Thursday, October 24, 2013

Owl Costume DIY Tutorial

There are few things my 7 year old son, Caleb, has strong opinions about:

Tomatoes are gross, dad is his hero, Captain America is the best Avenger and that Everly HAD to be an owl for halloween.

I don't know why she had to be an owl, but I thought it was cute he cared so much. So an owl she will be!


I have been saving a bag full of scraps for years... Anything that was too small to be used, but too cute/expensive to throw away went into the bag. I knew one day I'd have the perfect use for the scraps (and I have used them several times for odds/ends projects) but alas came the project that would bust my scraps in a big way: owl feathers.

I started by making one perfect feather (obviously these feathers are objective, feel free to make yours as big/small as you'd like.) For reference, mine were about 1.5" wide and 2.5" long. I cut out a TON... Probably around 100. It was so nice to see these fabrics again (some I had used to make Lily dresses when she was a baby..."awww...") Yep. I'm weird. Fabrics = Nostalgia to me.

So here we go! This is actually a sewing OPTIONAL DIY. The second favorite/most used tool I have in my house (after my sewing machines) is my hot glue gun. It is a must have. If you're not a sewing type (shame on you!) but feel free to adapt this using a glue gun, it'll work just fine!



1. 1/2 Yard of felt (for 0-12 months. More for larger size)

2. TONS of feathers pre-cut (as many as you think you'll need)

3. Measuring tape and measurements:

-From center of chest to finger tips

-Neck to desired length of top (I did the bottom of her belly)

-Width of open collar

4. Sewing Machine OR hot glue gun

5. Scissors


1. This is the shape you'll be making to begin. Fold your felt into 4ths.

2. Start cutting the sleeves to your desired length, (using measurement of center of chest to finger tips + 1")

3. Then cut the felt to your desired length.
(this is all very "Guess and cut" If you want a more strategic way of doing this, overlay a shirt that fits your model, folded in half, and just make the sleeves wings instead. Ta-da!)


4.To cut the neck hold, measure the width of the neck (so the head will fit through) and then cut the designated "front" of the costume so it goes down 1" as shown above.


5. Next, you'll cut out 2 bottom halves of your wings (to go underneath).
You should have pattern pieces that look like the above.


(Plus your feathers, I highly suggest cutting these out a couple days prior to sewing/glueing. It's a time consuming process. So throw on some project runway reruns and get cutting.)



6. You'll start by pinning your feather along the edges of your front/back and wings. You can strategically place the fabrics (as I did, to make the Owl belly more pronounced) or you can go crazy and just go randomly). As you pin then sew. All the way until you get to the neck line. (I cut my neckline feathers in half before sewing them which worked perfectly.)
7. Then pin/sew your wings onto the feathers (remember, right sides facing each other). If you're gluing, glue them directly underneath (wrong sides together).


(If you're sewing, be sure to tuck the feathers in as you pin so they don't get caught too much as you sew as pictured below:)


8. Fold the costume so the sides line up (the front and back with right sides together)
Pin the sides, and sew.


It's a bit of a squeeze to get on her, but once it's on, she is good! I got her a warm bodysuit and tights and made the owl hat (check Etsy/Ebay to buy one if you don't crochet).
I'm super pleased with how it turned out, I and debating cutting slits at the bottom of the wings so her hands will be free (which I'll most likely need to do, she's ever curious these days.) I just love seeing all these old fabric favorites come together for one last hoorah. (well aware of how crazy I sound.)
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Feel free to pin/share!