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Halloween 2014: Dorothy (from “Wizard of Oz”)

UPDATE: All of the Wizard of Oz DIY Costumes are done and can be viewed by clicking the link!! Enjoy!

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My kiddos have been talking about Halloween for months.  MONTHS!  I’m pretty sure they decided right after last Halloween (remember, the Rapunzel days?) that they were going to dress up as the cast of Wizard of Oz this year.  So every time they watch the movie now, they call out who they are (according to what costume I’m going to make for them) and they talk to each other’s screen character, as if they are really that actor/actress.  For example, “look what you did there Connor, that was so mean!”  Or, “oh come on Elli, why did you do that?  Go on, help Dorothy!”  Or sometimes I’ll hear them chant, “wake up Chloe, WAKE UP!”  They really get lost in the movie and think they are the actual seasoned actors. :)


So, Wizard of Oz it is!


I have been thinking about how to tackle each of my kiddos’ costumes for several weeks.  (Connor’s is still plaguing me.  Ack!!!)  If I know I am going to share something here, I stew about it for a while, because I know I need to figure out a way that translates well in pictures.  Sometimes I have to stew about it, jot down notes, play it out in my head (that sounds weird I know…..but I have to visualize how I put it together, picture by picture), and then stew some more……before I finally decide to jump in.  And that’s why I got sidetracked and started making those simple costume ideas that I have been sharing since October 1st. And my gosh, I got a little carried away with those simple ideas and just couldn’t stop.  But then I went back to thinking about the Wizard of Oz costumes a few days ago, got excited about it all over again, and finished Chloe’s costume yesterday!  (Elli’s is in the works, Connor’s is [[ACK]] making my brain hurt, and Oliver’s……hahahahahaha, I can’t wait for his!!!!)


And let me tell you…..there’s something about putting a handmade costume on for the first time.  It makes your heart swell, your lips smile, and your eyes widen up so darn big!  Know what I mean?  If not…’s time to give it a try.  Just remember this very important thing…..there is nothing in the Halloween Costume Rule Book (it’s real….I have one! ;) ) that says you have to make them perfectly.  Or that you can’t take shortcuts.  Just have fun with it.


Once I put Chloe’s entire costume on yesterday……yep, a huge ol’ grin spread over my face!  This girl — she makes the cutest little Dorothy!






She even takes her role very seriously and tries to remember parts of the movie.  Which completely cracks me up.




She remembered though, that she had to run away from that mean lady on the bike, who was trying to steal her dog.  So she took off down the road…




But her most important job?  Returning back to Kansas, after a very long movie of trying to find that crazy guy they call OZ.




This girl.  I melted, watching her little imagination finally come to life once she stepped into that dress.  For months and months and MONTHS she has pretended to be Dorothy.  And now, she was finally able to run around in her blue gingham dress, clicking her little heels, and spouting random phrases from the movie.  Ha….such a funny little thing. :)



Oh, and Chloe found a new best friend…..Toto.  I ordered him from Amazon and from the minute he arrived in his box, she has kissed and cuddled that thing to death!  She even put a rubber band around his neck, tied a string to it, and pulls him all around the house.  You know, because that’s what you do with Toto. :)




This dress actually came together pretty quickly and is simple to put on.




The shirt is actually attached to the dress….so the whole thing is one piece.  I didn’t want any missing pieces, thankyouverymuch!




The back is zippered, all the way up!  And the straps are buttoned in the front and back…..but don’t actually function.  There’s no need since the shirt is attached and the dress is all one piece.




There is a bit of ric-rac around the neck collar and both arms…..just like the real Dorothy!




And of course, sparkly red shoes!  (Oh, and that pettiskirt you’ve been seeing in all of these pictures??  Yeah, I know Dorothy doesn’t have a full skirt……but, well, you have to know Chloe.  Spinning is kind of her thing.  So I let her wear it! :) )




Also, Dorothy’s dress in the movie has a bit of bias-cut detail (meaning cut on the diagonal) at the top of the dress and along the very bottom.  It’s all about the details with Dorothy!  (And very simple to do, so don’t worry!)




