Tuesday, February 14, 2012

HOWTO: Toddler Totoro Costume

You may recall Charlie was Totoro for Halloween, and I promised a tutorial, way back then. Well, here it is, finally!

This costume was really easy and I finished it in a single (long) afternoon naptime, about 3 hours.

1.5 yards charcoal grey fleece
(you could also use blue)
18"x12" scrap of ivory or white fleece
1 sheet craft foam (the thickest white one)
1 22 inch matching grey zipper

First, to make the basic jumpsuit pattern I laid down a set of my son's clothes and traced VERY loosely around them:

This was how I made sure it was roughly the right size - much easier than trying to measure a two year old! The fit is very baggy, so it doesn't have to be perfect.

Trace one side, then fold the fabric in half and cut that piece out for the front. Then fold that whole piece in half, and use that as a pattern piece for the two back pieces, leaving a half inch for seam allowance:

So the body is composed of three pieces that look roughly like this:

Pin & sew the back pieces together from the crotch up to the "butt", leaving the rest open for the zipper. Then pin and sew the front and back together, right sides together, around the arms, body and legs.

Like the body, I also traced loosely around one of my son's hoodies to make the pattern for the hood:

Again, it's loose, so the shape is approximate, but make sure the length of the bottom will approximately match the size of the neck on the body, after hemming.

Sew these two pieces together starting at the top of the head (the zipper opening has to go all the way to the top or your baby will get stuck), then hem the front around the face opening. Pin into either side of the neck hole, right sides together, and sew in.

For the belly design, I cut a 17.5"x11" oval out of the lighter fleece and then ironed it on with fusible web. I sewed this down for safety, like an applique, and then did all the little triangles, similarly, on top of this.

The tail is just two elongated "D" shaped pieces, sewn right sides together, flipped inside out, and stuffed with scraps of fleece.

Tail pattern is about 7" long.

To finish the body, sew the tail on by pinning it to the butt, the round part of the "D" facing up. Sew across, then fold down. Finally, install the zipper from the butt to the top of the head.

The ears are made using this general pattern, pattern piece is about 6" tall:

Cut four ear pieces from grey fleece, then each pair sew right side together and reverse. Trace the resulting shape onto craft foam then stuff the foam piece into the ear so it's stiff.

Then sew onto the top of the head, the same way as the tail. I also sewed in a craft foam "head band" on the inside of the hood, for stability, and sewed the ears to that as well.

I finished with a leaf made out of craft foam - this didn't survive the night, but you could make one out of felt, or even grab something from the floral department.

And that's how to make a super easy Totoro toddler costume!


KCMN said...

So adorable!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic! Totoro is the only movie my just turned 2 yr old will watch ALL the way through. His nursery is Totoro, also. =)
We love all of Ghibli films. I appreciate the tutorial oh so much. This will be very memorable. =)

jason said...

I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the zipper going up to the hood. Can you supply a few more photos; specifically that area. Is the hood sewn onto the body or is it worn like a helmet/bonnet?

jason said...

Or does the zipper go all the way over the head to the opening of the hood?

jancola said...

Yeah I had some trouble with that myself. The hood is attached, and the zipper should go all the way from the tail to the very top of his head. I tried not making it so long and actually my son got stuck in it. Trouble with having the design on the front.

If you want a shorter, simpler zipper, you could also put the zipper on the front and then just cut the tummy design in half.

I'll try to take some pictures but that part of my costume is a little torn, because of that getting stuck issue I mentioned ... :)

Unknown said...

I came across this post and it has been a life saver! I made a perfect Totoro costume for my 4 year old - mynpnly addition was to pad the white belly a little with stuffing. I'm scaling up the idea and making a Bunnicula costume for my 8 year old. The simple but valuable tip of tracing loosely around an outfit was awesome. Thank you!

jancola said...

Mamacrafter that's awesome! Aw I remember Bunnicula :)

Holland said...

I'm going to make this for my 2 year old, not for Halloween but just for a day where I need him to look extra cute so I can handle his tantrums. ;)