It’s no secret that my little girl is obsessed with Bubble Guppies on Nick Jr. And it’s also no secret that I am fed up with the lack of Bubble Guppies merchandise! So I took matters into my own hands and decided to make my daughter and niece Bubble Guppies costumes for Halloween. This is my first attempt at making a costume and it came out great! I am no sewer by any means, but I do know my way around a sewing machine for basic work.
I searched for some fabric at Joann Fabrics and Walmart and luckily found some similar designs to their favorite Guppies, Oona and Deema. They are not exact but the point is definitely made! Keep in mind that they don’t have to be perfect -it’s all trial and error here – that’s the best part of homemade costumes! Depending on which Guppy you make, be it one of the boys or girls, some are just one piece, while Molly and Deema are a two piece outfit. I will give a step by step how-to on Deema (2-piece-the skirt/tail. The tail pattern can be used for the boy Guppies) and Oona (one piece). Since I couldn’t finish the costume (& post!) before Halloween (always last minute!), this costume can be great for dress-up, a Guppies birthday party or for next Halloween!
What You’ll Need:
- 1-1 1/2 yards of fabric for each costume
- Sewing machine
- Coordinating thread
- Newspaper/tissue paper for pattern
- Elastic: 1″-1 1/2″ wide works great
- Safety pin and sewing pins
- Good fabric shears
- Fabric Glue (optional)
Step 1: Make the pattern.
This was the most difficult part for me. You can find a mermaid costume pattern and use that or my recommendation: make your own!
I first had my sister measure my niece. Since Deema is 2 piece set, I had her measure her bust, then her waist and then from her waist to feet. I then took brown paper (didn’t have newspaper) and started with Deema’s skirt. I measured the waist at the top of the paper – adding 2-2 1/2 inches (for seams) and traced a straight line. Then from the end of the waist measurement I went down the length and measured an extra 3 1/2 inches. This will give you room to fold over the top part of the fabric so you can sew in elastic. You should end up with a rectangle shape.
To make the skirt fin out like a tail, I made a separate pattern for the tail. You can make it as long/wide as you would like. I folded the paper in half and drew out a half-moon shaped tail. It should look like a half a circle. I made this about 3 inches out from the skirt pattern. Then simply taped the fin on to the bottom of the rectangle pattern.
Step 2: Cutting Fabric
Take your fabric and fold it in half, inside out.
Take sewing pins and pin the pattern on to the fabric. With a pair of good shears, cut out the pattern on the fabric. Remove the pins from the pattern and re-pin them on the fabric to keep it together for sewing.
Step 3: Sew!
Start about 3 1/2 inches down from the top, leaving that open so we can later sew and thread elastic threw. Sew down, leaving the bottom open so your little guppy can walk. Repeat on the opposite side. You should have about an inch of seam. Where the fin begins, snip the fabric just enough so you don’t cut the thread. This will help give the appearance of a fin without having the fabric bunch up.
Next, fold down the top seam that you left open for the elastic. Pin and sew along to the other end. Repeat on the other side. You should have two openings to thread elastic threw for the waist band.
*Helpful Tip: To make sewing this part even easier, iron down the seam. It keeps the fabric nice and straight so all you have to worry about is sewing a straight line! (Thanks for the advice, mom!)
Also, depending on what kind of fabric you buy, the tail could fray. You can do one of two options: put fabric glue on the ends to keep them from fraying. You can buy it at any fabric store or even Walmart. If you don’t have fabric glue, simply turn the hem under, IRON (trust me, it will make life a lot easier!) and just make a small hem around the entire bottom of the fin. I did fabric glue on one costume and hemmed the other, and I preferred the hem look over the two. But what ever makes your life easier, do!
Step 4: Elastic waistband
Cut the elastic about 25% less than the child’s waist measurement (or how ever tight/loose you would like or feels comfortable for the child). Take a safety pin and put it through the end of the elastic and begin to thread it through the looped seam at the top of the skirt.
Once you have pulled it through both sides, sew together the elastic then the fabric.
Step 5: Bandeau top (Deema & Molly)
Depending on what size your child is (I made this for a size 2T), measure fabric accordingly. I cut two pieces both about 26-28 inches wide and 10-12″ long. Make sure to leave enough space at the top for the elastic hem. I simply sewed hems on both pieces then sewed them together to make a bandeau top. Then do as you would with the elastic waistband and thread a piece of elastic through the looped top. Sew elastics ends together then sew the opening closed on both sides.
Viola! You now have a little guppy of your own! My daughter and niece were SO excited to wear these on Halloween. They both strutted around like they were too cool for school, it was the funniest thing! Just wish we were living closer to have our little guppies trick or treat together! But there is always dress up during future visits!
If you make one and have any questions, feel free to comment or email me at antimomblog (at) gmail (dot) com and I’d be happy to help you with any trouble shooting, questions or advice on the sewing!
BTW! Both costumes only cost about $6 to make. I only paid for fabric because I had all the other supplies already. So not only will your Bubble Guppy-loving kid adore this costume, it won’t hurt your wallet!