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Why not do something special for Christmas this year and make an elf costume with your child?

Christmas is on its way and you are looking for a fun activity that you can do with your child. Why not create an elf  together? It will be a creative and satisfying experience for the young one and makes for some valuable parent/child time together. Once the elf costume is finished, a whole slew of elfish activities can be initiated such as songs, plays, and games.

The finished costume will consist of a short tunic and a pointed hat – decorated according to the child’s taste. It is recommended that you spread the activity over a few days to maintain your child’s interest. This activity is recommended for children age 4 and up. Parental supervision is advised.

Step 1: Materials

You will need one and a half to two yards of red felt per child, smaller pieces of other colors of felt (such as, green, white, yellow and black), non-toxic glue, a measuring tape, tiny bells, needle and thread. Fabric other than felt can be used, but it will probably require hemming.

Step 2: Introducing the idea

Tell your child that you are going to make an elf costume together. Describe the costume and specify that you will need their help. Recounting a few stories about elves (and all their good deeds) might add some magic to your activity.

Step 3: Measuring and cutting out the fabric

Fold over the felt and ask your child to lie down on it. The fold will be the shoulders of the tunic (so you don’t have to sew them!) Use a marker to indicate the sides of the neck, the lower edges of the armholes and the desired length. To avoid any limitations on movement, hip length is best. Cut out the tunic and try it on over your child’s head.

For the hat, measure the circumference of your child’s head and mark it on the felt with about an inch to spare. Mark the desired height (about 1 foot is recommended, too long will lead to the hat falling off.) Cut out the resulting rectangle, roll it into a cone and place it on your child’s head (it should go down over their ears). While holding the felt with your fingers, remove it from the head. Pin the cone together (in a straight line from hem to point) using safety pins. An extra flap of material will be left over – don’t worry about this. It won’t be seen once the hat is turned inside out.

Step 4: Sewing the fabric

This is the only step involving sewing, and it won’t take long. It is recommended that you do this step when your child is not around (needles in the eye or skin can happen, so it is best to play it safe). Using a double thread if sewing by hand, sew the sides of the tunic together leaving ample room for the arms. Turn it inside out so the seams don’t show. Next, sew the cone along the line of safety pins in the hat (from rim to point in a straight line) and turn it inside out. Finish by sewing a little bell onto the point of the hat.

Step 5: Trying on the costume

Let your child try on the costume and then check the fit. If the hat is too big, you might want to hem it under or adjust the cone seam a little.

Step 6: Decorating

Encourage your child to do a drawing of the desired costume. The child will feel very proud when his or her plan becomes a costume that can be worn.

Ask your child to draw the shapes from the plan on the smaller, different colored pieces of felt. If the child is old enough, he or she can cut out the shapes. If not, you do the cutting.

Lay out the tunic and hat and have your child glue the shapes onto the costume. Make sure ample amounts of glue are spread to the edges of the felt so the pieces won’t fall off. After decorating one side of the tunic and hat, allow the glue to dry completely before turning them over and doing the other sides.

Step 7: Enjoy

When your child puts on the finished costume, you will certainly want to take advantage of the photo op. You could also suggest that he or she come up with a little elf play or song that will be presented at a family gathering or just for you. And of course, elves are Santa’s little helpers, so you could also suggest that your elf-kids help out at the Christmas party.

Merry Christmas!

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Elf Costumes

From LoveToKnow Costumes

When you’ve got people dressing up in Santa Costumes, there’s no doubt you’ll need some elf costumes, too. Elves are classically Santa’s little helpers: they make all the magic happen, getting the toys done so that Santa can make his deliveries on Christmas Eve. But why should the fat man get all the glory? The right elf costumes can shine a spotlight on the unsung heroes of any Christmas celebration

Elf Costumes Basics

There are several different popular configurations for elf costumes, but they usually have in common a really big shirt. These long shirts usually have scalloped or V-shaped hems and could serve as a dress for a girl elf (especially if you’re going for a sexy costume) or a shirt for a boy elf.

Elf costumes are often finished off with either pants or brightly colored tights, shoes with curly toes, and often a hat somewhat similar to Santa’s hat in shape, but floppier (made from a less-stiff fabric) and coordinating in color to the rest of the elf costume.

Elf costumes are usually green, but you can often find green and red, green and yellow, or black costumes as well, depending on where you shop.

Naturally elf costumes are most often thought of as a requirement for Christmas and aren’t often seen outside of the mall or department store, but a Santa and his elves could be a fun group costume for Halloween or a costume party as well.

Buying Elf Costumes

There are many places you can buy elf costumes, no matter the occasion. Costumes usually include the big shirt or dress, pants or tights and a hat. Some costume packages include a belt, shoes, suspenders or other accessories, depending on the style of the costume. You can also sometimes find elf ears to complete the look.

You might be able to find elf costumes at your local costume shop, and it may also be possible to rent elf and Santa costumes if you live somewhere with a year-round costume rental store. If not, here are some good options for buying an elf costume online:

Making Elf Costumes

You can also make your own elf costumes pretty easily, though they likely won’t be as fancy as the store-bought variety. The easiest elf costume you can make yourself involves a sweat suit in red or green. If you can buy the top and bottom separately, choose a top that is larger than the bottom for the look of a big shirt.

To give the impression of the V-shaped edge of a store-bought shirt, use fabric glue to attach rickrack to the bottom hem of the shirt. For an extra fun touch, sew some bells onto the hem of the shirt, or tie bells on ribbons around your ankles and wrists.

For a hat, just wear a purchased Santa hat or make a simple cone-shaped hat out of any festive red or green material you have lying around. A bell on the end of the hat adds a festive touch as well. Wear plain black shoes to complete the look.

Any extra-large shirt could also be used as an elf costume, paired with tights or colored pants. Use some metallic, ropey ribbon to make a belt, or wear an extra-wide black belt from your closet. Again adding rickrack, bells, ribbons and/or a hat makes this costume more authentic.

There’s a great pattern at About for making elf shoes out of felt. You could almost use the same pattern, with a bigger hole, to make an elf hat. Or use a Santa hat as a pattern to make an elf hat out of felt. Add jingle bells or a pom-pom at the end.

Acting the Part

Most of the time, elves are portrayed as happy little creatures doing Santa’s bidding. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a nice elf. (Of course, if you’re working as an elf for the holiday, you’ll have to be nice, and get the crying kids off Santa’s lap in a hurry!)

There’s a bit of mischievousness inherent in the elf as well, so if you’re a practical joker this may well be the perfect holiday costume for you.

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