How to make an elf costume

Making a child’s elf costume really isn’t hard at all. Begin with a pair of bright green tights. A little woodland elf might wear brown tights. If the child is to be a Christmas elf, the tights can be red, which might be easier to find. In a pinch, they could be white, or you could dye a pair of white tights green.

For a tunic, look through a thrift shop for an adult-sized pullover velour top or t-shirt in a bright green. A t-shirt will work, but velour will be best. If it has a knit band around the bottom, cut it off. Cut the shirt up the front so it opens like a jacket. Take off the ribbing around the neck. Cut the sleeves off short and trim them with zigzags to look ragged. Check the top for fit on the child. You may need to take out some width if the shirt is big and the child is small. You can do this by snipping top to bottom down the back and making a seam there. Trim the neck to a neat V and sew up the front to the bottom of the V, taking in more width if necessary. Fold under and hem around the neck.

An elastic waist can be added by making a casing with bias tape on the inside of the shirt. This is easier to do before the front seam is completed. Use 1” wide bias tape pressed under ¼ inch along each edge. Sew in place close to each edge. Slip ¼ inch elastic through the casing with a small safety pin. Sew the ends of the elastic together. If the shirt is not too loose-fitting, the elastic waist could be omitted. Another option to cut down fullness is to use a tie belt on the outside.

Cut zigzags around the bottom of the shirt, which is now an elfin tunic, of course. It should come to about midway down the thigh.

Now the elf needs a hat. A green Santa Clause hat is one solution. If one is not available, a little pointed hat can be made from green felt. Cut 6 isosceles triangles (Christmas tree-shaped) of felt, each 4 inches wide at the base and 8 inches tall. Sew these together slightly overlapped along the long sides. They should come to a point at the crown. Sew a pompon or a bell on the hat at the point.

Felt makes a good fabric to use for making elf shoes. Trace around the child’s foot to get a pattern for the sole, which can be made of felt if the outfit will mainly be worn inside. Take the shape of the foot and elongate the toe to a point. Cut two soles, adding ÂĽ inch all around for seam allowance. The sides of the shoe will need to extend from the center back heel (plus ÂĽ inch seam allowance) to the toe. Make a paper pattern, fashioning a curled point at the toe, and bringing the width up over the instep. (Measure the height of the child’s instep from the floor outside the foot to the center instep and add seam allowances.)

When the paper pattern is created to satisfaction, cut the pieces from felt. There should be two sides and a sole for each shoe. Sew the two sides together along the toe and at the heel. Now sew the top of the shoe to the sole. When working with felt, it is not necessary to keep the seam allowances to the inside. Sew a bell on each toe, or perhaps a little pompon.

If the child will be wearing the costume outside, such as in a Christmas parade, the felt shoes will not work very well. A possible alternative is to find a pair of pointed-toe ankle boots at the thrift shop. (Thrift shops are great places to find things that can be recycled into costumes!)

To make pointed ears for your little elf, design a pointed ear tip. Cut 4 from flesh-colored felt. Sew two pieces together along the top, making a little pointed pillowcase that will fit down over the top of the child’s ear. Repeat for the other ear.

The whole outfit can be made in shades of brown for a woodland elf. Add some red and white and Christmas touches if it’s for one of Santa’s helpers. Other colors might be appropriate, depending on the purpose of the costume. This costume can be converted to a Robin Hood outfit with a few accessories.

The whole outfit

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