Intro: Infant/Toddler Bride of Frankenstein Costume
This is a relatively easy and very kid friendly adorable costume for your baby's first or second Halloween. Knowing my daughter was comfy made me so happy to deck her out and show her off! Also, my daughter is now a skinny 3 years old and can actually still fit in this dress!
small amounts of black and white fleece (you could probably substitute felt also)
4 cloth pre-fold diapers (white)
1 white long sleeved onesie
1 pair white long pants
1 pair white socks
2 ouchless elastic hair bands (no metal parts)
approx. 2 feet of small black ric rac
(optional) approx. 2 feet of cloth covered flexible boning
Step 1: Building the Dress
Lay out two of your cloth diapers. These will be one side of the dress (as in having an armhole). I couldn't tell a big enough difference in the fronts and backs of these for them to have a right / wrong side, so I don't think it matters which way you flip them. Fold the thinner sides to the inside of the diapers, laying them on top of the thicker middle sections.
Step 2: Shoulder Seams
Now stack the diapers on top of each other and pick up both diapers, lining up the top edges so that your folded sides are on the outside. Using your white thread, hand sew or machine sew these four layers together. If you are hand sewing, I would use buttonhole twist or at least a heavy duty thread just to be secure. Sewing this creates the wrong side of the seam that sits on top of the shoulder. Repeat this step with the two remaining diapers. The last picture shows the right side of the finished shoulder seam.
*My red lines are purely illustrative and not meant to indicate the size of the thread or the stitches you should use.
Step 3: Side Seams
Lay one side of your garment down, wrong side facing up. Bring the side edges or long sides of the diaper together, leaving a space between the shoulder seam and where you start the side seam. This space will be an armhole in the finished garment, so make sure it will accommodate your little one's arm. Err on the generous side, as there will be a white shirt underneath. Again, hand or machine stitch the side seam. Repeat this step for the other side of your garment. The last picture shows my hand sticking out of the armhole with the side seam finished.
Step 4: Front Neckline
I wanted the front of the costume to have a pleated fullness right in the center. I just tucked a couple of pleats in the thin part and sewed them down at the top edge.
Step 5: Center Front Seam
On the wrong side (the inside of your garment), stitch the entire length of the long sides of the two diapers that you just pleated the top edges of to form the center front seam. I also tucked the top edge over and stitched it down on the inside of the garment to make the neckline a little neater. The last picture shows the right side of the finished front of the garment.
Step 6: Back Closure
Now that the front side is finished, flip your garment over, laying one of the thin side pieces of the cloth diaper on top of the other in the center back. You will sew 4 small snaps spaced out in the top half between these two overlapped pieces. Two right at the top edge, securing the back of the dress, the other two lower down to provide more security and keep the dress from opening too much. You could also probably do this with squares of velcro. This finishes the dress part!
Step 7: Wig Hat!
This fleece version of the famous Bride of Frankenstein's hairstyle is admittedly a little more difficult than the dress part, but truly is the cherry on top and is so worth it. It's hilarious! I don't have as many photos of the process, so I hope it's understandable.
I actually measured my baby's head circumference and found a canister in my kitchen that was a close approximation of her head size to use as a mannequin of sorts. I basically cut four rectangles that (sewn together with black thread at the long sides into a tube) would fit like a hat onto the canister. I also did fittings on my daughter with the hat just pinned (be careful!) so that I knew it would fit. I cut a square-ish shape out of the black fleece to be the top, sewing it (on the wrong side) on all four sides to all four sides of one end of my fleece tube. I did some trimming and shaping during this step so that the rectangles would be curved in at the top, forming a rounded dome shape with the square topper. I hope that makes sense. Just keep turning it right side out as you sew and see what shape you are creating.
Step 8: Signature White Streaks
I cut two rectangles of white fleece, then put them on top of each other and hand drew a lightning-squiggle shape with a sharpie. Leaving the two pieces sandwiched together, I cut out the squiggle shape following the line I had drawn, being careful to keep the fabric pieces lined up with each other. You could also pin the fabric to keep it from shifting, or you could draw a squiggle on both pieces and just cut them out separately. I wanted to be sure my squiggles matched, but that's a matter of personal choice.
Step 9: More Streaks
I hand sewed the two squiggle pieces with white thread, but you could also just hot glue them. I tried to obscure the seams that were on the front side of the "wig" as much as I could with the placement of the streaks.
Step 10: Wig Hat Understructure
I added some fabric covered flexible boning into the inside crown of the wig hat to maintain integrity and minimize the possibility of squishing. This is optional, you can always just re-poof the wig hat if it gets squished. I hand sewed these in and tried to follow the seams so that the stitches would be less conspicuous. I also trimmed the edge of the hat a little after I had just had it on her to make the hair line look right. (Yay for non-fraying fleece!)
**Not pictured** I also cut two pieces of black ribbon (I don't think the color actually matters because you don't end up seeing it) - figuring the length by laying the ribbons across the top of her head and down the sides, trimming them at the places on her head where I wanted the brim of the hat to sit. I sewed the two lengths of ribbon perpendicular to each other ( a + shape). I then stitched all four ends of this "ribbon plus sign" at evenly spaced intervals (like North/East/South/West) around the inside of the bottom edge. This was a last minute addition to keep the hat from being able to come down over her face - essentially providing a stopping point for her head inside the hat before the actual end of the hat. I think you could also sew one of those simple baby knit pull on hats into it if you'd rather.
Step 11: Chinstrap
For the chin strap I did lots of fittings so that I knew what length to make it. I would put the hat on her and then mark placement carefully with pins, take it off of her, sew one side down and then re-check it.
I sewed two lengths of small, black ric-rac to two black hair elastics. I used ric-rac because the classic version of the Bride has convenient stitching at her neck and around her ears that allows for a chin strap and I wanted it to look as much like stitches as possible. Sewing the ric-rac to the hair elastics allows it to be sewn into the hat, but still have enough stretch and give to pull under your child's chin while putting it on.
I twisted the ric-rac once on itself before I sewed it so that it would stay together. I don't know that this is super important.
Step 12: Happy Halloween!
The Bride of Frankenstein wears bandage-y type under clothes, so I just finished off this look with a long sleeved white onesie, long white pants and white socks. My daughter actually had some diaper leakage while wearing the costume, so it was nice that there was a whole outfit on underneath the costume (I had replacement white clothes just in case) because the dress wasn't affected at all. Not so much in Texas, but it's also nice to have a warm and cozy costume for a chilly Halloween with your baby. She was a huge hit everywhere we went and was comfortable enough to wear the costume as long as I wanted her to.