DIY Totoro Halloween Costume Tutorial
Happy Halloween everyone!! Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love dressing up and DIYing, and I love seeing other peoples' creativity! It seems as if more and more people are choosing to make their own costumes every year, and I love it. I've got a few fun Halloween costume tutorials up on the blog: Medusa & Russell from UP!
I love Totoro! My Neighbor Totoro is a Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Totoro is a friendly forest spirit. There are actually 3 Totoros in the movie, but I love O Totoro, the largest one. He is one of my favorite characters and I thought he'd make the perfect Halloween costume since he is so recognizable and cute. Halloween taps into my past a bit - I actually have a degree in Fashion Design! So this project was super fun for me...drafting patterns can actually be fun when the outcome is such a cute outfit. Use this tutorial to get inspired - you can use the same techniques on another piece of clothing such as a grey pullover hoodie or onesie :) Let's get crafting!
What You Need:
- A grey hooded garment such as a dress or sweatshirt
- Grey, white, and green thread
- Fabric/craft glue/spray adhesive (especially helpful if you don't want to sew)
- White, black, grey, and green felt or flannel (these are great options since you don't need to hem or finish the edges)
- Poly-fill or extra fabric for stuffing
- Straight pins
What To Do:
- The general idea here is to add ears, eyes, a nose, tail, and belly to an existing grey garment to create Totoro's body. Everything is super free-form - don't feel like you need to make exact measurements or copy exact shapes for this costume! :) Have fun with it
- We'll start by making Totoro's belly. Start by folding your grey garment in half lengthwise in order to find the Center Front. Using straight pins is helpful for marking things without damaging the clothing. Place a pin at where you'd like the top of his belly to start. It may be helpful to try on the garment as well.
- Next we're going to draft the shape of his belly. I like to use pattern paper, which then is pinned to whatever fabric you're using, in order to cut out the pattern piece. However, you can also use a sharpie to simply draw out the shape of his stomach directly onto the fabric.
- A simple way to end up with a symmetrical belly is to draft half of the stomach. Draw a vertical line for the length of his entire stomach. This will serve as the center line of the stomach piece. Free-hand half of his stomach.
- Fold a piece of white fabric in half and place it under the pattern paper, lining it up with the center front line of your pattern. I like to pin the paper to the fabric.
- Remove the pins as you cut. I find it helpful to have a magnet sitting by so that you can remove the pins quickly without losing them.
- Once you've cut the fabric, unfold it to reveal your symmetrical belly!
- Now for the little shapes that appear on Totoro's belly. They are shaped like jelly beans! I used a random piece of stiff paper/cardboard to draft a jelly bean shape. Cut it out and use it as a stencil. Trace around the stencil onto grey fabric and cut out 7 pieces.
- Use fabric/craft glue, spray adhesive, or sew the grey shapes onto Totoro's belly. I placed 3 on the top row in a slight arch, and then the remaining 4 underneath it.
- Now for Totoro's eyes! Use the same method as the belly. Trace something circular and cut out 2 white circles of fabric.
- I didn't have black fabric, so I cut the black parts of his eyes and his nose out of some random foam I had.
- Time for Totoro's ears! He has such distinctive ears that stick up. The ears will be sewn to the hood. I drafted an ear shape onto a piece of drafting paper. Make sure to add 1/4" of seam allowance all the way around the ear shapes for sewing. Pin the pattern to 4 pieces of grey fabric. Cut out the ears.
- You'll end up with 4 identical ear pieces. You need 2 pieces for each ear. Sew 2 pieces of fabric together, using 1/4" seam allowance. Leave the bottom of the ears open for stuffing. Turn the ears right-side out and stuff them with poly-fill or spare fabric.
- I also inserted a small piece of pipe-cleaner inside the ears to help them stand.
- The trick to getting the ears to stand up is a balance between the height of the ears and sewing them onto the hood in a circle. Try not to make the ears too long, or they will flop down like a bunny.
- Try on the costume and pin the area where you want the ears to be attached. Remove the costume and place the ears onto the pinned areas. Hand-sew the ears on with grey thread, sewing around the ears so that they're able to stand up.
- I hope the pictures make it easier to understand! It's better to sew the ears on in a circle vs sewing straight across the bottom edge of the ears because it gives the ears more surface area to stand up on. The pipe cleaner helps too. So cute lol
- Sew or glue the eyes and nose to the top of the hood.
- Sew or glue the completed belly to the center front of the hoodie. I hand-sewed the belly to the front.
- Sewing flannel to the garment gives the illusion of a puffier tummy, which I really like, since Totoro is so big and chubby. Spray adhesive / craft glue will work just as well, though!
- Totoro uses a leaf on the top of his head in the rain! I thought it'd be a fun accessory to include. Free-hand a large leaf shape onto drafting paper or cardboard. Be sure to leave a 1/4" seam allowance. Cut out 2 pieces of green felt or fabric. Sew the two pieces together, leaving a space open on the side of the leaf so that you can flip the leaf right side out, and stuff it.
- This is totally optional, but I wanted to make the leaf flexible and cartoon-like. In order to do this, I stuffed the left half of the leaf with poly-fill and then hand sewed 2 lines of stitching down the center of the leaf. I inserted a pipe-cleaner down the middle of these 2 lines of stitching, and then stuffed the other half of the leaf. Finish closing off the leaf by turning the edges under and using a simple whip stitch.
- Now you have a flexible leaf to protect Totoro from the rain! You can sew this to the top of the hood if you wish.
- Totoro also has a tail! Draft a large rounded shape, almost like a beaver tail. Use the pattern to cut out 2 pieces of grey fabric with 1/4" seam allowance. Sew the 2 pieces together, leaving the bottom straight edge open. Turn it right-side out, stuff it with poly-fill and sew it to the bottom back of your garment. You can sew this one to your costume with a simple line across the open straight edge.
That was a long one but the costume turns out soo cute!!