***Update: I now have a free sewing pattern available for download for the baby sea turtle costume. I also show you how to convert it into a plush stuffed animal after baby outgrows the costume. :)
This year marks our baby’s first Halloween and our very first family Halloween costume. Ryan and I are huge Halloween lovers and have always made our couples costumes in the past. We tossed around several family costume ideas before landing on the Sea Turtle Baby Halloween Costume and Scuba Divers.
Two weeks before Halloween we coincidentally had a family vacation planned for the East Coast on Figure Eight Island in Wilmington, North Carolina. This gave us the perfect opportunity to capture our little sea turtle in his natural habitat.
The beach house we stayed in during our family vacation had beach themed rooms decorated to match. As fate may have it, the room our little family stayed in happened to be the “Turtle Room.”
How to make a Sea Turtle Baby Halloween Costume
I created my son’s Sea Turtle Baby Halloween Costume from scratch using two colors of fleece, velcro, Poly-fil stuffing, and a little elastic. The base of the costume is a pair of fleece pajamas with felt eyes hand-sewn onto the hood.
It has a loosely stuffed turtle shell and removable belly that wraps around the torso. It has front fins attached to his wrists and back fins that hang free from the shell.
- sea turtle costume pattern
- light green fleece (I used Lettuce Green from JoAnn Fabrics)
- blue/green tie-dye fleece (I used Deep Blue Green Tie-Dye from JoAnn Fabrics)
- Poly-fil stuffing
- 1/4″ elastic (approx 12″)
- matching thread
- green fleece PJs (I used these from footedpajamas.com)
- black and white felt for the eyes
This Sea Turtle Baby Halloween Costume can be sewn by hand or with a sewing machine. Fleece fabric is very forgiving and cuts or stitches don’t need to be perfect to achieve a great looking costume for baby.
Tips for sewing fleece fabric
I found these tips helpful when sewing this fleece baby sea turtle Halloween costume.
- Use a longer stitch length. I used a 3.5 stitch length.
- Lower your presser footer pressure to allow the thicker layers to glide easily through your machine.
- Fleece has a slight stretch and can easily be manipulated while you sew.
- Fleece can easily be trimmed after sewing so no need to be perfect.
- Take your time.
For the belly:
On a large piece of paper, trace the PJs to create a template for the belly piece.
You’ll only need to trace around the body, from the neck to the crotch.
Cut out your paper template and fold in half. Make a final cut so both halves match. You’ll basically have a sleeveless onesie shape.
Fold the paper template in half and place onto a folded piece of fleece. Cut around the paper template leaving plenty of extra fabric at the shoulders, sides, and crotch. Set aside.
For the turtle shell
Create another paper template for the shell piece. For sizing, hold the paper piece up to your baby’s back or the PJs to get a good idea for sizing. The shell should sit slightly above the neck and hang slightly past baby’s bum.
Cut 2 pieces of fleece for the shell.
Now you can start creating the plates on the shell using the tie-dye fleece. I used an image on Google for reference.
Start by making the outer plates around the edge and then cut out shapes to fill in the center plates. Leave space in between the plates to allow the lighter green fleece to show through.
As you cut out the plate pieces, arrange them on one of the shell pieces. Transfer one or a few pieces at a time to the other shell piece, pin in place, then sew. I started with the center pieces, then all of the outer pieces, then filled in with the remaining plates.
Once your shell plates are sewn in place, set aside the topside of the shell.
For the fins
Just as you created paper templates for the belly and shell, create paper templates for the fin pieces. You’ll need 4 of each piece.
Before sewing the fins layers together, add random tie-dye shapes to the front-side of the fins. Remember that the left and right sides will be opposites.
Create wrist bands for the front fins to hold onto baby’s arms.
Cut 2 pieces of fleece about 2″ x 7″. Fold in half and sew down the long side to create a tube. Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic and guide the elastic through the tube.
Pull the elastic tight and scrunch the fleece tube. Test the tightness on baby’s wrist. Place a pin to hold the elastic tight. Sew to hold.
Sew the wrist bands onto the backside of the fin pieces.
Complete the fins by sewing the fronts and backs together.
Putting it all together
Sew the fins in place onto the underside of the shell piece. I found this easiest to lay the shell piece on the floor, lay baby on top, lay the fins in place and make general marks on where they should be placed. The top fins should point out to match up with baby’s shoulders. The back fins can hang straight down.
Sew pieces of velcro onto the top, sides, and crotch of the belly piece. Sew the other sides of the velcro pieces onto the underside of the shell.
Sew the 2 shell pieces together leaving an opening approximately 4″ for stuffing.
Stuff the shell with Poly-fil stuffing. The turtle shell should be stuffed enough so it’s puffy but not stuffed really tight. Close up the hole.
For the eyes
Cut out eye pieces from the black and white felt. Sew pieces together then sew onto the hood of the PJs.
While we happened to be on the beach for this photoshoot, I created this Sea Turtle Baby Halloween Costume to be perfect for a Minnesota Halloween. The fleece layers will keep baby warm while the shell and fins can easily be taken off when needed.
Here’s our happy little sea turtle in his first Halloween costume.
One great thing about turtles is that all of their shells are unique. I’m super excited to see what your little turtle looks like and feature them on Scratch and Stitch. Thanks for reading :)
Sea Turtle Plush Tutorial
After Halloween change the sea turtle costume into a plush toy!