A few days have gone by since Carnival and I’m only now publishing the tutorial for Nicky’s costume going along with this year’s theme of Despicable Me 2: the Minion Stuart. Sofia and I thought that he should be Dave because of his fantasy with the agent Lucy Wilde (Sofia’s costume), but he had his heart set on being Stuart. The two Minions looks exactly alike except Dave has two eyes while Stuart has just one, so I figured that Stuart would therefore be a little quicker to make.
With the right materials, this could actually be a really quick and easy costume to throw together, but I had some issues procuring them. But I mostly used what I already had so this costume cost me a whopping €1 total. Let’s get started.
If you have or can find a yellow hooded sweatshirt and a pair of jeans overalls, you are golden and this costume will be a breeze! Alas, I didn’t have either and for whatever reason couldn’t find them in my son’s size anywhere. I refused to pay €30 for a new sweatshirt online so instead I paid €1 for a men’s yellow sweatshirt at the used market and used an old pair of regular jeans and some jean scraps for the overalls. Originally I thought that I would sew a whole hooded sweatshirt, using one of Nicky’s as a pattern. But then I thought that I could just dye his sweatshirt yellow, however I couldn’t find any yellow dye or turmeric for a natural dye and didn’t have enough time to order either online. At that point I was in a bit of a rush, so I decided to just dress Nicky with a yellow mock turtleneck that he already had and just make a quick hat from the men’s sweatshirt (also because the yellow sweatshirt had a big logo on both front and back and I wasn’t sure that I’d have enough fabric), despite the fact that the yellows didn’t match. Oh well. So, If you already have overalls, skip steps 1 and 3-9, and if you already have a yellow hooded sweatshirt, skip step 10 and do steps 15-19 directly to the top of the hood. In addition to these garments, you’ll need a small piece of freezer paper and black fabric paint.
1. Get your jean scraps. I had two pieces of cut-off jean legs that were more or less the right size to be the front and back bib parts of the overalls.
2. A Minion isn’t a Minion without the Gru symbol on his overalls. Find an image of the symbol online (I used this one) and enlarge it until it is the right size for your overalls’ bib. Using the technique I described in this tutorial, hold a smallish piece of freezer paper against the computer screen with the paper side up and trace the shape with a pencil. Cut out the black parts of the shape and stencil it onto the front of your jeans scrap or overalls. (Full tutorial on freezer paper stenciling can be found here.)
3. Prepare your straps by making two denim tubes 3-4 cm wide. Cut two strips of fabric about 8-10 cm wide and however long they need to be to reach over your Minion’s shoulders.
4. Iron the strips in half the long way, right sides facing, and sew down one long side and across one short side (top strip). Turn them right side out with a special tube turning tool or with a simple safety pin. Iron flat and top stitch down both long sides and the closed short side (bottom strip). Don’t worry about closing the open end.
5. Fold each jean leg piece in half right sides facing (I first had to cut one side open of my two leg pieces). Put aside the piece with the Gru symbol. Insert the two straps so that the long parts are pointing inwards and the raw edges extend beyond the jean leg. It’s best to slightly angle the raw ends towards the center so that, when turned right way out, the straps will angle slightly outwards to pass over the shoulders. Pin in place.
6. Close up both leg pieces by folding them in half again, right sides facing and pin up the edges.
7. Sew around the edges, leaving a space in one side for turning the fabric. Turn the pieces right way out and iron them. Put a cloth over the stenciled image so you won’t ruin it while pressing. Put the pieces in place, overlapping the waistband of the jeans your Minion will wear, to check that the straps are the right length. Mine were too long, so I unpicked the stitching where they were attached, cut the straps shorter and sewed them back in (with the piece inside-out). When the straps are the right size, topstitch around the edges, closing the openings. You can see that my two bib pieces are not perfect rectangles, but I didn’t want to even them out more because they really should’ve been wider and fixing them would’ve made them even less so.
8. Once again, check the fit of the overall bib on your Minion and mark where to put the snaps. I used the heavy-duty metal snaps that I use for my cloth menstrual pads, but use whatever you have, even regular buttons or velcro. If the straps are long enough for the child’s head to fit through, you could even just sew them into place.
