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DIY Mary Poppins Costume

If you’re looking for inspiration, you can find all sorts of DIY Halloween Costume Ideas HERE.

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UPDATE: Here’s the tutorial for the Bert Costume and for the Penguin Costume.


Wow.  Some of you actually guessed what I was making from the sneak peek on Monday.

And then many of you guessed Rainbow Brite and several more of you guessed Angry Birds.  Both cute ideas.  However, my 3 year old boy plays Angry Birds better than I do……so Angry Birds and I don’t get along!  And then my gosh, it’s been years since I’ve even thought about Rainbow Brite.  My sister had a big Rainbow Brite doll when we were little girls and I cut her stringy yarn bangs, honestly thinking they would grow right back.  They never did.  And I was a little sister in a lot of trouble.  (Sorry Robin!)

Anyway……those who guessed Mary Poppins, wow, good guessers!  One of you even recognized that little piece of blue fabric sitting there as the color of Bert’s bowtie.  I was shocked. Ha.

But yes, the Mary Poppins theme won the vote in our house.

Then again, fluffy/twirly dresses are an easy choice for my almost 5 year old daughter who wakes up in the morning, pulls open her drawer of clothes, and pulls everything out until she has found some sort of twirly skirt to slip into.  Bless that girly little girl.  I can certainly remember being that same sort of little girl.

So of course, I was completely excited to get sewing the “Jolly Holiday” Mary Poppins costumes.

And I considered skipping out on the umbrella……but this little girl insisted she have the umbrella.

Because Mary Poppins wouldn’t be Mary Poppins without her umbrella, afterall.

Oh, the magic of Mary Poppins. 

I wonder if she secretly looks for the right chalk painting to jump into, like I always did at her age.


Ahhhhh…..making this dress was so satisfying. 

It was thrilling to watch her twirl and giggle and wonder.

And then retell parts from the movie, as if she were Mary Poppins herself.

It was worth every stitch.

Today is the dress.

Tomorrow I will share the hat, umbrella, boot covers, and pettiskirtNo worries.

Update: Here is the Mary Poppins Accessories tutorial here.

Would you like to make your own Mary Poppins dress?

Supply List for the dress only (made in size 5T):

  • 3 yards of white “costume satin” (on sale for $2 a yard)
  • 3 yards of white chiffon (on sale for $4.80 a yard)
  • 1/4 yard of red “costume satin” ($0.50)
  • 1 spool (6 yards) of red 3/8 inch satin ribbon ($1.00, I think)
  • 1 spool of 1 inch wide lace (flat not gathered) with holes down the center, used for collar and cuffs ($2.00)
  • white piping (from my stash)
  • velcro (from my stash)
  • 1 inch wide gathered lace (from my stash)
  • zipper (from my stash)

**I bought all of the fabric for this dress at Joann Fabric.  The “costume satin” is just their seasonal satin that is really cheap and is usually only available around Halloween time.  But any satin would work.

To begin, create your main pattern pieces.  Find a dress or shirt (with sleeves) to pattern after…….something that has a high neck.  For more pictures and explanation on how to do this, visit my Cinderella Dress tutorial here.  Or visit my Blessing Dress tutorial here.  Both are good reference for making your own dress pattern.

 Now, I first thought I was going to make a velcro back (just like the Cinderella link above) but decided that because I was using chiffon, a zipper would be better.  So these patterns below are showing an extra wide back piece to allow for fabric to be folded over and used for a velcro closure.  But don’t let that confuse you.  I adjust it later.

This costume will be made with 2 layers for the bodice.  A really thin chiffon outer layer with a high neck and sleeves and then a minimal satin under layer, to keep things modest.

Here are the pattern pieces for the outer chiffon layer.   (Make sure to add seam allowances to your pattern pieces.)  The front piece is on the left, the back piece in the middle, and the sleeve piece is on the right.  (which is longer than the Cinderella sleeves, due to Mary Poppins’ half sleeves)

Then I created pattern pieces for the inner satin layer.  I took the seam allowance away for the arm holes (because I use bias tape around the openings later on), gave the neck a bigger scoop, and made the width of the shoulders more narrow.

To begin, use the bigger pattern pieces to cut out the chiffon pieces and sew the bodice together and attach the sleeves.  (Remember use tutorials here and here for more help.)

But leave the back open.

Then sew the satin lining pieces together at the sides and shoulders and then make some bias tape out of the same satin fabric and sew that around the arm holes and neckline.  (More on Bias Tape here.)

But leave the back open too. (I also serged the bottom edge to keep the bottom edge from fraying while I was working.  You can zig-zag too.)

Then slide the satin lining piece inside of the chiffon layer and match up the shoulder seams, the side seams, and the opening along the back.  Pin in place.  Then turn inside out.

While inside out, match up the back opening edges.  Now, like I mentioned above in red, I was going to use this extra fabric to fold over and use velcro for the closure.  But I changed my mind and placed those vertical pins where the seam for the zipper would go. (But if you still want to do velcro, fold over these edges, sew them in place, and add velcro…..just like the tutorial here.)

But I trimmed off the extra fabric down to just an extra 1/2 inch for the seam allowance……and then sewed a basting stitch down the back of the bodice.  Then, I finished off those raw edges.

Then I added the zipper.  (Zipper tutorial here.)  Be sure to leave at least a 1/2 inch space at the top, with the extra fabric from your zipper.  This will be hidden and sewed into the collar in a few steps.

Next, match up the shoulder seams and then sew them together by sewing a seam right along that horizontal shoulder seam.  You can’t really see it….but that’s the point.


