Tuesday, October 13, 2015

DIY Tropical Fish CostumeTutorial

Our little Em is going to be a tropical parrot fish for halloween. This DIY fish costume is easy, provided you are fairly handy with a sewing machine. But be warned: sewing on all the scales is a time consuming process. 

Required Supplies

  • Large sheet of paper (tracing paper is ideal)
  • 1 yard white felt
  • 1 yard light blue felt
  • 1/2 yard each of dark blue and pink felt
  • 24” velcro
  • 1/2 yard interfacing
  • 1 packing pink edging/binding
  • 1 ping pong ball (cut in half)
  • Pilot hat (similar here)
  • Black paint

  • White shirt and blue pants to wear under the costume
  • Fishing net (as a trick or treat bag)

  • Sewing machine
  • Glue gun
  • Hand saw (for ping pong ball)
  • Painting supplies

The front view:

The back view:

Fin detail:

The complete costume:

The Dress
Trace around an existing garment onto the tracing paper, leaving approximately an inch all the way around. Make it longer than necessary. Better to go too wide/long than too small. 

Cut out the pattern. Fold it lengthwise to make sure that both sides are identical. Trim off any edges that don’t match.

Pin your paper pattern to two layers of white felt. 

Cut out fabric.

You should now have two identical dress sides. 

Pin the dresses back together (right sides facing each other on the inside) and sew along the blue lines, with a 1/4” seam. Turn it right side out.

Make sure it fits:

I ended up trimming my neckline down just a bit to give the girl a little more wiggle room. Also, cut a line down the back. This is where your velcro will go.  

Sew in the velcro. I made a velcro placket so that the two pieces of the back didn’t overlap in a funny way, allowing the fabric to lay straight.  

Velcro detail:

Time to get out the paper again and draw a fish fin. Trace the fin onto two pieces of blue felt. Sandwich in a fusible interfacing layer for additional strength. I did a bit of fin detailing with the sewing machine. Sew onto the velcro placket. 

Fish Scales
 I used a canning jar lid for my circles and traced out 36 of the following colors: white, blue, navy, and pink. I didn’t have any pink felt so I took a regular piece of pink fabric and ironed into onto a piece of fusible interfacing. It worked...but the felt is so much easier to work with. Far less trouble.

Find a good long show to watch while you’re tracing and cutting as this task is painfully boring. 

 And then pick your scale pattern:

Starting at the bottom row, sew the tops of each circle onto the dress. I did my sewing line about 1/2” down from the top of the scale; each stitched line was about 1.5” long. Repeat each row, moving from the bottom to the top. No side-by-side scales should overlap but each row should overlap the row below by about 50%. You’ll have to jimmy things a little when it comes to the back fin. I ended up hot gluing down a few of the smaller scales. 

Clip your threads. The hard part is done! I didn’t take any pictures of this but sew on the pink binding at the arms and neck holes.

Ugh. The binding gave me so much pain. My old machine can’t handle multiple layers of thick felt. 

The Tail
Grab the paper once more and trace out a fish tail. Use the light blue felt as the base for the pattern. Sew the scales onto the tail. 

Turn it over and trim the sides. 

The tail is almost complete. Sew a line of velcro onto the top front of the tail and an accompanying piece under the row of scales on the back of the dress below the fin. 

The Head
Use a handsaw to cut a ping pong ball in half. Paint on some eyes. Set aside to dry.

Sew two blue scales onto the hat and then carefully glue down the eyes. This project is finished!!

Happy Halloweening!