Halloween is so much more fun with kids and since this is the first year the girls can really weigh in on their halloween costumes, I thought I'd see what they wanted to be. So we talked about all the options, from book characters, to movie characters, to just things/people they think are cool. No matter how many times we talked about it, their answer was always the same - FLAMINGOS. Both of them. FLAMINGOS. Which honestly, although totally unexpected, I find completely hilarious, so sure I thought, FLAMINGOS. But....as it turns out, finding toddler flamingo costumes is a little more difficult than you might think (or maybe not, I'm not sure how many 3 year-olds are demanding to be flamingos... I didn't love any of the options though - in form or function - so I decided to make them myself. And, I love them even more than I thought I would, so I thought I'd share my DIY tips for this simple but super cool costume.
So the key element to this entire costume is that its made out of a hoodie - this way it's not hard for the kids to wear it and it will also keep them warm. I love American Apparel kid hoodies - and I knew I wanted this NEON PINK one for the flamingos because NEON PINK. As a side note, a hoodie also serves as a great base for the wings and the beak so you don't have to worry about a bunch of separate parts that toddlers will most certainly lose/break/destroy all within a 5 minute time frame.
For the wings, I bought two different color felts at Joann's - the piece for the wings I bought the color below by the yard (since I had to make two costumes I bought 1/2 yd). First I cut two large wing shapes to connect the feathers to, with the idea that the final wing would then connect to the back of the hoodie (on the back and arms).
I used the left over pieces of this base wing color to cut some feathers. I bought a second color felt by the sheet (I bought 2 sheets per costume) to add a little dimension. Also, for what it's worth, the bottom part of a flamingo's wings are darker...and realism is obviously important when making felt flamingo wings...for a three year old...for halloween ;) To make the feathers, I just cut a simple feather shape and then cut some breaks in it to mimic the breaks in real feathers.
Once I had enough feathers cut out, I layered them on the wing, pinned, and sewed them on so they looked even more like feathers. Plus since they were connected by that line down the middle, they laid a little more realistically too. I could definitely have glued them on with a line of glue down the middle of the back of the feather and drawn the line on with a pink or black sharpie though, for sure.
When both wings were finished, I hand stitched along the top line of the wing to connect the wing to the hoodie. This left it free to move with the arm of the hoodie and frankly looked pretty awesome once the kids tried it on.
I thought the flamingos also needed some feather volume on the bottom and although I'm definitely not a tutu girl, I felt like it was definitely the right way to go. I used this awesomely easy tutorial that I found on Pinterest. It basically requires looping precut strips of tulle around elastic measured to fit your child's waist. I only ended up using 3 rolls of 6 inch x 25 yards per tutu and I layered the top to be lighter and the bottom darker because you might as well do it right, you know?
Last but not least, I added the flamingo's eyes and beak to the hood of the sweatshirt. We are obsessed with googly eyes in this house, so we glued these on a circle of black, which I then stitched to the side of the hood. Then I cut the beak out of two shapes made from the pink and black felt and I sewed them together and then to the hood. I set the beak back a little from the edge of the hood so it wouldn't hang down in the kids' faces. I also left it an open piece of felt so it wasn't too heavy.
Here's the whole thing put together - stay tuned for pics of the full costume in action next week!