A Hobbesian costume

crabandbee.com | tiger costume

I’m not usually a plan-ahead-for-Halloween kind of person, but I decided a whole two weeks in advance to sew myself up a tiger suit this year. Since I’m fairly practical, I have a hard time putting a lot into a one-night costume. My strategy for getting around my practicality was making separates that I would hopefully wear again.


Nathan got in on the fun as Calvin, which transformed my plain tiger into Hobbes. The man drew completely parallel Sharpie lines on his shirt!


I was hoping to make some sort of eared hat before my friend’s party on Friday, but ran out of time. Inspired by Sanae’s owl mask for her daughter, I sewed up a cloth mask before going out on Friday night. I also sewed a tail and basted it onto the back of my pants.

crabandbee.com | tiger mask

The mask turned out a little bit fox-esque. I may add whiskers and a white muzzle if I wear it again! Or I’ll create a mask that looks more like Hobbes.

crabandbee.com | tiger costume

I used Vogue 8909 to make my pants and By Hand London’s (free) Polly top. It was a bit risky sewing two patterns I’d never used before on a deadline, but they both turned out amazingly well. I cut out my size in the pants without any alterations; the only change I would make for next time is taking 1.5″ out of the front and back rise.

To increase my chances of a good fit with the Polly top, I compared my taped-up printout with my altered Wiksten tank pattern to get a sense of the fit. Based on what I saw and the finished Polly measurements, I graded between a smaller size through the waist and then a larger for the hips. The only fit adjustment I ended up making was removing 3/8″ from the front and back of the inside shoulder seam – I think that would qualify as a square shoulder adjustment? I also added improvised cap sleeves for a tiny extra bit of warmth.

crabandbee.com | By Hand London Polly top

The tiger fabric was a black and white Michael Miller cotton (aptly named “Party Animal”) that I dyed orange with my curtains. It felt a bit thicker than what I expect of a quilting cotton and played really nicely with these patterns – no wrinkling or stiffness. I used the wrong side because I liked the subtler coloring better. The white fabric is the same linen as the top piece in my color blocked dress.

crabandbee.com | By Hand London Polly top

I had a great time on Halloween and I’ll admit to already wearing the Polly top out of costume twice since I finished it on Thursday. I just love it! You’d better believe those tiger pants are going out in public, too. I always think of Patti and Selma on the Simpsons when a costume piece makes its way into “regular rotation”.  Perhaps this has happened to you, intentionally or unintentionally?



27 thoughts on “A Hobbesian costume

  1. A very cute costume, especially since you had a Calvin too! I can totally see you wearing them as seperates too. I was already thinking about this for next year- I thought I might go as Zooey Deschanel…dress with a Peter Pan collar, cardigan, cute shoes and some clip on bangs…all things I would wear again (except maybe the bangs)

    1. That is a great idea! And I had no idea clip-on bangs existed. They sound easier to maintain than the authentic kind – maybe they’ll make their way into regular rotation too! (kidding :))

  2. I looove Calvin and Hobbes. Your costume turned out splendid. I love your improvised cap sleeves as well. It really suits the style of top.

    1. Thank you! Nathan and I ended up reading a few of the strips as we looked for inspiration. It’s so beautifully drawn and written (not to mention hilarious).

  3. Great idea 🙂 If you’re going to invest the time in making something, it totally makes sense to make something that you can wear again and again! Halloween is such a foreign concept to me, so this would be only only way I could justify actually making a costume.

    And how perfect is the Polly top for Hobbes?! Brilliant choice! (I was going to say purrfect, but just couldn’t go there :p)

    1. Thanks, Jenny! I was debating using the Vogue tunic pattern I’d just used but I’m glad I went with Polly – definitely purrrfect. (I went there!)

  4. This is so cute! I love the outfit! I have the Polly top nearly completed in a leopard print, but now I wish I had a little animal costume like yours! 🙂

  5. My husband and I dressed up as ourselves in 50 years for Halloween a few years ago… Complete with prosthetic ears, wigs, and a lesson from a friend in theatrical “old-age” make-up. I thrifted a vintage wool sweater to wear with this costume–intarsia knit with deer, bunnies, trout, and acorns– and weirdly, it has become a daily wardrobe essential. My husband hates it and calls it my grandma sweater! I hope your tiger pants go over better with your hubby!

  6. Ohmygod this is so good! So proud that our pattern is being used for a Hobbes outfit. I swear the Calvin and Hobbes collection is still one of my all time favourite books!

  7. I love that you used the “wrong” side of the fabric! I made a necktie for my hubby once, out of a Liberty of London-esque print, and afterwards realized it would have been way cooler if I’d used the back side.

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