Children's / Inspiration

The Paw Book Week costume

Birdie decided what she wanted to be for Book Week over a year ago, and has been biding her time waiting for this moment. The Paw is one of Chris’ books from his childhood and has now become Birdie’s favourite book! It’s the story of a little girl called Leonie, who becomes a cat burglar at night, stealing caviar from the rich to feed stray cats. I was so excited to help bring her dream to live and I had so much fun making The Paw Book Week costume with all it’s over the top details!

The Paw Book The Paw Book The Paw Book

She loves this costume so much and I’ll get to all the details, but first i think i should show you the inspiration because it’s so cute in all it’s 80’s/90’s glory! We’ve got a tracksuit, a hoodie, cat ears, a tail, high top sneakers and to top it all off, a Bum bag! We had to skip the watch with 27 functions and the suction knee caps pads to climb buildings. My skills don’t extend that far haha.

The Paw Bookweek Costume // Megan Nielsen Blog

There’s a lot going on here, and I don’t know where to start! So i think I’ll start with the fabric.

Birdie wanted this to be as close to the book as possible, and I knew immediately there was no way we were going to find that fabric. So we decided to make it! I took some of the organic french terry we have in the studio and some gold glitter paint (after much consultation with Birdie it was decided that glitter was imperative). First we cut out our pattern pieces, then we cut a sponge into the rough shape and then we stamped all over the fabric! it was really fun! I’m super glad we stamped before sewing because it made life easier.

For The Paw symbol on the tee I used some contact plastic to make stencils and then stamped with some block printing ink i saved from eight years ago when i experimented with block printing tea towels and gift cards. See, all that hoarding totally paid off haha. I will never throw out craft supplies! The ears were printed the same way.

Breaking into the shed / The Paw CostumeThe back of The Paw Bookweek Costume // Megan Nielsen Blog

Now on to the patterns! For Birdie’s track pants I used the trusty Mini Hudson pants. This is a pattern I adore and will recommend and use over and over again. If you have kids, get it, the end.

The tail is just a simple tube with a rounded end. I’ve made so many cat tails for my girls that at this point it’s become second nature haha. I attached the tail to the back of the Bum Bag so that if she go tired of wearing both throughout the day she could just take them off and put them in her bag as one piece. I think it will be easy to remove the tail from the Bum Bag in the future if she just wants to wear the Bum Bag on it’s own.

Birdie's bum bag for The Paw Bookweek costume

For the Bum Bag/Belt bag I really wanted to make one as close to the book as possible. I looked at so many Bum bag patterns and really struggled to find one that looked the same. I ended up using a pattern by Proper Fit which was the closest to it, and then i made some alts to get it to look right. The pattern is obviously adult size, so i just printed it at 75% to make it Birdie size which worked well. If I’m really honest, I really didn’t like the format of the pattern with only video instructions. This was my first Bum bag and it was more of a frustrating experience than i think it needed to be. For strap length i went for a combo of what Birdie needs now, with enough length for Bunny (who is 6 years older) to make sure it would fit an older kid. I’m pretty happy with decision, because Birdie is already super in love with this Bumbag and i think she might be wearing it constantly from now on.

For the hood I used the hoodie from the Brindille & Twig free raglan hoodie pattern. I fully intended to sew the entire hoodie sweatshirt, but unfortunately, book week at our kids school was postponed to much later this year due to COVID and as a result it was much to warm to wear a sweatshirt. We had to compromise with the hood and trackies only. Birdie took the blow that she had to wear a tee rather well actually. The ears we improvised, and the whiskers are pipe cleaners that i sewed on for the day, but will need to remove when we wash it.

And now I have to make a terrible confession. I did not make the tee shirt! I know. The shame. The horror. Please don’t judge too harshly, I was a tired mum by this stage and couldn’t bring myself to sew another thing. I bought a plain white tee from AS Colour and attached the hoodie to it.

The Paw Halloween Costume

The only thing she was disappointed about was the shoes. But honestly, it was such a hot day I was feeling guilty enough sending her to school in a hoodie and trackies in the heat. In retrospect I think it was a good call because there’s no point in looking cute if you’re overheated!

One of the great positives of Book Week being delayed this year is that Halloween is now only days away, which means we’ve got the Halloween outfit sorted too. So I’m feeling mightily smug. ALSO this is huge, but Birdie managed to keep this entire very white outfit clean ALL day. My mind is blown. But I’m still glad we followed The Rules.

Seeing how much Birdie loves this costume is everything to me. I love Book Week and getting to make my kids something special and unique makes all the intense panic sewing so worth it! I can’t wait to show you what I made for Bunny and Buddy this year!

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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Kathy-Anne Carr
Kathy-Anne Carr
3 years ago

Well done! Such a cute costume! One year my son wanted to be a caterpillar for Halloween so I used a track suit he already had and bought some fleece that was similar in colour. From that I made a hood and the caterpillar legs. The hood was modified from a coat pattern and the legs I created the same as you did for the tail. I used snaps and thread chain to attach the legs. I used pipe cleaners and pom poms for the atennae. When he lifted his arms the legs moved. Halloween in Canada means that you need lots of layers underneath the costume so that your child doesn’t freeze and that only improved the look of the costume. Sometimes we have to use the purchased items to modify and morph into the finished project. The best part was taking the legs off and he still had use of the track suit. Again, well done!

3 years ago

I love reading about what your kids choose to be and then what you for Book Week. My eldest (7) will have his third BW at school next week, and my second (5), his first. I always said I wouldn’t spend much time or money on costumes, and for the past two years I’ve stuck to that for Luke Skywalker and David Attenborough (absolutely the easiest costume ever – chinos he already had, blue school shirt, binoculars and white hair spray). This year my eldest chose David Bowie and I squealed, “I HAVE to make a blue suit!!” So I did. My second chose a pirate so I made him a scruffy jacket. I’m pleased I’m not at work on the day so I can get the David Bowie lightning bolt face paint right!