by Nicola Harvey
This is a very simple Gaspard costume which can be made with some sewing if you enjoy it or next to none if you don’t! It consists of a tabard top, skirt with tail and headband with ears (right one torn, of course!). The skirt is not essential; the tail can just as easily be attached to the top. Alternatively, if you prefer to make the skirt and not the top, the white tummy could easily be stuck to an orange t-shirt.
Foxes have black legs and so Rebecca wore a black top and leggings under the top and skirt. This meant she could just wear the top and leggings if she wanted to as the day wore on and, since World Book Day is in March, gives extra warmth. As it was, Rebecca came out of school in the full costume so it must have been pretty comfortable!
You will need:
Approximately 1.5m of Gaspard-coloured fabric.
A lightweight polycotton or cotton fabric gives plenty of movement, but felt or fleece means the edges won’t fray and is warmer if your event is outside!
2m of Orange/brown ribbon. Gingham gave a nice contrast but it really doesn’t matter.
2 A4 sheets of white felt.
I used sticky backed felt but ordinary felt can be ironed on using Bondaweb (your fabric ship can talk you through this if you haven’t used it before, but it’s basically a sheet of iron on glue!)
Alice band, ideally already covered in fabric/ribbon as it makes the ribbon you add stay put better!
Fabric glue, all purpose glue like UHU or Bondaweb for sticking layers of ear fabric together.
Masking tape for ends of Alice band.
Needle, scissors, pinking shears (zig zag bladed scissors which you’ll only need if using cotton/poly cotton and prefer not to hem)
Iron on hemming tape (if not sewing and no pinking shears!)
I will write instructions for 112cm wide cotton, but none of these measurements has to be precise. I used my fairly tall and skinny seven year old as my model so adjust accordingly for a differently sized child!
Cut the fabric in half lengthways to give two long rectangles.
Save one of the rectangles to make the skirt.
Fold the other in half and cut shapes as shown in pictures, keeping the fold intact.
Draw a fox tummy shape on the back of one of the sheets of felt.
Either hem (sew or use hemming tape) the sides and bottom of the tabard or cut the edges with pinking shears to avoid fraying.
Fold the tabard in half and a shallow neck hole/slit. It helps to have the child with you to get this right, but my hole was 20cm across.
Hem the hole, either sewing or with hemming tape. It will stretch if you don’t do this.
Stick on tummy.
If you are not making the skirt, you can either use safety pins to keep the sides together or sew on 15cm lengths of ribbon into each side, front and back to tie the tabard on.
If not making the skirt, follow the tail instructions and attach it to the back of the tabard, either sewing or using safety pins.
Take tail pieces cut when making tabard.
Fold one of the sheets of felt in half and draw round tip of cut tail piece.
Cut out white tail tips and cut zig zags into the unpointed ends.
Stick or sew white tips onto right side of orange fabric tips.
Put the right sides of the tails together, pin and sew round, either by hand or machine, leaning a gap at the non white tipped end for turning out. This is probably the only bit that really needs sewing rather than sticking.
Turn the tail the right way round. Safety pin or sew it onto either the skirt or back of the tabard.
Take the reserved half of the fabric and sew a seam hem along the short edges.
Hem the long non selvedge edge either sewing or using hemming tape. You could also trim with pinking shears.
Fold over the top 2cm selvedge (non fraying) edge of the fabric twice, and sew along so that there is a channel made in the top edge.
Thread elastic through the channel (tying the elastic onto a large safety pin will help).
Gather up the skirt so that the elastic is the right size for the child’s waist. Knot the elastic.
Sew or pin on the tail you made earlier.
Cover Alice band with ribbon, securing at each end with tape.
Stick scraps of fabric, wrong sides together using Bondaweb or fabric glue. Alternatively, you could sew them together.
Cut out ear shapes from the double sided fabric, making sure Gaspard’s right ear has a tear.
Cut out the white insides of the ears from the remaining felt, making sure there is enough extra length at the bottom to fold over the Alice band.
Stick on the white ear insides.
Fold over and stick and staple.