This is an adorable boy/girl costume that is quick and easy to whip up using things from your child's wardrobe.
Step 1: Assemble What You'll Need
I used clothes that my son already had. A cozy, primary coloured shirt, brown shorts, red rubber boots and striped legwarmers.
I bought: red fabric to make a hat, white fun-fur to make a beard & eyebrows, piece of white felt to sew fun-fur onto, thrift store belt, tiny garden tools.
You will also need a sewing maching, red thread, velcro and some basic sewing skills.
Step 2: Make the Gnome Hat
I thought a tall, cone-shaped hat would be most striking, but you can get fancy and sew in a curved tip that would be more Eastern-European reminiscent.
I bought a bright red shirt and started by cutting off the sleeve.
Step 3: Make a Cone With a Chalk Line
With a piece of chalk and a ruler, make a long triangle shape, leaving the armhole closer to the armpit, intact.
Step 4: Sew Along the Chalk Line
Starting at the bottom of the triangle, sew up to the point, then come back down to the other side. Cut off the excess and the cuff, leave yourself an edge of at least 1/2 " all the way around.
Step 5: Fit on Your Child's Head
At this point, turn your gnome hat right-side-out and find something soft to stuff it with.
I originally had a cone made out of a piece of thin, flooring underlay. It was stiff and stood straight up. I think it would have worked well, but I opted instead for polyfil, thinking that if he bumped it or knocked it off, it would retain its shape better stuffed with stuffing instead of just a cone shape. Make sense? So I stuffed it, making sure to really cram it into the tip so there was no floppage.
Fit it onto your child's head. You want it to pull snugly over the ears so it will stay on. I didn't bother with a strap, as I knew it would drive my son nuts. If you have a younger toddler, a chin strap might not be a bad idea. If the armhole ended up being too big for your wee one's noggin, now is the time to take it in at the sides.
Step 6: Does It Fit?
Yup, it fits.
Step 7: Make Your Beard
I started with a piece of soft felt. I thought it would feel nicer against my little one's face than the scratchy, old backside of fun-fur!
I made a point at the bottom, with 'sideburns' going up the side. The shape is really up to you. This one ended up being a bit wide for my son's face, but it's good, because it won't impede him from eating, drinking, talking, yelling, tantrums, etc. :D
Step 8: Tack on Your Fun-fur
Lay your felt cutout onto your fun-fur, with the nap (direction) of the fun-fur facing down (like the natural direction hair grows) as well as fun-fur side face down on the table. Clear as mud!? Trim around the edge so that they are both the same beard shape.
Using white thread, hand-sew the felt to the fun-fur cutout in large stitches around the edge. I know hand-stitching isn't fun, but you really can't do this on the machine without truly messing up the fun-fur! It doesn't take long, I promise.
Step 9: Add Some Velcro Tabs
Stick or sew on some velcro tabs to the top of the sideburns.
Step 10: Placing Velcro on Inside of Hat
Put the other side of the velcro on the inside of the hat. Do a dry-fit with your child so you can see just where the beard will sit and know what height you need the velcro strip to sit at.
Step 11: Add Eyebrows to Gnome Hat
It's probably easier than getting your child to wear eyebrows stuck to his face, especially if he's 3 and doesn't really get Halloween! Putting them on the gnome hat is still very effective!
Cut out a couple of small squares from the fun-fur and round off the edges, taking care not to cut off any more of the fur than you absolutely need. Stitch them on by hand with 4 or 5 stitches each. Twist the ends of the eyebrows...spritz on a bit of hairspray to keep them looking neat!
Step 12: Measure Your Belt
I found a cheap, vinyl belt at a thrift store. I measured how much of it fit around my son's waist, then cut the end off and used the excess to make an easy holster for a brightly-coloured garden tool. It makes a small and fun prop that goes with the garden gnome theme!
Step 13: Put It All Together and Brace Yourself for Cuteness!
An easy, quick costume that will be cozy for trick or treating. If the weather is especially cold, substitute brown pants for shorts. Happy Halloween!