Butterick 3238 Animal Costume for Halloween:Pattern Review

Butterick 3238 Animal Halloween Costume

Years ago I had made my sister-in-law a lion costume when her department at work wanted to enter a Halloween contest using a Wizard of Oz theme.  I remember my mother, sister-in-law and myself chatting pleasantly as I sewed up the costume in a few hours.  I’m not bragging.  It was that easy.  The fabric was cheap, I knew she would only wear it once, and the polarfleece required no fancy sewing or seam edging.

So when my daughter wanted to be a Littlest Pet Shop frog for Halloween I wasn’t too daunted.  Holding out for dirt cheap pattern sales in October,  I was rewarded with a 99 cent Butterick pattern that gave several animal variations. 

The only thing was how was to get a frog from a costume originally patterned for bunnies, lions, cats and dogs? 

I decided that the ears would become eyes.  I took the bear ears, rounded them down a bit asymmetrically and then pulled out one of those Littlest Pet Shop toys and copied the eyes. My eyes came out more like Kermit the Frog, but at least they looked froggish.

Animal ears became frog eyes. The red party blower as a froggy tongue was my husband's idea.

Pros:

  • Polarfleece requires no seam edging.
  • Sewing flaws won’t matter so much as costumes are only worn once.
  • People won’t even see the sewing flaws.
  • Very little fitting is involved.
  • Polarfleece is warm if the weather is cold.
  • The pattern can be adapted to other kinds of fabric, like the slinkier colorful knits also available around Halloween.  

Front view of Butterick 3238: My daughter running off with her loot!

Cons:

  • Polarfleece is often on sale, but can also run around $13.00 per yard in my area.
  • It can be hot if the weather is good.
  • New sewers might be intimidated by the number of pattern pieces.
  • It requires a zipper.  However since it is just a costume consider this a good time to practice inserting zips into polarfleece.

Some Assembly Required:

  1. I assembled the front fully including zipper and front sleeve portion.
  2. Then I sewed the back fully; center back seam, and back sleeve portion.
  3. Took a little break and constructed the eyes out of the ear pattern.  I appliquéd using a zig-zag stitch then placed the eyes on the front band of the hood.  This took some pinning and wrapping around my daughter’s head for correct placement.  I stuffed the eyes with a little batting for some extra heft.
  4. Next the hood ; back center seam first, then attach to front band that has the eyes/ears basted on. I waited to sew up the little forehead dart until after I had the spots on. 
  5. Now it was time for spots.  I and my husband cut different size circles and my daughter got to choose placement for the front.  (Much dickering and bickering was involved with this as she kept repositioning – so I quietly spotted the rest of the garment myself.)  I applied the spots to the flat back and front, and also to the constructed but still unattached hood.
  6. I looked at my daughter’s lunch bag to check out the font for the LPS symbol.  Then I played around in WORD getting the size and font right, printed off and cut the pink polarfleece using the print off as a template.  I zig-zagged stitched the letters down the middle.
  7. Now came time for attaching everything.   I was thankful as I knew this part would go swiftly. I sewed down the arms, attached the hood to the neckline, then sewed underarm through side seams, and the inside legs last. 
  8. At outset I had hoped that the wrists and ankles would work without elastic but they were too loose.  This was a bit fussy but as I have seen costumes with exposed elastic don’t sweat this if your application isn’t perfect. I zig-zagged the elastic to the fabric front edge and then flipped it and zig-zagged it again from the top hiding the elastic under the fabric.  I cut 9-9.5 inches for each wrist and ankle opening for my size five daughter. 

Fabric:

Polarfleece.  The sale stuff and for once I did not buy extra as I didn’t want loads of bright green plush fleece hanging around.

Back view of Butterick 3238:My daughter trick or treating with her best buddy.

Finetuning:

One of the store employees was restocking in front of the zipper bin when I choose my zip and she wouldn’t move even as I peered around her.  I snagged a 14 inch green plastic zip but mistakenly got a separating zipper.  I made it work but did have a bad moment when my machine needle skimmed the zipper stop and seized up.  Use a non-separated zipper. 

Also I did not use Velcro on the hood fastening.  I sewed on big snaps.  I don’t like sewing on Velcro and it catches my daughter’s long hair. 

I wish I had moved the LPS symbol up higher on the chest but I was very pleased when our trick-or-treating companions recognized the logo without hesitation.

I purposely moved the zipper top down about an inch from the hood closure.  Two reasons: I didn’t know how that attachment was going to go; and, I remember suffocating in Halloween costumes as a child and I wanted my daughter to have a little airhole since she was going to be in such a thick fabric.

Will I Sew it Again:

That’s up to my daughter and her upcoming Halloween ideas.  I’m keeping the pattern around since it will be easy to grade up over the next few sizes.

Advice to Others:

Purchase the correct zipper.  Consider snaps instead of Velcro if you are cool with spending a little time handsewing. Get your kid to help cut out the pattern.  Purchase some heavy-duty sewing machine needles and resign yourself to changing up a few times over the course of your project.

Overall Style Grade:  This is not a style, it is a cute, classic Halloween costume.

Results Grade: A, beginning sewers who have sewn simple long sleeve shirts should find this pattern approachable, and intermediate sewers will have fun with ornamentation as the construction will be old hat to them.   My daughter’s costume looked like the storebought ones other kids were wearing that night.

Next Post: Thursday, November 4, 2010: Getting back into the swing of things I don’t know what I am going to sew next.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ellen
    Nov 02, 2010 @ 11:02:42

    Your little froggy is so cute!! Another idea for beginning sewers… instead of the front zipper you can use velcro. And since it’s a costume, you can even use fabric glue and just glue it on, instead of sewing. Something like fabri-tac works like magic! (I’m not sure of the washability though)

    Reply

    • Sewista Fashionista
      Nov 02, 2010 @ 16:01:05

      Hi Ellen,
      That is a good idea! Especially if you are a new sewer still intimidated by zips. Thanks for the tip 🙂

      Reply

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