Costume How To: Part 1

'Tis the season for make believe, harvest sales, and soup ... and we're loving it.

Last night, for no reason at all, Bella decided she needed to be a pirate. And so she was. Dressing her up in what we had around inspired me to share with y'all the neat little costumes we've put together over the years. I left out store-bought costumes (and there were several back-to-back years of Power Ranger and Spider-Man costumes).

Note that I can't sew and I'm not a "crafter." A little fabric glue here and repurposing there can turn disparate pieces into a costume that turns heads. For instance, Bella's Pippi costume from last year landed us on the cover of the local paper. That's pretty good for a novice!

I'll start with last year and work my way back in subsequent posts.

Pippi Longstocking

Bella dressed as Pippi last year (of course). Here's how we did it:
  • Must have: Red yarn hair. (I used a wig for a clown costume. Cost: $10)
  • A blue long-sleeved men's shirt you don't mind cutting up. (Found in Javi's closet. Cost: $0)
  • An child's apron. (Found at the Dollar Store. The apron had a bee on it, so I just turned it backwards. Cost: $1)
  • A sheet of yellow felt (Cost: $0.50)
  • A sheet of blue felt (Cost: $0.50)
  • A pair of funky-patterned tights (Already owned. Cost: $0)
  • A long sock (Borrowed from my sister. Cost: $0)
  • A pair of boots (Already owned. Cost: $0)
  • Old flannel material for making patches (Found in the Mountain Man's closet. Cost: $0)
  • Embroidery thread of any color (Already owned. Cost: $0)
Optional accessories:
To create the costume:
  • Cut a P out of the yellow felt (for Pippi, obviously). Use a few rough, large stitches to attach the P to the apron with blue embroidery thread. Because the bee was still obvious from the back, I attached a flannel patch first, and then the P on top.
  • Cut pockets from the blue felt. I cut the sheet in half, then layered it and cut the pockets at the same time. I used yellow embroidery thread to attach the pockets.
  • Cut the sleeves at mid-arm from the shirt and use the scissors to fray the edges. Then fold up each sleeve and use a stitch to hold the fold in place.
  • Add a few "patches" to the shirt and apron. Use yellow embroidery thread to make rough stitches holding the patches in place. Make sure you add a couple patches to the back of the shirt, too.
  • For the hair: Divide the red yarn wig into ponytails. Secure them with a clear band. Braid the ponytails and use another clear band at each end. Stretch out a wire hanger and thread it through the wig. Then shape the wire to your child's head.
  • The long sock is meant to go over one leg of the tights to create Pippi's look of mismatched leggings. If you have garters, you could cut the legs off two different pairs of cloth pants. If you have several pairs of long socks, skip the tights and just use socks. We had tights and my sister loaned us a long sock, so we went with that method.
  • For the pillow case: Cut a few slits around the top to thread shoe string. This will make your drawstring. Then add a few of the flannel patches. I suggest you cut the pillow case down a bit so the bag's not so big. I didn't do this, but it would've been better if I had.
Now all you have to do is put it all together and you have this look for just $12:

Coming up: A pirate, a knight, a wrestler, and an angel.

This post is linked to: The DIY Showoff, Get Your Craft On, Wordful Wednesday, Way Back When-esday, Works for Me Wednesday, and Somewhat Simple.


  • TKW

    I stand in awe.

  • Liz Mays

    You're so good! That is absolutely adorable!

  • Justine

    Anyone who can home-make anything is amazing in my books, especially awesome Halloween costumes like this one. The only thing I make is food. And it's mostly because I enjoy eating myself.

  • debi9kids

    what an awesome costume! The best ones are always the ones made with love, imo :)

  • Anonymous

    I loved this last year, and I love it this year. Halloween is my husband's department. He's got that creative covered. Two years ago he made the most fantastic Lightening McQueen costume for my son out of a cardboard box.

  • Anonymous

    BE STILL MY HEART!!! I am a huge Pippi fan. That costume is crazy adorable. I'll have to keep it in mind for next year! With three girls, certainly one of them would want to be Pippi. Right??

  • Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri

    Oh, Kelly, I bow to your crafty power. Anyone who can do this is crafty in my book. And I love Pippi Longstocking. Brings back some great memories.

  • Cheryl

    Cutest Pippi ever! I'm very excited about this series of posts - Halloween costuming is one of my all-time favorite things!

  • the girl with the panther tattoo

    this is so cute!! I am an adult and I am making this cosume this year.

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