Moo! (or Last Minute Cow Costumes on a Budget of Zero Dollars)

At 2:50pm this afternoon I learned that it was Cow Appreciation Day at Chic Fil A. Free food in exchange for showing up in costume? I’m all over that! With only a few hours till dinner and a crafting budget of $0 the project required a little quick thinking and some good ole Yankee ingenuity.

What? You want to make a kid sized cow costume with stuff you have at home, too? Here’s how we did it in about an hour (per costume):

Step 1: Get inspired. Google ‘cow costume’. Think about cows. Wander around your house looking at things you might be able to make look like cow parts. Squint if you have to. Ask your children what parts of the cow are important in a costume (enjoy their responses!) Try to zero in on the easiest possible way to accomplish those things.

Step 2: Gather your supplies. Here’s what I scrounged from my sewing ‘room’ and from around the house:

  • Adult sized white t-shirts (tell your husband they came from his drawer after he’s seen the cute kiddo in costume)
  • scraps of black fabric
  • scraps of pink fabric
  • scraps of brown fabric
  • wide elastic
  • headband
  • a little bit of batting or polyfil

Step 3: Go at it.

Use an appropriately sized dress/shirt as a guide to cut a dress/shirt from the large t-shirt. Be smart and salvage the bottom hem and you’ve saved yourself a step! Cut front and back pieces.

From the black fabric cut a number of black spots that vaguely look like cow spots. Vary the shapes and sizes. Always have a potty nearby.

Pin them on to the front and back of your costume. Have your 3yo help by insisting you select a color of pin and then wait an excruciatingly long time while she fishes out that color pin. Repeat. (this step could take days. Adjust as your time allows)

Cut a pink oval from the pink fabric. Scrunch up a bit of batting. Pin the oval udder on to the shirt with the batting underneath.

Sew around the spots and the udder. Straight stitch and zig zag work equally well. Enjoy that this is a costume and it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Now put the front and back together, right sides together. Sew the shoulders and side seams. Turn right side out. (no photo. I was too anxious to finish!)

Try it on your kiddo. Be sure to ignore the mess your kids have made while you’ve been ignoring them. I mean, uh, sewing.

Accessorize your cow: I made ears using this great post: Make Your Own Cow Ears. I made tails by sewing a tube of black fabric and then cut long fringe up 3/4ths of it. Then we pinned it to the back of the costume. Brown fingereless gloves were sewn up for ‘hand hooves’ (rectangles with thumb holes) and brown paper hooves were taped to their shoes.

Step 4: Go and get some Chikin. or Salid. or Milkshakes 🙂 Have fun with your family. If possible, meet up with friends who like costumes too!


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