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Tight Rope Walker Circus Costume

Oh, my goodness gracious… I am reminded of how big my little Chloe is!  I just finished up her Tight Rope Walker circus costume, and she suddenly looks so big and grown up.  Six-year-old girls want so badly to be bigger, especially when they have older sisters….but I’m not sure I’m okay with this! ((sigh))

In case you missed it, today is actually the 4th Circus costumes that I’ve finished.  I have already made Ellie’s Lion Tamer Costume, Connor’s Circus Clown and Bear Piggyback Costume, And Max’s Circus Lion Costume. I only have Oliver’s left to make…..and it’s a crack-up! (I’ll hopefully have that ready to share tomorrow….maybe Wednesday.)

Anyway, from the minute the kiddos decided they wanted to do a Circus Theme for their Halloween costumes this year (which they decided right after Halloween last year)…..Chloe insisted on being a Tight Rope Walker!!

So that’s what I made her… :)

Oh goodness, you guys…..anything that is fluffy and sparkly and super girly……Chloe WANTS IT!!!!!  (When I told her she could wear lipstick with her costume, she about exploded with excitement!)

Even though we have never been to a real circus…..Chloe has seen them in books and movies, and knows that a Tight Rope Walker is pretty skilled!  So she’s been practicing walking along narrow surfaces, with one foot directly in front of the others. 

Chloe also realizes that being part of a circus act involves a lot of traveling from one big city to another.  The circus life……is a busy life! :)

Here she is waiting for some of her other circus friends to to arrive by train, and join her for their next big show this weekend!  “Oh look, there they are!”

Chloe cracks me up though!  All I have to do is pull out the camera and she starts posing…..right in character!  I guess she really is getting ready for her circus act this weekend!

Maybe she’s planning on doing a little dance ensemble too.  Give the folks what they want, I guess! HA! :)

But the grand finale, will always be walking the TIGHT ROPE!!  Look at that skill! ;)

Chloe’s costume came together so quickly…..I was kinda surprised.

I was going to make some sort of headband but when I saw this headband at the store, it just seemed kinda perfect.  And was so much faster!  And then once I added feathers, it just jazzed up the whole costume!

I looked all over the internet for some sort of white or lacy umbrella that I could use…..but then found this white bamboo umbrella for $6.99 at the store.  PERFECT!!  And then I just added some pre-ruffled strips of fabric to the perimeter….and it made the cutest little umbrella for her costume!

That skirt.  Oh, that fluffy ball of tulle.  I used the stiffer tulle for this skirt and WOAH, I actually have to push that tulle down and out of the way sometimes.  It is so flouncy and full…..which Chloe LOVES!!!!

It almost looks less full in these photos than it really is.  I thinks that’s because of the holes in it….it just kinda gets washed out in photos.  But believe me, this skirt is thick and fluffy.  The perfect little skirt for a Tight Rope Walker, who has mastered her balancing act! :)

Oh sweet little cutie-pie Chloe!  Your enthusiasm is so contagious!  I could make you costumes every day of the year….and I would love every minute of it!

Would you like to make your own costume??

You could make this in just a couple of hours!

Here’s how….

SUPPLIES for Tight Rope Walker Costume:

  • Shiny knit fabric for leotard
  • Stiff Tulle, 5-7 yards (the kind with the bigger holes….and it just feels stiffer)
  • Headband and feathers
  • Bamboo umbrella (I found mine for $6.99 at Hobby Lobby and they have so many colors)
  • Pre-gathered fabric strips (found mine at Hobby Lobby)
  • Tights, shoes, and lipstick :)
  • Sewing Supplies (here’s a list of my favorite sewing supplies, in case you need a few ideas) 

***Check out my Sewing Terms 101 post, for additional help.


Okay, for the leotard…..don’t be scared.  It’s so simple to put together and is actually very forgiving.  And all you need is a front  piece and a back piece.  The shape of your top could be done a variety of ways….but I decided to give mine a little bit of a cap sleeve.  Similar to the top that I made my girls for their Mermaid Costumes.  So, I used that as my pattern piece to trace around (but you could always use an existing shirt, but just be sure it’s a fitted or snug one).

