Thursday, September 4, 2008

d.i.y. pinocchio costume tutorial


Use the same information that I provided in the Little Indian tutorial to make the shorts and top for Pinocchio. You can use a pair of shorts as a guide for the pants or just cut them to the desired length after your child tries them on. I made a cuff on the shorts for an added touch but it's not necessary. I found that Pinocchio looks best in a form fitting shirt and daisy dukes. Well, maybe not quite that short but nearly. You could also just purchase a simple yellow t-shirt to save time.

the collar
Use white jersey knit fabric for the collar. An old, white, large adult t-shirt would be perfect. I have no photos of this process but it was pretty simple. I cut out two large bubble 'C' shaped pieces of fabric. Remember that the thicker the 'C' the bigger the collar. Try to make the inside of the 'C' fit the size of the neck of your t-shirt. This may take some fiddling but it's not too difficult. Once you have your two 'C's cut out, place them right sides together and sew along the outside of the 'C'. Turn it right side out and pin the inside of the 'C' to the neck of your in-side-out shirt and stitch it in place. Turn the shirt right side out again and you should have your collar. I used a hook and eyelet fastener to pull the collar together in the front once Oliver had the shirt on.

the bowtie
Take one sheet of blue felt and cut a 3/4" thick strip from the long side of the sheet. Then, cut a large oval shape from the rest, about 4" tall and 5" wide. These dimensions may vary depending on the size of your child. You'll be able to tell if it needs to be smaller when you hold it up to their neck. If it looks like it's going to swallow them, snip off a millimeter or two. Now, tie a piece of thread vertically around the center of the oval. It should look like a bowtie at this point. Use the strip that you cut to wrap over the thread so that it doesn't show and leave the length of it dangling. You can sew it in place or tie it in a knot behind the bow.
There are several ways you can attach this to the shirt (velcro, safety pin, snaps...). I added an extra strip of fabric with velcro ends to fasten at the back of his neck. 

the suspenders
Using the same red material that you used for the shorts, cut two strips of fabric about 4" wide and long enough to reach from your baby's booty, over the shoulder, and to the front of the hip. Fold them in half lengthwise, right side facing inward, and press. Now, with it folded, cut only one end of each strap to a point. Sew along the long edge and pointed edge. Now turn the straps right-side-out. Put the shorts on your kiddo and use safety pins to temporarily attach the suspenders to the back of the shorts. Criss-cross them in the back and bring them over the shoulders. Make sure you pin them at just the right angle or the straps will fall off the shoulder later. This took a few tries for me but persistence is the key. Sew the suspenders in place to the inside of the shorts. For extra stability, sew a diamond shape where the suspenders meet to hold them together in the back. Sew buttons to the front of the shorts for the suspenders. Put them back on your child and use chalk to mark where to make buttonholes on the straps. If you are unfamiliar with this process, the internet is full of instructions on how to make buttonholes. You can also just attach them with safety pins and sew buttons directly onto the straps to look like they are functional. 

the hat
Oooh k. I put this part off until the end because I'm not exactly sure how to explain it. It took a lot of tries to come up with what I have so I recommend that you try out a few different ideas. If you have something that you think might make a piece of felt morph into a beautiful tyrolean hat, by all means, go for it! And I just have to throw this out there... don't spend hours on this if you have a toddler that is just going to throw it every time you try to put it on them. The costume looks very Pinocchio even without the hat. 
Essentially, what i did was wrap the longer edge of an 8"x10" piece of yellow felt to fit around Oli's head and pinned it in place. Make sure you have it sitting where you want the hat to sit once it's finished. Now, sew the hat up, cut off the extra felt and turn it right side out. Make a feather using the same process as in the little indian tutorial. Sew it in place where you like. You may have to tack it here and there with a stitch or two so that it doesn't flop around.  I used singlefold bias tape for the blue trim. This can be tricky to sew on straight but remember that it's for fun, not a wedding, little imperfections are charming and even cute. I know that this is a vague description of the hat but it's all I've got!

to top it off...
Rosey cheeks and puppet lines drawn on all of the joints would be very cute. Another idea is to add donkey ears to the hat and a tail to the shorts. Originally my costume was going to have marionette strings with a handle that stood on it's own using THICK crafting wire but it broke just before the shoot, darnit! I would love to hear from anyone who tries these ideas. And if you've got pictures, even better! Have fun!