What does a chicken say?
What does a dog say?
What does a horse say?
What does a frog say?
When your toddler thinks that ALL OF THE ANIMALS say, "Bawk! Bawk!" it quickly becomes clear that a chicken Halloween costume is in order.
I feel like I should have a "Why did the chicken cross the road..." joke, but I just don't. Sorry. I'm the worst.
I had a lot of fun coming up with this costume, and I snapped some pictures of the process so I could share what I did! Because really, I think the more toddler-chickens there are in the world, the better off we'll be. I'm proud to be changing the world, one chicken at a time.
If you are just here for the cuteness, skip to the bottom of the post. Otherwise, let's dive in!
First, some notes on color: I bought white feather boas, thinking I was going to make a white chicken costume, but ended up dying the feathers so I could make a little brown chicken. You could really do any color chicken you want (black? red? purple?!), but I'd recommend making sure you have a hoodie, or onesie that matches your boas before you buy the boas. Or, get white boas, and a white hoodie and dye all of it!
This tutorial assumes that you have some very basic sewing knowledge, but even if you know nothing about sewing, give it a shot! I'm happy to answer any questions you have.
I made the little long-sleeve hooded onesie that I used, but to avoid making an already long tutorial way TOO long, I'm going to assume that you are not making the onesie or the hood. If you can find a long sleeve, hooded onesie, great! Other options that would work perfectly well would be a separate hood and a long sleeve onesie, or just a hoodie that goes down past your kid's hips.
Red and gold felt
2 or 3 feather boas
Gold stretch knit fabric (or gold leggings or tights)
A hoodie, or a onesie and a separate hood
Elastic & (optionally) ribbon/twill tape/whatever you want for a drawstring for the leggings
Thread (normal thread and quilting or other thick thread)
General sewing tools (needles, machine, scissors, iron, etc.)
I started with the beak and the comb (the red thing on top of a chicken's head).
You can just sketch the shapes out, directly on the felt, and then cut two of each. Stitch close to the edge, leaving the bottom of the comb, and base of the beak open.
Make sure to clip off the tip of the beak, right up to the stitching line, this will help you get a clean point when you turn it. Similarly, clip to (but not through) the stitching line in each of the valleys on the comb.
Then turn them and press them flat with your iron.
Attach the beak to the front of the hood, and attach the comb to the top! If the hood you are using has a center seam, you can take a seam ripper and open up a section of the hood and stick the comb through, and then sew it back together with the comb sandwiched between the halves of the hood.
For the beak, I added a little bit of top-stitching (see below) because I thought it was a cute detail.
For the chicken legs, I made leggings and feet separately, so that Elliott can wear the leggings on their own after Halloween. If you're making the leggings yourself, I'd use the same fabric to make the feet so that they match, but if you already have leggings or tights for the legs, you can use the golden felt for the feet and attach them to a loop of elastic that would go around your kid's ankle. With felt, you probably wouldn't need two layers, you could just cut out the feet and attach them to the elastic and call it a day!
But here's what I did.
We'll start with the feet. I traced one of Elliott's shoes so that I had a reference for how long to make the toes, then I sketched out the foot over the shoe outline, letting the toes hang over the shoe a little bit. Make sure to add seam allowances; in other words, make the toes a little wider than you want them to ultimately end up being because you will lose some width when you sew them.
Once you have your foot pattern, cut four from your gold fabric, and two from your fusible interfacing, and apply your interfacing to two of the gold feet pieces.
You will also need four rectangles. These will be the cuffs that you will attach the feet to. For a toddler, 2" x 8" should work well.
Stitch your interfaced feet pieces to your non-interfaced pieces, trim the edges, and clip to (but not through) the stitching line between each toe. Turn the feet right side out, and give them a press with your iron!
Now, to attach the feet to the cuffs. Sandwich one of the feet between two cuff pieces, with the right sides of the cuff fabric facing the foot, and sew the long edge of the cuff, making sure to catch the edge of the foot (see bottom-left image below).
