Every year my kids have new an innovative ideas for "what" they want to be for Halloween, but I typically must come up with the "how"! One year, my son wanted to be a Jack-O-Lantern and part of being me is never doing anything part way. Also, it is very important, especially for younger kiddos, to light them up for safety at night, keep them warm because wearing a coat over your costume is n fun and make them comfortable or they won't wear it after all your hard work. With these basic principles in mind for any costume I make, the Jumping Jack-O-Lantern was born! Btw, my son won 2 costume contests with this costume!j
For this project, you will need the following:
Fabric - Orange Fleece (pumpkin colored - yardage will depend on size of person)
Fabric - Yellow Fleece (inside pumpkin colored - yardage will depend on size of person)
Fabric - Dark Green Fleece (color of pumpkin vines)
Fabric - Orange mesh (stiff) netting material
Matching thread for all material
Bean Bag sewing pattern (available in fabric stores)
Poly Fiber stuffing (available in fabric or craft stores)
Black 1 1/2 inch elastic (2 yards)
Package of Velcro
Small rotary cutter or really good small scissors that do precise cuts
Pencil or marker
8 battery operated tea lights (flickering one's are better)
Step 1: 1. Cut the Pattern to Fit
The first step is to cut out the part of the bean bag sewing pattern that makes the sectioned bean bag shape and modify this to fit the child from chest to just above their knees, by measuring and then tracing the shape of the sewing pattern piece at the new measurement onto freezer paper. I use freezer paper frequently when modifying a pattern as it holds up well. For my son, this measurement was about 20" or so from chest to just above his knee. I also cut a notch in the bottom of the pattern, once sewn, this made a nice section for his feet to go through.
Step 2: 2. Cut Pumpkin Sections
Next, cut orange and yellow sections of the pumpkin. In my case, I needed 6 orange sections and 6 yellow sections to properly fit around the child; you may need more or less depending on size. To cut, fold your fleece to just wide enough to fit the pattern piece. Place the straight edge of the pattern on the fold as shown and pin. Then, cut around the curved part of the pattern, which when unfolded, will give you an odd shaped piece; your first wedge of pumpkin. Repeat this process having the same number of orange and yellow sections.
Step 3: 3. Sew Sections Together
Next, pin two sections together one one side; this is the side you will machine sew (ONLY THIS SIDE). Once you have completed the joining of these first two sections, add another orange section in the same manner until all the sections of one color are sewn together. Machine sew all the orange sections together and separately sew all the yellow sections together in this manner (these will be combined in a future step). You may use whatever seam allowance you like, I use around 5/8" or a bit less.
Step 4: 4. Sewing Each Section
You should now have all sections of each color sewn together. For this next step, fold right sides together on each section, pin and machine sew a final seam that joins the two end pieces together. You should now have two "round" sections; one orange and one yellow that will begin to look like something the child can wear, as shown.
Step 5: 5. Joining Orange & Yellow Sections
This next step can be tricky but is much like the concept of making a pillow. Match "right sides" and pumpkin points of orange and yellow sections, tucking orange inside the yellow section and pin. Machine stich carefully around the points of the pumpkin ONLY. Once this is complete all the way around, turn the pumpkin right side out forming more of a pillow look with the points.
Step 6: 6. Creating Sections to Stuff!
Now that your pumpkin is sewn at the points and is right side out (orange side should be out, yellow side should in in), you will now match the seams of each color together, pin and sew these two sections together up each seam carefully, leaving the bottom open for stuffing. This will create a pocket section for each to be stuffed.
Step 7: 7. Cutting the Face & Securing
Next, draw on freezer paper whatever face you would like for your jack-o-lantern and cut it out. Make sure it fits on the front section. I did this by putting a pillow or stuffing bag in the middle of the pumpkin to give it shape so I could get a better view. Then, tape your shapes onto the front where you want them. Once in place, remove the pillow in the center and add a cutting mat (could be self healing or not) and use a rotary cutter to cut out the face. You will be cutting through both layers of material. IMMEDIATELY pin around each section of the face to hold the shape.
Step 8: 8. Applying the Mesh to the Face
I highly recommend doing this step PRIOR to stuffing any section of the pumpkin. Now, take your orange mesh (or whatever mesh you have chosen), turn the pumpkin inside out (yellow side out) and pin the mesh over the entire space where the face is. Machine stich carefully around each eye, nose and mouth. Fleece is very forgiving. I recommend using a zigzag stich for this as it looks more finished and is durable. Then trim off the excess mesh. This gives stability to the face. use several layers of mesh if needed.
Step 9: 9. Stuffing Each Section
Next stuff each section of the pumpkin from the bottom to desired fullness. It helps to try the costume on periodically to the child for optimal fit. For the face section, use a chop stick or other long blunt tool, to work the stuffing around the face section. Once complete, just machine sew up the bottom together to hold the stuffing in. This will not show underneath them.
Next, for the inside, cut a rectangular piece of yellow fabric to fit inside across the belly of the child and hand sew in to the sides of the pumpkin. This creates a block of yellow color (child is wearing black) which creates the illusion. Then take the black elastic, measuring on you child, and sew securely into the inside to create straps. This was very funny at night when he would run because the elastic caused the jack-o-lantern to bounce or "jump" which is all we could see in the dark! Hours of hilarity for the adults :-)
Lastly, glue or hand sew some velcro into the inside of the pumpkin at the sides and stick 4 battery operated candles on each side (8 total) to create the light without seeing the candles.
Step 10: 10. Now for the Hat
Start by using a pattern for a hat or hood you already have. This could even be from another Halloween costume pattern. Cut it out and machine sew it according to the instructions. Use yellow fleece as this creates the illusion of your child having just popped out of the center of the pumpkin.
Step 11: 10. Now for the Hat.
For the top part, I hand drew all the rest of the pieces I wanted to sew onto the hat. You can be really creative with this step. I measured the opening of the finished costume to try and get a sense of the size of top I would need to attach to the hat.
I stuffed each section as in the pumpkin, leaving a little room for the sections to droop a bit. I then cut a stem and leaves from the green fleece, stuffed the stem and added stitching to the leaves for effect. Here are a few photos of my process.
Step 12: 12. Jumpin Jack-O-Lantern!!