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Avocado Maternity Halloween Costume

DIY: Avocado Maternity Halloween Costume

In 2015, when I was pregnant with my first due in November, I scoured the Google Photos library for a creative maternity Halloween costume. I knew I didn’t want to be the typical “pregnant nun” that seems to be the most common maternity costume that I’ve seen. I definitely wanted to go a different route. That lead me to being a hillbilly trucker with a beer belly. I raided my husband’s closet for a hat, flannel shirt, then wore my own elastic-waisted sweatpants and a non-maternity white tank that was way too small for me, used an empty beer can for a prop and purchased trucker hair and ‘stache from Party City. It was a rather inexpensive getup. I got induced just 9 days later…that’s how pregnant I was.

Well, this year, I’m due the same time of the year and the baby is already skewing 3-weeks ahead of schedule, so I’m going to have a monster belly come Halloween (pun intended). I, again, wanted to be something different. Which lead me to ask the other expectant moms, in the “Due November 2017” Facebook group that I’m in, for ideas. One of them mentioned this awesome idea of using my belly as an avocado seed.

The following is a step-by-step guide to the making of my 2017 DIY maternity Halloween costume. Hope this helps you in making yours!

Avocado Costume
Inspiration Photo

Supplies (with Products Hyperlinked Where Possible):

Tools (Hyperlinked to Amazon):

Measuring, Drawing & Cutting Out the Avocado Shape

First thing we did, was take the flexible seamstress tape measure and held it vertical, floor to ceiling, a couple inches over my head and below my baby bump. This allowed my husband eyeball it to see if it looked like it would be enough clearance for the top and bottom of the avocado. The length measured at approximately 50″. Well, we were working with a near $15 8′ piece of insulation…so made the executive decision to cut the insulation exactly in half and shorten the 50″ to 48″. Since we were winging this, I was afraid we might mess something up and have to buy a whole other $15 piece of insulation to correct the problem. We could certainly lose the 2″. Tip: by-the-yard / bolt fabric tends to come in a width of 48″, which meant our 3′ (one yard) of fabric would work within our adjusted design.

Lowe's Foam Insulation
Foam building insulation from Lowe’s.

We used a spare (and checked for straightness) 2’x4′ board to score a line across the insulation with our precision knife. Once through several passes, we were able to bend the board in half and do one final cut to split the two pieces in half.

Lowe's Foam Insulation
Using a spare board as a guide to cut the foam insulation in half.
Lowe's Foam Insulation
Using a precision knife, against a spare, straight-edge board, to score and cut our foam insulation in half.
Lowe's Foam Insulation
Final cut to break the two foam insulation pieces in half.

I then searched Google Images for “avocado line drawing,” and went with the most simple option that returned in the top of the results. I printed the avocado out as large as possible on 8.5″x11″ paper.

Next, I decided against freehand drawing the avocado…just knew it wouldn’t come out right. So, I put into practice something I had learned years ago in art class (thank you mom and dad for paying for those classes for me)! Using a straight-edge ruler, I drew out a grid with 1″ squares on the linear avocado print out. (Better yet, if you have a way to project this onto a wall, you could draw the shape without having to do the grid part). I then did the math to figure out what 1″ of my drawing would convert to on my original measurement of 50″ tall. The avocado on printed paper took up approximately 8.5 squares. 50″ ÷ 8.5 = 5.88″. But, as I mentioned earlier, we trimmed 2″ off, so we really only had 48″ to work with and on the fly drew our grid lines on the insulation at 5.75″ (made it easier to keep track of anyway), on the side with the logo’ed print.

Avocado Line Drawing
Using a grid to enlarge the drawing from 8.5×11″ to 4×4′ insulation.
Insulation Grid
Making marks at 5.75″ inches, in order to draw our grid. We did this on the side of the insulation with print, since it would become the backside of the avocado.

Making marks on all four sides of the board at 5.75″ apart, we used the 2’x4′ from earlier to draw lines across the insulation to connect the marks. Once the grid lines matched on paper and insulation, we numbered the rows and lettered the columns, to keep track. I then focused on one square at a time to draw out the shape of the avocado.

Insulation Grid
Using a spare, straight-edge board to draw out our grid to transfer the line drawing.
Insulation Grid
Our completed insulation grid.
Insulation Grid
Numbered the rows, lettered the columns, to match that of our 8.5×11″ avocado line drawing.
Insulation Line Drawing
The avocado line drawing transferred to the foam insulation.