Then make a burrito, where the toes are the filling, and the cuff is the tortilla (see bottom-center picture below), and sew the other long side of the cuff, this time making sure NOT to catch any of the toes!
Finally, turn the feet/cuff combo right-side-out and sew the short ends of the cuff together!
If you want to make leggings, you can use a pair of leggings from your kid's closet to trace a pattern, you can use a commercial pattern, or you can free-hand a pattern using my pattern below as a reference! Whatever works for you.
First, cut two of the pattern from your gold stretch knit.
Sew the leg seams. When sewing stretch fabrics, you can either use a serger, or a normal sewing machine. If you are using a normal sewing machine, make sure to sew with a zigzag stitch. If you use a straight stitch, the thread will snap when the fabric stretches, but a zigzag stitch will allow the seam to stretch when the fabric stretches. Turn one leg right-side-out and stick that leg inside the other leg so that the right sides of the two legs are facing each other, and the crotch seams are aligned. Sew the crotch seam.
For the waistband, you can just sew in some elastic, or you can add a drawstring. I like to make leggings with a stretchy drawstring so that they are adjustable, but will still stretch when the wearer moves. Check out the drawstring leggings in my shop! I've got arrows, irises, stars, and stripey joggers! To make a stretch drawstring, cut a 10" piece of elastic, and two 11" pieces of ribbon, or twill tape. Sew the ribbon or twill tape to each end of the elastic. I like to stitch the ends and then straighten it out, folding both short ends to one side, and stitch again, so it doesn't pull apart (see below).
I used grommets for the drawstring holes, but you could also do buttonholes; either way, make sure you do this before you sew the waistband channel, and it's a good idea to apply some fusible interfacing before you add grommets or buttonholes. To make the channel, fold the waistband down enough to accommodate your drawstring, and stitch with a zigzag stitch. Insert your drawstring!
Hem the leggings, also with a zigzag stitch, and you're done (with the leggings)!
Finally, you will need to apply the feather boas to the body of the costume. If found this to be a bit tedious, but if you are making this for a toddler, it shouldn't take too long. I wouldn't want to do this for an adult-sized costume.
- Make sure to stretch the fabric a little and leave some slack in the boas as you attach them, because a onesie will probably stretch a little when worn, and the boas don't have any stretch built into them. Also, leaving a little slack in the boas, will make for a nice, plump chicken.
- You only need to stitch about every four inches or so, and it is fine if your stitching is messy, it will be hidden in all those feathers.
- It'd be a good idea to take a couple stitches in place, pulling your needle through the thread loop (like you're ending your sewing) every five or so stitches, just in case the thread breaks while your kid is running around, that way only a small section will come undone, not half their feathers. We don't want any plucked chickens. ;)
- You can leave several inches between each row of feathers, you want just enough to not show much of the fabric below, but not so much that you are sewing until NEXT Halloween.
- If the onesie or hoodie you are using has a front closure (zipper, snaps, whatever), make sure to leave that open by looping down and back around. I hope that makes sense!
- Go over the shoulders, but you can skip the arms, and stop when you get to the hips, you don't need to go under the legs or anything.
- I kind of bunched up the boa in the center-back on my last pass around to give the suggestion of a tail (is it a tail, on a chicken?).
Finally, I want to talk about making sure your little is comfortable. Feathers can be pokey, so Elliott will be wearing a little light-weight denim tank top under her costume (and maybe another long-sleeved onesie for warmth) because I trust the denim to provide a solid barrier between her and the feathers, but make sure you find some way to protect your kid from those pesky feathers. Another idea would be to sew two onesies together and add some stuffing between the two before attaching the boas; this would add warmth and a protective layer.
Elliott wasn't thrilled when we tried her costume on (and yes, that is food on her face) but after she wore it around for a little bit, she warmed right up to it. Of course, we were done taking pictures by the time she warmed up to it, so here she is, looking a little unsure. But still, oh-so-cute! I'll post some real, true, Halloween pictures here or on Facebook or Instagram, ya know, after Halloween.
Thanks for following along! Please feel free to post questions in the comments. I hope you are enjoying some stormy weather and rad Halloween decorations like we are!