Outfitted in sweet, matching colors, your trick-or-treaters will have all the grandparents under their charm in cut-and-sew Matryoshka Doll costumes designed by Anda Corrie. You may recognize Anda’s distinct style from other DIY tutorials on the blog or her Spoonflower shop, and her riff on a classic collectible in Basic Cotton Ultra makes an adorable combo for siblings. See Anda’s complete tutorial below to get started!
Anda: When it comes to Halloween, I think of myself as a traditionalist, and by that I mean I usually costume my children in the most poofy, floofy, ridiculously rotund costumes I can cram them into — because literally nothing is cuter than a squooshy baby pumpkin or chubby bumblebee.
This year, I wanted to create matching sibling costumes, so Russian nesting dolls (Matryoshka) in their varying sizes seemed like the perfect egg-shaped inspiration. As a bonus, these fiberfill-stuffed outfits keep them warm on a chilly halloween night — just pair these with two (or three) layers of long-sleeve tees underneath, and just as many layers of tights, and you avoid the annual tantrum over wearing a costume-obscuring winter coat ten minutes before trick-or-treat time.
*Finished Measurements: The 4T costume is 22” from the top of the shoulder to the hem with a 24” chest. The 7/8y costume is 27” from the top of the shoulder to the hem with a 28” chest.
1. Cut out the two pieces of the dress and use them as a pattern to trace and cut out two matching pieces of lining fabric.
2. With right sides of the fabric together, pin the front outer piece to the matching lining piece. Straight stitch from armpit to armpit (back stitch at each end). Repeat for the back outer piece.
3. Notch all curved edges, turn each piece right-side out, and press.
4. With right sides together, line up the sides of the skirt lining and the sides of the outer fabric and pin.
5. Straight stitch these pinned edges and press the seams allowance open.
You now have a lined, unhemmed A-line dress. Now we’re going to turn it into a costume!
6. Turn the dress upside down, take the fiberfill and begin stuffing it between the lining and the outer fabric, pinning the hem closed as you go. Stuff a bunch of fiberfill in there! The more rotund the costume is, the better.
7. Baste the hem closed, then turn the basted hem ½” to the wrong side and press.
8. Mark the middle of the elastic piece and sew the ends together.
9. Pin the seam of the elastic to the bottom of one side seam of the skirt and pin the marked bit to the opposite side seam. Stretch the elastic and add a few more pins to evenly attach it around the basted hem of the dress.
10. Sew the elastic to the hem with a zigzag stitch, stretching it as you sew.
11. Measure 2″ from edge of back straps and mark with a 1” line. Sew a button hole into each.
12. Attach the buttons to the front straps at the points indicated on the fabric. If you don’t have white buttons, you can make coordinating covered buttons with a little extra bit of the dress fabric or the white lining fabric following this tutorial.
Cut out two 1 3/4″ circles of fabric. Loosely baste around the outside perimeter of the fabric and don’t tie off. Place a button in the center of the circle face down on the wrong side of the fabric, then pull the thread to gather the fabric around the back of the button. Tie off — that’s it!
Adding the Headscarf
Cut out the headscarf from the printed fabric. Hem all sides by folding twice 3/8″ to the wrong side, pressing, and then topstitching. If your sewing machine has a rolled hem foot you can use that of course, but my rolled hem foot eats fabric and makes me cry — so I just fold, press and topstitch.
You’re finished! Now, just pair the stuffed dress with a long sleeve tee (Primary.com is a great source for these in solid colors) and wooly tights. Bonus styling tips: Repurpose an Easter basket festooned with a ribbon made of leftover fabric to carry and collect treats in to complete this look.
Does Anda’s distinct design style have you flashing back to a carefree childhood? Shop more of Anda’s designs here!
About the Guest Blogger
Anda Lewis Corrie is a freelance illustrator, designer and artist living in Berlin with her little family. When she and her husband aren’t drawing on things at Studio Like a Dream, they are probably still drawing on things somewhere else, or maybe wondering aloud if they should buy a houseboat.