Totoro Costume Tutorial

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Hello!!  I’m here with a tutorial today that I’m really excited about!  3 years ago, I made a Totoro costume for Yuki and it was a huge hit with Totoro fans around the world.  Since then I’ve been getting regular emails about custom orders for costumes or selling the pattern for it, but I don’t do either.  I figured the least I can do is a tutorial for the costume so people can try their hand at making one themselves!

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

If you’re not familiar, Totoro is a character from the Studio Ghibli movie, My Neighbor Totoro.  It’s an awesome movie about 2 young girls who move into an old house in the country with their dad to be closer to their mother who is the hospital.  The girls discover magical creatures in the nearby forest and together they embark on an adventure.

There are three Totoros in the movie – the main one is the huge gray Totoro, but there is also a chu-Totoro (medium) that is blue and a chibi-Totoro (small) that is white.  I decided to do the blue Totoro this time around just to do something a little different.  It looks similar to the big gray Totoro, but has less details (no whiskers, less arrows on the chest, etc.)

totoro1[image source]

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

The costume is very similar to the original, but I’ve made some adjustments.  I tried to make this tutorial as simple as I could to make it possible for beginners or even adventurous first timers to give it a go.  I walk you through drafting your own pattern and all the steps to put the costume together.  The tutorial is LONG, but there are a ton of pictures to help.  There is a zipper, but that is the trickiest part of the sewing and I have a suggestion for an alternative if you’re REALLY opposed to installing a zipper.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

The costume is two pieces, the body suit and a separate hood.  The original costume had snaps along the inside leg for easy diaper changes, but I omitted that this time around because it just didn’t seem necessary for a costume (and I was lazy).

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Ok, should we get started??

What you’ll need:

  • Knit fabric for the bodysuit and hood (more information below)
  • Scraps of fabric for eyes, nose, etc.
  • Fiberfill or stuffing for the ears and tail (if you don’t want to buy something special for this you can use anything soft to stuff them – scraps of fabric, cotton balls, stuffing from an old pillow, etc)
  • 1/4 inch wide elastic
  • Safety pin
  • Velcro
  • 12″ invisible zipper
  • Thread in the color of the main fabric, white and black
  • Tracing paper (the larger the better!)
  • A one piece pajama and a hooded jacket to use for making the pattern
  • Hand sewing needle

Fabric: I used fleece for both costumes and it is very comfy and very warm.  It’s got a little stretch and I think it’s great for this costume if you live in an area that is chilly around October.  Other options are sweatshirt knit and french terry.

Seam allowance: Since you’re making your own pattern, you can make and use whatever seam allowance you are comfortable with.  I used a 1cm (3/8″) seam allowance throughout, except for the back center seam and anywhere else I specify something different.

And though I will not mention it after each step, press every seam after sewing with a warm iron.

Let’s get started!

BODYSUIT:

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Find a pair of one piece pajamas and lay it on top of your tracing paper so that the center of the pajamas is lined up with the edge of the paper.  Use pajamas that are well fitting or a little baggy, or you can add extra width to your pattern to make it a little baggier.  If you don’t have pajamas, you can really use any type of clothing, just be sure to add width if you want your bodysuit to be loose as opposed to tight fitting.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Adding seam allowance (I used a 1cm seam allowance), trace around the shoulder, side seam and inseam.  You’ll have to move the pajamas and do a little freehand drawing to get the armhole and neckline.  I made my neckline pretty high in the front so that there wouldn’t be gap between the hood and the bodysuit.  It can easily be lowered later if you think it’s too high during a fitting.  No need to add seam allowance to the neckline.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

I rounded out the shape of my pattern a little around the hips and thighs to try and get a more round shape.  Add 3/4″ to the bottom of the leg for hemming (I didn’t give mine enough length and the legs ended up too short on Kaya)!

This is the front of your body suit and will be cut on the fold along the straight edge.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Now we’ll make the pattern for the back piece.  Place another sheet of tracing paper on top of your front piece, but have the edge extend a 1/2 inch past the edge of the front pattern piece.

Trace the front pattern piece, but raise the neckline in the back to match the sample pajamas.  This is the back of the bodysuit and you’ll cut two of these.  The extra 1/2 inch of fabric that you added to the center seam will be used to install the zipper.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Use your pajamas to trace the sleeve shape adding seam allowance and an extra 3/4″ for hemming.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Lay another piece of tracing paper over your “front” pattern piece and draw a circular shape for the tummy.  This will also be cut on the fold.

