How to Dress Up Like a Lion

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Fierce lion
Fierce lion (Image: Jill Sparks)

Your little one will be the fiercest member of the pride in this costume. Perfect for the advanced beginner sewer, the costume uses flannel, yarn and hook and loop tape for an easy closure. Intentionally oversized, it's a comfy fit for an active two- to three- year-old.

The hood is made of four pieces of fabric: two for the outside and two for the lining. Colorful yarn is sandwiched and sewn between these layers, forming the mane that frames the face. The straps, also sandwiched and sewn between the layers, are easily tied under the chin to keep the hood in place.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 yards dark tan flannel (main color)
  • 1/8 yard light tan flannel (contrast color)
  • Pattern printable
  • Scissors
  • Two different colored yarns, dark tan and yellow
  • Pins
  • Glue stick
  • Painter's or masking tape
  • Matching thread
  • Zipper foot
  • Iron
  • Handful polyester stuffing
  • 1/2 yard half-inch hook and loop fastener
  • 1/2 yard double-fold bias tape
Materials
Materials (Image: Jill Sparks)
Polyester stuffing
Polyester stuffing (Image: Jill Sparks)

Step 1: Cut the Fabric

Fabric pieces
Fabric pieces (Image: Jill Sparks)

Cut out all your fabric pieces from the pattern. You will have:

  • Two front pieces
  • Two back pieces
  • Two sleeves
  • One belly piece
  • Two tail pieces
  • Four hood pieces

Step 2: Cut Tail Yarn

Take both yarns and wrap them loosely around the hand 20 times.

Wrap the yarn around your hand.
Wrap the yarn around your hand. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Place the scissors at the bottom of the wrapped yarn and cut.

Cut the yarn.
Cut the yarn. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Repeat once and keep the piles separate.

Step 3: Sew Yarn on the Tails

Lay a bundle of yarn across the tail bottom, half on the tail, half off. Leave 1/2 inch of space on each side of the yarn. That's the seam allowance for when you sew the tail together.

Lay the yarn across the tail pieces.
Lay the yarn across the tail pieces. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Holding the yarn in place with your hands, sew at 5/8 inch from the bottom across all of the yarn.

Sew across the yarn.
Sew across the yarn. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Step 4: Sew Tail Together

Pin the tail pieces, right sides together, tucking in the yarn pieces. Switch to the zipper foot on your machine. Sew with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. After sewing the tail, switch back to the regular foot.

Sew the tail together.
Sew the tail together. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Trim the seam allowances and turn right-side out. Lightly stuff with polyester stuffing. Do not overstuff.

Trim the seam allowances.
Trim the seam allowances. (Image: Jill Sparks)
Stuff with polyester stuffing.
Stuff with polyester stuffing. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Step 5: Make Yarn for the Hood

Using the same method as for the tail, wrap yarn around your hand 20 times, and cut at the bottom. Make four bundles. Cut the bundles in half. Separate all the yarn into two even groups.

Cut the yarn in half.
Cut the yarn in half. (Image: Jill Sparks)
Yarn for the hood
Yarn for the hood (Image: Jill Sparks)

Step 6: Make Straps for the Hood

Take the dark tan-colored yarn, and cut 12 pieces of yarn the approximate length of your arm. Separate the strands into two groups of six pieces each, and knot them at the top.

Knot the yarn at the top.
Knot the yarn at the top. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Braid the yarn, holding double strands. Leave about 3 or 4 inches at the bottom and set aside.

Braid the yarn.
Braid the yarn. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Step 7: Add Yarn to the Hood

Pin two hood pieces together, and sew along the back of the head using a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Press. Leave wrong-side out and set aside. This is your lining hood piece.

Pin, press and sew.
Pin, press and sew. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Take one of the other two hood pieces and apply glue down the front edge of the hood.

Apply glue to the edge.
Apply glue to the edge. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Lay the yarn on the hood with about 1 inch overlapping the edge on the front. Leave 1/2 inch at the top and bottom for the seam allowance. Press to adhere to the glue.

