DIY Ninja Octopus Costume
I LOVE making unique costumes so when I told our friend I’d make her Halloween costume this year – I was excited to see what she came up with! And she did not disappoint. She wanted me to make her a ninja octopus costume! So cool. And I think it turned out pretty great!
This costume would be an easy one to break down into two parts as well – a ninja costume or an octopus costume. But I have to admit – I really dig the two parts together.
The Octopus Part
The hardest part of coming up with an octopus costume was trying to figure out a way to make the tentacles curly and comfortable at the same time. So I went looking on the internet for inspiration. There were a lot of versions where the tentacles just hung limply down. I really wanted the tentacles to curl up like they do on a real octopus. Initially I thought about adding wire to them to make them curl, but was worried about the wire poking through the costume and hurting the costume-wearer (or someone else!) Then I stumbled onto this super amazing instructable – DIY Octopus Costume.
She solved the problem of curliness in such an easy way – elastic! Perfect for a kid’s costume – the tentacles are soft with no wire required.
What You’ll Need
- Fabric (I used two contrasting types)
- Elastic (1/4″ and 1″)
- Paper (cardstock is best) to create tentacle form
- Sewing Machine
First things first was choosing fabric, tracing, and cutting the tentacles out. With some input from the future ninja octopus – we decided that blues in contrasting colors would look best. I found some very inexpensive blue fabric and then scored with a $4 clearance sheet set to use for the spotted blue fabric. I love clearance sheets as fabric – I have enough left over for several more projects!
Using the tentacle form I hand-drew onto cardstock – I traced each tentacle onto the two contrasting types of fabric. The form I drew was by no means perfect – it leans a bit to one side – but that actually makes it look better when sewn…the tentacle has more “curl”. The form is approximately 24″ long and 5″ wide at the base and about 2″ wide at the tip.
I traced 8 tentacles of blue fabric and 8 tentacles of spotted fabric and cut all of them out.
Now you’re ready for some sewing! You need to sew a strip of elastic to one side of each of the pieces that will be the top of your tentacles. The brilliant trick to make this curl up is simple – as you sew elastic to the tentacle – you gently pull it taut. Then, when the seam is complete – it has a lovely curl to it.
At first, I was cutting the elastic and then attaching it, but I quickly realized that since you’re pulling it tight as you sew – I was stuck with too much elastic and it was just getting cut off. After that I didn’t cut the elastic until after sewing it to the fabric.
Next up is sewing the two sides together. You want to sew right sides together i.e. the elastic side should be facing out and the white of the spotted fabric should be facing out. This step is a bit of a pain in the bum…you just need to carefully hold the fabric flat while you stitch the two sides together. It’s not hard, it just requires some babysitting while you sew.
Once you finish sewing all around the outside of the tentacle (except the bottom portion) – turn the tentacle right side out. I found chopsticks to be helpful to get all the way up to the tip of the tentacle. Once it’s right side out – stuff it with your polyester batting. Doesn’t that look adorable?
Now you’re ready to sew the end of each tentacle shut and attach them to a piece of elastic to create a belt of tentacles.
The Ninja Part
This part was pretty easy to pull together. It’s a little bit of sewing and a lot of cutting strips of fabric from an old tie-dye T-shirt.
What You’ll Need
- Old T-shirt in bright color (you’ll cut it up into strips)
- Strips of blue fabric
- Child’s size white T-shirt
- Rubber bands
- Nunchucks (used as an accessory – I used pool foam nunchucks because of the bright colors)
Cut a line down the middle of the front of the child’s sized t-shirt. Then sew strips of fabric (I used the blue) down either side. This will be your gi.
Cut strips from old brightly colored t-shirt. Here’s the list of strips and what we used them for:
- 1 wide strip to use as belt of gi
- 1 slightly narrower strip to use as tie on head
- 2 thin strips to use as ankle ties
- 2 thick strips to use as wrist wraps (we used rubber bands to secure them and create a sort of flounce of fabric hanging down)
Accessorize and assemble. Now try all the bits on at the same time and you’re done!