Our family loves Halloween. We love dressing up in costume and entertaining kids. We aren’t the horror version of Halloween, we are the happy and playful version. So I have been looking forward to this first Halloween with my daughter since about the moment after she was born. I flopped back and forth all summer about what kind of costume to make her and what she should dress up as. Then back in July she pretty much decided for me. My then 7 month old, for no apparent reason, would tilt her head back towards the sky, pucker her lips, and make little hooting sounds like an owl. I have no idea where she learned to do that, neither one of us was doing it. So in her own infant words, she said “mommy, I want to be an owl for halloween”. Decided.
I honestly did not start work on her costume until well after the first of October. I was buried too deeply in baby gift knitting that had to take priority because of those pesky shower deadlines. I had a general idea of where to head on the construction plus I found lots of inspiration out there on the web. I am also not a great seamstress so all of my sewing projects have to be far simplified which dictated how complicated the work would be.
I started out with some basic materials: a brown long sleeve onesie and some cute striped pants, both were found at Babys-R-Us. I had intended to make an owl hat but I saw this one at a grocery store and just fell in love. Plus Evie did not pull it off when I tried it on her. I am a firm believer that any hat she WON’T pull off is meant to be. Then I headed to the craft store where I acquired some fabric and brown thread for body and wings.
Oh! and of course my trusty pinking shears!! Completely key!
I started off with the onesie laid out and some trace paper to make a pattern for the chest. I traced the outline of the onesie then did layers of paper that would overlap and have fun little “feathers” dangling from them.
Next I used these trace sheets to cut out my wavy fabric.
I pinned and sewed on all three layers, one at a time, to the onesie. I think it looks like a little flapper version of an owl the way the fabric hangs.
Ok, now for the wings. I really struggled with how I wanted to make wings for this costume. There are basically two ways to tackle them: 1) wings that lay long along the arm and are tied down with some sort of wrist band or elastic OR 2) wings that resemble sort of a cape that is attached to the back of the costume. I really thought I was going to go route 1 but when I was trying to draw out patterns for the wings I was really unhappy with how it was coming together. So I switched to option 2.
Again, I laid out the onesie and traced out the shape of a cape that would attache to its back.
I cut out a whole bunch of little feather pieces. I am not sure why I chose to do these as individual feathers here instead of sheets like the body. I think it looks thicker which I wanted for the wings.
After many layers of feathers, and a whole lot of cutting, I topstitched a brown piece of fabric to the back of the wing (I cut it out at the same time as the yellow piece so that they would line up exactly) to hide all the ugly stitching. Your stitching may not be ugly, but make no mistake, I am an amateur and my stitches are always ugly.
Next I sewed the wing cape thing to the back of the onesie, along the shoulders and neck. I had originally intended to also stitch the edge along the back of the arms but it turns out my sewing machine (and probably yours) would not let me slide the 9 month old sleeve onto it. Bummer! So I ended up hand sewing that part. This was probably the most difficult part of the entire construction. Darn those little sleeves are not very big around at all!
I chose to lay my wing cape so that the fancy feathers are facing forward. While this means you don’t see them as well, I like the way it looks when my little owl flaps her arms around. From the back, all you see is solid brown.
And voila! Now you have a cute little owl costume. My owl will be wearing brown socks to cover her tootsies and her sweet owl hat to complete the ensemble. Isn’t she just about the cutest thing you ever did see!?! I am darn proud of how this turned out.
If you want to attempt a cute owl costume of your own, here are some other really fantastic places to find inspiration:
“Owl” Costume on A Life Examined
Armed and Dangerous on Technology and TuTu’s
DIY Owl on the mombot
Feathering a Wee Owl on My bit of Earth