We recently got the new issue of Pottery Barn Kids and my 2 year old son spied the Very Hungry Caterpillar costume and insisted that is what he wanted to be because it is his favorite book. (Previously he was sure he had to be Lightening McQueen.) Making a Hungry Caterpillar costume is way easier than a Lightening McQueen Costume. I lucked out and had a large piece of green fleece that was leftover from making a Peter Pan costume a couple of years ago. My total expense for this costume was $2 (I admit I have an unusually large stash of ribbon)! If you are making this for a little child you will be amazed by how easy it is to make your own costume and not buy one for $89 from PBK!
Below is a picture of the caterpillar toy we have and what I modeled the costume after.
How To | The Very Hungry Caterpillar Costume
- Ribbon (varying thicknesses of red, yellow and green)
- Green fleece for body (38″ wide x 26″ high)
- Red fleece for hat
- 9×12 sheet of yellow felt
- 2 purple pipe cleaners
- Sewing machine
- Fabric chalk or pencil
- Safety Pin
My son is 2.5 yrs old and he is about 38 inches tall. The measurements I listed for the green fleece are based on him and are for your reference. You will want to measure your child to figure out how much fleece you need.
- Basically this costume is a big tube. I folded my fabric in half so that my piece of fleece that originally measured 38″ x 26″ would become 19″ wide x 26″ tall. When you have the fabric folded right sides together (before you sew), add cut strips of ribbon. Pin the ribbons in place so they don’t fall out as you sew. (Pic. 1 and 2)
- Sew along the long edge with a straight stitch.
- To create a gathered neck you will create a casing to thread a ribbon through. Fold over the top edge about 1 inch and pin. (Pic. 3)
- Sew along edge of fabric to form casing. Next cut two small slits in the casing so you can thread your ribbon through. (Pic. 4)
- Cut a 36″ piece of ribbon. Add a safety pin to one end and thread the ribbon through one of the slits. The safety pin will give you something to push on inside the casing. When you get the ribbon around to the other side pull the ribbon through the slit and take off the safety pin. (Pic. 5)
- Next you will cut arm holes. Lay your costume out so that the ribbon spine is in the center (Pic. 6). On each of the folded sides measure about 2 inches down from the top edge. Using a fabric pencil draw a semi-circle on each side of the costume. Keep the costume folded and cut out each semi-circle to form circular arm holes. (Put the costume on your child and make sure the holes are in the right spot.) If everything is correct sew a straight stitch around the arm holes. Keep the cut out circle shapes to make the caterpillar eyes on your hat.
- Now you will create a casing for each gathered section on the body. I did not have any extra fabric so I used a ribbon to create the casing, but you can use a long strip of fabric if you have extra from your fleece. You will want the strip to be about 1″ wide.
- With the costume inside out, pin each casing strip all the way around the inside. (Pic. 7) Space the casings equal distance apart. Sew along the top and bottom of each casing and leave a small unsewn opening on one side so you can thread the elastic through. Add a safety pin to one end of the elastic and thread it inside the casing. Push the elastic and safety pin all the way around to the other side until it comes out of the opening where you started. (Pic. 8) You will need to decide how tight you want the elastic to be, then sew the ends of the elastic together and trim off the extra.
- Repeat Step 8 for each casing.
- The body of your costume is now finished. If your ribbons are fraying, you can use a lighter to carefully melt the ends of each ribbon.
- I made my hat from a pattern. (I actually wasn’t very impressed with how it fit, should have made my own pattern!) It is made from three triangular pieces of red fleece.
- To create each antennae I folded a purple pipe cleaner in half, then twisted it together and folded over the end. (Pic. 9) When I sewed the hat together I placed the antennae inside and stuck the folded end of the pipe cleaner out a little sew they would catch in the stitches. (Pic. 10)
- I used the green circles from the arm holes and then cut a slightly larger yellow felt piece to lay behind each circle. I pinned each set on the hat to create the eyes and then sewed around the inside of the green layer and then around the inside of the yellow layer. (Pic. 11)
- Add a green shirt and pants underneath and you have your very own Hungry Caterpillar!
You can click on the images below and see them larger than thumbnail size.