With basic sewing skills and a few hours of your time, you can transform plush fabric into a cute sheep costume. A warm and woolly sheep is a particularly good Halloween costume for kids who live in cool climates and will be trick-or-treating after the sun goes down. Patterns for sheep costumes are available in sizes from infant to extra-large adult, so consider making one for everyone in the family and going to a party as a whole flock of sheep.
Choose Your Pattern and Fabric
Simplicity and McCall’s, two major sewing pattern lines that are available at nearly any fabric store, offer patterns for making sheep costumes. Simplicity pattern number 2788 provides pattern pieces and complete step-by-step instructions for a baby or toddler lamb costume. It comes in sizes from infant 6 months to toddler 4.
McCall’s offers an animal costume pattern that could easily be adapted to be a sheep. McCall’s pattern M5956 includes pieces and directions for making a mouse, rabbit or wolf in sizes ranging from a toddler 3 to an adult extra-large. Because the design of each animal is a basic hooded jumpsuit, the specific animal is created by making the appropriate ears and tail. For this pattern, the wolf’s ears are very similar to a sheep’s, so the wolf pattern pieces could be used to create a sheep costume by using fluffy black or white fleece instead of brown, shaggy fur and creating a stubby tail instead of a long wolf’s tail.
If you are an experienced sewer, you could create a sheep costume by cutting apart an old pair of sweatpants and hooded sweatshirt to use as a pattern. If the sweats are an appropriate color, you could make a no-frills sheep costume by cutting apart a large sweat suit, flipping the pieces inside out and reassembling them so that the nappy side of the fabric is on the outside.
The fabric for your sheep costume should be textured polar fleece, shearling or Sherpa. Of the three fabrics, polar fleece is going to be your most reasonably priced option. Shearling or Sherpa are thicker and more woolly and will provide the most authentic sheep appearance. These fabrics generally are much more expensive than polar fleece, however.
Remember that fleece and other similarly textured fabrics have a nap and must be laid out facing the same direction. Run your hand down the fabric as if you are petting a cat. Then bring it back the opposite direction. You should feel the difference. For best results, position your pattern pieces so the nap goes downward. If you lay some pieces so the nap is down and some pieces so the nap is up, the pieces can actually appear to be different colors when they are assembled.
As you sew the seams on fleece or fur, the needle and thread will push down and catch the pile of the fabric, creating a groove or indented line. These seams will distract from the finished look of your sheep costume, giving it a pieced-together appearance. To eliminate these seams and give your costume a professional look, use a pin or the pointed end of a seam ripper to gently pull some of the pile out from under the thread after each seam is sewn. Rubbing a stiff-bristled brush over the seam also disguises the thread line. If you do this after sewing each seam rather than doing it all at once when the costume is complete, the task won’t be so daunting.
Finally, be aware that working with thick, fleecy fabric is messy. Cut out and sew your fabric pieces in a room with a hard floor surface if possible so you can easily sweep up stray bits of fluff.
- sewing kit image by Christopher Hall from Fotolia.com