November 1, 2010

Dragon or Dinosaur Tail for Halloween or Dressup!

There are a few reasons why this sewing project came together.
First, I had tried to make an octopus costume before this, and it failed, miserably:)
Second, my daughter was a princess for Halloween - and dragons go with princesses, right?
Third, I had actually had an inkling to make a tail before this, and here was a good excuse!
So, here is how I made it:
1) Take a large piece of scrap fabric and sketch out a tail shape.  Mine ended up being about 8" wide at the fat part, and about 27" long from fat part to tip of tail. 
 2) Cut 2 pieces of fabric using the tail template.  I used flannel - and remember to flip your template over when you cut the 2nd piece.  This way, you get the fabric facing right side out on both sides when you place the two pieces together. 
 3) Cut scales out of matching flannel fabric.  2 pieces for each scale.  I decided to alternate the colors, and make smaller scales for the tip of the tail and larger scales for the fat end.  The fat ones were about 5" wide, and the smaller 3.5" wide.  You will want them a lot SHORTER than you see in the picture here though.  Make the triangular top 2-3 inches tall, and only extend about 1" beyond that, making a 3-4 inch tall scale. 
4) Mark the top of both of your tail pieces at intervals where you want your scales to be.  So, you will  need to measure the width of your scales, and leave only 1 HALF AN INCH in between them as you mark (it seems close together, but trust me).   You need to make your marks at the same points on both halves of the tail, because you are going to sew the scales on each side of the tail first, before you sew the two halves together, and you want the scales to match up!  You can see an example of my marks on the tail pictured below:

5) Put 1 set of scales, right sides of fabric together, along the top edge of the tail, lining up with your marks.  NOTE:  PLACE THEM MUCH CLOSER TOGETHER THAN YOU SEE IN THIS PICTURE!  After sewing and fabric stretching, ect., they will end up even further apart.  This was a bad example, which I had to re-do! 
6) Sew along the flat edge of each scale, using 1/4" seam allowance. 
 6) When you flip the scales up, the tail will look like this.  Do this on both tail pieces. 
7) Pin your 2 tail pieces right sides together, lining up the scales as well. 
This picture below shows how close together they were when I re-did the scales!
8) Sew around the entire edge of your tail - leaving the fat end open for stuffing.  The picture below shows how to sew it up.  The RED stitching is the line to follow.  The BLUE stitching is the previous line used to sew the scales on. 
9) Flip the tail right side out through the fat end (opposite the tip of the tail)

10) Stuff it very very full with stuffing. 

11) fold the ends under and pin. 
12) Now choose how you want to wear your tail.  I tried 2 different ways. 
First way: make a long tub to use as a belt.  Sew it along the top edge. 
I loved this way!  I threaded the "belt" through my belt loops, tied it in the front, and the tail stayed on securely!

Second way: use suspender clips.  Put a ribbon through the suspender clip, put the ribbon ends in the fat end of the tail and sew it all closed.  This is nice, because you can clip it to any pant, but the tail is heavy, so it really pulls the back of your pants down - which is not so good:)
I suspect that my kids will like to play dress up with this dragon tail, but it was also a great, fun costume for me!
I also made this hat, using this tutorial as a guide and an old sweater!  I used heat-n-bond for the eyes, eyebrows and line of teeth.  I sewed the scales in as I sewed up the hat. 

I hope you all had a great Halloween!

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  1. Lindsay, you are too cute... I love the hat!!! Perfect Perfect. I hope your Halloween went well :)


  2. Oh yes, this would go over very well with my boys! Too cute!

  3. I have been looking all over the Internet for something just like this! A few years ago my nephew went to a birthday party where the mom made something like this for each of the kids to take home!!! I love it, and I am thinking of trying it for my little girls party! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks for the great instructions. My 4-year-old son wants to be a dinosaur for Halloween and this tail completed his costume. It came out great. I would’ve really botched this up if I hadn’t found your blog. Thanks again for sharing!