Take one of the braided straps and place it across the bottom at an angle, just under the yarn.

Add the yarn and straps.
Add the yarn and straps. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Going across the yarn and strap vertically, lay painter's tape about 1/4 inch from the edge of the hood. Repeat on the other hood piece with the rest of the yarn and the other strap.

Put painters tape across the yarn, holding it in place.
Put painters tape across the yarn, holding it in place. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Sew at 1/4 inch from the edge.

Sew along the edge of the tape.
Sew along the edge of the tape. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Trim the yarn even with the edge of the hood.

Trim the yarn.
Trim the yarn. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Step 8: Sew the Hood Together

Place the two hood pieces together, placing the yarn on the inside.

The two hood pieces with yarn sewn on.
The two hood pieces with yarn sewn on. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Tuck the straps in, and then pin and sew around the back of the hood. After sewing, turn right-side out.

Pin the hood pieces together.
Pin the hood pieces together. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Take the yarn-free hood and tuck the yarn hood piece inside of it, right sides together, and pin.

Pin the hood pieces together, right sides together.
Pin the hood pieces together, right sides together. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Leave a 3- to 4-inch gap at the back bottom of the hood. This will be where you turn the hood right-side out.

Leave a three to four inch gap for turning the hood right side out.
Leave a three to four inch gap for turning the hood right side out. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Sew with a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

Sew around the hood.
Sew around the hood. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Turn the hood right-side out. At the gap at the back of the hood, turn in the seam allowance 1/2 inch, making sure the back seam lines match up. Press.

Match the back seam lines at the gap.
Match the back seam lines at the gap. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Position the yarn out of the way to sew. Sew 1/8 inch from the edge, closing the gap. Continue around the entire hood, topstitching. Give it a light press.

Topstitching
Topstitching (Image: Jill Sparks)

Tip

  • Be careful not to iron over the yarn. If it's made of polyester or acrylic, it will melt!

Completed hood
Completed hood (Image: Jill Sparks)

Step 9: Stitch the Front Sections Together

With right sides together, stitch the front center sections together using a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Press. Finish the seams.

Tip

  • If you have a serger, finish the seams by serging. If you do not have a serger, use your regular machine's overcast function or zigzag to prevent fraying.

Stitch the front sections together.
Stitch the front sections together. (Image: Jill Sparks)
Finished seam
Finished seam (Image: Jill Sparks)

Step 10: Attach the Belly

Open the sewn front pieces and lay them right side out. Center the belly piece on top, right side up. Using the glue stick, glue around the edges of the wrong side of the belly piece, and press in place.

Glue baste the belly to the front.
Glue baste the belly to the front. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Set your machine to zigzag with a medium width and a short length. Stitch around the belly, attaching to the front. Press.

Zigzag around the belly.
Zigzag around the belly. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Step 11: Stitch the Shoulders

With right sides together, pin and sew the shoulders together with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Finish the seams, and press toward the back.

Pin the front and back together at shoulders.
Pin the front and back together at shoulders. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Step 12: Staystitch the Neck

To stabilize the neckline, stitch from each shoulder to the center at 1/4-inch from the edge.

Staystitching
Staystitching (Image: Jill Sparks)

Step 13: Apply Bias Tape to the Neck

With right sides together, open up the bias tape and line up the edge of the tape to the raw edge of the neckline. Pin in place.

If you're interested in making your own bias tape, check out this handy tutorial.

Pin the bias tape, right sides together, to neckline.
Pin the bias tape, right sides together, to neckline. (Image: Jill Sparks)
Bias tape pinned to neckline.
Bias tape pinned to neckline. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Sew in the fold line closest to the edge.

Sew in the fold line.
Sew in the fold line. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Clip into the seam allowance, being careful not to clip into the seam. Clipping allows the neckline to lay neatly when the bias tape is applied. For a more in depth explanation, check out this tutorial.

Clip into the seam allowance.
Clip into the seam allowance. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Press toward the wrong side.

