Need inspiration? These easy designs start with a leotard for girls or a sweatsuit for boys.
Supplies: 1/2 yard purple leopard fabric plus scraps, 1 yard of 1" elastic, purple marabou trim, black plastic headband, hot glue gun, Danskin leotard #9238 in purple and tights #387 in black (all leotards and tights from danskin.com), black boots.
How-To: To make a leopard miniskirt, sew the short ends of the fabric together. Turn top edge down 1" to form casing for elastic waistband, then stitch, leaving opening to insert elastic. Cut elastic to the measurement of your child's waist plus 1". Feed elastic through casing using a safety pin. Pull elastic to fit comfortably, and sew ends together. Hem bottom of skirt, and glue marabou around the bottom edge. Use scraps of fabric to make kitty ears and a scarf to tie a bow around your child's neck; glue ears to headband. Wear skirt over leotard and complete the outfit with black boots.
Supplies: Danskin leotard #2418 and tights #387 in theatrical pink, embroidered and felt flower trims, hot glue gun, 2 yards of 2" satin ribbon, 6 bandannas in assorted pink prints, pink net tutu, cowgirl hat, boots.
How-To: Glue decorations around neckline of leotard. Cut ribbon long enough to form a waistband with extra to tie in back. Cut bandannas in half lengthwise. Gather top edge of each bandanna piece into a point, and pin to the back of the ribbon, covering a section equaling your child's waist measurement. Sew bandannas to ribbon, and wear bandanna skirt over a tutu. Complete the outfit with a cowgirl hat and boots.
Supplies: square cardboard box big enough to cover your child's torso, 1-2 yards heavy white fabric (enough to cover box), 10 black felt circles 3" to 4" in diameter, fabric glue, Danskin leotard #6312 in black or white, black and white tights, black and white ribbon, 2 pairs of dice, black shoes.
How-To: Remove the bottom of the box, and cut holes in the top and sides for your child's head and arms. Trace the top and four sides onto wrong side of fabric. Cut these squares out, adding a 1/2" seam allowance. Sew or glue pieces together, cover the box with fabric, and attach with glue. Cut fabric away from holes and secure edge of fabric to the underside of the box with glue. Glue felt dots to each side of box. Tie black and white ribbon together to make a hair bow, and glue dice to the bow. Wear box over leotard; cut and combine two pairs of tights so one leg is black and one is white.
Supplies: tunic or vest pattern (such as Simplicity #5520), 1 1/2 yards harlequin-print fabric, white turtleneck knit top for boy or white leotard for girl, white sweatpants, riding boots, cap, swimming goggles, gloves, hobbyhorse.
How-To: Following pattern directions, make a vest or tunic from harlequin fabric. Use a scrap of fabric to make an armband with number, and pin or sew it to the sleeve of the turtleneck. Stuff sweatpants into boots, place goggles on the cap, wear gloves in a contrasting color, grab your hobbyhorse, and go!
Supplies: 1/2 yard green Lycra, rotary cutter with wavy-edge blade, 1 yard of 1" elastic, 3 floral leis, hot glue gun, Danskin leotard #8969 in turquoise worn over leotard #9191 in light toast and tights #712 in light toast
How-To: To make a hula skirt, lay out Lycra and use a rotary cutter to make 1/2"-wide strips, leaving 3" of fabric intact at the top. To make a waistband, fold top edge of fabric down and sew a casing 1" from folded edge. Cut elastic to the measurement of your child's waist plus 1". Feed elastic through casing using a safety pin. Pull elastic to fit comfortably, and sew ends together. Glue pieces of lei around top edge of skirt and wrists of long-sleeved leotard.
Supplies: pillow form, bright blue fabric, 3 yards brocade trim, blue hooded sweatsuit, bag of peacock feathers, hot glue gun, 2 Styrofoam balls 2" in diameter, yellow felt.
