Ask Holly: A No-Sew Phoenix Costume

A No-Sew Phoenix Costume

The Phoenix – a long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated or reborn. Associated with the sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. 

When my daughter first came home from school asking to be a Phoenix I said, “Sure!” When I started drawing out the costume, I thought it would be easy, but trying to create a Phoenix costume so that it was recognizable was trickier than I thought. But I figured it out and came up with a DIY no-sew Phoenix Costume.

I started with this super easy tulle skirt that, I swear, ONLY TOOK ME 20 MINUTES TO MAKE when I found pre-cut rolled of sparky tulle at the craft store.  Finding  a plain bright orange shirt and leggings was trickier, so I just bought easy to find plain white clothing and dyed them. The rest was just cutting and gluing felt.

A No-Sew Phoenix CostumeA No-Sew Phoenix Costume:

  • Orange shirt and leggings or a white shirt and leggings
  • Orange RIT dye (if using a white shirt and leggings)
  • 1/2 of a yard of red, orange and yellow felt
  • One sheet of yellow sticky backed felt
  • 1/2 of a yard of fire printed fabric
  • White 1/2″ elastic
  • One yard of  red, orange and yellow tulle or one roll of each color
  • A fabric headband
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue
  • A utility razor blade
  • White and black acrylic paint

A No-Sew Phoenix Costume

Making The 20 Minute Skirt:

  • Measure your child from the waist to the point where you would like to have the skirt fall
  • Cut strips of tulle to the length you have measured and about 5″ wide by rolling the tulle  lengthwise and cut it as if you were cutting rolled cookies. I used  pre-cut tulle on a roll.
  • Roll out your elastic and in the center take one piece of tulle and double it. Pull the middle under the elastic a bit then take the ends and pull them through the middle to knot and pull, not too tightly, to secure.
  • Continue knotting your tulle alternating colors
  • Fit around your child’s waist to see how wide you need to make the skirt and if you need to slide the knots down and fill the gaps
  • Cut strips of fire fabric tapered at one end and tie onto skirt if desired. I doubled my fire fabric up and glued two matching strips back to back.

Dyeing White Shirts and or Leggings:

In a work sink or large bucket, follow the directions on the box. Make sure to use hot water, mix the dye well until dissolved and remember the color will look lighter when dry so make sure your shade when wet is a bit darker that you would like before rinsing.

Felt Fire:
This is the pattern I used throughout the costume with red, orange and yellow felt. Cut the red flame pattern and glue that on first followed by the orange and then a smaller flame shape or single wisps with the yellow.

A No-Sew Phoenix Costume

The Wings:
I bought a pair of red feather devil wings from the party store, but I didn’t like the way they pointed downward, so I cut the wings in the middle with scissors, but I was careful not to cut through the wire that connected them. I simply turned them outwards and flipped them upside down. Then I glued them back together. Then I glued on some some felt fire.

The Shirt and Legging:
The Collar:
Starting with the collar like I made for this witch costume work your way around starting with red to orange to yellow. ONLY GLUE DOWN THE FRONT NOT THE BACK. Always arrange your felt the way you would like it and then glue in place. Make sure when you get to the middle of the back to leave it open and glue a small piece of Velcro half on each side. This makes the costume easy to get on and off.

The Front:
In the same pattern but with larger pieces, layer the front with felt and glue in place.

A No-Sew Phoenix Costume

Wrists and Leggings:
Lay the red felt and glue in place making sure there are gaps so that a hand or foot can push through. Glue down the orange and then the yellow. For the orange and yellow I made the tops of the flames pointed as well as the bottoms.

For the Headband:
I cut out leaf shaped patterns from my leftover scraps then glued them onto the headband to cover. I used an old blue headband so I had to do a bit more cover-up. Then I laid out the top,  trying to use more symmetrical pieces, and glued in place using a bit more glue to keep the piece stiffer. Cut out small tear-shaped eyes from red felt and glue in place and then paint on the eyes with black and white. Glue the whole thing onto the headband. The beak was made from stiff sticky backed felt. I drew the beak shape onto the felt and cut it out then placed it on the headband while I was wearing it. Looking in the mirror I was able to figure out if it was too long. My first attempt failed so I re-drew and re-cut a shorter wider beak. I then peeled of the backing and pressed the felt onto another piece of yellow felt and cut off the excess. To make the beak fold simply score using a utility blade and a straightedge. No need to press hard when cutting a light score should work. Now bend the beak down the middle, draw nostrils on with a pencil and glue in place.

Click here for make-up tips and here for more costume ideas.

See slideshow for step-by-step  instructions:

Costume questions? Just Ask Holly in comments

Felt, dye and tulle available at I’ve Got a Notion and Jo-Ann’s Fabrics and Craft

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  1. What takes Holly 20 minutes takes the rest of us mere domestic diva mortals 2 weeks. Great costume, pretty girl!

  2. seriously, holly, you should collect all your incredible costume ideas and publish them. this is genius!

  3. Great idea. Holly’s No Sew Costume Patterns. To go along with the entire Holly brand that includes cake designs, and fun crafts. I’ll gladly be your CMO.

  4. what a kind offer, holly! but my dog-and-their-ancestors-loving daughter has already decided to be a she-wolf.

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