How to Make a Cheshire Cat Costume Body (Tim Burton Style)

Three Parts:Making the Fur Suit "Onesie"Making the GlovesMaking the Feet/Slippers

This is the second part of making a Tim Burton-style Cheshire Cat costume. This covers the fur suit, gloves, and shoes. The head can be found at How to Make a Cheshire Cat Costume Head (Tim Burton Style). Combined, these two articles can help you dress up just like the Cheshire Cat!

Part 1
Making the Fur Suit "Onesie"

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    Gather your supplies for the suit. You'll need:
    • Around three to four square metres of cheap fabric (for the template)
    • Around three to four square metres of grey fur (you can use the off cuts for the head)
    • Needle and thread
    • Sewing machine (to speed things up)
    • Pen
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    Decide what you want your legs to look like. If you look at a cat, their legs are different to ours, because they are digitigrades; their knees are high up at almost half their leg length. You can make your fur suit have this shape of leg by using foam as padding and sewing a different leg pattern. However, most people won't notice or will think it looks odd, so you may choose not to bother. It's also a couple of extra steps and makes the legs harder to sew.
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    Prepare the legs. The method varies depending on what you decided in the last step:
    • If you're doing regular legs, lay the cheap fabric on the ground, two pieces. The pieces should be at least as long as from your feet to your neck. Lie down on the fabric and either draw your own outline or get someone to outline around you. Leave at least a couple of inches around you to allow for your width, unless your two dimensional. Don't bother drawing hands and feet, cut the outline off at your wrists/ankles/neck. Cutting it a little longer than your wrist and ankle lines allow some overlap to the gloves and feet if you don't plan on sewing the gloves and feet to the fur suit.
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    If you're doing digitigrade legs, follow the steps for not digitigrade but instead stop outlining at the top of your thighs. Then lie on your side and outline your leg from the side. Then outside of this outline draw the digitigrade shape for your legs. You will end up stuffing this area to get the leg shape.
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    Cut around the outline you have made, giving a centimetre or so. You'll be sewing on the line, if it's right on the edge it might come out. But this is your draft suit, don't bother making it perfect.
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    Sew along this line with your sewing machine. Don't sew where your head/feet/hands will go through. Now it's a onesie, and you need to get it on somehow, so you can put a split in the back to get it on. For the rough draft you don't need to put a zipper on this break; you can use string or you can just hold it together behind your back when your checking fittings.
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    Turn the costume inside out and try it on. Check if some areas are too tight, loose, etc. If you skip the practice and make the suit with fur first, if you get it wrong you may have wasted your fur. Even fake fur is pretty expensive, so it's best to make a practice first.
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    Turn your cheap fabric inside out again, and use it as a template on your fur. Make the adjustments as need. Such as if your template was tight around your hips you add a few more centimetres on the fur. The fur side should be on the inside, so when you turn it inside out the seams you sewed along are on the inside.
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    Draw the template, and sew it up. Try it on just to check you got it right. Below is the template and the final.
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    Sew the zipper on the opening on the back. Make sure the seam is on the side of the fabric.
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    Cut out and sew a tail. Again, fur on the side when your sewing. Don't make the tail too long; you don't want to trip on it. Try to make the tail out of one piece of fabric folded for less seams. Make it pretty thick if your going for the chubby/fluffy Cheshire Cat look. Don't sew along the top bit and leave a few centimetres from the top when your sewing the sides.
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    Pick where you want your tail on your costume. If you put it at your natural tailbone you will trip on it, so a couple of centimetres higher than this will make like easier.
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    Cut a slit as wide as your tail is seam side down. Now you have to turn the first top centimetre or so out - so you see the fur. Align the edge with the edge of the cut and pin it together. Do this fully around the tail. Now sew the tail to the suit.
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    When you turn the suit inside out you also turn the tail inside out. If when you turn the suit inside out the fur of the tail is on the inside you did it wrong. If you can't easily turn it inside out you've had the tail too thin.

Part 2
Making the Gloves

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    Place your hand on your fur and outline it. Do this for both hands. Make sure you outline it thickly. The outlined hand should have very, very chubby fingers.
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    Put the outlines on another piece of fabric, also fur side it, and cut around your outline. If you're sewing along the lines make sure to leave a few millimetres off your line. Not too much or you'll have gloves stuffed with the seams and may not be able to fit your hands in.
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    Sew along the outline you made accept for the wrist to put your hand in. If you want claws don't sew along the top of the fingers.
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    Add you claws if desired. You can use the same foam you used to make teeth for the claws and feet. Cut the foam into triangle claws shapes. This foam is especially good because you can easily stick your needle through it. If you use something else you could probably hot glue the claws on.
    • For claws; turn the point end in, and poke it through the unsewn end of the fingers.
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    Sew or glue the claw along the edge. Do this for all claws. Now when you turn it fur-side out, the claws should point out.

Part 3
Making the Feet/Slippers

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    Build your feet with newspaper. Make your paw shape. You can make your slippers to sit over a shoe in case there was something sharp to step on. Using an old shoe in the middle protects you feet if you end up stepping on something sharp, and if you glue the slipper to the shoe you won't miss the old shoe.
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    Cover your paw shape in duct-tape. Only the top side, leave the base un duct-taped. Put the shoe on some cheap fabric and drawn the outline of the paw. This will be the bottom of the slipper.
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    Rip out the newspaper from the duct tape. The duct tape will now help you make a template to sew.
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    Cut the duct tape paw-shape into sections that are flat. Use these flat pieces as templates, and draw their shapes onto your fur.
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    Cut around the shapes you've made, leaving extra space - as always - past the edge. Then pin it together and sew it. It's easier to pin and sew small parts at a time. If you want to add claws, leave the end of the paws unsewn like you did with the gloves.
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    Sew the claws on like you did with the gloves.
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    Turn the slipper fur-side out and if you wish, put your shoes inside the slipper. Now stuff the slipper with cotton or whatever you wish. Once it's stuffed it should hold its shape. You can sew or glue the slipper to the shoe if you don't want the slipper to fall off when you, for example, run a one-hundred metre race.
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Categories: Costumes