Friday, October 12, 2012

Hoot the Owl Halloween Costume

Z wants to dress up as an owl this Halloween. Not just any owl, but this owl - Hoot from the Old Bear and Friends videos.

This is a big deal for us because she went through a phase of being afraid of owls. Every night we had to assure her that no owls were in the room or hovering outside. We told her about all the friendly owls in all the stories and shows she likes, and she finally landed on this owl as the good owl.

So to make her costume, I had to improvise. The owl in the story is more lambswool than feathers, and wears a blue starry dress/apron throughout. I thought it would be better to make it more owly. And more comfortable for a little girl to bounce around and enjoy herself.

Over the months of owl reassuring, I became a big connoisseur of owls. I found a blogs about owls (My Owl Barn is a great aggregater of owls) and sewed owls and generally found myself drawn to anything with an owl on it. Which turns out to be a lot of things.

I started with a long sleeved white shirt and a pair of white leggings. Then I attached felt feathers (a sort of "u" shape) for the owl tummy. These were sewn on, but with a very simple basting stitch that will be easy to remove when she wants to stop being an owl.

The feathers were meant to be in concentric circles, but imperfect ones. It works like an attached bib.

Next I cut some wings from an old sheet. These were based on the ones in this tutorial because I thought the shape was just beautiful.

The wings were sewn together with an opening at the neck for turning, and pinked up to make them lay nicely. Then I turned them inside out (being a white sheet, there weren't right sides) and pressed them, sewed the neck shut, and sewed the tops of the back part of the wings together.

The ensemble mid-feathering
I could only find white leggings with lace edging in my short search, but thought a few feathers placed at the cuff would cover that fine.

The wings presented a problem because I wanted them to be more owl than fairy and that meant feathers. I saw this owl cartoon and thought three tiers of feathers on the wings would work out well.

First I cut some longer feathers - an elongated "U" really.

Then I placed them in three rows and sewed them down at their base with the machine. This gives them a bit of swing when the wings move.

Last I made a mask, a piece of paper folded in half with a big circle for the eye and a triangle for the ear made a pattern. I used brown buttons as the centers of the eye to be more like Hoot. I knew Z wouldn't want to actually wear the mask, so I attached the mask (with a safety pin) to a white hat she had.

And the final owl having fun. She kept the hat on for about 20 minutes and refused to have the wings attached to her arms because they "flapped better" free. Everybody thought she was dressed as an angel, which was funny.