My son’s favorite book is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, so last year I made him into a coconut tree being climbed by all the letters.
Isaac likes comfortable costumes – soft fabrics, no hats. I started with brown sweatpants and a brown thermal shirt (apparently, brown sweatshirts were not in vogue in 2011 as I could not find one anywhere). They were part of the same line (Jumping Beans @ Kohls) so they were close in color. I had to remove cargo pockets on the pants, which is less fun than it sounds. Those things did not want to come off. At least one of the letters on the pants is hiding a small hole caused by over-ambitious seam ripper use.
All of the embellishments are felt. I bought a stack of squares in bright colors. Remember the embellishments will be on a brown background, so don’t get anything too dark. I started out with a purple felt, which seemed totally bright in the store but faded into the brown. I ended up going back for lavender, which didn’t match the book but showed up better. Same thing with the green on the palm fronds – the darkest green in the pile is probably not going to show up.
I printed letters out on my computer to figure out how large they could be and still have the entire alphabet. When I was satisfied, I printed out the alphabet and began the seriously boring task of cutting out all the letters. I’d love to say that I lovingly traced and precisely cut the letters, but that would be a total lie. I held the paper and the felt together and cut it with sharp scissors. If the letters came out too wonky, I’d just do them over. You may have higher standards than I do. Just remember, there are 26 of those suckers. Cut the complicated ones out first, while you still have the will to keep going.
There are three options for attaching the felt letters to the clothes. You can sew them on by machine, sew them on by hand, or glue/fuse them.
If your kid doesn’t pick at things with his fingers all*the*time, you can probably get away with fusing. In which case, you probably should have applied Wonder Under to the back of the felt before you started cutting. Sorry about that. Maybe consider glue instead. I’d rather fuse than glue, but it does require some forethought, or possibly fusible felt (that’s a thing, right?).
Sewing by machine is probably faster, but I like having a project while I watch TV so I sewed by hand. It took four evenings to do them all. The other benefit of sewing by hand was that I could finesse my bad cutting a bit, easing curves to be a little smoother and catching in nicks. It was pleasant work. If you decide to sew by machine and are using a soft, stretchy knit shirt, consider using a tear-away stabilizer under the knit shirt while you stitch since attaching a stable fabric to a stretchy knit can be profanity-inducing.
I drew a few patterns freehand, using the book illustrations as a guide, and tested the patterns against the shirt until I liked the scale. The fronds are various shades of green felt, and are sewn by hand at the top. The coconuts are cut from dark red felt and area also tacked at the top. I wish the top looked a little more finished, but it is what it is.
The costume was a hit at Kindergarten and out trick-or-treating, so I call it a success.