As a final step here, we used the scrolling / orbital combination jigsaw to cut out the avocado, propped up on a pair of sawhorses, making sure to rotate it so we wouldn’t come near the sawhorses with the jigsaw as we made progress.

Scrolling Saw Cut Out
Cutting out the avocado shape.
Scrolling Saw Cut Out
Cutting out the avocado shape.
Scrolling Saw Cut Out
The avocado seed would be cut out to make room for my baby bump.

Scrolling Saw Cut Out

Scrolling Saw Cut Out

Scrolling Saw Cut Out

Scrolling Saw Cut Out
A hole was cut out to make way for my face.

Painting the Avocado

Once we had our avocado base shape, it was time to paint it. We used a can of hunter green satin spray paint and painted it in the grass, since they were nearly the same color. We applied two coats to each side, allowing for ample time to dry in between. Also made sure to get the outside and inside edges while spraying, as well.

Painting Avocado
Spray painting the avocado backer board in hunter green.

Painting Avocado

Painting Avocado

Satin Hunter Green Spray Paint
The avocado base is brought inside once it’s had ample time to dry.

Attaching the Shoulder Strap

Note: for the next few steps, you’ll notice that we’re working on a surface in our home office area, our makeshift “conference table.” You can learn more about how we completed an IKEA Hack in the past year to build these. Additionally, you may spot our family growth chart on the background wall. To learn more about the DIY growth chart, visit the “making of” blog post.

Picking back up a few days later allowed for errands to be run in between. During those errands, I consulted with a store associate at my local Joann Fabrics store, and described that I needed some sort of “strap” to be able to attach this to me hands free. She immediately suggested the “elastic” section in the store and pointed me on my way. Low and behold, they had exactly what I was envisioning and it was in green too! She also suggested attaching the strap with a staple gun and I didn’t think that was the best idea to hold it in place. Somehow I thought of those brass fasteners we used to use years ago to hold 3-hole punched papers together. So, I had picked up a set of heavy duty ones at Walmart nearby. I thought they might hold the strap in place and fold completely flat on the front side of the costume, so not really noticeable at all.

Elastic Strap
The elastic waistband would be used to create a shoulder strap for the back of the avocado costume.
Brass Fasteners
1.5″ brass fasteners would be used to hold the shoulder strap in place.

The elastic band was 6′ long and initially we thought I would want to wear this like a reverse backpack, to get in and out of it easily on my own. We cut the elastic band exactly in half.

Elastic Waistband
Elastic cut exactly in half, for two 3′-length pieces.

Next, using thick masking tape, we did a trial run on the reverse backpack idea. It was a no-go. It just wouldn’t stay on my shoulders very easily.

Avocado Costume Straps
(Back of costume) Trial-run, using tape, for the “reverse backpack” idea.

So, we took a gamble and went with a single-strap diagonal approach. We attached the top piece in an area we knew would be covered by the light green flannel fabric and then once that was secured, we trial-ran the bottom piece to see if we needed to shorten it. Didn’t think we did. So, we attached that in the opposite corner, knowing we could always shorten the strap after the fact and use the same holes put through the insulation on the first pass.

Avocado Costume Straps
(Back of costume) Trial-run of the single, diagonal strap idea.

To attach the strap, we decided on four fasteners on each end. We drew small lines with the ultra fine tip permanent marker for where to make pilot “slices” with our precision knife. We staggered the holes and fasteners to not jeopardize the integrity of the elastic band. Once the holes were in place, we carefully pushed the fasteners through the board, in all the exact same direction, so none of the “wings” would overlap each other and they would lay relatively flat on the front side of the costume. After each was pushed through the insulation, we used the precision knife to clear away any remnants that were pushed out the other side. And, used needle nose pliers to turn the tips of the “wings” back into the board again. This kept them lying very flat.

Brass Fasteners & Avocado Costume Straps
(Back of costume) Inserting brass fasteners to secure the costume strap.

