This year my daughter was very matter-of-fact that she wanted to be a pumpkin for Halloween - months in advance - and never wavered from it. I'd been certain she'd have picked a My Little Pony (her obsession) or the girls from Frozen (thanks to it's constant bombardment on everything everywhere we go), but no, she stuck to "I want to be a pumpkin". Last year she picked being a ghost, so she definitely prefers traditional. And I'll take that any day over the borderline vixen-style costume looks that keep getting pushed at little girls these days.
I didn't want to have to buy a pattern (out of a combination of pride & thriftiness), so I came up with this DIY design instead. It's got all the festive features - jolly jack o' lantern face, and plump pumpkin shape as well as all the practical necessities - easy to slip on & off, wide opening for walking and being fully lined in cozy fleece for a warm trick or treat experience. Plus a cute green stem on top:
I'm pretty happy with how it turned out and thought it would be helpful to share how I did it.
To get the overall shape and sizing right I used a raglan-sleeved A-line dress my daughter had in her closet.
I traced around the front, back and sleeves and added a seam allowance to all edges (adding about 4 inches extra length at the bottom. To get the rounded shape I used my French curve design ruler and expanded the sides a bit further out and then curved them inward.
Now I had my main pattern pieces ready to go. I cut out two fronts, two backs and 2 pairs of sleeves. I cut two of everything so there would be a full set of pieces for the outer AND for the lining.
For the jack o'lantern face I used some black fleece scraps and cut some slightly rounded triangles for the eyes and nose. For the mouth I grabbed a dinner plate to make a perfect crescent shape and cut out some teeth.
I used a little spray adhesive on the backs of the pieces to hold them in place while I appliqued them onto a front piece. I just edge stitched around.
Next, with right sides facing, I stitched the sleeves to the fronts and backs of my outer and my lining.
Then stitched down the sides from sleeve end to hem to complete things.
At the center of the back, I clipped a straight line down about 2 inches on both outer & lining. I repeated all those steps with the lining pieces.
Then I turned the lining right side out and inserted it into the outer and pinned around the neck hole, adding a small loop of elastic at one of the corners.
I stitched them together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Then I clipped around the edges and turned so the right side of outer pumpkin was on the outside.
I hand stitched a button to the corner opposite the elastic loop for my neck closure.
I inserted the lining sleeves into the outers, folded the raw edges inward about 1/2 inch and topstitched them together.
I folded the raw edges of the hem inward the same way and topstitched, but left a gap about 3 inches wide. This was for adding some fiberfill to plump out the pumpkin shape. After I got a good amount evenly around I made sure none was too close to the hem and topstitched all the way around about 2 inches from the bottom to create my casing.
Next I cut a piece of 1 inch elastic about 4 inches wider that my daughter's waist and snaked it through the casing, sewing the ends together and then stitching closed the gap.
The neck hole was a little wider than I wanted (I didn't want the collar of her clothes underneath the costume to show) so I also made a green stem collar. This was a bit of a design-as-I-go affair.
I started by cutting a pair of curved green pieces several inches wider and longer than a basic collar from a pattern in my daughter's size (that I had on hand). I tried it on her and trimmed it a bit as needed. I folded it in half and hand cut the pointed edges.
With right sides facing I stitched all the way around with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, leaving one end open and then trimmed down the raw edges with pinking shears. A knitting needle helped poke out the points and I slipstitched the opening closed by hand. I used sewn-in hook & eyes for the closure.
For a festive little stem headdress I grabbed a green glitter headband from the $1 section at Jo-Ann Stores as my base and made a sort-of star-shaped stem bit. Again just eye-balled the points and I stitched the right sides together with a small gap to turn.
The stem top was just a tall rectangle, folded in half & stitched down the side, then pulled so the top seam would be perpendicular to the side seam and a bit curved.
I tucked the open end under and inserted a curled a small pipe cleaner (done by winding around a knitting needle tucking the fold under the stem).
I slipstitched it to the base, then hand sewed that to the headband and it was done.
Truthfully, I was a little nervous when she finally tried it on. I had the horrible last-minute thought that she'd not like it being so plump & round. Several of the big 4 pumpkin patterns were basically sparkly orange dresses or fluffy tulle tutus to better compete with the glitzy girly costumes. I started to think maybe that's what she was picturing and would hate that it wasn't frilly or pumpkin princess-y. A lot of 5 yr old girls can be like that. Not this one though. The moment she put it on she had a big smile with a laugh said "I'm a fat pumpkin!". I love this kid:)