Cut out your fabric.  You’ll need one front piece cut on the fold, 2 back pieces, 2 sleeves cut on the fold and 1 tummy circle cut on the fold.  You’ll also need a strip of fabric for finishing the neckline that is 2″ wide and several inches longer than your neckline.  I cut mine over 20″ long and it was pleeeenty long enough.  I’d rather be safe than sorry :)

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Make sure that your fabric it cut so that it stretches when you pull on the short ends of the fabric.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Draw the chest details and cut them out of your main fabric.  The large Totoro has 7 (most of the time) and the medium Totoro has 3.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Pin the arrows on the tummy piece and top stitch as close to the edge as possible.  In the original costume I zig zag stitched everything on, but the edges got wavy.  This is easier and looks much better.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Pin the tummy onto the front piece and top stitch close to the edge.  Set aside.

Now it’s time to attach the invisible zipper.  I won’t go into great details here on how to do this, but you can check out this great tutorial (with video) on how to install an invisible zipper.  Honestly, I skipped some steps since this is just a costume and it’s fleece and I didn’t think it needed to be perfect.  I didn’t iron the zipper and I don’t have an invisible zipper foot, but it still turned out just fine.

If you are looking for a zipper alternative, I’d suggest a velcro/hook and loop closure.  This won’t be nearly as clean of a finish, but if you’re just looking to put together a costume, it will be totally sufficient.  Line up your back pieces, right sides together, and sew along the straight edge about 1/4 of the way up the back.  Finish the neckline as directed below and then sew a few 2″ long strips of velcro to each side evenly spaced out.  You’ll have raw edges exposed, but knit fabric doesn’t fray, so no worries!

Moving forward with the zipper!

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Open up your zipper and place it right sides together along the straight edge of one back piece.  Using a zipper foot, sew as close to the teeth as possible.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Repeat with the other side.  Flip the zipper so you have right sides facing and attach to the other back piece.  I realize these are some pretty sparse instructions, but just head over to the tutorial for plenty of pics and details.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Fold the back along the zipper (I had flipped my back piece around here, so the you’re looking at the leg hole up at the top).  Finish sewing the center seam together with a 1/2″ seam allowance (white line).  Be sure to sew beyond the end of the zipper and on the inside of the zipper.  Reinforce this end by backstitching several times.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Your back is constructed and should look like this!

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Line up the shoulder seams of the front and back pieces with right sides together and pin.  Sew along shoulder seam with a 1cm seam allowance.  At this point, if your model is available, you can throw the bodysuit over their head like a poncho and see if you’re happy with the neckline.  Adjust if necessary.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

(Ignore the fact that the sleeves are already attached in the picture, I was sewing a little out of order :P)

With the edge of your neck binding strip lined up with the zipper tape, pin the strip on with the raw edges lined up, right sides together.  Sew with a 1cm seam allowance and trim off the extra strip to be lined up with the fabric tape.  See close up below . . .

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Fold the edge of the strip over so that the zipper teeth are now along the edge.  Then fold the binding over to the wrong side of the bodysuit so that the neckline is enclosed.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Pin along the neckline and stitch in the ditch to sew the binding down on the inside.  Fleece is too thick to fold the raw edge in on the inside, but it looks and feels just fine.  Trim down the extra fabric on the inside close to the stitch line.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

To attach the sleeves, lay your body suit out with the shoulder seam flat, right side up.  Line up the center of the sleeve with the shoulder seam, right side down and pin.  Then carefully continue to pin the sleeve to the arm hole.  Sew together with a 1cm seam allowance.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

For the tail, cut two pieces in whatever shape you want.  Place them right sides together and sew the curved edges together leaving the flat/top edge open.  Flip it right side out and stuff it.  Close the tail with a zig zag stitch or serger.  Place the tail pointed up on the right side of the back bodysuit piece just below the bottom of the zipper.  Sew along the dotted line to attach the tail and be sure to back stitch a bunch at each end to make sure that sucker doesn’t get pulled off!

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

With the tail flipped up and out of the way, place the front piece on the back piece, right sides together and pin along the bottom of the sleeve, line up the seams at the armpit, along the side seams and the inseam.  Sew together!

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Flip it right side out and you’ll see that it’s really coming together!

