A CailaMade Halloween {2012}

Well, last week I spent a lot of time doing something I didn’t intend to do: sew Halloween costumes. I don’t know why, but I’m always hesitant about sewing costumes. Sewing takes a lot of time, and I like to make sure my time is well spent. I’d rather spend a few hours making a pair of pants than a costume. I know, I know: this makes me sound like a grinch.

But my kids only want to wear things I’ve made. Totally sweet! But since Hudson wanted to be a SHARK this year, I told him I would have to buy the costume. I mean, I couldn’t make a SHARK, right??? So I ordered the costume on Ebay and waited for it to arrive. And waited, and waited and waited. Just a few days before Halloween I received an email from the seller saying they had only just sent the costume–there was no way it would arrive by Halloween.


Hudson was really disappointed, so I did what any mother would do who has a little experience sewing. I took Hudson to Joanne’s and we bought a van-load of felt.

The next day I had this:

I still don’t know exactly how it came together. I started this costume on Monday, two days before Halloween and never even had time to worry about whether I was doing it right. I just cut the dang thing out and went for it. Here are the deets:

Shark Costume Sewing Details:

Pattern: Believe it or not, I used Made by Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee pattern for the body and fins. I just made the body extra, extra large and extended it waaaay down. I used the arm pattern piece to construct the fins–which are obviously much wider and longer than normal FBST arms.
Materials: I used felt-on-the-bolt from Joanne’s in the colors charcoal, light gray and white. No hot glue was used. I stitched the whole thing on my machine, but the eyes and part of the head were hand-stitched.
Inspiration: Hudson’s costume is a Pottery Barn knock off (but enormous compared to the store-bought version).

The Shark Head
The head presented some difficulties. My first version flopped over and slid down over his face. So I stuffed the head and now it stays up. (I did this by sewing a panel in above Hudson’s head and filling the top part of the shark head with stuffing). The teeth still kind of stick out all over the place, but oh well. It’s like that shark with funny teeth from Finding Nemo, right? Totally on purpose.

The Dorsal Fin
The dorsal fin is held in an upright position with a wire hanger. My husband took the hanger, cut it and bent it to the correct size and I inserted it into the fin. I stitched it onto the back and did a happy dance when it actually worked.

The Eyes
I love this part! I think the eyes give the shark a such a comical look. These were stitched on after the head was assembled and stuffed. If I made this again I would add the eyes before stitching the head together, but let me take a moment to say: I do not plan on ever doing this again. 🙂

Overall, the shark costume was a great success. Hudson roared his way through Halloween and Abby screamed obligingly when he chased her. The costume isn’t perfect, but in his eyes it is, and that’s all that matters.

Before I go, I think you ought to know that the shark costume I purchased on Ebay arrived the day before Halloween, right after I finished this one. It turned out to be waaaay too small for Hudson, so it’s a good thing I made him one. The moral of today’s story is two-fold:

1. I am better at sewing the right size than buying the right size. Better stick with sewing.
2. I should be more courageous with my sewing. I was convinced I couldn’t make a SHARK costume, but I was wrong. Never say “I can’t!”

Thanks for reading, friends! I’d love to hear from you in the comments section. How was your Halloween? Did you make a costume? How do you feel about Halloween sewing?

I’ll be back tomorrow with pictures of Abby’s Tinkerbell costume, which I LOVE. 


  1. says

    Wowsa! So impressed that you made a shark! My boys would think that was soooo cool! It turned out great 🙂 We don’t celebrate Halloween ’round here…..so makes it nice & easy for me. Now if I could only get in gear for some Christmas gift sewing before time is up!