks online. This is what I came up with:

A lot of them have pink on the beaks but we’re keeping it simple with black and white. Cut two pieces of white felt in the shape below (the slightly shaded part will be covered by the black felt):

Placing the two wrong sides together, sew a line down the top of the beak. The vertical line on the left is what attaches to the hat.

Cut out two black felt end beak shapes:

Turn your white beak right side out. Glue each black felt piece to the white felt.

 Decide on beak placement and glue to hat. Cut out two circles of black felt, glue those down above the beak and add on goggly eyes.

I sprayed the whole thing to give it a little extra backbone. No droopy beak for us!. Alternatively, you could add in another layer of felt or add backing. Your choice, friends!