Oh sweet Dorothy, er, Chloe…….you are so fun to sew for!  Everything is ((gasp)) “SO beautiful” to you!   I know you can hardly wait to see your brothers and sister come to life in their costumes.  Don’t worry, they’re well on their way!




Okay, so Dorothy is first……so let me show you how I made her dress!


But wait, before we get into that, here’s where I found some of the other items I used with this Dorothy costume…

  • Sparkle Shoes – Target
  • Toto Stuffed Dog – Amazon
  • Basket – borrowed from a friend (thanks Phyllis!)
  • Ruffled White Socks – Walmart
  • Fluffy Pettiskirt – Always Underpay
  • Hair Bows – strips of the gingham dress fabric, cut into bias cut strips (so they don’t fray)


Okay, now onto the dress.  Just keep in mind, amounts will vary, depending on the size dress you make.


  • Blue/White gingham fabric
  • White cotton fabric (stay away from the sheer and try and find something more opaque)
  • Blue Ric Rac
  • 4 white buttons


Begin by taking a peek at this Cinderella Dress tutorial and this Baby Blessing Dress tutorial.  Both tutorials show how to use an existing dress to create a new dress.


Also note: the tutorial below was made for my 3 year old (who wears a 4T).  If making another size, adjustments will be necessary.


Cut 1 front bodice piece and your 2 back bodice pieces from the white fabric.  I decided to add a zipper to this bodice, so if you do the same, be sure and add enough for a seam allowance along the center of the 2 back pieces.  (Also, be sure that when you’re creating the pattern pieces, that the neck line is nice and high.  The collar piece for Dorothy needs to wrap around the neck so the neck line on the bodice pieces need to be high…..without choking, of course!)



Place your 2 back pieces together with the front piece (with right sides together) and sew them together at the shoulders, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance (or whatever seam allowance you gave yourself).



For the collar, I decided a 1 inch high collar would work great.  So, I cut a strip of white fabric that was 3 inches wide and along enough to reach all the way around the neck opening.  Fold it in half lengthwise (with right sides together) and sew together, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.



Next, place your ric rac on top of the strip, centering the ric rac over the seam you just sewed.  Then sew the ric rac to the collar, right down the center of the ric rac.



Next, open up the bodice piece with the right side of the fabric facing up.  Then place the collar face down and line up the raw edges of the collar and bodice……and sew them together, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  (Sew slowly, sewing a few stitches at a time, adjust your fabrics, and continue…)



When you flip the collar up, this is what it should look like. :)



Next, create sleeves (just like the Cinderella costume), but before adding the band around the bottom of each sleeve, add a strip of ric rac, just like you did with the collar above.  (However, I made these Dorothy sleeves a little longer than the Cinderella ones….so just add a little more height to each sleeve piece.)



Then, attach the sleeves to your bodice piece.  (In the Cinderella tutorial linked above, the bodice was already sewn together and then the sleeves were attached.  But I actually prefer attaching sleeves to an open bodice and then sewing the entire thing together…..more like this Play Dress tutorial.)  Then, sew the bodice together along the sides, with right sides together.



Now, I decided to make the jumper dress and white top all one piece…….so that they would always stay together and not get lost.  So to create the top portion of the jumper, you’ll want to create one piece to attach to the “shirt” portion of the dress.  However, if you look at Dorothy’s costume (google it!), she has different strips of the fabric along the top and the waist, giving it a distinct look.  To get this look, you want 2 strips that are cut on the bias to attach to the top and bottom of this bodice section.  (Need more info cutting on the bias?)


Measure from right below where the sleeves attach to the bodice section you made up above, down to where your subject’s waist is (or where you want to attach the skirt section of the dress).  You’ll now want to divide that number into 3 sections.  The middle section will be the largest and the top section smaller than the bottom section.  Just be sure that you add 1/2 inch to the top and bottom edge of each strip (1 inch total) for your seam allowance.  (And just be sure that each strip is long enough to wrap around the entire bodice that you made up above.)  Here are the measurements I used below.



