Ooooh, oooh, oooh………I think this has become my favorite blogging time of the year. You know, when I get to make somewhat gawdy, a little over the edge, impractical yet fantastical outfits for my children for Halloween. (Here are some costumes from Halloween’s past.) And last year I said it would probably be the last time my children would let me coerce them into a theme. However, my good little sports pretty much jumped all over this idea. I think that my children must think it’s a Halloween rule or something……that families MUST dress in a theme. I’m not telling them otherwise! ;) In fact, this theme was in the running last year. But we did Mary Poppins instead. (Remember that? Oooh, those were darn fun to make too!)
But last year, they hadn’t really taken to this book……I just thought it would be fun to make. However, Red Riding Hood has become a favorite, FAVORITE book of theirs the past few months. Connor sometimes asks me to read it 3-4 times…..in a ROW. And he especially loves the part when the woodsmen has to cut open the wolf and pull out the granny and Little Red. There are no pictures of that, of course, but you can see his curious brain trying to digest that idea. So, when this book theme was suggested by some of you in the comments from this post, I laughed because it was right at the top of my tentative list. (Okay, it was the only idea, really.) Especially since I had been stewing about it last year. It was meant to be! :) (Thanks!!)
So when we were reading Little Red Riding Hood for the trillionth time about a month ago, and I suggested that they dress up as these characters for Halloween, they jumped all over it! And wanted me to hurry and make it THAT DAY!!
Well, about a month later, their costumes are done. Well, Elli’s is! (The other two have a few details left.)
And well, she adores it. And loves to play the part of Little Red…….and skips off to grandmother’s house.
With her basket full of food for granny.
And, well, unlike the story book, this Little Red gets distracted quite often while making her way through the forest…….and begins to dance and perform for all of the forest animals.
But after awhile, she remembers that the forest isn’t all fun and friendly. Unfortunately, that rascally wolf always surfaces. And scares poor Little Red.
She knows she shouldn’t talk to strangers but that darn wolf, he’s so friendly and cunning. And after a short conversation, he kindly suggests she gather some flowers to take with her to grandmother’s house (while he runs ahead to meet the poor granny!). Of course, Little Red thinks that’s a delightful idea……so she begins gathering flowers (er, leaves).
And, we all know how the story ends. But it’s hard to tell without the other characters…….so we’ll have to wait to hear the rest of it on another day (you know, when I finish taking the final pictures and putting them into a little tutorial!!)
Until then, maybe I should tell you how happy this little costume makes my sweet 5 year old, Elli. The cape, the laced corset, the full and fluffy skirt…….all of it! I can tell by that sweet little look on her face that she feels like she’s in her very own storybook. If I could bottle up that excitement and enjoy it for years to come, I certainly would! So, pictures will have to do. :)
The hood and cape turned out better than planned. The flow of that fabric, the twirl of the cut……..ahhh, I enjoy watching her wear it just as much as she does playing in it!
And then, yes, I know, I know. There was no laced-up corset vest in our storybook either. But I have seen similar versions used in commercial Red Riding Hood costumes and I kinda like how it perks up the costume. Remember?! There’s nothing wrong with adding a little extra fuss and fantasy to costumes. And for a 5 year old…….the more frill, the better! (This corset is not attached to the dress. It is its own piece.)
Which leads me to the underskirt…….yeah, this wasn’t necessary either. Or even accurate for the character. But by golly, it sure adds more fluff and volume to that little dress. And in case you haven’t caught on yet, my little Elli loves this frill and bounce. So she happily slipped right into her pettiskirt, turning her character into a FLOUNCY Little red Riding Hood. Hey, I don’t make the rules here! ;)
Whew, one little costume down, 2 more to go. (Which are almost done. Just a few little things to finish up on.) And just like I thought, making this sweet Little Red Riding costume made me as happy as a clam. It’s exciting to see a basic idea change and grow and expand……….and then become something you didn’t even see when you started cutting that first piece of fabric. Thrilling! That’s all I can say.