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

To finish the arm and leg holes, fold the fabric in towards the wrong side by 3/4″.  Sew close to the raw edge to create a casing and be sure to leave about 1.5″ open to insert the elastic.  If your model is handy, measure around their wrist and ankle to find a comfortable length for the elastic.  You don’t want it to be too tight or too loose.  I just guessed and made both 5″ in length and overlapped them by about 1/2″.  Using a safety pin, thread your elastic through your casing and sew the ends together.  Sew up the rest of the casing to enclose the elastic.  Repeat with all leg and arm holes.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Your bodysuit is done!!

HOOD:

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

To make the hood pattern, grab a hooded sweatshirt or jacket and place it on top of your tracing paper.  Leave a 1/2″ of space between the edge of the paper and the edge of your hood.  Trace along the curved edge with a 1cm seam allowance.  Draw a straight line 1 cm below the bottom edge of the hood at the front of the jacket.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Cut two hood pieces.  You’ll also need a strip of fabric that is 4 inches wide.  To determine the length, measure the bottom edge of the hood, multiply that by two and then add about 4 inches.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

With right sides together, pin the curved edge of the hood and sew with a 1cm seam allowance.  To finish the front of the hood, fold it in a 1/2″ and sew along the raw edge.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Take your strip and fold it in half lengthwise, right sides together.  Sew along one of the short edges starting a centimeter away from the edge (in the picture, the raw edges are on the top and the folded edge is along the bottom).  Flip it right side out, use a chopstick or something to poke the corner out.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

With your hood right side up and raw edge along the top, line the edge of the strip up with the edge of the hood and pin along the raw edge.  When you attach the band to the hood, be sure you only sew through one layer of the band.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Sew along the edge.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

At the other end, fold the band right sides together and sew from the edge of the hood around the corner of the band.  Clip the corner and then turn right side out.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Pin the rest of the band up on the inside of the hood and on the outside of the hood, stitch in the seam (make sure you’re catching the inside of the band in your stitching.  Trim any excess fabric.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Sew velcro to the hood.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Cut out your eyes and nose out of fleece or felt.  Top stitch everything down as close the edge as possible.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Draw and cut out 4 ear pieces.  Place two, right sides together, and sew along edges, leaving the bottom open.  Flip right side out.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Stuff with stuffing.  A lot of people ask how I get the ears to stand up, so this part is important.  It’s very simple though!  You want to sew the ears on as a circle.  If you try to close the bottom by sewing the two sides together into a straight line, or if you sew the ear on by sandwiching it in a seam, it’ll just flop down.  Figure out your ear placement and pin the ear down in place making sure the bottom of the ear is open and in a circular (or oval) shape.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

With a hand sewing needle, attach the ear to the hood with a quick whip stitch.  Tie the knots on the inside of the hood.

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

And you’re done!!  Unless you want to add whiskers or a leaf to your hood – then head over HERE for those directions!

Now try the costume on your little one and be prepared to swoon.  Cuz c’mon – there are few things in this world cuter than a kid dressed up as Totoro!!

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

Totoro Costume Tutorial by you & mie

I really hope that people out there are able to use this tutorial!  And seriously, you can use this tutorial to make pretty much any animal costume – just change the shape of the tail and ears and add other details and you’ve got a cat, dog, tiger, cow, monkey, whatever!

I LOOOOVE seeing your creations with my tutorials.  I’ve already gotten to see a lot of Totoro costumes inspired by the original one I made and I shared some of them here.  If you use this tutorial please share your photos with me!  You can email me, upload them to the you & mie flickr group, or post them on the you & mie Facebook page!!

Happy Sewing!

**I am not taking any orders/selling this costume.  This is a free tutorial for your personal use.  I mentioned on Instagram that I was going to be selling this particular costume, but I’ve decided to hang on to it for a little longer – I’m sorry for changing my mind!**

 

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Totoros and Rain Clouds Galore!

Well, Halloween is over!  All that preparation and it’s gone in the blink of an eye!  We had a great time taking Yuki on her first real trick-or-treat outing and she wore her costume for most of it, so that was a big success.  Did you all have a great Halloween?

Today I’m super excited to be sharing a bunch of costumes made by readers!

When I made the Totoro costume for my daughter last Halloween, I was excited, but figured most people would have no clue who or what she was.  While we definitely had to answer the question more than a few times, it quickly became an internet hit.  It is, by far, my most popular post EVER.  Totoro has a big following!

