children, sewing

Wild Things: Owl Costume

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So confession time: YEARS ago, my sweet sister gave me a copy of “Wild Things: funky little clothes to sew” by Kirsty Hartley, and while everything in it was so cute, I was absurdly nervous about trying a pattern that I couldn’t find any reviews for. (This was in a season of getting burned by shoddy designers!). When my youngest was determined to be Hedwig the owl from Harry Potter for Halloween, I remembered that one of the dresses in Wild Things featured an owl tunic, so I decided to give it a whirl!

The book is hardcover with the pattern sheets included in a back pocket (there’s a Kindle version available too, though I noticed a number of reviewers complaining about not being able to use the download links for the pattern pieces. I was able to locate the link in my hardback version of the book though, and the link worked, however the files are in blueprint sizes only with no scale marking, making it problematic for printing at home).

From what I can tell, all the garment pattern pieces are available on the pattern sheets, and you just trace off the size you need. Many of the applique pieces require enlarging though, and that’s annoying to do if you don’t have ready access to a photocopier/scanner. (Growing up though, I used to do this by drawing a grid over the thing to be enlarged, and copying it section by section onto a larger grid. I suppose that method is still doable, but I’m thankful for a 3 in 1 printer lol.)

The patterns in this book are all pretty loose fitting, with each size covering a 3 size range (6-18 months, 18months – 3 years, 3-5 years, 5-7 years / height 80cm (31.5in) – 122cm (48in) / chest 50cm (20in) – 63cm (25in).

While the instructions include a visual how-to technique section in the beginning of the book, the bulk of the pattern directions are just written steps with the occasional CAD drawing. This may be hard to follow for beginners of visual learners.

The photography and inspiration in this book is just gorgeous though – the designer has an eye for cute details that I think many kids would love. The book is actually pretty hefty – an inch thick, hard cover and about 200 pages long! The patterns include the following:

  • A-Line Dresses with multiple variations such as
    • A line dress with keyhole or zippered back
    • Reversible pinny
    • Rainbow dress, flowerpot pinafore, flower collared dress, landscape applique dress
  • Romper: basic, bumblebee
  • Sundress with seaside applique, bunting
  • Apron dress, regular apron, art smock
  • Skirt with kite applique, carousel design
  • Bloomers, Pants with sun applique
  • Character outfits (dresses/rompers/jackets/hats)
    • fox, chicken, owl, mouse, bear, dog, rainbow, wolf, lion, bird, cat, badger,
    • Fairytale cape, bonnet

Where the patterns really shine is in the character outfits and it wouldn’t surprise me if the only things I ever make from this book are those!

So, onto the Owl Dress. The instructions for this were mostly straightforward, though I tend to be a skim reader and this was to my detriment a few times. I was hunting high and low for the wings pattern piece, for example. Finally I discovered the drafting instructions for them at the end of step two. Not sure why the designer couldn’t have added this cut line on the pattern though.

The yoke on this dress threw me off for a bit, because the piece didn’t have a side seam. Anyway, never fear, I followed the instructions and it worked out – I really loved the beautiful finish on it.

The straps attach with buttons right behind the owl’s ears. To make the straps adjustable, you add two buttonholes to them. Next time I will use snaps instead – to do that, I’ll add the snap inside the yoke facing before attaching it to the dress.

One thing that wasn’t clear on the pattern was which pocket template to use. I ended up opting for the smaller one, but after assembling it, realized the designer used the large pocket for hers.

I did decide to blend sizes for this pattern and I’m glad I did. My daughter measured into size 3 for chest and size 5 for height, so I used the size 3 pieces and lengthened them.

Miss 4 is demanding more owl outfits, so I might make a few more of these for her in different colors!

If you’re interested in getting a copy of the book, you can find it on Amazon or Book Despository or Etsy.

For fabric, I used Robert Kaufman 21 Wale Corduroy in white, a scrap of white faux fur, cotton lycra scraps for the appliques, felt for the feet, and white and black polkadot quilting cotton from Hobby Lobby.

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