Nora likes a lot of girly things. Disney Princesses, Doc McStuffins, even Dora. But when we were choosing Halloween costumes, we were pretty sure what Nora would like to be.
For about five or six months now, she has been crawling to me saying, "I'm the baby turtle and you're the mommy turtle and I need my turtle food." To be accurate, you have to read that in the highest pitch voice possible.
So it was settled: Nora was ecstatic to be a baby turtle for Halloween. She asked to be a pink turtle, but I convinced her to be a regular green turtle with a pink bow in her hair.
I searched the internet for turtle costumes, but the few I found were seriously overpriced. So I decided to make it up. I bought a green shirt from Walmart and green pants at Kmart. The pants were free because I had $6 in Shop Your Way Rewards and the pants cost $5.99!
I went to Hobby Lobby and bought 1 yard of green felt (although I would have been fine with 1/2 yard), 1.5 yards of green webbing (used for straps), and Polyfil stuffing. I found lighter green felt sheets at JoAnn Fabrics (I bought four).
I started with an empty diaper box.
I opened it up.
I sketched an oval on the cardboard. It was very difficult for a perfectionist like me to simply draw an oval. I desperately wanted to print one, but I needed it to be bigger than printer paper.
I cut out the oval, traced it onto another part of the box, and cut out a second cardboard oval.
I traced the oval onto the green felt and cut it out.
Then I traced the oval again onto the felt. I drew dots 3 inches away from the original oval line. Then I cut out the larger oval on the dotted line.
I machine basted around the edge of the larger oval (with the stitch length as long as possible).
I pulled on one of the threads carefully to gather the edge of the oval.
I crammed as much stuffing in that shell as I possibly could. I placed the doubled-up cardboard ovals over the stuffing and began hot gluing the felt to the cardboard. When I had about 3/4 of the felt glued to the cardboard, I shoved more stuffing in and tried to distribute it all to make it look like a dome.
Here's a side view at this point:
Next I cut the webbing to the appropriate length for the straps (using Nora to help me get them right) and hot glued the straps onto the cardboard.
Then I glued the original green felt oval over the cardboard. I had to cut slits in the felt oval to help it go over the straps.
Then I couldn't get to it for a few days, and Nora started wearing it around the house. About every five minutes she would ask me, "Mom, when will you be done with my costume?"
I struggled with some paralyzing perfectionism when it came to adding the details on the shell. I looked at lots of Google images of turtle shells. I just couldn't push through and start cutting out felt shapes for the shell.
Finally, I used printer paper to cut approximate shapes of what I had seen on turtle shell images.
I laid them out on the felt shell and figured they were about right. Then I cut the shapes out of lighter green felt. I wished that the felt wasn't quite so light/bright, but I chose to use what I had.
I adhered the light green shapes to the shell using fabric glue. My fabric glue is old and very thick, so I squeezed some onto a paper plate and used a toothpick to apply it to the backs of my shapes. I only put glue around the edges.
Once the main pieces were all adhered, I trimmed the edges to be 1.5 inches from the edge of the shell. (I had not glued down the shape edges nearest the shell edge...did that even make sense?)
I cut up the leftover light green felt into one-inch squares.
I glued the felt squares around the edge of the shell. Once the glue was dry, the costume was finished!
I really don't like the squares. I had a major mental battle over those when the shell was complete. It went a little something like this:
Perfectionist Me: Those squares look like tiles.I'm sure you didn't necessarily want that window into my crazy mind. Just thought you should know that I know the green squares look weird. Since I made the whole thing up and only one part went wrong, I'm pretty happy.
Rational Me: Yeah, I guess I should have done those differently.
Perfectionist Me: No seriously. Those look stupid.
Rational Me: What can I do about it now? They're all glued on.
Perfectionist Me: You can't let Nora wear that shell with those weird tile felt squares. And you certainly shouldn't tell the whole internet that you made that.
Rational Me: Nora is 2. She doesn't care what the shell looks like. She is happy to have a baby turtle shell. I'm calling this a success since I saved money and made my daughter happy.
Nora was quite happy to model the finished turtle shell for me. She came up with the poses all on her own.
Now just imagine her with all green clothes. And, of course, a pink bow. Every baby turtle needs a pink bow.