No-Sew Baby Owl Costume {DIY}

Halloween is coming up, ya’ll. If you’ll be hand-making costumes then it’s time to get the plans in motion. How about some inspiration?

This tutorial completely fell through the cracks. I made this baby owl costume for my daughter last Halloween when she was 6 months old and I’m just now (a year later) posting about how I made it. My apologies. Thanks to a recent comment on the original post, asking for a tutorial so that she can make it for her son this year. (Side note: if there’s anything else any of you readers would like me to follow up on, explain or write about…just ask!)

DISCLAIMER: Before I begin, I’d like to let all of you know that this was my very first baby costume or baby clothing I’ve ever made. I’m crafty and creative, sure, but I had no experience making anything of the sort. The steps I took to make this costume are not necessarily the easiest or most efficient. If you know of an quicker or smarter way to go about making this or something similar to it, by all means, do it your own way. I didn’t research how to make this, I sort of just went with the flow and made it up as I went. It was most definitely a learning process.

owl7c

Would you believe me if I told you that I based this entire costume on one item…a beanie? More like a super adorable, crocheted, owl beanie courtesy of Whitney from Cute.tuques. I reviewed it and co-hosted a giveaway for one and love ours so much that I wanted to use it in Mia’s costume. I don’t think her owl costume would have been the same without it.

Okay, now on with the tutorial…

All of the feathers for the costume were cut from printed, cotton fabric. I chose colors that coordinated with the owl beanie. I used scraps I had around the house so I don’t know exactly how much fabric to buy if you need to do so.

Feather template:

I started by making a template for the rows of feathers using a piece of paper (But, I recommend using something stiffer than paper, like part of a cereal box) and a pen. To keep each feather round at the bottom, I traced the bottom of a round glue bottle which also kept each feather the same size. It’s a matter of preference for the size feathers you’ll make. Leave about a half inch to an inch of space at the top edge of your template so that each row of feathers has room for a line of glue. I used my template to trace each row of feathers to the back-side of my fabrics (so the pen lines don’t show on the printed side). I cut out every row using a pair of fabric scissors.

NOTE: After I made this costume, I decided that it would probably would have been easier to create a template that was slightly curved, rather than straight. The feathers would have lined up better on the wing. See what I mean in the “Gluing the feathers” section below. I mention this there.

owl Collage1

The glue:

This is the fabric glue I used for the entire project. It works really well, but like any glue, it seeps through the fabric a bit and your fingers will get sticky = a few hand washings throughout. Give each row a few minutes to dry before adding the next one on top, otherwise you may get fabric sticking together where you don’t want them to.

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The wings:

The size of the wings will vary, depending on the size and age of your child. I measured from the back of my daughter’s neck (middle), across her extended arm to her wrist or the tip of her fingers for the top edge of the wing. Then I measured from the back of her neck (middle) down her spine and stopped a little below her waistline (hips area). I then took a piece of fabric (doesn’t have to match, it will be completely covered in the end) and I drew my outline of the wing using the measurements I just took. Use the image below to see the shape of the wings. Once you draw your straight line across and a straight line down, connect the ends of both lines with a slightly curved line.

Gluing the feathers:

Now it’s time to start gluing! But first, I would decide on the order of your rows of feathers before gluing anything down, making sure you have enough fabric to complete each row. I began with the black and white print and had to cut the row into a few pieces to allow it to curve with the curve of the wing. If I were to make this costume again, I’d actually try to create my original feather template with a curve already so I wouldn’t have to cut and arrange the feathers. Apply glue to the top edge of the feathers and press them down using something other than your fingers, like a flap of paper or cardboard (you just end up getting sticky and the fabric won’t stay put as well).

owl Collage2

The next sequence of photos shows how the gluing of feathers progresses. As you move higher up the wing, you will need shorter rows of feathers. Don’t worry about excess fabric sticking out or hanging off the sides/edges of the wing, at this point. Also, make sure you have something under the entire wing as you glue. Protect your table/surface area. Like I said, the glue seeps through the fabric and will stick to your table underneath. I used construction paper which stuck to my wing leaving pieces of torn, red paper on the fabric. That doesn’t matter since the under side of the wing gets completely covered anyways with another fabric.

owl Collage3

Once all of your rows are glued down, use your fabric scissors to trim both sides of the wing for nice, straight edges. If need be, apply more glue under any feathers that are along the edges you just trimmed that may be flipping up.

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Underside of wing:

Now you’re ready for the underside of the wing. I went back to my very first fabric (black and white flowers) that I had used for the bottom row of feathers and cut out enough to cover the backside of the fabric that shows. Then, I chose another fabric (orange and white pattern) and made a duplicate of each wing and glued it down along the edges only. If you apply glue to the middle of the fabric, “glue lumps” will show through. And yes, I realize that I misspelled “bottom” below in my image, I made these late at night and was falling asleep on the job. Oops.