Especially when it makes your little lady THIS happy! :)
There’s still time…….would you like to make a Little Red Riding Hood costume too?!?!
Supply List (made in girls size 6):
- 1 yard of white cotton fabric (from my stash)
- 2 yards of charcoal fabric for skirt portion (I used a pinstripe linen, on sale for about $8/yd, I know….kinda pricey)
- 2 yards of red “silky solid” fabric for cape (100% polyester, almost like satin but a nicer drape and really flowy, on sale for $5/yd)
- 1/2 yard black vinyl ($10/yd, I think)
- 1 eyelet kit ($3, I think)
- white zipper (from my stash)
- silky 5/8″ red ribbon for corset (from my stash)
- 1 inch grosgrain red ribbon for cape (from my stash)
- 1/4 inch elastic (from my stash)
**I bought everything that I needed (and that wasn’t in my stash) at Joann Fabric. Now is a great time to buy fabrics because most everything is on sale for Halloween. Also, many different fabrics and colors would work for this and you may even have the perfect fabric in your stash to use up.
To begin, create your main pattern pieces. Find a dress or shirt (with sleeves) to pattern after. For more pictures and explanation on how to do this, visit my Cinderella Dress tutorial. Or my Blessing Dress tutorial. Both are good reference for making your own dress pattern.
So because I have explained dress making previously, I’m not including every single step below. But will still add a good portion of them.
First, I grabbed a flyer from the junk mail pile and cut out my main pattern shape. I always add an extra 1/4 inch for a seam allowance as I cut out the fabric but it would be easier to add that 1/4 inch onto the pattern piece to avoid messing things up. But that takes ore time……so I risk it! But do what feels most comfortable to you.
And cut out two of your front pieces and 4 of your back pieces. This will give you an outer bodice section and a lining section. And what’s different from this pattern than the links I shared above, is that I put a zipper into this dress. And because I did, I added only a half inch to the back pieces, right along the center back. So the pattern piece for the front and back piece are exactly the same except the front piece is cut on the fold (check out the blessing dress tutorial again to understand more about this process) and the back piece isn’t cut on the fold but an extra 1/2 inch is added to the long side where the zipper will go. Oh, plus the neckline is a little lower in the front. But, otherwise, they’re the same. SO I just used the same cutout pattern piece for all the pieces.
Then, I put my pieces together, as the outer bodice piece and the inner lining piece. To do this, I sewed the two back pieces to the front piece along the sides and the shoulders. I did the same for both the outer and lining pieces.
Then, I placed the outer section together with the lining section, with right sides together. And then I sewed right along the top neckline, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance (or whatever seam allowance you gave yourself when cutting).
Then I clipped all along the curve of the neckline. (Read my Clipping Corners and Curves tutorial for more info.)
Then I turned the bodice right side out, with the lining on the inside. Then I pressed along the neckline and sides. Then, I stitched a 1/4 inch from the edge of the arm hole, attaching the two layers together. (This isn’t required but will help when you attach the sleeves, to keep everything flat and in place.)
I did the same thing along the bottom.
Then I cut out some puff sleeve shapes (again, the tutorials that I linked above are great resources) and then serged along the bottom straight edge (you could zig-zag or fold up up a 1/4 inch, another 1/4 inch, and then sew). And then I added a strip of 1/4 inch elastic, about a 1/2 inch from the bottom edge, to cinch it in.
To make it cinch in, I used a piece of elastic that was about 2/3 the length of the bottom edge of the sleeve and sewed it down at both ends with a regular stitch. Then I zig-zagged over the entire length of elastic, while it was stretched fully. My zig-zag was wider than the elastic, so my needle never pierced the elastic.) Then when I let go, it pulled it in. If you’d prefer, you could also shirr the fabric.
Then I gathered in the curve of the sleeve (just like shown in the tutorials I linked to above).
Then sewed the sleeve together and pinned it to the arm opening in the bodice.