Just a closer peek…….see how that top strip is cut on the bias?  It makes it so those squares are now sitting diagonally.



Now, sew your 3 strips together (with right sides together), using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Turn to the wrong side and iron open each seam.



Then fold the top edge down 1/2 inch and press flat.  This is the edge that will be the very top of the dress.



Turn the whole thing over (with the right side facing up) and place on top of your bodice piece.  Find the center of the gingham piece and match it up with the center of the bodice piece.



Attach the gingham to the bodice, sewing right along the very top of the bodice piece first (making sure the fabric is really straight and even, all the way around).  Then, sew another seam along the bottom, 3/8 inch from the edge, using a long basting stitch.  This will just help keep the fabric in place at the bottom.



Be sure you sew all the way around to the back……and that the gingham matches up in the back.



Cut off the the extra white fabric (if you had some).



Now, attach your zipper to the back of this bodice section.  (More on attaching zippers.)  Now the bodice section is complete…..and it’s time to attach a skirt.



Decide how long you want the skirt section of the dress to be, and attach it, just like the Cinderella Costume dress.  Just be sure and multiply the waist by at least 4… that the skirt will be nice and full.  (My skirt section is about 15 inches long and 75 inches around.)


However, if you look at Dorothy’s real dress, she has a little strip of the bias cut fabric towards the bottom of the skirt section.  I decided to do the same and added a 1 1/4 inch strip near the bottom of the dress.



Here’s a peek from the inside of the dress…….make sure to zig-zag or serge your raw edges and iron flat.



In case you’re making a similar dress size, here are the dimensions I cut for the strips of the skirt section.


Top section: 12 3/4 inches tall (a 1/2 inch seam allowance for the top and bottom included) x 75 inches wide

Bias Cut Strip: 2 1/4 inches tall (a 1/2 inch seam allowance for the top and bottom included) x 75 inches wide

Bottom section: 3 1/2 inches tall (a 1/2 inch seam allowance for the top and a 1 inch seam allowance for the hem included) x 75 inches wide



Then, gather up the skirt section and attach it to the bodice (more on gathering here).  Zig-zag (or serge) the raw edges and trim off the excess fabric.



Now, cut more fabric on the bias to create the shoulder straps.  I cut strips that were 3 inches wide (to create 1-inch wide straps) and long enough to reach from the front waist line, up over the shoulders, and down to the back waist line.  (Mine were about 22 inches long……but your may vary, depending on how long your bodice is.)  Fold in half lengthwise, sew together using a 1/2 inch seam allowance and turn right side out.  (More on turning a tube right side out.)  Make sure to include enough at each end to fold under a 1/4 inch, another 1/4 inch, and then sew in place.



Attach the straps to the dress by attaching a button to each end.



And then attach buttons to the back as well.



I also sewed a few inches at the shoulders, so the straps wouldn’t fall off the shoulders.



And that is it.  A sweet and happy little Dorothy Dress……ready to find that Yellow Brick Road!!!!


Good luck!



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  1. Laura says:

    Just wondering how much of the gingham fabric you bought. I’ll need to make a 4T just like you. Would 3 yards be enough?

  2. Christopher says:

    Did you hand sew all this or use a sewing machine? The dress looks stunning! :]

  3. Abigail says:

    I had such a hard time finding a good tutorial-and this one is amazing. Chloe plays Dorothy perfectly. I had a question about the sleeves though. I checked out the Cinderella tutorial but still couldn’t understand it. I am a first time sewer. do you recommend and tutorial on gathered puff sleeves?

  4. janet Smith says:

    Could you tell me how much gingham and white fabric to get for a size 3? I’m not used to working without a pattern and my granddaughter is 3 yrs old. My daughter has triplets and the boys are going to be the tin man and lion so she asked me to make a Dorothy costume.

