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?