Children’s Fancy Dress Competition is one of the many occupational hazards of parenting… and most often the unavoidable one :-). And when my kid’s school had one, there was no escape for me.
After getting to know that my kid was ok about participating in the event, I was searching for good fancy dress costume ideas ranging from animals, bumble bee, honey bee, Disney character costumes, and cartoon characters to professions. It was difficult to freeze upon any costume as my kid refused to be anything that I suggested (and which I thought were easier to make). Nothing appealed to the little one.
After much fuss, Shaun-The Sheep (one of his favorite animated characters) appealed to him. The fancy costumes had to be handmade; not brought off the shelf or rented. Once decided, I wanted him to be involved in making of the costume so that he gets into the skin of the character ;-).
Ground Rules for Making Fancy Costumes for Children:
- The dress has to be comfortable – not too tight or loose enough to hang.
- The child should be able to carry on his/her activities after wearing the dress, comfortably.
- No harsh material. No pins and sharp objects.
- Clean and fresh materials – to avoid child discomfort, itching, etc.
- Minimise the time the kid has to sport the dress. Keep a change of clothes handy.
- No chemicals, make-up, powders and scents on face and body.
Here is how I made a light-weight and easy-to-assemble sheep costume for a fancy dress competition:
Things you need to make a sheep fancy costume
- An old white T-shirt or vest
- Black shorts
- White Skull Cap
- Black Stockings – for legs
- Black Stockings – for hands
- Cotton Balls
How to make Shaun The Sheep Costume for Kids
An old t-shirt or vest in white color is used as a base for making this costume. You can chose to cut the t-shirt back open for it makes the costume easy to put on the kid.
Stitch the cotton balls to the vest in any fashion. I started in an orderly manner but it did not seem right. Going random was best and consumed less cotton balls.
Before this, I tried to glue the balls but they did not stick well enough and too much glue was getting wasted without the desired results. Maybe I did not have a good glue that works well on fabrics. Stitching the cotton balls is my best option to keep the costume sturdy.
Keep filling in the blank spaces. You can leave some gaps here and there, as the vest is white and it wont show much. While you stitch, make sure that cotton balls dont tear or shred.
It took about 2 hours to get all the balls well stitched to the vest. I guess gluing would have been faster.
Make Sheep Costume Complete with Headgear/ Cap
Use a skull cap with a snug-tight fit. Stitch the cotton balls all around the skull cap, filling all the gaps. Attach two long triangular pieces of black cloth at the sides – for sheep ears.
Make Sheep’s Tail for the Costume
Stitch together a bunch of cotton balls to make it look like a bushy tail along with a cord for tying it to the shorts. You can also pin this attachment with a safety pin.
Assembling the Fancy Dress Costume
Since I wanted to costume to be easy to assemble on the kid, I chose separate elements for body, arm, legs and head. Everything could be detached or attached and assembled into one costume. And nothing much gets wasted after the event.
Dressing up your kid as a sheep
Prepare your kid a few days in advance telling him about the character and the costume he/ she is supposed to wear. This will prepare the child for a new, weird and probably uncomfortable dress. Try the dress on before the D-day.
Pull up the black stockings on hands and legs, shorts, shoes and lastly the cotton balled vest.
Secure the vest at the back. Attach the little tail on the black shorts. Put on the skull cap and adjust ears.
There, the sheep is ready to bleat.
Reuse or Recycle your Fancy Dress Costume
Costumes for fancy dress competition are made for one occasion. Then they end up in the attic, loft, trunk or garbage bin. If due care is taken while making the costume to salvage most of its content and reuse its elements, then it is worthwhile to take part in the event.
In this sheep costume, the entire costume – vest, socks and cap can be reused after removing the cotton balls. The cotton balls can be used for other purposes as they have been exposed to air and dust.
If you are done with the costume but don’t have the heart to dismantle it, you can donate or gift it to someone. The school can also keep the costume for its plays. This costume can also be used for Little-Bo-Peep nursery rhyme, Halloween, Christmas nativity scenes or stage plays. Or just put up an ad at a common place for anyone who would be interested,…. you’d be surprised with the response.
Make your own fancy costume
I hope you find this tutorial helpful in making this costume for your loved ones. The ground rules for making any character costume remain the same. It is also great to have your kid involved in costume making for he/she gets comfortable with the whole idea and also absorbs a bit of creativity that goes around :-).
Let me know if this helped you in making a fancy costume. You can also check out sheep costumes for children available at Amazon.