This year my three-year-old daughter changed her mind many times about what she wanted to be for Halloween. She wanted to be a pumpkin. She wanted to be a snake. She wanted to be a horse, a fairy, a ninja… and so on and so on and so on. Until she decided that she wanted to be Margaret Tiger from PBS’s Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. And then she was settled.
So if you have a little one who loves Daniel Tiger and wants to dress up like his little sister, Margaret, then this tutorial is for you.
How I Made a Margaret Tiger Costume
Traditionally, when making a how-to tutorial I usually break down the materials and give you a step-by-step guide. Since there are multiple pieces with this costume, I am just going to explain it in sections. Let’s get started.
The Crochet Margaret Tiger Hat
In my opinion, the hat is the crème de la crème of the Margaret Tiger costume. It’s the piece that really ties everything together. Without it, the costume would just look like a child dressed in a child’s clothing.
So without further ado, here’s how I made the hat.
I did not create the pattern for the base hat, but I did tinker with things a little. I included two horizontal stripes to represent Margaret’s tiger stripes. I also added circle ears, and a little flower to match the one she has on the show.
The pattern I used for the hat is from Alli Crafts and it’s very simple and easy to follow. A beginner crocheter could easily make this hat!
The ears are simple because they’re just circles. There’s an easy guide you can follow from the Spruce Crafts that will teach you how to make a crochet circle.
I sort of made up the flower as I went, but if you want an easy crochet flower (that looks very similar to the one in the picture), try this video guide by B. Hooked Crochet and Knitting.
The yarn I used was Impeccable by Loops and Threads in colors Gold and Chocolate Brown.
One thing to notice here is the colors change based on lighting. Some lighting makes it look orange-y yellow, and others make it look light yellow. In real life, the color is a golden yellow. You may also think of this color as a mustard yellow.
The Sewn Margaret Tiger Skirt
The next essential part of Margaret Tiger’s costume is the skirt. The fun part is it’s SOOO (SEWWW?) simple. I’m going to give you a few step-by-step photos, and then I’ll link to the two resources I used to learn how to make this skirt.
Even better, your child can wear this skirt as part of their regular wardrobe. You can make several in one day and they’re really cute to add to a pair of leggings and a t-shirt.
Here’s how you do it.
Step 1: Cut Out a Rectangle
The measurements you want here are your child’s waist x 2 (or 3 if you want a really full skirt) by the length you want the skirt + 2″ for the top fold and the bottom hem. The seams allowance changes depending on the size elastic you use and how big you want your seam to be. I chose to do about a 1/2 inch seam.
Child’s Waist x 2 for my daughter = 44″
Length + 2″ for seams = 11″ (or as long as you’d like the skirt to be)
My daughter is three-years-old so your measurements can be custom made to fit your child.
Step 2: Sew Up One Side
The next step is to fold your fabric in right sides together and stitch up the short side. If you don’t have a serger (as I don’t) you will want to use a straight stitch first, and then finish with a zig-zag stitch. This keeps the end from fraying when washed or worn later.
Step 3: Iron Your Seam
Once you sew up the side, you can use your iron to iron down the seam you created.
Step 4: Fold Over Your Waistband, Iron, and Pin
Now you’re ready to sew the waistband of the skirt.
The waistband should be big enough to fit your elastic and a little more room to spare. Remember, you will be threading in your elastic waistband AFTER you sew this part, so leave enough room that it can be pulled through.
If you don’t have a serger, you will first fold your fabric over a quarter inch and iron. Then fold over enough to fit your elastic. Once you have the right height for your waistband, iron over again.
Pin in place.
Step 5: Sew the Waistband in Place
At this point, you can sew around the bottom of the waistband! Make sure to leave a two-inch space at the back of the skirt that is left unsewn. This is where you will insert your elastic.
Here’s what it looks like once you’ve finished this step.
Step Six: Finish the Bottom Hem
Some tutorials I read suggested hemming last after you finish the top (including adding the elastic). I find it’s easier to finish the hem first because the fabric is flat and more easy to work with. I may be breaking some universal sewing rules by doing it this way, but it worked better for me!
To do this part, fold over half an inch and iron. Fold over again, and iron once more. Then pin in place and sew around the inner folded edge.
Step Seven: Add the Elastic
For this part of the sewing process, you’ll want to get two safety pins. One to thread the elastic through the waistband, and one to attach to the skirt. The second one keeps you from accidentally pulling the other side of the elastic through as you thread it along the waistband.
Once you’ve pulled your elastic the whole way through, check for fit. If your elastic seems too long you can trim it, and if it’s too short you can sew on an additional elastic section. I had to trim mine a little once I tried it on my daughter.
If the fit is good, overlap the elastic and sew together using two lines of zig-zag stitches.
Step Eight: Close the Gap
You’re almost done! The last thing you need to do is close the gap you left to insert the elastic. Head back to your sewing machine and using a straight stitch, finish sewing the remainder of the waistband.
Now you’re done!
The two tutorials that I’ve used to create these skirts are Made Everyday’s “Simple Skirt” and the Crafty Gemini’s “How to Make a Simple Girl’s Skirt.” Both of these are much more comprehensive than my quick guide above and both are beautifully explained.
The Rest of the Margaret Tiger Costume
The rest of the costume is comprised of a pink sweater and mary-jane shoes. Unlike the original Margaret Tiger, my daughter wore tights instead of socks with her shoes. I didn’t have tiger colored leggings for her to wear, but I think that would have been a fun touch.
I chose the pink sweater pictured above because it’s one we already owned. However, Margaret Tiger’s sweater is actually a much darker pink. If you want something that looks more authentic, I really liked this one by Primary.
If you like this sweater choice, I have a referral link that will get you 25% off your first purchase.
Of course, if you’re feeling very ambitious you could also make the sweater yourself! (I wasn’t quite that invested, but it would be so darling if someone else made one.)
The last thing I used was face paint. I was going to include a guide showing you how I painted on her tiger face. Let me just tell you I’m not talented enough to make it worth your while. I am no makeup artist. So, what I will say is I picked up some face paint at Michael’s. I painted on tiger stripes (using Margaret’s picture as a reference). Then, I painted the rest of her face golden yellow. I finished off the face paint by giving her a little pink nose. I’m pretty sure that was her favorite part.
And that’s it. We hope your little tigers enjoy their costumes as much as ours did.