Poke'mon is our theme this year for Halloween as chosen by my boys. Zander chose Vaporeon, Kaiden chose Squirtle, and I chose Charmander. All of these pokemon have been done before by various people online for cosplays and such; however, none of them had instructions for the sewing-challenged like myself. I scoured the world wide web and saved photos of different interpretations of the 3 pokemon into costumes as well as photos of the pokemon from front and back views to use as reference. It took a lot of time, work, and trial and error to get it done but I'm happy with the result and hopefully I took enough pictures and can explain the process well enough that you can make your own without having to reinvent the wheel to do it.
1. fleece: light blue(2 yards), brown(1/2 yard), yellowish-brown (1/4 yard), and white (1/8 yard)
*note* these amounts are estimates of what I used. I bought much more than I needed so I'm guessing on how
much I actually used. And this was for a 3 year old.
2. felt paper: 1 sheet each black, white, dark brown, and your choice of color for the eyes
3. sewing supplies: machine, pins, needles, thread, scissors
4. poly fiber stuffing
5. broken down cardboard box (about the size of a diaper box or bigger)
6. Hot glue gun and glue sticks, and spray adhesive
7. Various: pencil, fabric marker, ruler, dowel rod
Step 1: The Basics
This costume requires a blue long sleeve shirt, pants, and hat. For the shirt and pants I bought a pattern at Hancock Fabrics and I found a couple 'ibles that helped with the hat, though it took parts from 2 different ones for me to understand it (sewing-challenged here), so I'm going to try to dumb it down a little.
Shirt and Pants: just follow the instructions in the pattern set
*note* I made my kids' 2 sizes too big and the pants are little big, but the shirts are a little small. I'd suggest making the shirt a size bigger than the pants
***note*** When making the shirt, trace the pattern for the front of the shirt on the yellowish brown fleece for the belly part of the shell, it will save you work later.
Hat.: I used these 'ibles to help me: https://www.instructables.com/id/Soft-Snuggly-Fleece-Hat/, and https://www.instructables.com/id/Customizable-Fleece-Hats/
I took the pattern from the first ible and used photoshop to enlarge it to the right size for my son. The hat fits him, his brother, and even me, so this size should work for anyone. the pattern is split up on 2 US paper size pages so you just have to print it and tape it together. The paper size isn't big enough to fit the bottom length of the pattern so just add a few inches to it to make sure its big enough, we can always make it smaller later. Then cut it out.
Trace the pattern on the blue fleece, make sure you added a few inches at the bottom to make sure the hat is big enough, and cut it out. Then align and pin the like colored edges of the triangles to sew. It's easier to pin and sew one at a time. This will round out the hat. When all the like colored sections are sewed up, align, pin, and sew up the ends (back seam) to finish it up.
Try the hat on your intended wearer (inside out still) and roll up the edge to the right fit, Remove the hat, pin, and sew. This will be the hem.
Now that the basics are done, on to squirtle-fying it.
Step 2: The Hat/ Face
Let's get the ball rolling with Squirlte's face. First, print out the squirtle face image I've supplied.
Next, equip yourself with patience and an exacto knife and carefully cut out all the different sections of color. You should have 1 piece for the mouth. 2 nostrils, 2 eyebrow things, and 4 pieces of the eye (as seen in photo) and intact paper you cut them out from.
Now trace the mouth, nostrils, eyebrows, and black section of the eyes onto black felt and cut out. Carefully cut out the holes from the black section of the eyes as seen in the photos.
Trace the eye shapes again, this time on white and cut out. Align the black section on top of the white and cut out the section of white that extends into the colored part of the eye. ( the little squarish section on the bottom side)
Now use that little piece of white you just cut off to trace that shape onto the eye color you choose. Kaiden chose green. Then cut it out and align it with the white section as shown in the pictures.
Now that you have all your pieces, it is time to go outside with a can of spray adhesive to glue the eye pieces together and apply to the hat.
First align the white and the colored part and spray with adhesive, then carefully align the black portion on top and press together.
Now grab your model and have them wear the hat. Use the stencil made when we cut out the pieces to hold up against the hat to help align the parts.
Apply adhesive to the back of one eye. Hold your placement tool up against the hat and place the eye in the correct hole. Remove the paper and press the eye firmly to the hat. Repeat these steps for all the remaining pieces.
Now we have a pretty good-looking squirlte hat. On to the body.
Step 3: Front/ Belly of the Shell
Alright, If you followed the advice in the ***note*** section in step 1, you are ahead at this point. I didnt plan ahead and made the shirt all blue so I had to trace the pattern for the front of the shirt on the yellowish fleece and sew it to the shirt. More work that wont be necessary for you if you learn from my mistakes.
Once you have the yellowish fabric as the front of the shirt you are ready to move on. Get out that sheet of dark brown felt and start cutting it into strips longways. Try to make all the strips the same thickness. See photos for the size I used. You will need many strips because we will use them on the shell as well.
Arrange the strips on the shirt to make the pattern of the front of the shell. Cut off excess and pin the strips in place. Then sew the strips on. I had to hand sew them because my shirt was two layers thick because of having to add the yellow on top.
