Intro: Grateful Dead Carry Me Costume
Today we make a Grateful Dead dancing skeleton, ridding a dancing bear costume. Things you will need for the project in no particular order:
1. Three yards of fake fur or fleece
2. About a half yard of another color of fleece
3. About one foot of black felt
4. A bag of bones
5. Eyes and nose for the bear
6. Four metal hangers
8. Sewing machine
9. Needles and thread for hand sewing
10. Bald cap
11. White and black makeup
12. Skeleton shirt and gloves
13. Pliers, side cutters or bolt cutter
14. Sharpie or other marker
Step 1: The Bear Head
Let's start with the head of the bear. There are 3 templates you will use when making it. The one that looks like a bear you will need 2 of when cutting fabric. The ears you will need 4 pieces of fabric, and the long strip you will only need one. I found out you don't need the cut out for the mouth so just continue the circle past it. Start by sewing from the nose down to the base of the neck. Then take the long piece and center the small rounded end at the tip of the nose. Sew each side of the top of the head to the edge of the strip, and flip it right side out poke holes in it for the eyes and nose. ( I bought them at Jo Ann fabric but you could use felt as well) Poke the nose and eyes through and attach the backings. Cut a piece of felt for the mouth and ears, and sew it on, hand sewing worked the best for that. Make your ears the same way sew around the edge and flip right side out. Figure out your placement (seemed best right outside the hem ) then cut a slit in the head and flip inside out again to sew them on. Stuff the ears before you sew them on. Flip head right side out again and stuff the head. For stuffing, I used poly fill, but any thing will work.
Step 2: Bear Body
Take a pair of pants fold them in half, this ongoing to give you an idea of cutting shape. ( kind of) The crotch or the bear will be at your knee's, from that point the pattern will go straight up to about your crotch, then taper in for your waist. On each leg sew from the crotch down the legs of the bear, then from the crotch sew the two pieces together. The arms and paws are one piece. Pretty simple oval shape into a tapered line for the arm. Sew the edges turn right side out. Take a metal hanger and make a round end on each side to prevent it from poking through the fabric. This is for positioning of the joints. Stuff the arms with the hanger in the center, and leave the end open for the time being. Cut a oval shape on each side of the body just below your hips, about the size of the arms. Turn body inside out and sew the arms in, then you can sew the arms shut. I also added a little tail in the back as well, similar to doing the ears. Attach the head to the body just below waist height. I used a combo of machine, and hand sewing on the head to secure it in place. Cut 2 pieces of fleece for the bandana and cut around the neck in the front. Then sew them on front and back just the top edge will be fine. Also added some belt loops, and made the waist hem large enough to fit the belt through it by cutting a slit on each side of the head to carry the weight. For the feet I took a set of my shoes, and cut 4 pieces of fabric a bit larger than the shoe. Sewing them together at the top leaving a hole large enough to get your foot through. Then took a similar pattern just a little smaller to the original, then attached them to the other along the ankle hole, stuffed the center and sew the bottom edges together. Added a piece of elastic to hold them in place. Basically your just making a poofy set of spats for your shoes. That's it your bear body is now finished.
Step 3: Skeleton Legs
Bought a bag of bones, cut holes in the center, take a hanger and put the bones on it then hot glue them in place, leave room for the joints to bend. Make a loophole at the end to put your belt through. I attached the paws of the bear to the knees of the skeleton, with a little bit of thread so they don't flail all over the place. Simple as that, legs done.
Step 4: Skeleton Body
skeleton shirts and gloves are everywhere so easiest to buy one and modify it how you need it. I cut a couple slits in mine to go around the head and legs on my belt and that's it.
Step 5: Skeleton Head and Accessories
I like to start with black lipstick, then start laying down your solid white areas. Followed by solid black areas, leaving the grey areas to be blended in later. Then once the lipstick is mostly dry you can come in with white over the top for the teeth. Depending on the makeup you choose, blending the grey areas may be done on the face, or before application. I suggest getting cream face paint, so you can use a paint brush to get finer details, and more options as far as mixing and blending. Add a top hat and a cane that's it .... now dance dance dance ... smile smile smile. Looking forward to seeing the costumes this helped inspire. Cheers