Wednesday, October 24, 2012

easy baby or toddler cloak

I am so excited for Halloween! I've always loved it, but it's even more fun now with kids. Especially now that Jack is getting old enough to start getting excited about and understanding holidays. And what's better than dressing up a little kid in an awesome costume? Dressing up TWO kids in awesome costumes!

So let's just say I've been more than a little excited for our family's Halloween costumes this year ever since I came up with the brilliant idea a few months ago. And since I came up with the idea a few months ago, I should be long done with all the costumes, right? Of course not! But I am making pretty good progress.

The first items to be finished were the hooded cloaks for the boys. After looking at (and even purchasing) several patterns, and deciding I didn't like any of them, I made my own, which ended up being way better and easier and anyway. So here I present to you:

(These aren't their full costumes... Also, what's harder than taking a picture of one kid? Taking a picture of TWO kids!)
The Super Simple Baby/Toddler Cloak

What you need:
- Felt* (approx 1 yard of 72" felt)
- 1/2" ribbon (about a yard to be safe)
- thread
- fabric marker
- typical sewing supplies (scissors, tape measure, pins, etc.)

*You could use other fabric, but I like felt for a few reasons - 1. It's cheap 2. It's warm (and sometimes it's pretty cold on Halloween!) 3. You don't have to finish the edges. And I'm lazy.

1. Determine how long you need the cloak to be. Measure from the top of the child's shoulder to the desired length of the cloak. (When in doubt, go a little long - you can always cut some off the bottom later.) Now add 3" for a baby, 6" for a toddler. (This allows you to cut out around the neck and maintain the desired length.) For my baby, I wanted the cloak to be 15" long, so my magic number was 18". For my toddler, it was 36" - perfect for 72" felt! (In fact, if your magic number is any bigger than 36, you'll need more than a yard of fabric.)

2. You're going to cut out a half circle from your felt. Lay out the felt on a flat surface, and mark the center point with a fabric marker. Now use a tape measure and measure straight out along the edge of the fabric the number of inches you calculated in step 1. Repeat on the other side of the center mark. Now measure and mark straight out at 90 degree angle. Think of your tape measure as a protractor, and continue moving and marking so you have a dashed line marking out a half circle.

3. Using the same center point, you will now mark the neck line. For a baby cloak, measure out about 3". For a toddler cloak, measure out about 6". Measure and mark just as you did in step 2. (You can adjust this as needed, just remember this was the number you added to your length measurement in step 1.)

4. Cut along the outer dashed line, then cut along the inner line. You now have the main piece of your cloak!

5. Cut out two pieces for the hood. You can use my pattern below, or adapt it to your own size and liking. (I adapted it from one of the patterns I bought. That pattern made an absolutely enormous hood! So I used the basic shape/dimensions and scaled it down a bit.)

(To adjust size, just add on or cut back the center back seam. For example, just measure out 1" all the way around the center back seam to make it bigger.)

6. With right sides together, stitch the two hood pieces together along the outer curved edge, forming a seam up the middle of the hood. You can either clip the extra fabric from the seam allowance at the front of the hood, or fold it back and tack/stitch it in place.

7. Time to attach the hood to the cloak! With right sides together, line up the center seam of the hood with the mid point of the neckline. Pin it.

8. Now continue pinning each side of the hood, creating pleats as you go to make the hood line up nicely with the curve of the neckline. I did two pleats in the baby cloak, three in the toddler cloak. The hood should not come all the way to the front of the cloak. It should end 1-2" back from the front edge.

(You can also see the pleats in the previous picture for step 6)

9. Stitch the hood to the cloak.

10. Cut two lengths of ribbon, each at least 12" long. (Better to be too long and trim them later!) Pin them to the inside edge of the front of the cloak, just below where the hood meets the cloak. Stitch along the ribbon to secure it to the cloak.

11. Try it on your little one, see if you need to cut any length off the bottom, and you're done! (If you want a more finished look, you can stitch around the front edges of the hood and cloak, and the hem.)

The finished product, looking slightly creepy without a little person in it!

Baby cloak! And of course he's making his awesome gnome face. I was just glad to get a picture in which he wasn't trying to eat the cloak.

Toddler cloak! In typical toddler fashion, he was throwing a tantrum about wearing the cloak and taking pictures. He kept crying "Jack come out!" (meaning out of the cloak...) This was the best I could get.

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