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#1 No-Sew DIY Dress-ups! Be a Parrot!


Kids like dressing up. When mine were little, I had a large plastic bin filled with dress-ups. We’d go to the second-hand store and buy old wedding gowns, prom dresses, cowboy clothes, and furs. Anything that caught our eye.

And they cost practically nothing. Once, we found a rabbit stole for $6. Other times, an old prom dress for $7. A wedding dress for $12.

I’ve bought several of these trunks through the years. They were great for summer camp. I’d pack each day’s outfit in a zip baggy; shoes, towels, toiletries all went in baggies. They tossed their dirty clothes or towels back in trunk, but clean things stayed clean.

Today, our kids are grown with kids of their own, but I remember teachers seemed to think, “What a great idea to dress up in something connected to this subject we’re studying!” Grades K-4 have dress ups. Grades 5-8 have projects, displays, and presentations, dressing up is a bit more optional.

Which essentially gives me, the mom, a project. There’s an outfit to be created. Fortunately, this was something we had fun doing together.

We’ve been birds, Christmas trees, Rudolph the Red-nose Reindeer, clowns, dogs. And those are the ones I remember.

The trick is getting something to fit the kid. Make it simple enough I could do it relatively quickly. And sturdy. It had to last at least a day. And if it lasted through more than one kid . . .  great!

Even if you don’t sew, creating a bird or a clown/dog are easy projects and the supplies can be purchased at stores like Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, Target, or Walmart.


Parrot Supplies:

  • Sweat shirt adult small-sized or large kid-sized (depending on your child’s size, you want this to fit like a dress)
  • Felt squares in several different “bird feather” colors (each square will provide 2 or more feathers)
  • Glue tubes in the colors of your choice
  • One feather Boa
  • One plastic Bird Beak
  • Yellow tights (that fits the child) Optional


These glue tubes shown here are not what I used. My youngest is 26, so those are dead and gone. What was available in the 90s were in actual tubes. It was called Puffy Glue or Puffy Paint. You don’t want a glue stick. You want it to glob on 3-dimensionally. Be sure to get glue with glitter in it. All birds need a little sparkle.


                   I bought a hot pink sweat shirt,

a large stack of felt squares in parrot-like colors,

a bottle of glitter glue in purple, pink, white, etc.

a white feather boa,

a yellow adult-small-sized canvas rain hat,


and a plastic bird beak.



I found everything at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, or Party City.

Sweatshirt: There’s very little you’ll need to do to the sweat shirt. We picked pink for a parrot. They tried it on in the store. It fit like a dress with extra long sleeves. I could cut them off or fold them up at the cuff. We folded.

Feathers: On a sheet of paper draw out an oval with pointy ends the length of your felt squares and as wide as half the width of the felt square. You want to get two feathers from each square. Or not . . . you can make these any size you want. The felt squares were about 9″ x 12″ so my feathers were about 12″ long and 4 1/2″ wide. The smaller the feathers the more you’ll need. I made smaller feathers for the neck area. Each feather will be stitched to the sweatshirt. But first . . .

Lay the feathers out flat and separate from each other. Draw a line lengthwise from tip to tip for a vein down the middle and 3-4 side veins on each side with the glitter glue. The glue doesn’t have to be the color of the vein. This is a hip parrot. He’s into color. Let dry.

After the feathers are dry, lay out the sweatshirt and place the feathers all around in the color pattern you want. Or no pattern. I had more white in the center like it was the bird’s belly, blue predominately at the hem and up the center in the back like they were tail feathers. I ran a few green down each arm. After my overall pattern was established, I added random colors however it struck me.

Working from the bottom up, I first attached the feathers circling around the sweatshirt above the hem at the lowest point I wanted feathers. I wanted them to be lower than the hem so you wouldn’t see the shirt at all. The next row was placed so that the ends of the feathers overlapped the lower, first row a little. You want the higher feather to cover the connection point of the lower feather.

I used several small- and medium-sized felt feathers to trim out the hat.

I took the white (real) feather boa, cut off a piece for the hat, and ran the rest around the neck of the sweatshirt.

They wore shorts underneath for their clothes. The first child to wear this wore yellow tights and pink tennis shoes.

The second went barefoot. This was a hand-me-down costume for him. Any older than six and he’d probably have nixed the pink, but being a parrot convinced him.

The beauty of this project is other than sewing the feathers and boa onto the sweatshirt, there’s no sewing. If you don’t sew at all, you can safety pin each feather on from inside the shirt. E6000 glue would probably work, too. But, whipping a quick stitch was not hard. They were both in first grade for this school dress-up but, unfortunately, this is the only picture I can find now.


Bird Costume atlered





Until next time. Be sweet.

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