Alien Costume from Thrifted Vest

As I briefly mentioned in a post a few months ago, I ran the Disney World Marathon this past January.  And you can’t very easily run 26.2 miles at the most magical place on Earth and not dress for the occasion!  I’m not a run-in-a-skirt kind of girl, and I didn’t want to wear a crown, or anything else that would become annoying to wear for FOUR HOURS.  I originally thought about a Mickey costume, but I didn’t want to search for red shorts and wasn’t sure about running with the ears.  As it turned out, my marathon shoes were lime green and bright blue and reminded me a little bit of the Toy Story alien (remember this guy?).  Plus, I also had a pair of shorts in the same bright blue, so I decided to dress like the little guy.  As I am quite the procrastinator, I started working on this costume only the weekend before the race, but everything came out just fine in the end.

I began with this lime green fleece vest that I found on the $1 rack last fall when I was beginning the search for lime green fabric to create my little alien accessories.  

First, I cut out about a 6″x3″ strip of fabric to begin the alien’s antenna.

Then I cut a circle for the top of the antenna.  At this point, I have no idea how I determined its size, except that its cicumference was larger than the 6″ length of the strip I cut first (since I gathered it before stitching to the strip).  I basted about 1/2″ in from the edges all the way around so I could gather it to make the little ball at the top of the antenna before stitching it to the 6″x3″ strip…

…and it looks like a mess here, but I tugged at the thread to gather the circle into a 3-D shape, pinned the strip and the circle to each other with right sides together, and stitched.

Since I hadn’t stitched the strip into a tube first, I wound up with this:

So I turned the antenna wrong side out, stitched up the tube, and turned it right side out again.

I then grabbed some stuffing and stuffed it inside the antenna and stitched across the bottom, leaving about 1/2″ free, once I was satisfied with it.

Almost finished with the antenna!      
I first tried stitching bobby pins to the bottom but wound up having to use alligator clips to hold it steady, and it wasn’t really working out.  So it was on to plan B!
The Mister gave me a few random craft supplies in my Christmas stocking this year, one of which was the super-strong glue pictured below.  It’s been quite handy in several different projects I’ve worked on since then, including the alien antenna headband.  I began by gluing the antenna onto the little metal headband and reinforced it with a few stitches.  I could have stopped here, but the metal headband slipped a lot and squeezed my head, so I figured I’d fix this with one of my no-slip headbands.
Headband supplies
Next, I squeezed a little bit of glue onto the underside of the metal headband, pressed the outside of the headband to it, and held it in place for a minute or so.  Once it had started to stay in place on its own, I used a few alligator clips to hold it until it was completely dry.


I then repeated this step all the way around the headbands, with the exception of the excess at the bottom.


I left the headband to dry for a couple of hours before cutting off the excess at the bottom.  I then wore it around a bit to test how well it would do, but for some reason, I did not take a final picture until the day of the marathon! 
The last step for the headband was to remove the clips
and snip off the excess no-slip headband at the bottom
Once I had finished with the antenna headband, I moved on to the eyeball headband, which was quite simple.  I started by tracing the bottom of a spool of embroidery thread onto a sheet of white, glittery felt for the whites of the eyes, three times. 
Next, for the pupils, I traced around a thumbtack onto black felt, leaving plenty of space since I wanted the pupils to be bigger than the head of the thumbtack.

Then I used my handy glue to attach the pupils to the whites of the eyes and let them dry.  Once they were dry, I pinned them to the headband while it was on my head to make sure I allowed the right amount of space between each eye.

Once everything was spaced out (Get it? We’re working on an alien!) correctly, I hand stitched the felt circles to the headband and reinforced the stitching with my special heavy-duty glue.  I’m sure fabric glue would have done just fine, but I would have had to walk all the way across the room to get it, and my special glue was right next to me.  I needed to save all the energy I could for my race. 🙂

All eyes!
When the eyes were all finished, I moved on to the ears.  Using one of the aliens I got in a happy meal in the fourth grade (yes, I have 3 of them, and yes, I kept them all!) as a guide, I sketched out an alien ear on a piece of paper to use as a pattern.

The claw!

I cut out the ear and traced it four times – two of them were face-up and two were face-down – to result in 2 matching pairs.  The zipper was still in good condition, so I cut it off and am saving it for some currently unknown future project.


So I wound up with Ear A and Ear B:

I pinned and stitched…
Pinned up
Stitched up
…and filled with stuffing.
Looks kind of like a little baby bootie!

Last, I was ready to attach the ears to the headband, so I again put the headband on and pinned the ears on while wearing it to make sure I spaced everything out well.  I used a zigzag stitch to attach the ears to allow the headband to stretch.  It was a little awkward sewing on a non-slip headband, but fortunately the ears aren’t very big and it didn’t take long.

Almost there!  For a little bit of extra security (and so they wouldn’t stick out as much – see below!), I hand stitched a bobby pin on the back of each ear and pinned the ears to the sides of my head.  I apparently didn’t take a picture of this stage, but it worked out great, as you’ll see soon.
How do you like my fancy self-portrait?
For the gloves, I traced my hands, using one of the alien toys as a guide and leaving plenty of space for the seam allowance and turning right-side out.  Similar to the ears, I traced twice face-up and twice face-down so that I would wind up with two proper pairs.
Please excuse my broken pinky nail.  And my hand note
(though you might be happy to know that it worked – I did remember my shoes!!).

I pinned and stitched, cut down to size, and turned right side out.

I did pretty good stitching right on the line! 🙂

I used pinking shears even though fleece doesn’t fray.

Again, for some reason, I did not take an after picture of the gloves until the day of the marathon.  Oops!
LAST step!  I raised funds for the Leiukemia and Lymphoma Society through Team in Training during the months of training and wore the jersey on race day. Leading up to the race, I had a plan to incorporate the names of friends and loved ones who have fought cancer that my donors sent to me.  That last week leading up to the race, the idea of how to do this finally solidified in my head.  Since I was running at Disney World, the mouse that started it all had to be a part of it!
So I began by finding a cute Mickey face online, printed it, cut out a piece of muslin, and finished its edges.  I then taped it to the Mickey picture and traced it on the light tracer I’ve had since I was a kid.  

The result was enough for me to use as a guide and go back with a Sharpie to write out all the people’s names, without having actual lines visible (with the exception of his face).

I was pleased with the outcome and was able to pin the fabric onto the back of my shirt.
The outfit worked out pretty well.  I started out with and ran about a mile in the antenna headband but it wound up slipping too much despite working on the test run, so I tucked it into my fuel belt for the remaining 25.2 miles.  Thinking back on it now, I’m not sure why I didn’t hand it off to my mom or the Mister at some point when I saw them, but…hindsight, you know.  Since it was about 70 degrees when the race began at 5:30am, I obviously didn’t need the gloves, so they went into the fuel belt, as well.  The eye/ear headband stayed on through the entire race, though, and was great help in keeping at least some of the salt and sweat out of my eyes!  
Here’s a breakdown of the project:
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time: 2-3 hours
  • Cost: Under $5

And here are a few highlights from the race, including one of all of the alien getup.

Running through Cinderella’s castle!
Finishing strong!
Official finish line photo.  Feeling relieved!
Here I am post-race wearing the entire outfit
But since it was over 80 degrees, those gloves couldn’t stay on for long.
Excited to be finished!
Mickey made it through the race!


Click here to read about the refashioned dress I wore to dinner after the marathon!

Thanks for reading!

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