DIY Sheep and Cow Costumes for My Church's Christmas Recital. - Pretty Real

DIY Sheep and Cow Costumes for My Church's Christmas Recital.

7:00 AM

While this post might be a bit late this year, perhaps you can pin it for next year! This would be an adorable Halloween Costume as well. I really planned to take my time and have a detailed tutorial with photos.  Unfortunately I had a deadline to work with and was a bit behind due to traveling and Genevieve's birthday party.  Add gluing 1200 cotton balls onto vests and...well something had to give. [wink].  But honestly you don't even need those detailed shots. This is EASY!  Here goes! Oh and not really 1200 cotton balls.

For the Vest/Sheep body:
Glue Gun or Fabric Glue (I've read Fabritac is the best, however it's pricey.  If you're just making one vest, no big deal but if you're making several, you might want to consider the glue gun).
Velcro or Ribbon**
Jumbo Cotton Balls- I lost track but I think I used about 150 to 200 per vest. 

For the Headband:
Needle + thread for reinforcement (optional)
*affiliate links included

**see 1b.

1. Visit this tutorial from Made to download a pattern and make your vest.
     1a) The only thing I'd do differently in the future is using a stronger stitch for the shoulder seams.  The cotton balls and glue get heavy and I had to reinforce the stitches on one of the vests because I could see it starting to come apart.  Please note: If there's any category a level beneath "novice seamstress," then I'm in that one. You probably already knew to use a zig zag stitch or something. 

     1b) I added ribbon the to either side of the top of the vest so that I could tie it.  Apparently those came off during the rehearsal. Again, if I'd used a stronger stitch that probably wouldn't have happened.  But as an alternative, use Velcro (which is what the recital director ended up doing after rehearsal).

2. For the headband, I simply cut a small circle (about 3 inches in diameter) out of white felt, covered it with cotton balls, and then glued it to the center of the headband.

3. For the ears, I cut an ear shape out of felt (flat across the bottom, curved, and then pointed at the top) in both black and white for each ear.  I then sewed them together using my sewing machine.  At the bottom (the flat part) I used a loose stitch and pulled it to gather it so that the ears would "pucker."  Sorry no photos of the ears prior to sewing them.

4. Next, I glued the ears to the headband.  For 2 of the three headbands I also stitched them on as reinforcement.  I got lazy on the last headband. None of them fell apart so the reinforcement might not have been necessary.  Lastly, I glued cotton balls around the ears to hide any glue gobs or stitches.
5. The only other thing I'd do differently in the future would be to add Velcro (or ribbon) to the bottom of the vest as well as the top.  The kids were sitting during the recital so keeping the vest closed would have looked a little "cleaner" than gaping at the bottom.

As you can see, the kids wore the sheep vests backwards to look more like a bodice.

If you don't want to make one my favorite sheep costumes are this girly one and this gender neutral one. Just adorable!

For the cow, I did the exact same thing for step 1 and purchased cow ears/tail from here (similar).  As for the cow shapes, I just cut them- free form style- from black felt. I placed the shapes on the vest a few at a time (cutting new shapes as I went) so that I could see how they looked together.  When I had them right, I glued them on.

Look at this cute lil manger crew!

That's it!  I'm not sure if it sounds hard or easy. Of course after having done it once I think it'd be easier the second time around but overall it really wasn't hard.  I sort of just made stuff up as I went along.  And covered up mistakes with cotton balls. It did however take tons of cotton balls and gluing the cotton balls on does take a while--about 1 to 1 1/2 hours per vest.

Thank you MADE for giving me such an easy jumping off point for these costumes!

The recital was adorable!  All of the little ones did so well! Special thanks to Cathy Saller for giving up SO much time and energy to choreograph and organize such a fun kid's Christmas program!

This costume is highly flammable! I realized this while making it and did my due diligence to make sure the children wearing it would be safe! I've seen some tutorials suggest spraying it with flame retardant.  I'm not responsible for any incidents involving this DIY- please make sure your kiddos are safe and won't be near open flames.

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  1. Awesome costumes great job ��

  2. These are simply adorable. If someone who is not comfortable trying to sew or needs several "vests" in a hurry, you could also use pillow cases cutting open holes for the head and arms from the seams of the pillow case. These work well on average sized children about 8 years and younger.

  3. Thank you so much for this. Nearly finished it for my son's nursery nativity! How talented you are to design some thing so effective! X x

  4. Thank you SO much for sharing this tutorial! I've entered that stage of parenting where *homemade* holiday program costumes are needed, and this post just saved the day! In the spirit of the harried season, I'll be working on this over the next 10 days, along with baking, decorating, shopping, wrapping – all while clinging to my last shred of sanity. ;)

    SherryO @
    Not Your Average Super Moms ...

    1. I'm so glad I could help! It was a bit time consuming but not difficult at all!

  5. Thank you for sharing. My daughter looks super cute. This was a fast and a simple project, and she probably looks even better than if I would have bought a costume! Great job. I think I will try to modify it to make an angel costume for my son who is concerned about wearing a "dress" :).

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  7. I have an oval one and I am thinking of selling in and getting something from.

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