  5. Marcie says:

    My daughter is set on being Dorothy for Halloween this year. She hasn’t even really seen the Wizard of Oz, so I’m guessing her choice has something to do with the sparkle shoes. Quick question for you, what size check did you use for the gingham? Thanks so much for your help!

  6. Katie says:

    I just made this costume for my little girl for Halloween this year (first time sewer, thanks for the awesome tutorial!) and even adjusted it for a girly tin man for my other daughter. I wanted to do fluffy skirts under the dresses as well. Would you say always underpay is good quality? My girls love a good twirl so I want something that will hold up to all the spinning and be nice and fluffy.

    1. Ashley says:

      Yay…..for a first time sewer, I’m so excited this was a success for you! Hooray!!!!

      As for the pettiskirts, I bought those white ones years ago, and my girls still wear them. For the price, I would say they were awesome quality! And would buy them again in a heartbeat. I have no idea if they have changed since I bought mine (and I haven’t looked around for cheaper skirts)…..but it’s worth giving it a try! Best of luck!

  7. sheila says:

    Would you make one for my grand daughter and i would pay you for it, I cant sew a button on

  8. Wendy says:

    You have seriously saved me!!! I’m dressing my 4 up as Wizard of Oz characters and I’ve been working on the Dorothy costume and have NOT been happy with it. Thank you! THANK YOU! Thank you!!!!!

  9. Claire says:

    So cute!! Just what I was looking for just wondering what length zipper you used?

  10. Linda says:

    This was perfect timing! I also have a 3 year old size 4 little peanut. I thought since she was still little that I should be able to choose what she was for Halloween – nope. She saw a Dorothy costume at Target and has since told everyone that she is going to be “Dorothy with her puppy” for Halloween. I had actually ordered that same dog from Amazon (the Toto at Target looks like a pug). I was trying to decide if I was going to hunt down a paper pattern for Dorothy (I have made the Simplicity one before for a friend’s daughter) but I didn’t want to make another trip to the store – and that pattern must have 50 pieces! Thanks so much for making it so easy! I finished it up this morning and she has already got it on skipping through the house with her puppy. You really made my day!

  11. Cami says:

    I kind of love that I have seen this girl in real life. Makes her all the more adorable! And Ashley….you did it again! So stinkin’ cute!

    1. Ashley says:

      Haha, you met the real sass herself! ;)

      Thanks so much Cami! MUAH!


  12. katy says:

    I love this! My daughter was throwing around crazy/boring costume ideas and when she saw your Chloe she was set on Dorothy! So thanks! :) My daughter is the same size as the dress you made here, about how many yards of blue gingham fabric did you use? We just finished watching the “Wizard of Oz” together as a family and I was picking Dorothy’s dress apart in my brain and love that you added the bias cut details. Thanks for sharing your talents with us!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh yay……this is perfect! Glad you showed her so she didn’t stick with something “boring”!!

      And you’re so welcome Katy!

  13. Taya says:

    I have been waiting to see what your kids were going to be this year! In my head I was thinking…are we going to see a little Elsa and Anna? But seeing your little one in that Dorothy Outfit makes me so happy! Can’t wait to see the other characters….I’m thinking a witch (good or bad), a scarecrow maybe, perhaps a little munchkin for your little munchkin:) Hope you’re having fun putting them together!! Love it!!

    1. Ashley says:

      Haha, I know, so did most people! But I may or may not be making those for Christmas gifts. Let me tell you, these girls of mine love to dress up. Ha!

      Thanks again Taya!


    2. Cara says:

      I was totally hoping for Frozen too, so I hope that you do make those for Christmas gifts! :) Love the Wizard of Oz theme too though.

