Somewhere around Christmas, we were invited to an event with costumes required. We had some alternatives, but finally, we chose the ladybug costume. I had some leftovers of foam rubber and some red knitted fabric. I love making costumes from foam rubber because it gives them that 3D effect. The foam rubber is light and flexible. This Ladybug costume is not only fun, it is also appropriate for the cold season. The wings can be put on over a jacket and the hat is a very practical winter accessory.
Here is how to Do It Yourself.
This sewing tutorial comes with step-by-step written instructions, video tutorial, and a free downloadable PDF pattern. You can download the pattern at the end of this article.
Difficulty: confident beginner
Size: 4 years old
If you want to make the costume bigger or smaller, you can use the kid’s size chart included in the pattern.
- foam rubber (picture 2). How much you are going to need depends on the size of the wings and on what type you buy. A sheet of 50×60 cm (20×24 inches) would be enough. It doesn’t matter which direction you cut.
- stretchy red fabric (rayon or cotton jersey is perfect) – picture 1. The fabric must stretch because the foam rubber has to go in the wings once they are sewed together.I used 95/5 cotton/elastane jersey. If you use the free pattern, one yard/meter would be enough if the fabric is 1.45 m/ 1.6 yards wide.
- black fabric for the spots (picture 1).
I used plush because it is thick and the textile glue won’t go through it. It has a nice shiny look, too. The number of the spots is up to you. Ladybug wings are usually made with seven, but I’ve put more because it looked better. I cut the spots and cleaned the edges of the spots with the overlocker, but it took a lot of time and effort, so I would recommend leaving the edges as they are if you use any type of knit fabric for the spots. Or, you can use zig zag scissors that could preserve the edges from fraying.
- some type of plastic or fabric covered wire.
There are different types, just choose one that is strong enough to keep the weight of the pom-pom balls. The best material to use are pipe cleaners, you can use two if one can’t support the weight of the pom-pom balls. If you prefer you make add the pipe cleaners to headbands. I made the costume in the winter and a hat seemed more appropriate.
- black pom-pom balls.
- black jersey fabric for the leggings and the t-shirt (optional).
This is optional. The pattern for the leggings and long sleeve t-shirt is not included in this PDF. When cutting something new for my daughter I usually use something that fits her well and I make a pattern out of it. You can do the same or use a pattern.
- textile glue.
- sewing machine.
You can use both a regular sewing machine and an overlocker or just the straight stitching machine with the zig zag stitch or the most appropriate stretch stitch on your machine.
Steps to follow:
1. For the dress:
- assemble the shoulders (picture 4), then add the sleeves (picture 5). Use pins to attach them properly. First, make a gathering on the sleeve so it matches the armhole. Then, attach the sleeves.
- make the side seams of the dress (picture 6).
- close the skirt as a circle, then make a gathering on the top. The fabric should be gathered enough to match the upper part of the dress. Then, stitch them together (picture 7). If you prefer, you can make the hem before or after you assemble the upper and lower part of the dress.
- the same goes for the pocket. I first hem the upper part, then attach it to the skirt. For the hems, I used the cover stitch machine, but you can use a zig zag or a stretch stitch if you don’t have a cover stitch machine at your disposal.
- add the binding to the neck opening.
2. For the wings:
- cut all the details according to the pattern (picture 8). Make sure to cut on grain. Here are some tips on how to cut and sew knits.
- cut one pair of the wings from the foam rubber.
- sew together the wings, leaving an opening at the top. This is where you are going to put the foam rubber in. It may require some effort to adjust (picture 9). But once they are in they are going to be stable.
- once the foam rubber is in, stitch the top of the wings to close them. Then, attach them to the band (picture 10). Use the whole length of the fabric, so the band is long enough to go around the shoulders and be tied on the back comfortably and loosely.
- Add the spots on the wings, using textile glue (picture 11). If you prefer, you might stitch them. This requires much more effort and you should stitch the spots BEFORE you sew and assemble the wings.
There, the wings are ready!
3. Now let’s make the hat.
- First, serge or use the zigzag/stretch stitch to join the two vertical sides of the hat.
- Then fold it in half (picture 12) and cut a curved line on top so it replicates the form of the head (picture 13). Sew all four layers of the opening together (picture 14). Then, attach the antennas (picture 15). I did it by a hand stitch to the sides of the hat.
- Last, but not least, iron. This will make the stitches prettier.
You can watch the full video tutorial here:
This is the result. We won the first place in the contest for best costume and got the price!
To get the free printable PDF pattern, go to my designer page at Craftsy. It will be saved in the pattern library for you to download and use it for free.
Best of luck to you making this adorable ladybug costume!
Feel free to share your finished project with me.