October 28, 2011
For months now Sofie’s been obsessed with Strawberry Shortcake. She’s got tons of “Strawberry Cake” toys and they’re the most treasured playthings in our vast collection. We record the show on The Hub and she spends a decent amount of time every day lost in her own little world, playing with her “friends” and asking me to visit Berry Bitty City. As her love for Strawberry grew, I knew she’d be excited to emulate her for Halloween. I started planning the costume in my mind this summer and as the weeks have grown closer, I’ve been itching to get it made. I finally caught up on my orders this week and was able to give my girl the outfit of her dreams!
It was ridiculously easy to make, taking just a few hours, and I love that it’s real clothes, not a cheap, overpriced store-bought costume that either a) doesn’t go in the washer or b) falls apart after several rounds of laundry. But my favorite thing about it is how happy it makes my girl.
She’s been wearing it all week, fighting me over any reason I ask her to take it off. She wants to sleep in it, wear it to preschool, and show everyone she knows that she is now her beloved Strawberry Cake.
We argued a bit about whether she was going to have a hat (which she REALLY wanted) or Strawberry’s hair bow (which was more what I was thinking). But I’m a sucker for my kids, so she got her hat.
Making this costume was very inexpensive and really fun. In total I spent $17, and still have about 1/2 yard of fabric left over!
To make your own Strawberry Shortcake costume you’ll need:
-1 yard polka dot fabric. Mine is Michael Miller Ta Dot and I got it from Three Rivers Fabric on etsy.
-1 shirt. This is a great project if you’ve got a shirt that’s too short, or has a stain. I got Sofie’s at Walmart and it’s Garanimals brand (all my shirts are). It was $3.88.
-white knit fabric for the leggings.
-green fabric paint
The first thing I made was her pants. I took a pair of leggings she already owned and made a pattern.
Then I took an undershirt that The Hubs didn’t want anymore and recycled it as my fabric for the leggings.
It’s a Hanes medium and was perfect for a pair of 4T pants! I used the bottom hem for the bottom of the pants.
Then I used 1″ strips of freezer paper to make the stripes. I figured out I needed 11 per leg, so I cut 22 of them.
I placed a scrap piece of flannel on my table and ironed the strips on there.
After ironing the strips to both legs, I took them, and a little scrap piece of the shirt (for the applique), and headed outside with my paint.
Now, I had grabbed a little can of green apple fabric spray paint. I was able to successfully get the first leg done, then the can…malfunctioned? It just stopped spraying. It wasn’t clogged, there was plenty of paint left, but I couldn’t get it to come out. I shook, I took the top off, I tried everything. I spent 10 minutes forcing the rest of the paint out on to the other leg and my scrap. It took the entire can to do this little bit (and left me getting creative for the hat) and I was covered in green paint. It says it washes off with soap and water, but 3 days later I still have green cuticles. So, consider yourself warned.
Once dry (I actually moved on to the rest of the costume while they dried, but for continuity, I’ll finish the pants first) I peeled the freezer paper off and sewed the pants together.
Like with any other pants, sew the crotch seams first (and I serged them for extra strength).
Then sew the middle seam from ankle to ankle.
Make a casing at the top and insert elastic.
I found images online of the strawberry shape used on Strawberry’s dress, and got a diamond shape, and made my appliques.
I did the green parts first,
then the strawberry. To get the white dots, I actually cut the circles out using an exacto knife.
Then I held the shirt up to her and estimated where I wanted to cut it off.
I estimated the length of the dress and cut my fabric 15″ long for the skirt.
Place right sides together and sew down the side.
Press the seam open.
Gather the top of the skirt. **I gather using the “dental floss” method. Set your machine to a wide zigzag and sew over a piece of floss or thread.
I use a bobbin of coordinating thread that I sit in front of my machine while I zigzag.
Then all you do is pull your floss/thread piece and it gathers right up! Sooo easy.
So pin the skirt to the shirt with right sides together and pull up gathers.
Since you’re sewing knit to cotton and it has to stretch for them to get in and out of it, I used a shallow zigzag to sew them together. You can see here the big stitch I used to gather and the smaller one under it that I used to sew the 2 pieces together.
Then I serged the seam to keep it all together and looking nice.
Then hem the bottom to your desired length and it’s done!
Now for the hat. I took pictures as I went along to add to the tutorial, but I had a computer malfunction as the pictures were uploading and I lost them all. So I’m going to explain how I did it.
The hat itself is made from a visor that I picked up at Hobby Lobby for $1.99 (but I got it cheaper with a 40% off coupon).
I had planned on spray painting it as well, but since I ran out of paint, I had to come up with plan B. Turns out I had a bottle of Apple Barrel craft paint in green apple and it was the EXACT same shade of green! Who needs fabric paint, it worked like a charm! (ignore the little dirty place Sofie’s gotten on it since I made it)
I fit it to Sofie’s head, left a little wiggle room, and velcroed it at the right place. Then I cut off the excess velcro pieces and sewed it together.
I cut a circle of fabric that was twice the diameter of the hat (it was 7″, so I made a 14″ circle), and attached a piece of lightweight fusible interfacing the same size. I wanted the hat to hold it’s shape and not be floppy. Then I serged around the edge of the circle and gathered it using the same technique I used on the dress.
Using a fabric pencil, I marked 1 inch from the bottom all the way around the visor, then hot glued the gathered hat top to the visor along the line. I didn’t glue the very back to the visor to allow for it to expand with her head as she grows.
And Strawberry Shortcake is complete!
Every morning as she dons her new favorite outfit, she quietly asks me if it’s Halloween yet. I can’t wait for the day I finally get to tell her, “yes.”