Thursday, May 30, 2013

Shark Costume Part 1: Research, Planning and Materials

UPDATE!  See this link for the Shark Costume Pattern

Life happened.

That's why I never got around to writing the tutorial for the shark and dragon costumes last year after Halloween as promised.  But it's time to finish what I started, and I am TOTALLY jazzed about it!  :)  Read on to get a better look at the shark costume...adorable, right?

He LOVED it.  He ran around everywhere in it, knocking over stuff with the tail.  (No one said this costume was glass-house friendly.)  Even now, his main go-to jacket all through Kindergarten has been his shark jacket.  More on that later, though. 

So let's dive right in.   Get it?  Dive? 

Part 1 is all about the prep work.

I saw a lot of shark costumes out there, but couldn't find much that appealed to me.  I started with a simple gray sweatsuit as the base.

Please try to ignore all the toys/sewing paraphernalia in the background of my shots.  :)

I wanted to find a way to put shark teeth in the hood, a fin on the back and a tail extending out.

Here are the supplies you'll need --

Fabric and Notions:

gray sweatpants and hoodie

For the shark tail and back fin, 3/4 yd of 60-inch wide fabric or 1 yd 44/45-inch wide fabric
  • As for materials, I want the costumes to be well-made and durable, but I'm also cheap.  In the clearance section of our local fabric store, I found a nice, solid gray woven.  
  • Pros - No stretch, right color, inexpensive.  
  • Cons - It had a really silky, limp drape -- not ideal for a structured costume piece.
For the teeth, 1/8 yd red or pink, 1/8 yd white  (fat quarters or fat eighths will work fine for this)

1 zipper in gray or red, at least 7 inches

2 large black buttons

3-4 inches of heavy duty sew-on velcro (I used the black tactical stuff.  This will hold the long, floppy tail around your child's waste, so don't skimp.  You can use stick-on if it's all they have, but you should still sew through it for stability.  This WILL cost you a needle.  I'm just sayin'.)

freezer paper


2 yds light-to-medium weight, non-stretch fusible

1 remnant heavy duty, fusible, at least 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches square
  • Remember that limp gray fabric?  Well, interfacing can solve a world of dilemmas!  You'll need enough of the lighter weight interfacing to line the tail, including the waist straps.  For the "booty circle," the part of the tail that rests on your child's lower back, you'll need a small piece of heavy-duty interfacing. For this one piece, I used the super-thick interfacing designed for reinforcing handbags.
Are you ready to make the tail?!  So am I, so go get your supplies!