Brass Fasteners & Brass Fasteners & Avocado Costume Straps

Brass Fasteners & Brass Fasteners & Avocado Costume Straps
(Back of costume) Raise the avocado off of the working surface and push the brass fasteners through the foam insulation / avocado backer board.
Brass Fasteners & Brass Fasteners & Avocado Costume Straps
(Front of costume) Use the precision knife to remove excess foam pushed through with the fasteners.
Brass Fasteners & Brass Fasteners & Avocado Costume Straps
(Front of costume) Butterfly the brass fasteners.
Brass Fasteners & Brass Fasteners & Avocado Costume Straps
(Back of costume) Repeat the brass fastener step for each end of the strap.
Brass Fasteners & Brass Fasteners & Avocado Costume Straps
(Front of costume) Using pliers to push the brass fastener tips back into the foam insulation, keeping them secure and flat.

Turns out, a trial run wearing the avocado confirmed we only needed one diagonal strap.

Attaching the Fabric

After ironing the fabric pieces purchased earlier at Joann Fabrics, we laid the light green flannel piece out on our makeshift home office “conference table,” and set the front side of the avocado face-down on top of the fabric. I used a fine tip permanent marker (with cardboard underneath the fabric to keep the marker off the table surface) to trace out the entire shape onto the fabric, and then followed that up by cutting it out. Once cut out, I laid the fabric on top of the avocado and then folded back the material in a couple of test places to determine how much of the dark green avocado “skin” I wanted to show around the edges. I ended up deciding on an inch.

Avocado Fabric
Avocado backer board lying face-down onto flannel fabric.

I took my straight-edge ruler and marked dots at 1″ from the edge of the fabric the whole way around it…making sure to do this on the same side of the fabric that had my earlier marker lines on it. Once the dots were in place, I cut the 1″ border off by connecting the dots with my scissors. I then laid this on top of the avocado to make sure ascetically it looked right. Tip: you can always start out taking less off and then more if needed. Much harder to do this in reverse, if you over estimate the border.

Scratch That: Attempt #1 – Let my learnings save you time and money!

This was with the entire shape cut out, including the two holes in the middle (for the face and the belly).

Avocado Fabric
The outline of the avocado backer board, traced onto the flannel material with black marker.
Avocado Fabric
Cutting out the flannel material.

Avocado Fabric

Avocado Fabric

Avocado Fabric
(Front of costume) Trial-run on how much of the hunter green backer board I’d like to have display to mimic avocado skin.
Avocado Fabric
Marking 1″ in, all the way around the outer edge.
Avocado Fabric
Cutting off the 1″ outer edge, so the avocado “skin” will show as a border.

Once Elmer’s White Glue was added to the border, leaving 1″ of space on the border, we used foam brushes to apply the coat evenly. We adhered the fabric, in a decal fashion, in order to push out the wrinkles as we went. Only problem, the now slightly “wet” fabric was naturally stretching and the center holes no longer lined up with the insulation board. No, no, no!

Attempt #2

This time, we used fabric cut out, less the 1″ border, but without inner holes precut in the middle. We would now cut out the inner holes after the fabric was attached with the glue and dry. Went so much better this time. Once the glue had ample time to dry, we cleaned up the edges (any frays and also to make sure the slightly stretched fabric was reduced in areas to make sure the 1″ border carried around), and then cut out the middle two holes, leaving some fabric on the edge to pull through and adhere to the back of the insulation board. Tip: the areas we pressed down rather hard while applying the fabric to the glue, the glue dried through the front of the fabric. Maybe don’t press quite as hard as we did, although I don’t think it looks terrible.

Avocado Fabric
Marking 1″ in, all the way around the outer edge.

Avocado Fabric

Avocado Fabric

Avocado Fabric
Cutting off the 1″ outer edge, so the avocado “skin” will show as a border.
Avocado Fabric
(Front of costume) Gluing the flannel fabric down to the front with white glue, making sure to go all the way to the inner edge but more than 1″ out from the outer edge (the 1″ border will be exposed).
Avocado Fabric
(Front of costume) Using a foam painter’s brush to even out the glue application.
Avocado Fabric
(Front of costume) The glued flannel material piece, take two.
Avocado Fabric
(Front of costume) Excess fabric overlaps the 1″ border and will be removed at the end of the project with fabric scissors.