Note: ONE YARD of fabric was plenty for me to make the entire 2 wings (grey fabric) AND their duplicates for the underside (orange fabric) that shows…feathers not included.

owl Collage4

To cover the “glue bumps” along the edges, I used a ribbon of silver sequins to glue down along all edges. I did the same to the back of the wings, only on the two straight edges.

owl Collage5

On the bottom, left photo: the arrows point to areas on the arms where the wings should be attached (backside of arms). You can either glue the wings to a long sleeved onesie/shirt or you can hand stitch them. Mine are sewn to her onesie because I worried that once she put the onesie on and we pulled it over her body, the sleeves would stretch a bit and cause the glue to come off.

The larger arrow pointing to her chest is where you can glue feathers to the front of the onesie/shirt. I used felt for this and created them using the same “template technique” that I described earlier for the feathers on the wings. Before gluing them to the onesie, make sure you have cardboard inside it until the glue dries, otherwise you’ll glue the front of your onesie to the back! My mom helped me hand stitch a few spots on each row just to be on the safe side and ensure that the rows wouldn’t come off.

As you can see, we put on a pair of leggings under the onesie and used yellow felt to create “owl feet” and hand stitched (but you can glue) them to the bottom of her leggings.

owl Collage6These arrows, below, point to areas where we hand stitched the wing to the back of the onesie. Again, glue can be used here, too.

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Here are a few more photos below (added 10/25/13) of the costume on the hanger with some measurements.

back view

Photo below: You can use fabric glue instead of stitching the wings to the onesie if you prefer.

stitches

below photo: these measurements can and will vary, depending on the age and size of your child.wingspan

There you have it. I hope I explained the steps clearly enough. If you have ANY questions, please comment below and I’ll answer them ASAP. This costume got so much attention on the streets last Halloween (2012). People even stopped us to snap a picture of Mia. I was pretty proud of myself and I absolutely loved how the entire costume turned out.

Oh, and if you do go through with making this for your little loved on, please share photos of the final product with me!

This photo was sent to me by a mom who found my tutorial and made her son a pair of wings for his 1st Halloween this year (2013)! She did an awesome job. She even made her wings detachable by adding snaps instead of sewing the wings to the onesie. Brilliant!

owlcostume

If you’d like to see our previous years of homemade costumes, click here.

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Comments

  1. Chrystal Shea says:

    Worked like a charm…thank you!

  2. I fell in love!! We will be having this costume this year!! My 4Month old baby boy will have this costume idc Wat it takes!!!

  3. I am in the process of making this for my daughter now. My question is how did you get the fabric not to fray on the ends of the feathers? Is this not an issue for anyone else? I am using regular quilters cotton and some broadcloth.

    • Huh. No, I didn’t come across that problem at all. Do you think it could be the quality of your scissors? I used newer fabric scissors and my fabric was basic quilters cotton, as well. I’ve read that knits won’t fray, but woven fabrics will. I don’t know if that helps. Maybe it has to do with the quality of the fabric. Wish I could pinpoint it for you to be of more help. I hope you’re able to come up with a solution. Good luck! And so cool to hear that you’re making this for your daughter. I’d love to see pictures of it when you’re done!

  4. I just made one of these for my daughter but I’m struggling with the wings being heavy enough to pull the back of her onesie down. Any suggestions???

    • Soooooo sorry, Emily, that this is such a late response!!! I was kind of on a little blog vacay at the time. Obviously your issue here has come and gone, but did you also attach the wings to the sleeves of the onesie? On the arms? That helped support ours. Hope you were happy with how the costume came out! I’d love to see any photos if you have any :) Actually, some people HAVE sent me photos so if it was you, then THANKS! :)

  5. This is SO stinkin cute, I hope you don’t mind, I plan to copy the whole thing! I’m about to order the same hat now! Hopefully it turns out as well as yours!

    • I absolutely don’t mind that you copy it! Exactly why I posted the process :) If you have any questions along the way, please feel free to ask me! I can’t even tell you how many compliments I got for this costume while out on Halloween. It was a hoot (yup, I just said that).

      • I let my husband pick the color of the hat and he picked the same one! So we really are copying exactly!

        We made the wings Sunday, and I couldn’t be happier with them! We just need to find a black onesie, where did you find hers?

        Technically this is not Jacks first Halloween, but since he was only 2 days old last year, it is our first celebrating and I am super excited about this costume! Thank you!