Then I sewed it in place and then zig-zagged and trimmed the edges.
Then, I sewed the opening in the back together with right sides together and used a 1/2 inch seam allowance (or use whatever allowance you gave yourself when cutting). Then I installed a basic zipper. And don’t be afraid of it……..because they’re really not so bad if you use this zipper tutorial.
I actually installed my zipper slightly lower than the top edge so that I could use a hook and eye at the top. I just think it pulls the top in nice and clean….much better than a zipper seems to do.
Then, I gather a bunch of my pin-striped fabric to create a nice and full skirt. I used a linen blend fabric and the thing about linen is that it’s light but holds it’s shape really well. So it made the skirt look even fuller than standard cotton fabric would have. I was really happy with it. And I didn’t even want to use it at first…….but it was the color and mini pin stripe that I wanted. So I used it and was surprised how nicely it gathered in and how freely it spins and bounces while on my little girl. Lucky find! Anyway, I sewed together enough pieces to create a rectangle that was 22 inches tall by about 150 inches wide. My linen was about 50 inches wide, so I just had to cut 3 strips of fabric that were 22 inches tall and then sew them together at their ends. And then I gathered in the top edge and matched it up with the bottom edge of the bodice and sewed them together, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Then I serged off the raw edge…..but zig-zagging works too! (Here’s a gathering and attaching a ruffle tutorial if you need more help.)
Okay, onto The Cape
First of all, the length and fullness of your cape depends on your personal preference. And instead of just making a rectangle and then gathering it at the top and strapping it around my little girl’s shoulders, I wanted something that was fuller and more flowy and that looked a little more tailored. So the main shape of the cape is a curved circle shape that falls nicely around her shoulders and down her sides. If you’ve ever made a circle skirt (kinda like this Square Circle Skirt I made), you know that cutting out a circle and then letting that fall around you, creates such a pretty gather and flow, without doing any gathering. However, if you make the center circle a little bigger than you need and then gather that in just a bit, it creates an even fuller look. So knew I wanted to add a little more fullness to the cape. Why not? More is better, right?!! ;)
So I layed down the 2 yards of fabric that I bought, and folded it in half (with the fold along the bottom side) and placed a bowl that was a little bigger than the neck hole that we actually needed. I grabbed my measuring tape and placed it down to see where I needed to place my bowl to maximize my fabric, while still cutting out a length of 30 inches around the bowl. I rotated the tape all the way around to see how far I could go around, just to be sure. **If you are making a cape for a bigger person, you may have to sew some fabric together to have the length that you need.
Then, I cut out just half of the bowl shape (because the cape isn’t going all the way around my girl’s neck but plus, the fabric is folded over and doubles the circle that you cut out). And then I began cutting a circle curve around the half circle, that was evenly measured 30 inches out from the half circle. I went as far as I could go, before I ran out of fabric. Once I opened it up, it was about 3/4 of a full circle. If I didn’t want to gather in anything, I would have just cut a 1/2 circle (or what looked like a 1/4 circle while it was folded in half).
Then, I folded over the straight edges a 1/4 inch to the inside, then another 1/4 inch, and then sewed in place. This just helps finish off those straight edges, which are the opening sides to the cape.
Next, I sewed a basting stitch (for gathering) around the inner circle, about a 1/4 inch from the edge……and then I set the cape aside.
Then, I cut out 4 hood pieces. 2 for the outer hood and 2 for the lining. This is the basic shape below, with a curve at the bottom that was about the same curve as the curve of the cape neckline opening. And if this helps you any while trying to freehand your hood shape, these pieces are about 10.5 inches wide (at the widest point) and 11.5 inches tall. But my little girl has a small head. Just be sure you add in enough for a seam allowance and maybe cut a little bigger than you think you’ll need and try on your subject as you go.
Then, take the 2 front pieces (which are the same as the lining piece) and sew them together with right sides together, along the outer curve of the hood. Leave the rest open. Do the same with the lining pieces. Then, place the outer section and the lining section together, with right sides together, and sew them together along the straight edge.
