Homemade Halloween Costumes: Easy To Sew Dress Up For Children

Sewing dress up clothes for your child is a great way to save money and fuel their imagination.

Children have such wonderful imaginations, and one of their favorite ways of expressing that imagination is through dress up play. Pre-made store bought dress up clothes are usually extremely expensive, however, with a little time and creativity dress up clothes can be sewn at home for a fraction of the price!

Dress up clothes can be sewn out of just about any fabric. The best fabrics though are those that are sturdy, colorful, and have inviting textures. Brightly colored satin, silk, velour, suede cloth, stretch velvet, flannel, and felt are a few of the many fabrics that can be used to create the dress up costumes that will be discussed later on in this article. Great places to search for dress up fabrics are the bargain tables at your local craft, sewing or discount chain store. Remnants of very expensive fabrics are often available for a fraction of the original price and will sew up into luxurious dress up costumes for your child! Remember to pre-wash your fabric to shrink it before sewing with it so your costumes will stay true to size when you wash them!

Patterns for dress up costumes can be bought at many of the same places where fabric is sold, or you can use a little creativity and create your own pattern. The simple costume ideas we will be talking about lend themselves towards creating your own patterns. Newspaper, packing paper, and large sheets of craft paper all work well for drafting pattern pieces.

And now for the costume ideas!


One of the staple pieces for any child's dress up wardrobe is a good cape or two (or more!!). Capes are extremely easy to make, and can be embellished a variety of ways to create a whole host of characters. To make a very simple cape, lay a large piece of fabric (at least a yard and a half long) out flat. Fold the top raw edge down even with either of the selvage edges. The fold of fabric on the top will create a triangle. Start at the folded edge, and trace a large semi circle (this will become the full bottom of the cape). At the top point of the triangle, make a small semi circle (this will be the neck opening of the cape. Cut along the lines you traced out and unfold the cape! Finish the edges by serging, making a narrow rolled hem, or my simply zigzagging around the edges. At the neck opening you can apply ties, a snap, or a button to hold the cape closed. If you want a really full cape, repeat this process twice and sew one long edge of the cape together to create a long center seam that will run down the middle of the cape. You can further embellish the cape by creating simple appliqués (such as a super hero shape) and sewing them to the back of the cape.


Hoods are a great way to turn your child into a fanciful creature and can be paired with wings, capes, or tails for even greater effect! To create a hood you will need to make a simple 2 piece pattern. Each piece will be one half of the pattern (so there will be a left side and a right side). The pattern for the hood will look roughly like ¼ of a circle with one curved edge and 2 straight edges. The curved edge will cover the back of the head, the bottom edge will be the bottom of the hood that goes around the neck and the front edge will frame the face. Measure your child's head, and use those measurements to create the pattern for the hood, keeping in mind you will need to include seam allowanced! This pattern will create a seam down the center back of the child's head which is just an opportunity waiting for embellishment! Along this back seam you can add felt spikes to make a dragon, short pieces of yarn (or better yet cut up old pom-poms for a sparkly mane!) to make a horses' mane, fins to make a fish, or anything else you can think of! Other embellishments can also be attached to other parts of the hood such as horns, ears, eyes, etc.


Let your little one soar with soft, simple to sew wings. Have your child hold their arms out straight at their sides and measure from one wrist, up their arm and across their back to their other wrist. This measurement will determine how long to make the wings. Now measure from your child's outstretched wrist down their body to a point where you want to wings to drop to (down past the waist makes for the most flappable wings!). That will then be the measurement for the width of the wings. Add ½ to 1 inch to each measurement for seam allowances. Cut out a large piece of fabric to the length and width measurements you just made. Now measure around your child's wrist and cut a piece of fabric that length plus 2 inches, and 2 inches wide. Sew the long edges of this piece of fabric right sides together and then turn right side out (once casing made, make 2"¦ one for each wrist). Cut a piece of elastic the circumference of your child's wrist and insert it into the casing you just made gather the excess fabric evenly along the length of the elastic. Tack the elastic down at both ends of the casing so it won't slip through. Make a look out of the casing and sew each wrist casing to the top corners of the "˜wings' (this will keep the wing stretched out along your child's arm). If you would like, you can also make a casing to gather the center of the wing fabric and have a collar and belt attached to the center wing casing to better hold the wings in place. The collar and belt can be embellished to match the theme you choose for the wings (angel, dragon, butterfly, etc).


Making a tail is a pretty simple affair. Cut a piece of fabric the width of your child's waist, plus a couple inches for the fabric to overlap for closures. Then attach any kind of tail you can think of to create to the center back of the waist band!


Dress up skirts are extremely easy to make, and are a staple for every little girls costume closet. The easiest way to make a skirt is to measure the child's waist, and triple that measurement for the width of the skirt (this measurement can be altered to make the skirt fuller or trimmer). Measure from the child's waist to the knee or floor, or any other length you would like. Add approximately 3 inches to the length measurement for seam allowances and the waist casing. Sew the long edges of the skirt together to make a continuous loop. Along the top edge of the skirt form a simple casing by turning the edge under ¼ of an inch and pressing, and then turning down another inch and sewing in place leaving an opening to insert the elastic. Use your child's waist measurement, minus one inch for the elastic measurement. Insert the elastic into the waist casing and sew closed. Hem the bottom of the skirt, and let your little one test out its twirl factor!

Ballerina Tutu:

Tutu's are quite easy to make and can be made in a variety of ways. For a more traditional tutu, you will need a significant quantity of fairly stiff tulle. Measure a strip of fabric 4 inches wide and the width of your child's waist plus 4 inches. This will become the casing for the waist elastic. Fold the short ends of the casing under ½ an inch and baste in place. Fold the casing in half length wise, and baste the long edge closed. Cut the tulle 3-4 times the length of your child's waist and twice as long as you want the tutu to be. Fold the tulle and half and run two rows of basting stitches along the top raw edges. Gather to tutu firmly. Starting an inch and a half from the edge of the waist casing with the raw edges of the casing and tulle skirt even begin sewing the skirt in place being careful to work in the fullness. Stop sewing an inch and a half from the opposite end of the casing. Trim away any excess skirt material. Insert a piece of elastic into the casing the width of your child's waist minus one inch. Sew the elastic closed, and then sew the ends of the casing closed. Sew a closure onto the overlapping ends of the tutu (snaps or a button) and let your child enjoy!

This is just a start to the endless costumes you can create for your child. Use your imagination, and be sure to let your child be a part of the process and enjoy the time you spend together.

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