  14. Wendy says:

    Awesome~~~~!!!! Chloe is adorable! You are so creative. Your tutorials are fantastic. Please don’t ever change, I love what you do. :)

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh thanks Wendy! And you got it! :)

  15. Dar says:

    First time “caller” here….
    I found your site a year or two ago. I always look forward to seeing what you have to share. Your kids are some of the happiest, cutest kids I’ve ever seen! This costume is absolutely adorable! You’re such a talent and obviously a great Mom :-)

    1. Ashley says:

      You’re caller number 12 Dar, and thanks for calling in!!!! Haha!

      And how sweet are you, thanks so much!

  16. Erin says:

    I’m so excited to make this for my baby girl! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh yay, GOOD LUCK!!!!


  17. Meghan says:

    WoWzers! She does make the most adorable Dorothy & you, girly, have TALENT!

    1. Ashley says:

      Haha, thanks Meghan!

  18. Donya says:

    Brilliantly done! You do such good work, thanks for sharing!

    1. Ashley says:

      You’re welcome Donya….and thanks!


  19. Jacqui says:

    Wow wow wow!!!! how gorgeous, lovely costume, lovely tutorial, beautiful sewing and a cute kiddo. Such a great job hope you enjoy your Halloween. Cheers

    1. Ashley says:

      Thanks so much Jacqui!


  20. Mary says:

    You make it look so easy….but I know it’s not as easy as it looks….very cute…..can’t wait to see the other kids costumes. I did the tin man and scarecrow costumes for my grandson’s years ago…but bought patterns…they were cute also.

    1. Ashley says:

      Hey, that’s great that you made them from patterns…..sometimes those written things are so foreign. But I’m sure legit pattern writers cringe at some of my terminology. Haha!

      And thanks Mary!

  21. Winter says:

    Cute! Cute! Cute! And Oh-So-Cute!
    “Playing it out in your head and joy ing notes” doesn’t sound weird at all! That’s exactly how I sculpt. I “sculpt” an item at least 3-5 times in my head before I actually touch any clay. :)

    1. Winter says:

      “Jotting” not “joy ing” Sheesh, silly auto correct!

    2. Ashley says:

      Oh gosh, so glad someone can relate! You wouldn’t even waste your time starting without completing the steps in your head, right? Otherwise, who knows how it would turn out! :)


    3. Winter says:


  22. Tammie M says:

    OMG!!!! out of all the homemade Dorothy dresses i have seen this is by far the best… and your little lady is the prettiest Dorothy ever! So cute!!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh, thanks so much Tammie! Really!

      I kinda think she’s the cutest Dorothy too! :)


  23. Kylie says:

    This is so adorable! I was Dorothy when I was in 5th grade, my mom made me a dress that looked very similar to this one! Sidenote: That same year, my brother decided to be the “Wiked Witch of the East.” My Mom is super creative – she helped him make a “house” out of a cardboard box, then sewed legs out of striped knit to make feet sticking out! It was hilarious, I think he won his grade’s costume contest that year. :) Good luck with the rest!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh, I love it…….good memories, right?

      And HA……such a funny idea about the house!! Now I want to do that for me…..hahaha!!


  24. Beth R. says:

    Please, please tell me that Oliver is a flying monkey.

    1. Ashley says:

      Ha……I guess you’ll have to see! ;)

      (I kinda LOVE surprises….as long as I’m the one doing the surprising! How rotten of me, right?)


  25. Jenny Z says:

    ADORABLE!! That costume (and Chloe) are so, so cute!!
    Love your tutorials! Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh thanks Jenny…..and I’m glad they work out for you. You never know! ;)


  26. Lauren says:

    She. Is. Adorable. Love the costume! I love when my kids pick themes for Halloween. A few years ago we picked Star Wars and this year we’re doing Little Red Riding Hood. I bribed my mother-in-law to use your instructions on Red and I’m crocheting pieces for my wolf. I can’t wait to see how it turns out! Thanks for all your tutorials and inspiration!

    1. Ashley says:

      Awww, thanks Lauren! And my word, you HAVE to send me pictures of your crew this year. Especially the wolf…..I totally want to see how cute that turns out! Awesome idea!


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

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