A step-by-step guide to making this adorable toddler owl costume.
While searching the vast canyons of Pinterest for the perfect costume for my 18 month old daughter, I came across this adorable toddler owl costume made by Lindsey over at martinfamilytimes.blogspot.com. I LOVED it but it didn’t have step by step instructions and she said she didn’t have time to do it. First thought: That’s freakin adorable. Second thought: I’m gonna make it based on the picture. Third thought: I have a camera and a blog so why not help a sista out? So here it is! My step-by-step instructions for making some serious cuteness for your friends and neighbors to gush over.
Length of time to complete your toddler owl costume:
3 Nap Times
- 4 9×12 inch sheets each of 3 coordinating colors of felt. I chose tan, baby pink and raspberry
- 3/4 yard of 70 inch off white (or cream) felt, from a bolt. You can also do 1.5 yard of the 37″ if you can’t find the 70″.
- Good, sharp scissors or a cutting wheel (way faster)
- Cream colored thread
- Coordinating ribbon for tie
- Coordinating yarn for hat ties
- Tailors chalk (or a pencil would work too)
- Sewing machine
- Crafters Glue
- Buttons for eyes
- Matching toddler shirt/pants set (I got mine at Wal-mart for $3.88 each)
Lay your big piece of cream felt on a large surface. I used my living room floor, also the carpet held it in place nicely.
Measure your toddler from the back of their neck to the back of the knees. Mine was about 19″. Make a mark with your chalk on the top and bottom of that 19″.
Stick a safety pin in the top mark and tie a string to it. Measure 19″ (or whatever your child’s measurement was) and tie your chalk or pencil at the other end. Draw a half circle.
Now wind your chalk up until your string measures about 6″. Draw another half circle for the neck cut-out. Draw a straight line across the top and cut out your cape. **Now, try the cape on your munchkin to see if it fits right!**
Now it’s time to start cutting out feathers. ONLY USE 3 SHEETS OF EACH COLOR! The last sheet is for the hat embellishments and chest feathers.
First you’ll want to make a template piece. I used the cream felt because I had a lot of it to work with. I just cut out a shape that looked similar to the one I saw in the picture then used that as my template.
Now, if you’re feeling really brave (or inpatient) you can stack 2 or 3 sheets of felt and cut them all together. Just make sure you pin them together so it doesn’t shift around. Just keep cutting those little buggers out until you run out!
You don’t have to be totally precise cutting them because first of all, who has time for that and secondly, nobody will even notice!
Just keep cutting those little guys until you run out! But make sure you leave at least 1/2 to 1 sheet of each color so you don’t have to make a middle of the project fabric store run like some people here did. Eh hem, it was me… and a half an hour and 57 cents later I was back on track!
Now that you have a gazillion feathers cut out it’s time to lay it out. I picked a 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2 , 3, 4 pattern but you can do it however you want to! Start on the bottom row and work your way to the top.
Pin those little babies on
Now sew a line across the top edge of the feathers. Make sure you start on the end that ensures your sewing machine drops off at the end of each feather instead of having to go against the groove. Otherwise you’ll have some trouble holding each feather down while the sewing machine goes up a step!
Now lay out your second row about an inch and a half above the first row so that the new row covers the stitching from the previous row.
Keep layering and sewing one row at a time until you get to the top.
Once I got to the top couple of rows, I changed the pattern a little so I didn’t have a bunch of the same color in a vertical line. (plus I was running out of felt. See previous part about the mid-project store run)
I focused on lining up the feathers to each other more than lining them up to the top of the cape. Once I got the top row sewed on I cut off the excess neck fabric to make it look uniform but trust me my friend, it was not lined up perfectly so don’t stress about it.
Attach the ribbons for the tie-on just under the top row of feathers
VOILA! Done. On to the hat and chest plate
You should have plenty of cream felt left over to make this hat. I just took a measurement of my daughters head (19″) added an inch for seam allowances and comfort and divided that number by 2, giving me two 10″ pieces to cut out. I simply drew a 10″ wide half circle on a regular sheet of paper, then added some ears. I pinned the paper to a folded piece of cream felt (making it 2 layers so I didn’t have to cut twice). Cut it out and sew around the edge with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
Then cut out 2 little house-shaped pieces for the ear flaps. Turn your hat right side out.
Sew your ear flaps inside the hat on the sides with the middle of your house on the seam line of the hat.
For the ear straps I took 6 strands, 12″ long of brown yarn for each side, so 12 strands total and tied a knot in one end of each. Cut a small slit in the center of the pointy part of your ear flap and use a crochet hook to get two pieces through at a time. You want the hole just big enough to get them through but not so big that the knot slips through. Then simply braid the pieces by splitting it into 3 two-stranded parts.
Take your remaining Raspberry felt and cut two large circles. You can use anything that has a circular shape, I had a wide mouth half pint jar near by so that’s what I used.
Now, you can leave it straight-edged or add a little embellishment like I did here, it’s up to you.
For the embellishment, draw a smaller circle on the inside of the eye as a base line for cutting out the spikes. Or if you have pinking shears you can simply cut around the edge.
Cut the center of the eye out using an even smaller circle. Sew your buttons to the center to make the eyeball.
Here’s all the eye pieces. I added some eyelashes to make it a girl owl, but if yours is a boy you can omit these.
You can either glue all the pieces together or sew them. I chose to sew them because I know my child and there’s a very good chance she will rip these suckers off. So the less I have to glue or safety pin on Halloween the better!
Center your eyeballs and glue them on. I also added the flower to make it really super girly. Find a scrap of brown and cut and glue a little triangle beak.
Here’s the finished product.
The final piece of the costume is optional. I wanted a little more feathers on her so I decided to make a feather chest to put on her shirt. First thing you’ll want to do is to get the shirt out that your little one will be wearing and measure the chest across and down to find approximately what size oval to make. Then cut a rectangle a little bit bigger than that and draw an oval in it.
Now cut out some more feathers from your leftover sheets of felt. I made them a little bit smaller than the cape ones.
Then sew them on the oval you cut out earlier. You have a few options for attaching it to the shirt: 1) You can glue it, which is the best way to keep it on but it’s also permanent so that’s up to you if you don’t want to use the shirt anymore. 2) You can safety pin it, but with my kid, she would totally fiddle with them and probably poke herself! Your child might be different. 3) You can tack-sew it on, meaning sew around the edges but not use any back stitching so it can be easily removed later.
That’s it! You. are. done. Now go show off your new toddler owl costume!