Step 4: Shell: Creation
This is the part that makes the costume: the shell. I looked for instructions on how to make it online but didnt have much luck. I did find one person who made a turtle shell for her kid's turtle costume and posted instructions. I used her experience to help me with mine. You can see hers here: http://thealmostperfectionist.blogspot.com/2012/10/homemade-turtle-costume.html
Lay out your shirt on the cardboard and trace with pencil the outline of the shirt without the sleeves. Remove the shirt. Now summon your artistic side and sketch an oval that extends slightly higher than the neck line, lower than the bottom edge, and past the sides of the shirt, as well as slightly past the arm holes. ( see photo)
Cut out the oval and trace it onto the brown fleece. Cut it out and set aside. Trace it again leaving about 3 inches of material around the oval. Use a ruler to measure 2 inches out from the oval and mark it with a dot. Repeat this all around the oval, then connect all the dots. You should now have an oval inside a bigger oval. (see photo) Cut it out following the line of the larger oval.
Now arrange the previously cut strips on the large oval to create the shell pattern. *make sure you arrange them on the non-marked side*, pin and sew.
Now that's done, flip the oval over so the marked side is up. Place the cardboard oval on the fleece, aligning it with the marks of the smaller oval.
Now the tricky part. Fold the edges of the oval up over the cardboard oval in sections. Where the sections overlap, pin together. (see photo). When all of the oval is folded over and pinned, hot glue it into place along the bottom and up both sides, but leave the top section unglued. Then stuff the shell with the poly fiber stuffing to your desired buldginess and hot glue the remaining parts. Now you should have a fairly awesome brown shell.
My cardboard wasn't thick or strong enough so it was bowing out with the stretch and pull of the fabric, so I found a dowel rod I had laying around the house and broke it so it would be the length of the shell. Then hot glued the rod down the center of the cardboard vertically and held it down in place until the glue set.
On to the white part. Cut out a long strip of white fleece about 6 inches wide and about as long as your material will allow. Fold the material in half horizontally and pin and sew. Leave the two edges open. Then turn inside out to hide the stitches. It takes a while but its manageable. Then sew one edge shut
Get out the stuffing again and set about stuffing the tube. Use the remaining piece of dowel rod to help you push stuffing down into the tube. Leave the remaining end un-sewed.
Arrange the tube around the outer edge of the shell. Then hot glue in place. overlap the ends of the tube and sew them together. Cut off excess.
Retrieve that oval we cut out earlier and hot glue it over the cardboard, tucking the edges in under the white tube.
Step 5: The Tail
Use the ruler or the dowel rod to measure the length you want the tail. (see photo)
Fold a piece of blue fleece in half. Mark the intended length with dots. Use a reference photo to help you sketch out the tail. Sketch it a little bigger than you need it to be for seem allowances. Cut it out. You should have 2 since you cut it out of a folded piece. Pin the edges together and sew, leaving the end open. Flip inside out.
Redraw the curly decoration line on the tail. Then sew that line. Stuff the tail starting with the section around the curly line.
Arrange it on the shell. Spread out the open edges of the tail so one edge is on each side of the tail against the shell and pin and sew. Then cut off the excess.
Squeeze a line of hot glue along the side of the tail that touches the shell and press the tail firmly to the shell. Hold it in place until the glue sets. To reinforce the hold, sew the tail to the shell along both sides of the tail.
Step 6: How to Wear the Shell?
Ok, so this part was the hardest and filled with the most trial and error. I was trying to avoid adding straps to the shell and wearing it like a back pack but that's the way it ended up anyways.
First I tried to use Velcro to hold the shell to the shirt, but it wasn't strong enough so that idea failed.
Then I tried adding material over the shoulders that extended down the back and adding buttons to attach the shell. It worked pretty good, an invisible way to attach the shell, but the shell was so heavy that it pulled on the shirt and was choking the poor kid.
Alas, we had to go with the straps :(
I've included the pictures of the method with the buttons since it added the material over the shoulder which should really be there to make sense, since the shell is supposed to be connected to the front plate, and because using the buttons and the straps both seem like a good idea.
I found an old bag in the closet and cut the straps off. Lay out your yellowish fleece and fold over the edge long ways just enough that the strap could fit inside the pocket. (see photo) Let the strap extend out past the fleece on both sides.
Cut two of these strips out. Pin the ends together and sew like we did with the white tube for the shell. You should now have 2 yellowish tubes. Flip inside out. Insert one strap into each tube, again letting the strap extend out past the fleece. Sew both ends of both straps as shown. (this is because the fleece stretches and I wanted to make sure the straps wouldn't stretch)
Hot glue one end of each strap to the shell just above where the buttons would have been had you done the button way. The straps should be placed so that the strap extends straight up off the top of the shell. Let glue cool and grab your model. Hold the shell up to their back and pull the straps up over their shoulders. Mark the length you want the straps to be and send your model on his way.
Cut the fleece ONLY first at the mark. Slide the fleece tube on the extra bit of strap down to expose the bag strap. Then move down the strap an inch or so and cut. This way the tube covers the strap and leaves bare strap extending out past the fabric.
Put hot glue on the strap part and curl it under and press onto the shell. (See photos)
Now your shell is complete and ready to wear.
Step 7: Put It All Together
Dress your model up and make sure it all fits right and looks great. Then go outside and take some fun photos to show it off.