Lion’s Mane DIY

Well, hello November. I am not ready to see you! Was anyone’s Halloween anything more than a blur? The day/night flew by for me. The kiddos had so much fun dressing up this year, and I got way too much enjoyment out of designing and creating their costumes. Ha – that makes it sound like I created some extravagant ensembles. In reality they were nothing more than ordinary, but in my mind they were fit for the Queen.

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A few weeks ago I shared a concern about what to do costume wise for Halloween, you can read it here. I seriously didn’t think I would be able to pull off anything as cute as last year. Especially since Little A was bound and determined to be “a girl lion with a boy mane.” How boring is that?! Like any other mom, I gave in to her demands. I am slowly relinquishing control over costume choice. Despite the fact I came up with a handful of better different ideas, I let her have her way. I will admit, she played a pretty cute lion.

lion mane diy, lion costume diy, lion and lion tamer costumesAnd Big Dub was totally adorable. Swoon with me…

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Insert witty comment about the lion chasing the tamer. They are just too dang cute! (I’m currently making that emoji with the hearts for eyes face right now). It was another successful costume year. I hope my children always let me create their costumes. But most importantly I hope I make the time to do it, and do it right!

We even got to have an awesome adult party. I can finally strike this costume desire off my bucket list. I had way too much fun dressing up and enjoying the company of good friends.

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Well that’s enough about Halloween. Let’s get down to business and into making that dang lion’s mane. Warning: you have to be committed once you start. Though I will admit, this thing was worth every stupid strip of tulle.

MATERIALS:

-1 yard of tulle in three different colors (a total of 3yds. of tulle split however you want-1 color or more)
-1/2 yard of linen or any other cotton fabric for the “bonnet” (I say linen because that’s what I had on hand-money saver)
-1/2″ bias tape
-thread
-scissors
-sewing machine

WHAT TO DO:

Start by measuring your child’s head. I measured from just passed where her hairline is on her forehead to about the center spot at the back of the head, and then I did across the top just where the skull starts to curve down over to the other side -that’s for the top piece of your bonnet. Then measure from the temple around the back to temple, and from the center of the back of the head to about the base of the neck -that’s for the piece of the bonnet that goes around the head. Her measurements for the top of her head were 6″x7″ and the side measurements were 13″x8″. I added about an inch to each side JUST to be safe. So my measurements were roughly 7×8 for the top piece and 14×9 for the bottom piece.

Next you’ll cut two rectangles out of your linen or other cotton fabric per those dimension BUT FIRST! don’t do what I did. I failed to add in an extra 7″ from the width of my top piece and add it to my bigger piece. The reason being you will surround the small rectangle with the large rectangle. You have only measured for each side at this point (14″), so you’ll need to add more to cover the back side of the head. Make sense? So instead of cutting a 8×14 piece, I should have cut an 8x20ish piece. Had I done that her bonnet would cover the top of her head better, but I had to cut it back to make up for the lack of fabric around the sides. Rookie mistake.

Once you have your rectangles cut, you’ll want to cut a slight curve at one end of the smaller rectangle.  Fold your small rectangle like a hot dog, so that the short ends are folded in half. You now have an 8×3 inch rectangle. This will make your bonnet curve around the back of the head more smoothly.

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Next, pin your long rectangle to your top rectangle.

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Sew the two pieces together. Be aware of where your fabric is so you don’t scrunch it up and sew something you shouldn’t. Clip your curve. You should have something that resembles this (you’re looking at the top of the outside):

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lionmane6

See where I didn’t have enough fabric to go to each end? I ended up just cutting the piece that stuck out off.

Next apply your bias tape to the front edge. Be sure to leave extra at the bottom of both ends so that you can tie it under the chin. Just like a bonnet. I left about 3-4 inches on each side.

And now you’re ready for the fun of the tulle.
There’s probably a million ways to do it, but what I did was I took one color and folded it in half so that the shorter ends of the tulle lined up. I then sewed a straight stitch (no back stitching) down the tulle. I varied the width of the strips between an inch and an inch and a half. I also did strips with two colors together and a few with all three. Mix it up to give it more depth and variation.

Cut the strip off with about a 1/4″ between the cut and the stitch and gather the tulle like you would a ruffle (hold one of the threads and scrunch the tulle down). Some strips were scrunched really tightly and some more loose.

Once your strip is at the desired scrunchiness sew it to the bonnet. For the most part I stitched right over the scrunch stitch. My first strip was sewn to the from of the bonnet so that the wide part of the tulle was facing out, and the smaller cut edge was facing in.
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I put the next strip along the bottom. Then went back to adding strips from one side, across the top, to the other side. My strips were about 1/4″ apart. At the point in the next picture I started somewhat changing the direction of my strips.

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lionmane16

I had one long strip go from one corner, up and across the center of the head, and back down to the other corner -it was basically a diagonal line. I then started sewing on the strips at a slant (if that makes sense).

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Almost done!!!!

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Don’t forget to add some ears! I just used the fabric I had for her tunic and leg warmers. Cut four semicircles, sewed two wrong sides together, LEAVE AN OPENING TO TURN right side out, stuff with a bit of stuffing, stitch closed, hot glue to the mane. VOILA! Lion’s mane on point.

It’s quite a bit of work. And it’s really boring. But totally worth it. Little A loves it, and that’s what matters!

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Until next time ❤

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