Press the bias tape toward the back.
Press the bias tape toward the back. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Fold the bias tape toward the back, over the seam allowance.

Fold the bias tape over the seam allowance.
Fold the bias tape over the seam allowance. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Then fold under again and press to the wrong side.

Fold under and press.
Fold under and press. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Pin in place.

Pin the bias tape in place.
Pin the bias tape in place. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Sew close to the inside edge and press.

Sew the bias tape in place.
Sew the bias tape in place. (Image: Jill Sparks)
Press the stitching.
Press the stitching. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Step 14: Insert Sleeves

Matching the center of the sleeve cap (the top, curved part of the sleeve) to the center of the armhole (seam line), with right sides together, pin together.

Match the sleeve to the armhole.
Match the sleeve to the armhole. (Image: Jill Sparks)
Pin the sleeve to the armhole.
Pin the sleeve to the armhole. (Image: Jill Sparks)
Sleeve pinned to the armhole.
Sleeve pinned to the armhole. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Sew with a 1/2-inch seam allowance, and finish the seams.

Step 15: Hem the Sleeves

On the wrong side, turn up the arms at the wrists 1/2-inch and press. Turn up another 1/2-inch, press and pin.

Hemming the sleeves.
Hemming the sleeves. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Sew close to the inside edge, and then press.

Sew close to the edge.
Sew close to the edge. (Image: Jill Sparks)
Finished sleeve hem
Finished sleeve hem (Image: Jill Sparks)

Step 16: Sew Up the Sides

With right sides together, pin the side seams from the foot to the wrist. Sew with a 1/2-inch seam allowance, finish the seams and press. Repeat on the opposite side.

Pin up the side seams.
Pin up the side seams. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Step 17: Attach the Tail and Sew the Center Back

Take the open end of the tail and turn in the seam allowance to the inside. Press.

Turn in the raw edge and press.
Turn in the raw edge and press. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Pin the open end of the tail on the right side of the outside of the costume, just below the extended edge.

Pin the tail in place.
Pin the tail in place. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Tip

  • Make sure the stuffing isn't in the seam line.

With right sides together, pin the center back together, stopping at the extended edge. Sew at a 1/2-inch seam allowance, stopping at the extended edge. Finish the seam and press.

Pin the center back together.
Pin the center back together. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Step 18: Hem the Legs

Turn up the hem 1/2 inch and press. Turn up another 1/2 inch, press and pin.

Pin the leg hems.
Pin the leg hems. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Step 19: Sew the Inner Leg Seams

Pin up the inner leg seams and sew with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Finish the seams and press.

Pin up the inner leg seams.
Pin up the inner leg seams. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Step 20: Apply the Hook and Loop Fastener

On the wrong side, take the right back edge and fold back 1/4 inch. Press. Fold back 1/2 inch and press.

Fold back 1/4-inch and press.
Fold back 1/4-inch and press. (Image: Jill Sparks)
Fold back by 1/2-inch and press.
Fold back by 1/2-inch and press. (Image: Jill Sparks)

On the right side of the fabric (underneath the just-folded-over portion), lay the loop strip (the soft fuzzy strip) from top to the bottom of the back opening, pinning in place.

On the right side of the costume, pin the loop strip in place.
On the right side of the costume, pin the loop strip in place. (Image: Jill Sparks)

At the bottom, cut the strip just above the opening.

Cut the strip just before the opening.
Cut the strip just before the opening. (Image: Jill Sparks)

Sew from the top, down the strip and around back up. Press from the wrong side.

Sew the loop strip.
Sew the loop strip. (Image: Jill Sparks)
Sewn loop strip
Sewn loop strip (Image: Jill Sparks)

Repeat for the other side of the opening with the hook tape.

Step 21: All Finished!

Slip the costume on your little one and he will want to play dress-up all year 'round!

Ready to pounce!
Ready to pounce! (Image: Jill Sparks)
Lion tail
Lion tail (Image: Jill Sparks)

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