How-To: Cut out a peacock-tail shape from pillow form (like a six-fingered hand). Trace tail shape on two pieces of blue fabric, adding about 1/2" for seam allowance. Sew around edges of fabric on three sides, leaving bottom edge open. Turn inside out and stuff pillow into casing. Sew brocade trim to peacock tail, and glue tail and feathers to the back of the sweatsuit, as shown in the photo, and glue more feathers to the front of the sweatsuit. Glue Styrofoam-ball eyes and felt beak to the top of the sweatsuit hood.
Supplies: green fleece vest with zip-up front plus green fleece for hat or 2 yards green fleece fabric and vest pattern (such as Simplicity #5285), 3 yards brocade trim, 4 yards leather trim, olive green sweatsuit, black boots, pillow form, green felt beret, silk leaves, hot glue gun.
How-To: Buy or make a green fleece vest. Sew brocade and leather trim along front and bottom edges of vest. Sew a few silk leaves on vest as accents. Wear vest over sweatsuit with black boots. To make a leaf hat, cut a leaf shape from pillow form (about 12" long, as shown in photo). Trace this shape on two pieces of green fleece, adding about 1/2" for seam allowance. Sew around edges of fleece on three sides, leaving bottom edge open. Turn inside out, and stuff pillow into casing. Sew through all three layers in the middle to add texture. Place beret on your child's head, and glue or sew stuffed leaf on top.
Supplies: rectangular cardboard box big enough to cover your child's torso, 1-2 yards heavy red fabric (enough to cover box), hot glue gun, black and white posterboard, 1/2 yard dalmatian-print fabric (or use white fabric and draw spots with black fabric marker), staple gun, red sweatsuit, firefighter hat.
How-To: Remove bottom of the box, and cut a hole in the top so your child can step into it and pull box up to waist height. Trace the top and four sides of box onto wrong side of red fabric. Cut these pieces out, adding a 1/2" seam allowance. Sew or glue pieces together, cover the box with fabric, and attach with glue. Cut fabric away from hole and secure fabric edge to the underside of the box with glue. Cut four black and four white posterboard circles for wheels and glue them to the bottom of the box. Cut two suspenders from fabric, and staple them to the hole so the fire engine box fits comfortably on your child's shoulders. Wear the box costume over a red sweatsuit, and add a red firefighter's hat.
Tootsie Pop Spiders
Tootsie Pop Spiders
Supplies: 20 small googly eyes, 10 small neon-colored pom-poms, craft glue, 20 black pipe cleaners, neon-colored pony beads, 10 bright-colored Tootsie Pops.
How-To: Glue two eyes onto each pom-pom. Cut pipe cleaners in half, and group together by fours. Wrap each group of four pipe cleaners around a Tootsie Pop just below the candy to create eight legs. Press a pony bead into the end of each pipe cleaner to make feet. Glue a pom-pom spider face onto the pipe cleaners at the base of the pop.
Supplies: orange sprinkles, 1-lb. bag of yellow candy melting discs, 6-8 wooden dowels or craft sticks, 6-8 small apples with stems removed, neon gummy worms, candy corn, gummy teeth (from oriental trading.com), wax paper.
How-to: Pour the sprinkles into a shallow dish wide enough to fit an apple. Place candy discs into a microwave-safe glass bowl. Microwave on high for several 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the discs are fully melted. Insert a dowel or stick into the end of an apple, then dip and swirl the apple in the melted candy until fully coated. Dip one end into the orange sprinkles (for hair), then set apple sprinkle-side down on a piece of wax paper. Let set for several minutes, then decorate with pieces of gummy worms (as eyes), candy corn (nose), and gummy teeth. Let apples set for an hour before eating; store in a cool, dry place for up to 2 days.
Supplies: bamboo skewers; vegetable oil; assorted jelly, marshmallow, or taffy Halloween-theme candies.
How-To: With clean hands, lightly oil a skewer to allow the candies to slide on easily. Skewer candies in a fun pattern, being careful to cut off the pointed end of the skewer before letting your child handle it. Cover wands in cellophane candy bags and tie with brightly colored ribbons.
Copyright © 2005 Meredith Corporation. Used with permission from the October 2005 issue of Child magazine.