When people started showing interest in the costume, I thought I might make a pattern for it or sell custom costumes, but I did neither.  I didn’t even make a tutorial for it.  But as Halloween approached, I started getting emails from people who were making the costume just based off of my pictures and brief description.  Some of them had questions, but they all drafted their own patterns and they all came out sooooo incredible!  Each of them unique in their own way.  I was thrilled when I started seeing pictures of the finished costumes and even more so when they said I could share them here on the blog.

As you guys may know, I love Halloween and costumes are probably one of my most favorite things to create.  Unfortunately, my daughter does not feel the same way!  She doesn’t like costumes and it makes me feel like I should give up on trying to get her to dress up.  But when I see that my costumes have inspired other people to create for themselves and their families it makes me so so happy.  Some of them are sewing for the first time or for the first time in years and I think that’s pretty incredible!  And as for Yuki, I won’t approach her with another costume until she’s ready (and hopefully she’s ready by next Halloween)!

Anyways, let’s start the Totoro parade!!

 Ina made this costume for her son’s first Halloween and I cannot get over the cuteness!!  See more of her beautiful pictures here.
The whole gangVenus of Suburbia Soup made this adorable costume for her daughter.   She calls it Totoro on a diet – haha!  But I think it fits her daughter perfectly.  While you check out her blog, you definitely must see her Hoodie Scarf tutorial!
Bree, momma blogger of Shark and Crow, made this for her daughter and it was her first sewing project EVER.  Can you believe it!?  (My first sewing project was 2 pieces of fabric sewn into a rectangular pocket.  And it sucked.)  More pics of the cute costume here.
Raquel sent me pictures of her son, Javier, representing Totoro all the way from Spain!  Look at that lil belly!
Elisabeth made this for her son and I love how she stuffed the tummy and nose and the exposed zipper in the back looks great!

Sarah made TWO Totoro costumes, one of the big gray Totoro and one of the medium blue one.  How cute is this sibling picture!?The Catbus was booked, so these Totoros had to walk the streets for candy tonight.Kristina made this costume for her youngest even though she hadn’t sewn since 7th grade Home Ec class.  She borrowed a sewing machine from a friend.  Didn’t it come out amazing?
And last in the Totoro parade, is this incredible costume that Sandie made.  She used my hood and leaf as inspiration but created the rest of the costume on her own and don’t you just LOVE the soot ball bag and those shoe covers?!  It’s also so awesome to see a slightly older kid as Totoro.  So super cute.

The Rain Cloud costume was a tutorial from this year and there were a few created by readers for both kids and adults!  This costume is a bit more simple in construction, but equally as cute, and it was fun to see some pop up so quickly after I posted the tutorial.

Kristina of Sir Bubbadoo created this adorable costume for her son and he LOVED it!Rachel, of Stitched Together, made her daughter into a little gray rain cloud and I especially love how two of her older kids helped with painting, stuffing and decision making!

Kady, a children’s librarian, said her costume was totally appropriate for her job and super comfy too!
And last, but not least, one of my staff members and her friend dressed up as a couple of clouds for a Halloween party!  Maddee (left) is a rain cloud and Laura (right) is a snow cloud!  I love the variation!

Thank you to all of the talented people who shared their beautiful costume creations with me and allowed me to share them on the blog with you!  I really loved seeing every single one.

If you ever want to share your photos with me OR have any questions, please feel free to email me anytime (see contact tab above)!  And remember there is a you & mie flickr group and I’d love to see your creations added to the group as well.

Now that Halloween has passed, I know that the holiday season will creep up on us so quickly.  Can you believe it’s November already!?  Here in the US, today is election day, so if you’re a registered voter – PLEASE GO VOTE!  It’s truly one of our greatest rights and responsibilities.  I know I’ll be anxious until the day is over, but I’m hoping for good news :)

So get out there and vote and have a great day!

Mollie Makes and a call for Totoros everywhere

Today, one of my old tutorials for a felt flower pin is posted on the Mollie Makes blogMollie Makes is a lifestyle and craft magazine for people who live and love handmade.  Their magazine is a BIG DEAL so I’m extremely excited to have my tutorial posted on their blog.