Then turn the hood right side out, so that the lining is on the inside. If you’re using all the same fabric, it won’t really matter what’s in or out but decide which side looks better and go with it! Then iron your seams flat. Now, sew the two bottom curved edges together, about a 1/4 inch from the bottom edge. This isn’t required but just helps keep things in place.
Then I grabbed the cape section and cinched in the rounded neck opening with the basting stitch I put in earlier. I matched it up with the length of bottom of the hood and pinned them bother together, with right sides together.
Then I sewed them together. And just to keep the raw edges hidden (if the hood is down while wearing the cape, I didn’t want these edges to be seen), I folded a piece of satin red ribbon in half and placed it over these raw edges. Then I sewed it in place. You could also use double fold bias tape or you could make your own bias tape. I was just too lazy! ;)
Then, sorry for the lack of a close up but I sewed 2 pieces of grosgrain ribbon to the cape, right at the sides, where the hood meets the cape. And then added velcro for the closure. I originally just sewed on 2 long ribbon pieces that could be tied in a bow under my daughter’s chin but it covered up the corset vest and was too distracting to the rest of the costume. So this worked even better.
And this is totally optional but after wearing the cape for a while, I noticed my daughter would pull at the ribbon at her neck, which was holding the cape on. I could tell it would kind of choke her a bit. Not a ton but enough to bug her. So I added a strip of velcro to the inner seam of the cape and then a bit along the neckline of the back of her dress. Now the cape stays in place and doesn’t pull back anymore while she’s running around in it.
And lastly, onto the Corset Vest.
I know, maybe your Little Red Riding Hood girl doesn’t have a corset in your storybook and this looks more like Hansel and Gretal or a traditional little German girl……but the style of it was just too cute to pass up. Plus, if you search for a Red Riding Hood costume, they all seem to have this corset look, which I think really adds to the costume. And it’s not very hard to do……..so, I added it in! :)
First, grab your black vinyl (faux leather looking material) and cut out a very basic vest shape that is wide enough to go around your subjects back half…..but not too big. You want it to just reach from one side to the other, without being baggy. (Use your pattern piece from making the dress portion above, as a guide.) Then cut 2 basic front pieces to the vest. The front pieces don’t need to be wide enough to stretch across your subject’s front half, because you want the ribbon to be pulled and visible between the gap.
So, here’s the back pieces, with the front pieces placed on top. You can see that the arm openings are the same on the front and the back…….but the shoulder widths also need to be the same width. I forgot and cut my front pieces more narrow at the shoulder.
But then I adjusted the back piece so that the shoulders would match the front pieces. Then I sewed the vest together at the shoulders and along the sides, with right sides together. Try the vest on your subject to be sure it fit snug. And then cut off some of the length if you need to or make the arm holes a little bigger, etc. And that’s it……no hemming, no finishing edges, nothing. That’s my kind of vest! :)
Then I turned the vest right side out and placed evenly spaced pins where I wanted my eyelets to go. (You could also just hole punch some openings in your vest if you’re not concerned about kids being a little rough with it. But I just wanted this vest to last after Halloween is over and it ends up in the dress-up box!)
Here’s the eyelet kit I bought for a few dollars.
You have to cut a little hole to fit the eyelet through and my hole punch made to big of a hole so I cut a little ‘X’…..
……and then cut the little tips of the ‘X’ off.
Then I slid the eyelet through and put the base tool at the bottom and then fit the other tool on the top. Then hammered it a few times.
Just don’t hammer it too hard or it will smash the eyelet too much. All you need is for the back side of the eyelet to curve up and pinch against the fabric.
Continue on until all of your eyelets have been set in place. Then thread your ribbon through.
And that’s it!
Little Red Riding Hood……….all ready for an afternoon at Grandmother’s house!!
There’s more to come this week.
I’ll give you 2 guesses what my other 2 children will be! ;)