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Elf Halloween Costumes

Our duo stays cozy in no-sew woolly vests, made simply by shrinking and trimming thrift-store sweaters; cutoff sleeves become hats. Of course, the telltale signs of any elf are pointy ears (these are stick-on) and curl-toed shoes (theirs are crafted from painted canvas drop cloths and slip right over regular shoes).

Photography: Anna Williams

Source: Martha Stewart

Introduction

Old sweaters are the foundation of this costume; when you shrink them in the washer and dryer, the wool becomes felted, so it won't unravel when cut. The body of one sweater makes a vest, and the sleeves are used for hats. You can make a vest and hat from one sweater, or shrink two sweaters for different colors. If you don't have any sweaters to shrink, look for them at thrift stores.

materials

  • Wool sweaters

  • Mesh laundry bag

  • Scissors

  • Fabric glue

  • Metallic ribbon or other trim

  • Sewing machine

  • Canvas drop cloth

  • Velcro strips

  • Brown craft paint and paintbrush

  • Elf ears

  • Spirit gum adhesive

steps

  1. Place a sweater in a mesh laundry bag; wash sweater in hot water, and tumble dry to shrink it. Cut off sleeves (reserving them), and cut up the middle of the front of the sweater. Use fabric glue to attach metallic ribbon or other trim along the opening and around neck, as shown. For the hat, trim the cut end of a sleeve straight. If it is large and stretchy enough, the sleeve can be used as is; just fold the bottom for the brim. If it is not big enough, cut both sleeves open at their seams and sew together, making a wider tube.

  2. For the shoes, use template to cut 4 pieces (2 for each shoe) from canvas drop cloth. Stitch 2 pieces together along the curved edges, leaving the straight top, back, and bottom open. Repeat with second pair. Trim the back edges if necessary to make the shoes smaller. Overlap the back edges, and glue or stitch Velcro strips in place. Thin brown craft paint (mixing 2 parts water to 1 part paint) and paint shoes; let dry. Wear over regular shoes.

  3. For the ears, put on according to package instructions, securing them with spirit gum as necessary.

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