Saturday, 12 July 2008

Tail and Mane Construction

Tails and manes are easy to make for costumes and dress ups, and can be quite effective.
I have added this tail type to the back centre seam of trousers, to velcro closing belts, but most frequently to all in one toddler pyjamas, Kwik Sew 1823. This particular type of tail is good for cows, leopards, lions and other cats, giraffes and donkeys.I usually use polar fleece remnants, but have also used cotton fleece, cotton lycra and other knit fabrics on occasion.
For the tail, cut a wedge shaped strip to the desired length. The narrow part should be at least 7.5cm (3 inches) wide, and the wide part around 12 cm wide (5 inches). I like the tail to the lower thigh for very small people who still crawl on occasion, but to mid calf or the ankles for older children so that they can see the tail if they whirl around.
Cut 3 to 5 strips of knit fabric, around 10cm long (4 inches)and 5 to 7 cm wide (2-3 inches. I find the tails most appealing if several colours of fabric are used. Slash each strip lengthwise to within a few cm (around 1 inch) of the top. Lay these pieces on the wrong side of the tail wedge piece, at the fat end of the wedge, and stitch across, using a zig zag stitch, and a heavy stretch needle. I find that the tails are frequently pulled during wear, so stitch 4 or 5 times for reinforcement.

Fold the wedge over, right sides together, and stitch down the long side to 2.5 cm (1 inch) past the stitching line holding the slashed fabric strips. I use a wide seam allowance of at least 2 cm, so that the body of the tail has a little bulk without needing to be stuffed with additional material.

Pull the strips of fabric through the tube made by the upper part of the tail, attach upper end of tail to a belt, pants, or a slit cut in the centre back of the pyjamas at a tail appropriate level.

I have made several manes for various pyjama costumes. My favourite is the lion mane.

This is made by attaching slashed strips of polar fleece to a hood with ears. The first strip is 25cm wide , and slashed from both long edges to within 5 cm of the center. This strip was stitched down the center, right side to hood, then the strip close to the face opening was turned back over the seam.
Subsequent layers were single. Each remnant was trimmed into a rectangle, and slashed from one end. The opposite end was sewn,to the hood, right side down, so that when turned right side out, the slashed strips were lifted up slightly over the seam, giving the mane body.

Other manes include the giraffe mane, which was a long strip slashed from each side towards the center. These slashes were short and further apart. The strip was placed right side down on the hood and stitched down the centre. The mane was then folded wrong sides together, and stitched together 1cm away from the seam so that the mane would stick up a little in a giraffe like manner.

The horse mane was the first one I developed. This one is made from a strip about 50cm wide, slashed from each side to within 2 cm of the center, then simply stitched right side down to the hood. The mane is then swept to one side to give the effect of hair.
Here is my son's costume hood collection.


Alexandra said...

Oh... my... gosh! What a cool collection! I totally loved the idea the first time you posted about animal PJs and I enjoy seeing all of them. They are just so neat!

Lindsay T said...

These are adorable costumes! Nice work.

Marji said...

Those are Awesome!! What a fun and fabulous collection. Lucky kid.

Angie said...

I'll have to get my hands on this pattern....brilliant modifications!