How to Make a Technicolor Owl Costume
Happy Halloween! With a family of five now, getting even the kids costumes can be quite a task. And don’t ask if I dressed up. I’d love to, but the three is enough. Of course, going to the local costume shop would be a lot easier, but being raised on quality homemade costumes, this is not an option. AND I always tell my kids its better to be unique than to fit in with everyone else. Rosie has been with us for just over three months, and there is one characteristic everyone points out, her big eyes! She’ll be in her car seat with a fluffy blanket on her lap, napping so quietly, then I look over and see her two big eyes just looking around. She reminds me of a baby owl in her nest. I first made this costume for Max 4 years ago, and he was so cute in it, I decided to try again with an updated girly color palette. I call it The Technicolor Baby Owl and I want to show you how this simple and cheaply this costume can be made. This requires almost no sewing skills, and you may just have all the supplies already in your home, I know I did…
For this costume you will need:
1/2 yard of felt in base color
1/4 yard of felt in 3-5 additional colors (or you can purchase felt squares)
hot glue gun with glue sticks
needle and thread or 8-12 safety pins
Start by finding the hoody you want to use. You don’t want to pick out your felt colors, and then not have a correct color to add them to. For Rosie, I already had this white fluffy hoody jacket for Rosie, don’t you think the fuzziness adds to the baby owlness of it? When I made Max’s costume, I used a green hoody and he wore grey and white striped leggings. Either option works great! I then decided to use cream, light pink, medium/dark raspberry, dark pink, golden yellow, and light blue felt to create the feathers.
There is no pattern for the feathers, and they do not need to be perfect. Felt is so great to work with because it is forgiving to sloppiness and impatience, thats me! Like the picture above, I eyeball a U-shape and cut. They are not the exact same or size.
For Rosie’s costume I spent about an hour cutting around 150 feathers. These colors make me so happy!
Next lay your hoody face down on a table, and again you are going to eye ball your “wings.” Spread the arms out without changing the shape of the bodice of the garment. Lay your felt base down on top of it, and start cutting your felt using the shape of jacket to guide you. You will end up with a shape like the one below.
Now plug in your hot glue gun, as you will be using this soon. If you have not used a hot glue gun before, keep out of reach of children, pets, and watch out yourself! I have burned myself very badly with hot glue. It may dry quick, but before it does, it is VERY hot, please be careful.
Lay out your feathers along the bottom of your base. There is no rule with this. If you want to do a pattern you can, but I find it best to be random so you don’t run into any problems further up the base. I also put a large feather right in the middle of each row of the wings to use as a guide and to create a bit of dimension (you will see what I mean in the following photo). Once you like the way the feathers look lined across the bottom, grab your hot glue gun and use just enough to glue the top of each feather down. You want them to still be floppy, so only glue the tops, and watch your fingers! After this line is glued down, follow with a second row of feather above that. I place them so they line up between the two feathers below and about half way down on top of them. Continue with another row, and another, and another, until you get to the top.
This next step is optional, but I like the way it brings the eye to the middle and creates a little dimension. On both sides of each large feather, I added a small feather in between that and the feather next to it. I also layered two at the top of the wings as well.
Now you need to get out your needle and thread to stitch the wings to the sleeves. You can use any color thread you like. With felt, I never like to exactly match stitching, because I think it looks cute to do deliberate exaggerated stitches. If you don’t know how to thread a needle, or do a basic stitch, there are plenty on Youtube. If needed, pin the wings to the sleeve, and from the shoulder down to the wrist, stitch your wings down an imaginary line of the sleeve. If you don’t want to stitch, you could safety pin from the inside, but stitched always looks and stays better.
Now flip your jacket, face up, and on the spots of the base that are exposed from this side, you can add feathers just like you did on the back. This step can be skipped, but I prefer to have the pop of color from the front.
Once you have those glued down, you’re almost done. Next, you will be cutting out your owl eye layers, gluing them together first and then stitching them. Notice how my largest piece of the eye are two large ovals connected in the middle. This adds to the exaggerated size of the owl eyes.
Before you start gluing, first decide what layers go in what order. I cut out several colors of the parts of the owl eye to see how they looked together before making a final decision.
I also wasn’t completely happy with all my color ways, and ended up cutting out the small pupils from burgundy felt, a color I did not use in the feathers. Notice how my shapes are not exact. The best part of this costume is that it does not need to be perfect!
Add a dab of hot glue to the middle of each layer, then stitch for a detailed finish.
Now the eyes are done, but your bird needs a beak! Cut out two triangles and stitch them together. Since I used yellow in my bird, that worked out well, but don’t think you NEED yellow or brown for a beak. This is a colorful costume, so having a pink, purple, or blue beak adds to the fun! Stitch these onto the front of your hood and you’re all good to go. See Rosie in her Technicolor Baby Owl below <3
Of course, I keep calling this an owl, but I also thought how it could be used for Thanksgiving and even Easter! Its a year round costume!!!