Monday, October 23, 2017

Make a Child's Red Bird Costume

"Please Grandma, would you make me a red bird costume?" I asked my granddaughter what she would do if she was a red bird. She responded, "I'd fly, of course!" As you can see, she now can spread her wings and try to fly! 

As I gave her this red bird costume, we talked about how she really wouldn't be able to fly but she could have fun pretending to fly. I didn't want her jumping off her two story deck thinking she'd be able to fly! You know how children's imaginations can go wild! 

Occasionally, this red bird was able to flap her wings and jump just enough to get some air. Now, on to how I made the costume!

For the main body of the costume, I used a super soft, jersey knit. The wings and half of the feathers were made from a metallic red spandex. The stomach and the other half of the feathers were made from a stretch knit, red splattered velveteen fabric.

The pattern I used was McCall's M6785.  I used the body for view C. 

The only thing I wish I had done was make the neck smaller because when I sewed the wings in place, the fabric feathers made them kind of heavy and pulled the neck down. You can learn from my errors. 

Notice the back tail feathers (you can see it a few photos below). I redesigned the back pattern piece so that the bottom had a long curve down like the size of half of a luncheon plate. Then I sewed on the feathers just like I did for the wings. (More about that in a minute.)

A while after I began working on this costume, I came across these bird feet in my costume bag. I created these when my son (my granddaughter's father) was about her age. It makes me laugh to think that I wore them with a blue bird costume I made out of a high school prom dress - sorry, I don't have any photos (that's probably a good thing). I washed these bird feet, cut them down to fit a six-year-old's feet, and added new elastic.

Lastly, I re-positioned the Velcro on the back straps to fit a child's ankles. Who would ever guess these bird feet would come in handy when they were first made so many years ago?

One of my favorite things about this costume is the mask. I started with a Mardi Gras mask that I purchased and never wore. I pulled off all the elements from the original plastic mask form and using spray glue, I added the same red splattered velvet fabric to the entire mask, that I had used for the wings and on the stomach. Before adhering it to the mask, I traced with a pen the eye openings onto the wrong side of the fabric. Then using scissors, I cut out the eye holes. 

The beak was made from yellow felt which I reinforced with iron-on interfacing. Once the beak was in place, I embroidered the brown markings onto each side of the beak. Then I glued on gold sequins along the top edge of the beak.

The final touches were to glue a yellow rhinestone to each to corner of the mask. Then, I glued the original gold trim around the eyes and the outer edge of the mask. 

Lastly, I glued a piece of leftover red boa onto the top of the mask. This element kind of looks like hair, doesn't it?

The wings were made by cutting out a lot of fabric feathers. I overlapped these feathers and sewed them onto a wing shaped piece of fabric. I alternated the rows of feathers with a row of shiny red and then a row of velveteen red splatter. After the wings were filled with feathers, I sewed them onto the back seam of the bird top. 

To keep the wings attached to her the red bird's arms, I added elastic straps that went over her sleeves. One strap was added to the wrist and another right above her elbow. For the one above her elbow, I cut a piece of the red shiny spandex fabric. That way this strap blended in with her costume.

I sewed the red boa onto the neck, around the sleeves, and around the stomach piece of the costume using a large zig zag stitch. I sewed as close to the middle of the boa as possible. 

To wear under this red bird shirt, I purchased red shorts. Some things in life just need to be easier. I'm sure you'd agree! 

Once I sewed the costume together, I took a long, long trip before my granddaughter could try on this brightly colored bird costume. 

I'm really curious to know what her Australian neighbors thought this crazy little American was squawking about? But maybe they just thought it was one of the local birds because they all seemed to have a loud squawk. 

Halloween is just around the corner! What are your children or grandchildren dressing up as? xoxo Grandma

Other costume ideas:
Mermaid Costume
Baby Carrier Shark Costume
Flintstone Family Costumes

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