How to: Turn any pajamas into a clown costume

I know clowns are a little out of fashion, but my son is passionate about them. He has an old school aesthetic when it comes to clowns, so the first piece of his costume I worked on was the collar. When it was done, I realized that the rest of the costume could be nearly anything, like a pair of zip up pajamas, a set of bright mismatched clothes, or some too-big shirts and pants from a second-hand store.

This realization came to me too late. I had already bought fabric for the entire costume.

So let me share this clown collar tutorial and hope that at least one rookie mom will spend 9 minutes making this ruffle and call it a costume.

You’ll need a scrap of fabric and a ribbon long enough to tie in a bow around your child’s neck.

1. Cut a strip of fabric about one yard wide and 10 inches deep.

2. Fold lengthwise, wrong sides together and iron.

3. Sew the length of the strip, making a tube.

4. Since you need to end up with the ribbon running through the tube, reach your arm through the tube to turn it right-side out and simultaneously pull the ribbon through. If you didn’t accomplish those two things at the same time, no worries. I’m sure you’ll find a way to get your ribbon to run through the tube.

5. With the ribbon sticking out on both sides, iron your right-side out strip flat. Turn the open edges under and iron them, too.

6. Back at the sewing machine, sew one running stitch along the bottom edge of your strip. You know, the edge that is a fold, not a seam.

7. Sew closed one end of the tube, right across the ribbon. Keep the ribbon at the top of the strip. (Top meaning the seamed edge.)

8. Now you are going to ruffle up this clown collar. Figure out how long the finished collar should be by holding the ribbon around your neck – or your child’s neck if he or she is either cooperative or dead asleep. Slide the open edge of the tube toward the closed edge to ruffle it up.  Pin in place to the ribbon.

9. Sew the open edge closed.

10. Tie the ruffle around your child’s neck for a clown’s collar.  No child was available at the time of this writing, therefore this teddy bear obliged me by modeling what we have so far of a Kindergartner’s clown costume.

Teddy really liked dressing up as a clown. He insisted I take a picture with the wig.

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.

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