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Simple No Sew Fancy Dress For Kids

No Sew Fancy Dress Anyone Can Make!

Are you a craft cringer? Does your sewing kit consist of the complimentary needle and thread pack you scored from the last Hotel you stayed at? Got no time for threading ‘bobbins’?

Fear not, even children of the craft-challenged and time-challenged parents out there can rock a ‘comment piece’ with these simple no sew fancy dress ideas that can be whipped up with stuff you probably have at the back of the cupboard.

Here’s just a few of the ideas we adore for fun and fast, fancy dress fashion:

No sew fancy dress: Bag of Jellybeans

no sew fancy dress

If you’re looking to turn up the cute factor without so much as a piece of sticky tape, then this costume is your bag (pardon the pun).

What you need:

  • Hit up your favourite department store for a huge clear bag – the good folk at the layby section or the back docks should be able to sort you out.
  • Balloons
  • Ribbon

What you do:

  • Cut off any excess from the top of the bag (leave the sealed ‘bottom’ of the bag sealed for now). Ideally the bag should be around the same height – or a bit less – than your child. Laying the bag on a flat surface, cut two leg holes (big enough for their thighs but not big enough to let a balloon escape). Then cut two arm holes – about 30cm down from top of bag on the sides.
  • Blow up balloons about halfway to their capacity (too taut and they will pop very easily).
  • Once your child has stepped into the leg holes, start filling up the bag with balloons (not too many, if you leave some space they can wiggle the balloons out of the way when they need to sit down)
  • Pop their arms through the holes, gather up the excess bag over one shoulder and tie on the ribbon.

Note: Only try this one if you are going to be around to help them in and out of it to hit the loo! 

No sew fancy dress: Ninja Turtle

no sew fancy dress

You need simple? You got simple.

What you need:

  • Tin foil BBQ tray
  • Green poster paint and paint brush or sponge
  • Craft glue
  • Wide clear tape
  • Approx 2.5 metres of fabric or ribbon in orange, blue, purple or red

What you do:

  • Paint the BBQ trays and set aside to dry.
  • Cut ribbon or fabric into three lengths. You will need a piece long enough to go across the middle of the shorter width of the tray. Another piece to stick to the inside of the tray and long enough to wrap around your child’s tummy to tie at the front, and anything leftover can be used to tie around their head (with holes cut in for eyes, or as a headband)
  • Tape the waist ribbon across the middle of the inside of the tray, with even lengths leftover on either side to attach the tray to your child’s back by wrapping around their tummy to tie up at the front.
  • Glue the piece of ribbon across the outside of the BBQ Tray ‘Shell’. Wrap any excess around and tape to the inside of the tray.
  • Allow to dry completely, then get your pizza ready – you’re about to be ‘Cowabunga’d!’
No sew fancy dress Ninja Turtle

No sew fancy dress: Dog

No sew fancy dress Dog

This costume came about when a resourceful Families Magazine dad was left in a pickle after his seven-year-old son declared that “Tomorrow is ‘come dressed as a dog day’ at school”.

What you need:

  • Heavy cardboard – an old brown cardboard box is perfect
  • Heavy tape (gaffer, duct or masking tape)
  • Scissors or Stanley knife
  • Fast setting glue (aerosol contact glue, hot glue gun or clear craft glue)
  • Felt (Black, pink and dog colours)
  • Black permanent marker
  • Elastic (string will do if you can attach the snout to the glasses)
  • An old hat, sunglasses or headband

What you do:

  • Wrap a rectangle of heavy cardboard into a loose cone. Leave the small end open and leave a split in the big end (rear). Make sure the rear end will fit comfortably over the child’s mouth and nose. Secure with strong tape (gaffer tape is good). If the nose looks too pointy at this stage, bash it in a bit.
  • Cut out a squashed ‘D’ shape in cardboard for the dog’s jaw – flat side to rear. Curved side cut to cover the split in the cone. Tape at rear, leave front mouth hanging open. Check the fit again.
  • Cut out two ears in cardboard.
  • Cover snout and outside of ears in dog-coloured felt (or skin a teddy!). Use spray-on contact glue or a hot glue gun, the clear craft glue would be OK but slower to dry. Fold felt over all cardboard edges especially the lips (allow enough fabric for this). Once the glue is dry may, you need to crumple the cardboard a bit to round off any straight bits, fit to child’s face etc.
  • Cut out a black felt nose. Cut out pink felt tongue. Tongue starts way at back of throat and hangs out front. Stick them on.
  • Draw on lips with a black marker (be generous – look at a dog) and spots for whiskers on the nose. Add fur spots with a different colour felt if you like.
  • Heavy elastic to secure the snout (poke holes, staples will fail). Ears attach to a hat, or to sunglasses (secure them to the arms and curve dog ears up and over child’s ears) or to a headband.

No sew fancy dress: LEGO

no sew fancy dress LEGO

And the winner of simple, yet effective award goes to … LEGO!

What you need:

  • Large cardboard box (big enough for your child to fit in) and second smaller box for hat piece (optional)
  • Poster paint in your favourite LEGO colour, and paint brush or sponge
  • Sturdy plastic cups in the same colour
  • Scissors or Stanley knife
  • Clear tape

What you do:

  • Use clear tape to seal up box. Cut out head hole, arm holes and enough of the bottom of the box so that your child can a) wiggle into box, b) walk!
  • Cut bottom of hat box, but DO NOT cut away all the board. Leave the cardboard as flaps so that you can push them back up into the box at an angle. This will help hold the box on your child’s head.
  • Paint the box(es) and allow to dry.
  • Once paint is dry, trace around the smaller bottom of plastic cup several times in a LEGO design on the box(es). Cut holes slightly bigger than the circles you have drawn, but not as big as the larger open end of cup, this will allow you to wedge the cups into the hole.
  • From the inside, wedge the cups, bottom side out into holes so that they all stick out the same height. They will jam into place with no need for glue or tape.
  • Wriggle them into the box, and … Done *dusts off hands*
no sew fancy dress LEGO

What do you think? Not too difficult, right?

Do you have any examples of quick and easy costuming other parents might benefit from? Load them up and tag us, let’s end craft cringing forever!

Find more related reading on Families Magazine:

• Magic Potions for Kids
• Kids Tree Houses
• DIY Dreamcatcher by Stacey Roberts

This article was published in Issue 16 of our print magazine, June/July 2016.

Photo of author

Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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