I’m also a little embarrassed because I made this tutorial a long time ago (you know, like a whole 8 months ago) and my tutorial photos are pretty bad (that polka dot background and horrible indoor nighttime lighting!?  Ugh!).  Anyways, hop on over to Mollie Makes to check out my tutorial if you haven’t seen it before, and definitely check out their Projects link for tons of inspiration for fall projects.

Also, with Halloween right around the corner, I know that a lot of people have been working on their own handmade Totoro costumes based off the one I made last year.

I feel bad because I said I would try to make a pattern for the costume by this Halloween and I never did.  I didn’t even do a tutorial for the costume, but people are giving it a shot anyways, and I’ve already received pictures of some really incredible Totoro costumes that readers have made!

If you’ve made a Totoro costume (or are making one right now), I would LOVE to see a picture of your finished costume!  Eventually I want to do a round up here on the blog sharing all of your Totoro inspired creations, so please email me your photos (or a link to the photo if you’ve posted it on your blog or in an online photo album).  When you send me your photo please let me know if I can share it here on the blog and any links you’d like me to include (if you have a blog or something).

Remember, you can always add pictures to the you & mie flickr group also!  I love to see what you guys have made using my tutorials or projects for inspiration.  It makes me so so happy! :)

In other announcements, there are a lot of exciting series coming up over the next few months that I get to be a part of.  Today, Jen of iCandy Handmade announced their upcoming series, Basic Bodice Design.

In this series, all of the guests are going to be taking a very basic dress bodice design and making adjustments to create totally different looks.  And there will be tons of tutorials showing you how!  There will also be linky parties so that you can share your creations too!  Go check out the announcement.  The series starts in mid-November and runs till mid-January.

How is your Halloween prep coming?  Are you making costumes?  I’d love to hear about what crafty projects or decorations you’re working on.  Hideko convinced me to make another costume for Yuki (since she doesn’t like the rain cloud one) but I’m really scared that she will refuse to wear this one too.  Here’s a little sneak peek though.

Thank you for stopping by!  :)

Mei-chan

Yay, it’s done!  My “movie inspired” outfit is finally done – better late than never, right?  When Project Run & Play announced the challenges for this season and one of them was “Going to the Movies” it didn’t take me very long to decide what I wanted to do.  I mean, the options are ENDLESS, but I wanted to stick with something simple and make her an outfit I thought she’d be able to wear regularly.  And since the Totoro costume I made for Yuki last Halloween was such a huge hit, I knew something from the same movie would be appreciated.  So that’s how I decided to recreate Mei’s outfit from the movie “となりのトトロ” or “My Neighbor Totoro.”  It’s a Japanese animated classic by Hayao Miyazaki and I’m obsessed with all of his movies.  So uhh, if you haven’t seen this movie, I think you should just go see it right now.

ANYWAYS, Mei is a 4 year old and the character is such a perfect match for Yuki’s personality!  Even though Yuki’s not even 2 yet, she’s got a lot of Mei’s fun, rough-and-tumble, stubborn personality and even how Mei tries so hard to keep up with her older sister.  Yuki loves playing with other kids too, even though she’s such a little runt compared to them.  I’m not going to give you a whole synopsis of the movie, you can look it up or watch a trailer, or better yet, just go watch the film if you haven’t seen it already.

So here are some screen shots from the movie:

And our little Mei-chan:

One of the most memorable scenes is when Mei is playing by herself in the yard and she spots a little peculiar creature running through the grass.  She tries to follow the chibi Totoro, and it tries to run away.  We had fun recreating that scene during our photo shoot (and I had a little fun with photo editing too :)).

Got him!!

So I made three pieces for this outfit.  The blouse and the shorts are from the Oliver + S pattern, Puppet Show Tunic and Shorts.  I don’t have a lot of experience making buttoned collared shirts, so I thought using a pattern would be a good way to learn.

The thing about a good Oliver + S pattern is that it is pretty tedious and takes a lot of time.  This, of course, results in a really high quality piece of clothing, but one of the things I love about making kids clothing is how quickly you can whip something up.  That’s just me being impatient though.  It’s really good that I’m learning how to do things the “right” way.  I made the shirt in 2T size which is HUGE on Yuki, but that means she’ll be able to wear it for a long time.  I used an embroidered white fabric just to make it a bit more interesting and added a button in the front just to make it look like the one in the movie.  I’ll probably take it off since it serves no purpose.

The shorts are so cute!  These came together very quickly and I want to make a few more of these for sure.  I made them white to match Mei’s bloomers, but I’m not sure it was a very practical move.  They make for some adorable summer shorts though!