        • Thanks sooo much for commenting! I really do love getting feedback. And copy away! That’s fine by me. I hope you were happy with the outcome of your costume :)

  6. This is just so adorable! I was wondering if you used the same glue for the wings as you did to stick the “feathers” of felt on the onesie?

    • Thanks for the comment, Ashley. Yes, I used the same glue for the whole project. However, I stitched a few areas to reinforce what I had glued down. This isn’t necessary, I was just being overly cautious I guess.

  7. This is ADORABLE! Do you remember how many yards of fabric this took? I dropped the ball on my baby’s first Halloween costume and this is perfect!

    • Lindsay, one yard of fabric was plenty for me to make the 2 wings AND their duplicate wings (underside). Fabric for feathers are not included in that yard of fabric. For those, I used scraps I already had. I just updated my post and added a few more pictures and measurements of my costume. Hope this helps.

  8. Hi, im in the midst of making this great owl costume for my 8mo old. I’m wondering if you know the dimensions of the wings. I’m measuring 15inches from the arm to neck and 11 from neck to waist but my wing looks much smaller than yours and less symmetrical. any advice on this would be helpful. thanks!

  9. Love this! Question: Did you end up washing the fabric before using the glue? It’s recommended on the bottle, but I don’t foresee actually washing the costume at any point…what did you do? Thanks!

    • @eso thanks for the comment and I did NOT wash the fabric! Uh-oh, should I have? I didn’t actually read the bottle’s instructions! My husband must be rubbing off on me. The costume has been hanging in my daughter’s closet since Halloween last year. I didn’t actually plan on washing it but I guess if you would like to use it again then maybe you should. Thanks for pointing this out, I’ll probably wash future projects prior to gluing, now :)

  10. Absolutely adorable! I found you on Pinterest and love your style. I’m a new mom this Halloween with a 9 mo old baby boy and excited to explore your blog more. Can’t wait to get started on this costume…hope I have enough time :)

    • Thanks for your comment, Kimberly! You definitely have enough time to get this done by Halloween. You may be staying up late each night, but after you have measured your son and have your templates drawn out, it’s so easy from there. Cutting and gluing :) Also, welcome to my blog and I’m glad you’re sticking around a bit. If you do make the costume, I’d love to see photos! I’m making my family’s costumes this year and I haven’t started yet either! That’s 3 costumes! I work well under pressure, though :)

  11. I am so exciting to have found this. I am hoping to make one for my son and one for my niece. They both have owl beanies that my sister made and I too love them. Did you just use fabric remnants that you had? If not how much fabric did you buy to make the wings? I need to get to the store ASAP as it will probably take me the next 3 weeks to get this done! :)

    • Thanks so much for the comment, Mindy! I wish I could remember how much fabric I used. I did just use scraps I had been piling up and picked whatever I thought would closely match the beanie. My biggest pieces of fabric were used for the wings themselves, the actual cut-outs of them. The smaller pieces were cut into feathers and glued onto the 2 large wings as shown. You don’t even have to create coordinating “rows”….every feather can be different. I would first measure the child’s arm span from center of their back to their wrist. That should give you a good idea for how much fabric you need for the 2 large pieces for wings. Hope this helps! Good luck and please share photos if you make this!

  12. Adorable costume! I’m thinking of doing it for my 10 month old, but I was wondering how much maneuvering room the wings allow the baby? Thanks! They look pretty flexible.

    • Thank you, and the costume allows complete room to maneuver in. Since it’s only attached to a long sleeve onesie in a few spots on the arm and back, it’s practically hanging from baby and moves with their movements. If you do end up making this, I’d LOVE to see the end result :) Good luck.

  13. So cute!! Great job!

  14. I figured out how to comment! I have no clue why I couldn’t figure this out before but OMG this costume is gorgeous and looks like A TON of work. It is so so perfect… dare I try this myself??? It is amazing!!!

    • Oh no! Is it because the comment section is dark? Well glad you figured it out. Thanks so much, it was more time consuming than \”work\”. It\’s actually really easy but doing it with a very clingy 6 month old was tough. I totally recommend giving it a go. I love that everyone\’s owl will be unique, using different fabrics and color schemes than mine. If you do, PLEASE send pics of it my way!

  15. What an adorable idea! I might have to remember this. =D

    • Thanks! It\’s a bit time consuming (without baby, I would have had it done in a matter of hours rather than days, but then who\’d be wearing the costume?!) but simple enough. Thanks for the comment :)

  16. Super cute costume!

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  1. […] my mother in law gave the great idea to make an owl costume for Marvel. I found this great tutorial here that’s an easy and cute owl costume to make for her. I haven’t decided on if I want to […]

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