We are going to show you how to make a Poison Ivy Costume. You also can use this technique to create a fairy or a mythical forest creature. It is an easy, fun filled costume to make. You do not even need any sewing skills!
- Green Leotard
- Green Lycra in three different colors
– with one hopefully matching the
leotard or start with light color and
use dye to achieve other colors
- Dark green fabric paint
- Tailor’s chalk or a small piece of soap
- Choosing Your Materials
The first item, of course, is the Leotard. Green leotards are kind of hard to find. You can try to dye a white one or it would probably be easier to purchase a green one on a website or from us at BDancewear.com.
Next, you need to purchase Lycra in three different green colors. Hopefully, one will be the same color as the leotard or at least close to it.
Last, you need to find a very dark green fabric paint.
- Prepare Leotard
First, have the girl who will wear the costume put on the leotard. Find the spot under her bust where the bust begins and mark the leotard a couple of inches below that spot with Tailor’s chalk or a piece of white soap. Next, mark the leotard approximately 4 inches below that mark. Both of these marks will wash out if you use tailor’s chalk or a small bar of soap. Then put a pin where you want the ivy to start. Mark a half circle starting at the seam near the top marking, through the top marking, down through the bottom marking down to the seam near that bottom marking. Make the rounded edge a little off so it is not even and perfect. Sometimes the leotard is lined so you will want to cut the hole in the lining about an inch larger than the outside of the leotard because you will not want the lining popping out and showing in the cut out area. If you are going to wear it a lot and it is not just for Halloween, you may want to stitch around the opening essentially sewing the leotard and the liner together. If desired, you could sew a little elastic around the opening or sew elastic with sequins on it.
- Create a leaf skirt
Cut the Lycra in leaf shapes and paint veins on the leaves with the fabric paint. Create enough leaves to go around the waist of the costume and attach them to a Lycra waistband. You do not have to sew the edges of the “cut” Lycra leaves. It will not ravel.
If you have any questions on how to do this, Bdancewear has another video that shows how to make this skirt and the leaves.
Or you could use an existing green Lycra skirt. Leaving the skirt attached to the waistband and cut wide strips out of it making the bottom half of the strips a little rounded in a leaf shape.
- Create additional skirt layers
Take a rectangular piece of green Lycra and fold it in half and then again almost in half leaving the folded edge of the Lycra sticking out a couple of inches. Cut from the bottom second fold towards the raw edge 2” to 3” parallel to the length of the fabric stopping a few inches from the last fold . This will create two ties. Unfold it leaving the loose “tie” out to the side. Fold it again short edge to short edge. This time cut it in half and then in thirds.. Cut leaf shape strips parallel to the folds and towards the “tie” leaving the ties sticking out. Round off the bottom of the leaves but do not cut all the way through the top edge so as to leave the “ties” attached. Cut into the edges of the “leaf” strips so they are very raggedy. Cut little slices at an angle on the sides of the “leaves. You want it to be a little raggedy, a little choppy. DO NOT cut the “ties” off. This will create an “apron like” effect with the strips hanging down and the ties attached. This can be tied in place under the skirt if it is pre-bought or you can sew onto the existing leaf skirt.
Clip string pieces
It is important to have multiple colors so do the exact same thing with the third green Lycra material.
- Create the Ivy
(NOTE: If you do not have any extra material to make the “ivy,” you could use an old sheet and dye it in two shades of green that are close to the greens you are working with. Do not use sheets for the skirt.)
Take one of the Lycra materials and fold it in half three times so that you end up with several layers. If the edge of the folded strip is uneven, cut the excess material away so that it is even. Then lay the palm of your hand on the folded material perpendicular to the folds and cut the folded strip into pieces that are about the width of your hand. Do that a second time so that you have two pieces the width of your hand. Open up these pieces and you will see that you have long strips. Repeat the same process with one of the other colors. This will leave you with a total of four strips. They do not need to be perfect when they are cut. In fact, you do not want them to be perfect. You never see things in nature that are perfect so you want to make sure that you do not create something that is perfect.
Next, layer the four strips – darkest color on the bottom, then the lightest color, then darkest and last the lightest color. They will probably not be even in length or width but do not worry about that. You do not want them to be perfectly even. What you are going to do here is create the ivy and the leaves. This is going to go over the shoulder and down the body so give yourself a little extra room in the length.
If you know how to sew, sew the strips together by sewing in the middle of the strips down the length. If you do not know how to sew or do not have a sewing machine available, cut some small strips about 2” wide and several inches long. These are going to be used to tie the four larger strips together at different spots. Pin the four larger strips together in the middle down the length of the strips. Place the first pin at the top of the strip. An easy guide to determine how far apart to place the pins is to place the palm of your hand on the strips and place the second pin next to it. Keep doing this down the length of the strips until you reach the other end and have several pins holding the strips together. Of course, you want to make sure the four strips stay flat as you go so that you do not end up with bubbles between the strips.
Tie the Ivy Vines Together
If you are not sewing the strips together, Then you will need to tie them together. Cut two little notches by the first pin. They should be in the middle on the strip and on top of each other. The easiest way to do that is to grab all layers of the fabric together with your thumb and finger and make a little hole in the center where you are holding the fabric. It doesn’t need to be very big, just big enough to slip the little strips you previously cut through. Be very careful to keep your thumb and forefinger out of the way of the scissors. It is very painful if you cut your thumb or finger. Repeat this about a half an inch below the first cut. The holes do not need to be very big, just big enough to slip the little strips you previously cut through. Insert one of the little strips in the top hole and bring the strip back through the bottom hole and tie the ends of the strip together. Continue making these two holes down the length and tying the strips off as you go. It is easiest if you use the pins not only to hold the material together but also as a guide for creating these sets of holes. When you get done, you will have several sets of holes fairly equally down the middle of the larger strips. This will keep them together. Do not forget to remove the pins – that could be quite painful!
Cutting the Ivy
Once the larger strips are either sewn together or tied together down the middle as explained above, start cutting into the sides of the larger strips. Cut from the edges towards the center but make the cuts at different angles. Sometimes cutting up towards the center and sometimes cutting down. If you end up with some squared off edges on the side of the strip, take little nips into them so that they have a pointed end.
After you have made these cuts down the sides of the strips, start making little cuts or slices into the sides of those little pieces. Again, make sure to keep your fingers out of the way. The key idea to keep in mind is to not make these cuts neat. In fact, make them messy!
Now, if you want to sew this “ivy” to the leotard, just sew it down at the shoulder. If you do not know how to sew, make another set of holes at the top of the “ivy” strip and tie it down to the straps of the leotard at the shoulder. Lay the “ivy” down the front of the leotard until you reach the round cut out at the side of the leotard. When you reach the cut out, sew the ivy down or create another set of little holes and tie the “ivy” down.
- Assemble rest of costume
Lay the darkest skirt layer around the leotard and put the next layer on top of that. Put the skirt on top of that. If the skirt was also constructed like the two layers, tie all three together. Slip three layers of skirt over leotard. Insert bottom end of ivy inside waistband of skirt.
And there you have a “Poison Ivy Costume.”