How to Make a Halloween Ladybug Costume for a Kitten
Ready to Trick-or-Treat
We cat owners/parents (who can OWN a cat?) are a fierce and tenacious bunch. To us, it seems that pet retailers grossly favor dogs, offering many more toys and clothing than they do for felines. Yes, well, we will concede that leashes are not too successful with cats, so that product line would be a waste. (My Guyfriend’s matriarchal cat showed us how much energy and spunk she retains when she quickly Houdini-ed her way out of a leash I was attempting to use with her.) However, there are plenty of opportunities which retailers are missing to sell us clothing for our little darlings! In the meantime, though, the sewers and creators among us can make clothing and costumes for our cats – as for Halloween, Purim, and Mardi Gras.
More Views of the Halloween Kitten Costume
MISTAKE TO AVOID
It's only one - but it is a biggie:
Measuring TOO early
Boy oh boy, did I mess up here. Because I enjoy holidays, I start preparing way in advance. For my new, precious kitten born in July, I mulled over many ideas for a costume for him. After considering ideas which fit for something tiny (a peanut, a shrimp, and so on), I settled on the ladybug idea. The fire engine red will contrast nicely with his fur color, whereas the peanut would be lost with his orange-brown coat.
Then, I went the easy route: I purchased a small red doggie shirt at a pet store to be the base of the costume. Amend that: I purchased size XS – extra small – as for a teacup Chihuahua. That was because my little boy weighed 1 and ¾ pounds when I bought the shirt in early September. When we got to early October, he had doubled his weight! He is now 3 and ¾ pounds and will not fit in the shirt. The moral of my story: Kittens grow! (Duh.)
If you heed my advice but still do not trust your estimation of your kitten’s growth, have some elastic or extra fabric on hand.
Do I Look Like a Longshoreman?
Supplies and Tools
Red pet shirt that you think will fit your kitten on Halloween (overestimate growth to be safe!)
Red fabric about 4 inches by 10 inches
Black fabric paint or permanent marker
Needle or sewing machine
Try the shirt on your kitten. You may need to snip the neck opening to enlarge it as I did (see picture below) for it to fit over her dear head. Then measure your kitten from neck to back legs. If this measurement is less than 10 inches, you will need to adjust the length of your fabric ladybug oval. Cut an oval from your red fabric. Sew it onto the shirt -- attach one end to the neck back and then sew down the "spine" or along the sides to keep the oval flat and attached. Some of it will extend beyond the shirt bottom.
Use your black marker or paint to paint a light line down the center of the oval - this represents the split between the 2 wings of the ladybug. Then make spots on the back. The black line at the neck is for a hint of the ladybug's black head.
Rescue Procedure to Supersize the Kitten Ladybug Costume
If the shirt no longer fits your darling as Halloween draws nearer, first try enlarging the neck with a vertical slit. If that is not enough room for your growing kitten, cut the front open, as if it was a cardigan sweater.
Then, measure the circumference around your kitten's neck and belly. Make red fabric strips about one-half inch wide to sew across the shirt opening to hold it on. Attach to one side only.
With the rescue procedure, at least it is easier to sew the oval onto the back along a midline. After doing all your sewing to put the oval on the shirt, then sew the other side of the "extender strips" onto the shirt.
From there, follow the normal procedures.
One Way to Adjust the Costume
When More Adjustment is Required
Straps Go Under the Belly
My Kitten is Worth It!
There is a lot I will do for my cat family members, and this is just one of the ways I love them up!
Photos and text copyright 2012 Maren E. Morgan