Tuesday Project Report – How to make a Storm Tornado (or carrot?) Costume/Mascot


Yeah, I know, its supposed to be the Monday project report, but since Monday was a holiday – and no school for the kids – I gave myself a blog holiday and put this report off until today.  Okay – I needed the extra day to finish this – but the holiday certainly allowed me to rationalize the late posting.

So lets start with what we are trying to create.

This is the Storm – the logo for Markus’s football team.  The day we went shopping for Halloween inspiration was a Saturday – after Markus’s football game.  Markus was still wearing his uniform as we were walking around the fabric store.  Somehow Vash found the neon orange fleece and noticed the Storm logo around the same time and inspiration hit him – he wanted to be a big orange tornado!!  I was still pushing the great tiger print fabric to make him a tiger but his mind was set.  Chip – being the much more rational part of this marriage – tried to discourage this idea.  I have to admit – I was the one saying “we can do this”.  I really have to listen to my husband more.

So we tried to find other blogs to help us figure out how to make this but did not find anything that was really on point – probably because we are making a cartoon logo character – so this post is going to be long so we can describe how to do this for anyone else crazy enough to try this.

We started with the top.  We picked up some wire,

and a curtain rod and some duct tape and electrical tape and some pipe insulation – and we formed the framework for the top by making an oval with the wire – supported by the curtain rod through the center.

We padded the curtain rod with some old stained t-shirts Vash outgrew.

Then we took a tomato cage and cut off the bottom ring for the body frame.

Vash and Chip then used some old leather belting and screw rivets to create a shoulder strap to hold the frame.  Vash loves working with tools.

Then we pulled out the pipe insulation and electrical tape and padded the frame.

Then Chip added some extra pipe insulation to give it more shaping – to give it that swirling wind shape that yells out “I AM NOT A CARROT!!”

Because once we started wrapping the fabric over the frame – it looked REALLY orange.

We started off by pinning the fabric to the frame

and then Vash and I pulled the fabric tight around the frame and pinned the seam up the back.

Because of the cone shape of the frame and the stretch in the fabric, I was able to just pull the fabric off the frame, sew the pinned line on the machine and then pull it up over the frame.

Next I hand sewed the fabric around the bottom circle so it did not drag down when Vash was walking.

With the bottom secured, we twisted the fabric in the same direction as the pipe insulation swirls.

Next I made sleeves using the pajama pattern I bought for Jesse’s costume – cutting it off where the sleeve starts to decrease.

Then we put the frame onto Vash, gave thanks that somehow the place where his arms came out did not have metal bars or pipe insulation blocking them, and cut side slits into the body and then and sewed the sleeves directly into the body.

It was not hard to sew in the sleeves – just tedious.  I could have just made him a pajama top and had him put his arms through the openings but I was actually running out of fabric – the head piece used alot of fabric.

We attached the head frame to his batting helmet using 14″ zip ties.  We needed a head piece that was strong enough to support the frame and provide padding for Vash’s head.

Yes, it got a thumbs up from Vash.

Next I covered the frame with fabric, but I did not want a defined circular top so instead of sewing it around the entire frame, I tacked it to the frame at the center point and at several points around the frame.

Next Vash and I started to work on the eyes.  After a few tries we decided on the pattern.

Have I mentioned that Vash was involved in the creation of this costume from inception.  He is a hands-on costume designer.  He hand-sewed the netting which would become his eye holes onto the black felt.

We sewed the black of the eyes on the face first

We tried to just glue the white part over the black but it didn’t hold so I had to sew them on anyway.

I added velcro strips to the top of the body and under the head piece to hold the headpiece onto the body.

Then, using large basting stitches, I pulled the fabric back from the face on both sides so the eyes would be easily visible and hoped it would look tornado-ey.

We made pajama pants using the pattern we used in Jesse’s costume and we will make mitts using that same pattern as soon as Chip makes the yellow lightning bolt which the storm carries.  But Vash and I felt we had enough of the Storm completed to show you – so here it is.

The Storm.

About Shelly R.

I am a Mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife, an attorney, a crafter and the granddaughter of an amazing woman - my Polish Grandmother. My Grandmother gave me so much, through her love and her patience, her sayings and her time teaching me how to craft and to give to others, that it seemed fitting to share some of that wisdom, to tell some of her story, and to chat about life and crafts in a way that would be a testament to what she gave me.
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6 Responses to Tuesday Project Report – How to make a Storm Tornado (or carrot?) Costume/Mascot

  1. danielle says:

    I don’t know when I’ve ever been this impressed with anything! It looks UNBELIEVABLE!!! And here I am wondering how I’m going to turn Emmet into a ninja….you have shamed me.

    • Shelly R. says:

      Never be ashamed of the fact that you are saner than me. That we even attempted this was crazy. But we are a costumey family – with lots of time put into garb for Faire and seeing what we can create out of ordinary things – like a tomato cage, a curtain rod and pipe insulation. I told Chip that next year we go to the costume shop and let them pick out whatever costume they want (where, by the way, they have ninja costumes). $20 seems like such a reasonable cost in comparison to the days it took to make “The Storm”. I am truly nuts.

  2. A truly amazing project! I loved seeing how it all came together like that. It is also awesome that your son was so involved in the costume making. 🙂

    • Shel says:

      I’m glad you got to see it. I always figure that when the boys grow up they will tell people that they always had homemade costumes – but they will say it with pride because they are always involved in the concept and design and creation of their costumes. They start working on their ideas for their costumes on November 1st!! I am just really hoping Vash goes with the Jelly Fish over Rumplestiltskin this year. 😀

  3. Nikki carter says:

    Hi, wonderful job BTW!
    So I made the schools mascot where I work and it’s a tornado too but now we want to add a head part so he is hidden . My question for you is how exactly did you construct the head price? ( like I DIY tourtal ). I really want this to look good and I really like what you did. I was going to use this 1 1/2″ green foam but it’s kinda expensive. So please please help!!!!

    Is there a way to send you a pic of how mine looks?
    Thanks!

    • Shelly R. says:

      Sorry – I don’t have any more detailed pictures of the headpiece than is shown above. Basically we took the wire and using the curtain rod as the diameter, formed an oval around it, using electrical tape to hold the ends in place against the end of the curtain rod. The curtain rod is the basic cheap one you can get anywhere – white metal with short 90 degree bend at the ends. The bent part points down. Then we put the pipe insulation around the wire, holding it closed with the duct tape. We wrapped the old t-shirts around the curtain rod so it would not tear through the fabric and used the electrical tape to hold that in place. We used a kid’s baseball helmet (it has slot openings on the top) and using the plastic zip ties we tied the curtain rod onto the top of the baseball helmet. This way he could take the headpiece on and off by just taking the helmet off of his head. Also the helmet did not wiggle on his head and could support the weight so it worked the best for a wider head for the tornado. It made it stable.

      Then the fabric part of it was just laying it across, stretching the top and gathering the bottom so it fit the top of the base of the storm. We used velcro to hold it in place.

      Don’t know if any of this helps but after 7 year that is the best I can do right now. Sorry it took so long to respond – this is just a busy time of year for us.

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