Going Gatsby

Flapper Baby Costume

Happy Belated Halloween!  I couldn’t resist sharing with you Harper’s flapper baby costume for her first-ever Halloween.  I absolutely love home-made Halloween costumes.  The more obvious, the better.  Blame my momma for making all of mine, or blame my need to do everything the hard way.  Either way, I decided to sew her costume myself and it went terribly wrong.

Flapper Baby Costume

Love that little belly!  Anyway, looking at the outfit and not the baby, this little costume was the bane of my existence every night until midnight for a full week.  FYI, don’t use a dress your baby has already grown out of as a basis for your Halloween costume pattern.  Also, using an actual pattern is pretty much guaranteed to make your life much easier.  Hindsight is 20/20…  Since I only worked on it after she had gone to bed, I couldn’t gauge whether I was on the right track with size.  Turns out I was not on the right track.  In fact, I ended up having to cut a huge hole in the back in order to get it over her head.  And it is way too small, unintentionally showing off that cute little belly.  It’s also about 3 inches too short.  That’s wouldn’t have been as bad on me, but when you’re only 30 inches long, it makes a bit of a difference.

1920s flapper baby halloween

Harper clearly LOVED being a flapper.  I’m blaming this complete meltdown on the fact that she’s sick (or possibly missing her corset) but in reality it was probably total costume failure.  The hems were really the killer.  It took me 3 tries before I found something that even remotely worked.  The first one made creepy little fingers that stood out from the fabric.  While possibly perfect for a zombie flapper, it wasn’t really what I was going for.  Although I almost gave up and so didn’t snap a ton of the process, I do explain briefly how I accomplished these at the end of this very long post.

1920s Flapper Baby Halloween

This face pretty much describes my relationship with this dress.  I have to say, though, that it really looks so much nicer in the photos.  Even with all of the hairy edges and the lost little fringe there wandering down her knee.

Flapper Baby Costume

The headband turned out fairly nicely, though at the last minute I decided to make it just a hair (get it?) smaller.  Of course, I ended up making it too small, so it wasn’t able to run across her forehead like I intended.  And the feathers are as far back as possible to keep her from trying to eat them.

Flapper Baby Halloween

There you can see her diaper peeking through the fringe. Maybe she’s just taking the short skirts, booze and cigarettes flapper culture to a whole new level.  Aww, and I was really hoping she’d wait until she was at least a year old!

Baby Flapper Costume


Baby Flapper Head Piece


Flapper Baby Costume Back

And there you can see the hole I had to cut in the back and the straps I had to add to tie it back together once it was over her head.

Alright!  Enough pictures of the baby, here is a little bit about how I did it.  Like I said though, I came very close to giving up several times so I wasn’t overly eager to be snapping photos.

Halloween Flapper How To

So I started with this dress (which is 18-24 months, by the way, and Harper is only 9 months old!) and I traced around it giving about a half-inch margin to account for the 1/4 inch seams and the fact that this material has no stretch to it.

Halloween Flapper How to

Once I traced it, I realized that it was really wonky.  The arm pit holes were 2 completely different sizes, one side of the dress was longer than the other, the bottom hem was completely crooked, etc.  So, I went in with the ruler and made a line down the center.  Then I made sure each tank top strap was the same width and the same distance from the center and on the same line, and did the same for the arm pit holes and the bottom edge.  then I pinned it and cut it out.  Disregard that zig zag piece at the bottom.  That was the one that I tried just sewing together and it turned into creepy little fingers.  Try it to see what I mean.

Halloween Flapper How to

Ok to make those zigzags, I found this genius tutorial from U Create which she used to make a zig-zag pattern on a pillow.  Basically, you need to mark a 1 inch line every other inch.  Cut along the line, then fold the pieces back in triangles, which forms a point.

Zig zag hem how to

Hopefully this illustration makes more sense.  Basically, you have to look at your fabric and figure out how long it is and divide that by the number of points that you want.  For me, it was super easy because I just had to mark it every other inch.  If you’re sewing it into a circle, however, you need the spacing to be perfect so that it forms a peak where the two ends meet.  It is also important that the space between the cuts is twice the length of the cuts.

zig zag hem cut and press

Then, once you make the cuts, you fold back those little triangles, iron them, sew them, and that makes the points of your zig zag.

Halloween Baby Flapper How to

Then you just sew it onto your dress!  You can see how the points are already starting to fray, tricky fabric.  That’s all I really have to show you of the process, hopefully that helps but let me know if you have any questions!

Flapper Baby Costume DIY

So all-in-all, I kind of get why people buy their Halloween costumes.  $35 dollars in materials and about 12 hours of labor to get this awkwardly small, hairy, puckered dress doesn’t really seem worth it.  But I’d totally do it again.  I learned some new things about sewing, and despite all its flaws, I’m really pretty proud of it!  I almost want to make another one because I swear I could do it so much better next time.  Maybe she’ll have to be a flapper 2 years in a row.

Author: Jamie Forbes

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