Once a day had passed, we cut out just the dead-center portions of the two inner holes…leaving about a 1.5″ border (and should have probably left 2″). Our thought was to “wrap” the fabric into the inner holes, so the edge of the fabric would appear to “bleed” to the inside of the holes. After leaving this border, we made small slits sporadically around the elliptical shapes, in order to pull the fabric through to the backside.

Avocado Inner Holes Cut Out
(Back of costume) The inner holes are cut out, leaving about a 1.5″ border.
Cutting Slits in Flannel Fabric
Cutting slits in the flannel fabric would allow us to pull it through to the backside more easily.
Slits in Flannel Fabric
Small slits in flannel fabric, near every curve. We ended up making even more of them before we proceeded.

Once the slits were made, we pulled the fabric through to the backside and used a staple gun attached to a compressor to adhere. (We tested the length of a staple and this method on a scrap piece of insulation first). After all the staples were in place, we used pinking shears (where possible) to keep the edges from fraying. This is why I mentioned earlier that a 2″ allowance would have been a bit better. And, then we glued the tips down to hold them in place with white glue.

Stapling Flannel Fabric
(Back of costume) Stapling each piece of flannel fabric.
Stapled Flannel Fabric
(Back of costume) The pieces of flannel fabric around the face area are stapled down.
Stapled Flannel Fabric
(Back of costume) The pieces of flannel fabric around the belly area are stapled down.
Glued Flannel Fabric
(Back of costume) The flannel fabric is glued down to help keep the edges from fraying. Fraying edges could work their way past the staples, which we didn’t want to have happen.
Glued Flannel Fabric
(Back of costume) Flannel fabric stapled, and now glued down, in the belly area.
Glued Flannel Fabric
(Back of costume) Fabric is stapled, and now glued, in both inner hole areas.

We made sure to staple and glue the flannel fabric before starting on the belly fabric, which would overlap it on the backside. First, I put the costume on, and then determined how much fabric I needed and I ended up cutting the sheer fabric into three, relatively equal widths. We then overlaid these and then stapled them into place, folding nice looking “wrinkles” every so often (at the corners). Every time we would start to staple a new side, I would test the costume out again, to make sure we were leaving enough fabric to accommodate the baby bump. Once the staples were in, we took the pinking shears to the edge of the fabric and then used white glue to keep the fabric from fraying and the staples to stay in place.

Stapling Sheer Fabric
Stapling the sheer fabric, in three layers, to the back of the costume.
Sheer Belly Fabric
Here, the sheer fabric has been stapled and pinking shears used to keep the edges from fraying. The sheer fabric is three thicknesses deep here. We would cap this off with white glue to hold the fabric from fraying. Note the excess of fabric we gathered into the middle, to accommodate the baby bump through the hole and out the front side.

Attaching the Stem & Leaf

And, now we were on to the final stretch. We began by searching in our own backyard for a twig that was approximately 3/4″ thick by 3″ long. Since we had earlier purchased a large faux tropical leaf for the top of the avocado, we decided to use part of the tropical leaf’s stem to help hold the twig in place. We drilled a hole into the twig piece we wanted to use, and also two holes into the top of the board, after testing positioning of the stem and the leaf. We also clipped off excess stem from the leaf, with the diagonal pliers. We used a super glue that would take 24 hours to dry to hold the pieces into place.

Backyard Twig Foraging
We searched our own backyard to find a twig that was approximately 3/4″ by 3″. Here, we would use the top most end seen in the picture.
Attaching the Avocado Stem
We used a pair of diagonal pliers to clip a small piece of stem off our store-purchased faux tropical leaf. We would use this to hold our stem in place.
Wire Stem Inserted Into Twig
Here, you can see how the hole we drilled into the twig would accommodate the faux stem. We used a drill bit of approximately the same size.
Two Holes Drilled in Avocado Top
Two holes drilled into the avocado top allowed for super gluing the stem and leaf into place.
Two Holes Drilled in Avocado Top
Inserting the twig, on a piece of the wire stem, into it’s pre-drilled hole.

And, after the super glue had 24 hours to set…whala…we had a maternity avocado Halloween costume, made from scratch!

Avocado Maternity Halloween Costume

Avocado Maternity Halloween Costume

Avocado Maternity Halloween Costume

Avocado Maternity Halloween Costume

Family Costumes Shopping List

In the case where you’re interested in buying the costumes you see my husband and daughter wearing, here’s a shopping list for you.

Hers:

His:

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