The red jumper is a simple lined bodice that I adjusted from the Every Little Thing Tunic (recognize the lining fabric?) and a circle skirt.  I added some fun yellow flower buttons on the back.  This piece came together the fastest!

I also made the little white chibi Totoro right before our photo shoot out of some scraps of white fleece (from the original Totoro costume!) and tied little pom poms to her hair rubber bands to match Mei’s.

This blue Totoro is a stuffed animal – I didn’t make it.

Did you spot the creeper Totoro!?

And speaking of creepers, check out this paparazzi sneaking up on an unsuspecting girl.

Phew, that was a lot of photos!  Now that I’ve made a Totoro costume and a Mei outfit, all that’s really left for me to make is the Cat bus!  Haha, NOT!

Sew & Tell: Totoro Costume

 

 

 

**The Totoro Costume is NOT currently for sale.  Sorry for the inconvenience, but I am not taking orders for costumes at this time.  There may be a pattern available for purchase or costumes in the future, so please check back here at the blog for announcements.  THANK YOU!!!**

 

*UPDATE: Since this post has been getting a lot of views, I figure I should at least add one photo of the finished hood.  This post was published with photos from her first fitting and after these were taken, I decided to add the whiskers and the leaf.  You can read more about that in this tutorial.  Hope you like it!*

This year, I really wanted to make Yuki’s costume, but we could not decide for a long time what she should be.  We threw around some ideas, but none of them really excited me.  I’ve had this idea of dressing Yuki up as Totoro for a long time (since she was born?), but was worried that no one would know what she was.  But since I couldn’t think of anything better, I decided to go for it.  So what if I would have to explain a hundred times who she was supposed to be!  At least she would be adorable and original . . . right?

Well, I finished most of the costume EARLY this year (meaning not the night before or morning of) and I’m a little unsure of how I feel about it.  It came out better than I expected in some ways and not as cute as I imagined in other ways.  In terms of the construction, I’m pleased.  I’d never made a full body suit before.  I’d never done an outfit with sleeves.  Or made a hood.  I just kinda made it up as I went along and it surprisingly worked out alright.  Actually, better than alright, it came out looking pretty damn clean.  On the other hand, it doesn’t look like Totoro to me.  I think there is something wrong with the shape.  Or the face.  Or the proportions.  I’m not quite sure and I might have to do a little more fiddling around (eek, that means I’m not actually done yet!), so maybe you can give me some feedback.

I’m actually so impressed that I was able to get these pics of Yuki.  She does NOT like hoods or hats.  She generally rips them off the second we put them on.  I’d tried to get this hat on her a few times while sewing to see if it fit and she hated it.  She wouldn’t even let me get near her with it towards the end.  But I realized that if you keep her really really distracted, she won’t notice it for quite awhile.

So in case you don’t know who Totoro is, he is a character from a Japanese animated movie, となりのトトロ or My Neighbor Totoro.  Although it’s a foreign film, there are quite a few people in the states that have seen it.  Here he is!

So cute, right?!  Ok ok, so here’s our little Totoro . . .

Something about this costume reminds me of Max from Where the Wild Things Are.  It’s well suited for making mischief!

I’m actually hoping that it’ll be cold on Halloween because this costume is made out of fleece and SUPER warm!  I need to make some adjustments, but here are some of the basic details of the costume.  Overall, it’s a pretty simple design that I based off of Yuki’s pajamas.

I zig zag stitched the chevrons on the chest and the white tummy to the rest of the suit.  This was the first part of the costume I sewed, and the first thing I sewed on my brand new machine.  It was dreamy :)

Instead of a zipper and snap in the front, I moved it to the back.

I also added elastic to the wrists and ankles and snaps to the legs for easy diaper changes.

For the hood, I used a hooded jacket to trace the shape.  I cut two pieces and sewed them together, then made the snap collar thing with a long rectangle.  I made ears (and the tail) with scraps of fleece and stuffed it with poly-fil.  Then I hand sewed the ears and face on.

I want to add whiskers to the costume.  Any ideas for what I can use??  I want to use something smaller and not as sharp as pipe cleaners.  Maybe some yarn with fabric stiffener?  I’m taking suggestions.

Now I gotta work on my costume.  It’s going to be super simple this year.  What are you going to be for Halloween??