To create the collar, I cut a strip of fabric that was 3 inches wide (this will vary depending on the size dress you’re making) and an inch longer than the length of the neck line.  Then I folded the strip in half lengthwise, with right sides facing out.  Then I opened each end and folded the raw ends in a 1/2 inch, then re-ironed.

To attach the collar, open up the strip of fabric and place the right side of the fabric against the right side of the fabric of the dress.  Match up the raw edge of the one layer of the collar with the raw edge of the collar.  Make sure that the ends of the collar match up with the ends of the neckline……right where the zipper ends.  Pin in place.

Then sew those 2 layers together (taking a few stitches at a time and adjusting the fabric as needed) and then fold up the collar.

(View from the other side.)

Fold the collar up and over to the inside, using that original fold that you ironed previously.  Then fold the bottom edge of this second half up to the inside of the collar a 1/2 inch.  Hand stitch that edge in place and hand stitch the ends on the collar closed.  (Help with hand stitching here.)

Now, grab your lace with the holes down the center and thread your red ribbon in and out of those holes until you have a piece long enough for the collar.

Attach the lace to the collar by sewing it down on both outer edges.  Tuck the ends under and sew them down too.

Then add 2 “hooks and eyes” to the ends of the collar.

Then add a bow to the center front of the collar.  (I hand stitched mine in place.)

 For the cuffs, cut 2 more pieces of fabric that are 3 inches wide (will vary depending on your dress size and lace width).  Be sure the strips are long enough to be sewn around the end of the sleeves.  Fold each strip in half lengthwise, just like you did with the collar and then add more of the lace and ribbon detail to these strips.  Be sure and line up the lace to the edge where the fold is on the fabric.

Sew each strip into a tube (with right sides together) that is the same size as the arm hole opening.  Slide the tube over the arm hole opening (with right sides together) and pin the raw edges together.

Sew in place and then serge or zig-zag the raw edges.

Iron flat.

Now, serge or zig-zag the bottom of the bodice layers together, keeping the edges from fraying but also to keep the 2 layers together.

Now, make two skirt pieces (tubes) for the bottom of the dress.  One out of the satin and the other layer out of the chiffon.  [Each of my skirt pieces were 19 x 144 inches (that used up 2 yards out of each fabric).]  Lay the chiffon layer on the outside and sew the two layers together along the top edge.  Then make another basting stitch along the top edge and gather the skirt section in.  (Reference the dress tutorials here and here if needed.)

Then turn the skirt section inside out and slide the bodice (right side out) down into the skirt.  Match up the raw edges and gather the skirt section in to match up with the bottom edge of the bodice.  Pin in place and then sew, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Trim off any extra edges and serge or zig zag to keep from fraying.

Then either hem the bottom edges or serge them.  Mine are serged…….so if you were using my measurements from above, be sure to add some length if you are going to be hemming the bottom.

Then add some red ribbon bows to the outside of the skirt (about half way down) by hand stitching them in place.   (I used 8 bows all the way around.)

Now, for the cummerbund (I had to look up the spelling because I thought it was “cumberbun”…..did you?)

Cut two long strips of fabric…..making one strip several inches longer.  Mine were 5 x 26 inches and 5 x 30 inches.

Now cut smaller sections out of the center of the longer strip of fabric.  Each of my smaller sections were 2.5 inches wide.  (I show 5 smaller sections below but you only need 4 smaller pieces to make the 5 lines of piping……oops, sorry!)

Then sew a piece of white piping in between each of those 4 sections…….and then attach them to the longer sections on both ends too.  (Need more info on sewing in piping?  Click here.)  Iron flat from the right side.

Then cut the bottom edge of the bottom edge of the strip, to create a point.  Make sure that the point is cut right at the center piece of piping.

Then place the other strip of fabric on top with right sides together, trim down this piece of fabric to add the point too………then sew the 2 pieces together along both long edges, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Trim the excess fabric off the point and then turn the strip right side out and iron flat.  Then fold under each end a 1/2 inch, then another 1/2 inch, and then sew in place.

(Okay, this really bothers me so I have to explain about all the puckering.  I changed the tension on my machine while gathering the skirt section in previous steps and then forgot about it.  So when I sewed this up, it really puckered but I just thought the piping and satin together were being finicky.  So I ironed it like crazy to try and flatten out all the puckers but they wouldn’t come out completely.  And then, I realized why it had puckered………but I didn’t have enough of the red satin to make another one.  Bummer.  It’s not as noticeable when it’s on the dress.  Whew.)

Then add velcro to each end.

And then, on the inside of the cummerbund, add two pieces of velcro (the scratchy side) right where the cummerbund would hit the sides of the dress…….

And then sew on the other side of the velcro right at the side seam of the dress.  This will help keep the cummerbund in place.

Now, cut 2 pieces of satin that are about twice as tall as the area on the bodice that you’re going to put them.  Make one piece a little more narrow than the other one so that when you stack them, you will see both.  Then serge or hem each raw edge.  (My serged pieces are 5.5 x 12 inches and 4 x 12 inches.)  Now, add a piece of ruffled lace to each long edge, allowing the lace to go about a 1/2 inch off the edge of the fabric.

Then sew a basting stitch down the center of strip and gather it down.

Then sew the larger piece right down the center of the bodice (making sure to include the chiffon and satin layer of the bodice front…….but keeping everything else away from the needle.)  Also, be sure you don’t sew it down too low where the cummerbund goes.

Then sew the smaller piece right on top.  I added a few extra seams down the center, just to secure it in place.

And that’s it.

Remember, Mary Poppins accessories (hat, umbrella, boot covers, pettiskirt) will be shared tomorrow.

Update: Here is the Mary Poppins Accessories tutorial here.  Enjoy.

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This post is sponsored by:

Ashley Johnston

Administrator at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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