Also, if you’re using a shirt, remember that you’re going to want to create a bottom to your leotard….so grab a swimsuit and use that for a pattern for the bottom portion, where the legs will fit through.  Just be sure when you’re creating your pattern pieces, to add an extra 1/4 inch around the edges that you’ll be sewing, for a seam allowance.  (***If you’re not familiar with creating your own pattern pieces….check out so many of my other clothing tutorials for more descriptive pictures.)

Now, because this is a leotard and needs to be big enough to get in from the top, be sure the neckline scoop is big enough to fit over their entire body, and then pulled up onto the shoulders.  I actually made the scoop in the back lower than the front… give enough room. My back pattern piece is on the left down below, the front one is on the right.)

Then, cut your front and back pieces out on the fold….and this is what you should have.  (These two pieces were ones I cut out at the very beginning, before I made my scoops low enough….so ignore those necklines…..but the rest is the same.)  Just be sure that the stretch of your fabric goes right to left, so that it will stretch over the body when being put on and worn.

Then, just like those Mermaid Costume tops linked above, cut some strips of fabric and attach them to the neckline and armholes to finish them off.  (Use a zig-zag stitch to allow for stretch)

I actually did the same thing to both of the leg openings as well.  It’s a quick solution and works great!

Then, put your front and back pieces together, with RIGHT sides together, and sew closed at the shoulders, sides, and bottom, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  (Use a zig-zag stitch to allow for more stretch.)  Turn right side out and press flat.

The skirt is just a whole lot of tulle attached to an encased piece of elastic. (Just be sure you’re using the more stiff tulle, with the bigger holes.)

I put the waistband together, just like this Stretchy Tube Skirt tutorial.  Then, I cut my tulle down to the length I wanted it and put 4 layers on top of each other.  (Actually, the 5 yards of tulle that I used was purchased off the bolt already folded into fourths….so I just cut my long 5 yards of folded tulle down to 9 inches wide and used that.)  Then, I sewed a basting stitch right along one long edge of the 4 layers of tulle.  Then I just gathered in the tulle as tightly as I could and started pinning it to the raw edge of my waistband that I created.  I didn’t actually use the entire 5 yards, because it wouldn’t fit….but I just squeezed in as much of my tightly gathered tulle as I could along the waistband.Then I sewed it right to the waistband, using a zig-zag stitch.  (Need help with GATHERING FABRIC??)

Now, to get an insanely poofy skirt……..pull those 4 layers apart, layer by layer, really tugging on the tulle all the way to where they are sewn together.  This will give the layers some separation and will cause them to really puff out.

I completely forgot to take some pictures of how I made the headband…..but luckily, it doesn’t really need much explaining. :)  I bought this headband pre-made (from Hobby Lobby…in their hair accessory aisle) and added some of these puffy feathers that came together in a variety pack with these colors.  I just used hot glue to attach the feathers to the inside of the headband….and done!!!

The umbrella was pretty quick to do too.  I just bought 2 spools of pre-gathered fabric strips and place them around the lower edge of the umbrella.  I used a dot of hot glue right at every wooden spoke of the umbrella.  Otherwise, if you use a constant line of hot glue all the way around….the umbrella may not close as well.

And that’s it!  Now, just add tights, some ballet slippers (or ballet-looking shoes like Chloe’s), a little lipstick, of course….and your little Tight Rope Walker is ready for the circus!!!!


I hope that was helpful!  Let me know if you decide to make one too….I’d love to see pictures!!!

Good luck!







Ashley Johnston

Ashley Johnston

Owner 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 my 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!


  1. Kim N says:

    I LOVE all of your kids’ circus costumes! Just one more to go–can’t wait to see it, and pics of all of the performers together. Wonderful job, as usual :)

  2. Louise says:

    As always your Halloween costumes are outstanding! Kids r so cute and you take great photos.

  3. mary says:

    So So Cute…and Chloe is growing so fast…she was just a little peanut when I first started following you….=]

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Hi, I'm Ashley

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

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