9. You can just tuck the ends of the bibs inside the jeans’ waistband if you don’t want to “ruin” the jeans, which is what I did for the first wearing of the costume (see the second picture of this post above). However I found that it tended to come untucked, so for the second wearing I sewed the bib onto the jeans’ waistband to keep it in place. Use a jeans needle to get through all the layers. I didn’t sew over the zipper but just skipped over that part. In the photo above you can see how it looked sewn. (You can also see what a Minion with a moustache looks like, if you’ve ever wondered.)
10. If you have a yellow hooded sweatshirt, awesome. If you have a yellow winter cap, awesome. If you don’t, just make a super quick hat including the stretchy bottom of a yellow men’s sweatshirt following the instructions in this post.
Now let’s add on those oh-so-important details. You will need a piece of black fleece, scraps of brown and white fleece, scraps of the yellow sweatshirt used for the hat (not pictured), 1 inch (2.5 cm) black elastic, thin elastic of whatever color (optional), a glue gun, a jar top, silver spray paint and black yarn (not pictured).
11. Spray paint your jar top silver with a few light coats. When it is dry trace the edge twice on the yellow sweatshirt fabric and once on the white fleece. My white fleece scraps weren’t very big, but I didn’t need the whole circle of white, so it didn’t matter. Cut out the circles and trim them so that they fit perfectly inside the jar cap. If your Minion needs two eyes, obviously you’ll have to do this twice.
12. Using your glue gun, glue the white circle inside the cap. Then cut out a piece of brown fleece and an even smaller piece of black to be the eye. Fold one yellow circle in half and move these around until they look the way you want your eye. Then glue the pieces in place. For the eyelid, I first glued inside the folded circle so it wouldn’t come unfolded and then glued it into place inside the cap.
13. Cut a piece of black elastic exactly the circumference of your Minion’s head. Overlap the ends slightly (about 1/2 cm) on the back of the second yellow circle and sew them into place with yellow thread.
14. Hot glue the back of the yellow circle to the back of the jar cap. Your eye and goggles are ready!
15. Let’s give your Minion head some hair. If you are using a hooded sweatshirt, do this step on the top of the hood. Thread a thin tapestry/yarn needle with black yarn. My yarn was on the thin side, so I used double strands.
16. Stick the needle through the fabric from the inside of the hat at the top about 1/2 cm from the center.
17. Pull the yarn down towards the side of the hat. Then come back up through the fabric about 1 cm over and pull the yarn up towards the top of the hat, parallel to the other line of hair. Continue like this until you have 5 or 6 “strands” of hair on each side with a center part.
18. Slip the eye and goggles over the hat or hood, and you’re done with the Minion head!
19. In the end I decided to stitch the black elastic to the hat along where the regular fabric meets the cuff fabric. I machine stitched with a zig zag close to the edge of the elastic as close as I could get to the jar top and I hand stitched the parts closest to it. This way it was one less part that I had to worry about losing or getting out of place.
20. The last thing that I made were the Minion gloves. Minions only have three fingers, so these are pretty easy. Put your model’s hand on a piece of black fleece with his arm going over the edge of the fabric and separating the four fingers into two groups, as you can see above.
21. Trace around the hand and fingers with tailor’s chalk, leaving some space around the fingers and wrist.
22. Fold the fabric over so that there are four layers of fleece under the chalk lines.
23. Cut around the chalk lines, leaving about 1 cm for seam allowance. Then separate the four layers into two pairs of two layers each.
24. Sew along the chalk line (or with the 1 cm seam allowance) and clip the curves (left glove above). Turn it right side out (right glove above), and you’ve got a Minion glove!
25. Originally I’d planned on making a small elastic casing along the edge of the gloves, but I knew that it would be a pain with such a small garment. I tried the gloves on my model and realized that they already fit pretty snugly and the fleece allowed for enough stretch to get over his hands. So I just trimmed the bottom edges so they’d be even and left them as they were.
I’d considered making little shoe covers to be the black Minion boots (sort of like what I made for my Tinkerbell costume a couple of years ago), but I quite honestly ran out of time so I didn’t get around to it. But hey, my little guy looked enough like a Minion to make everyone happy!
And who can resist a happy Minion?! Did your kids dress up for Carnival? What did they dress up as?