How to Make an Easy DIY Elf Costume Using a Novelty Christmas T-Shirt

Quiana Unique
by Quiana Unique
7 Materials
1 Hour

Sometimes you just have to DIY Christmas fun! If you want to make a DIY elf costume for Christmas, check out stores like Walmart that carry Christmas novelty shirts with fun holiday patterns in extra-large sizes. These t-shirts are perfect to turn into a cute holiday romper!

You could wear this to a holiday party as a cute elf costume or just as cozy pajamas over the festive period. Here’s how to make a DIY elf costume in just an hour with basic sewing skills!

To see turn your Christmas t-shirt into a dress instead (an easier option), see my other tutorial on how to make Santa Claus dress.

Tools and materials:

  • Extra-large Christmas t-shirt
  • Your own well-fitting top and shorts to serve as a template
  • Marking or tailor’s chalk
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • 18-inch zipper
Extra-large elf t-shirt

1. Make the pattern

Laying a romper on top of the elf t-shirt

Lay the t-shirt down on a flat surface with the t-shirt design facing you. Lay your own well fitting shirt or romper on top. Pin your shirt to the t-shirt so you can trace the pattern.

Tracing the romper as a pattern

Trace the sleeves and the body on one side with a ½-inch seam allowance on the sleeves and about 1½ inches seam allowance on the body. Try to get as much of the novelty pattern in for your DIY elf costume.

Cutting the fabric of the t-shirt

2. Cut the t-shirt

Once it’s all traced, pin the front and the back of the Christmas t-shirt together so the fabric doesn’t curl or roll up when cutting. Garments made of 100% cotton tend to roll.

Cutting one side of the romper pattern

Follow the lines you created to cut the one side you traced. 

Folding and cutting the fabric for symmetry

Fold the shirt in half, making sure the center is lined up perfectly. Use the cut side to serve as a pattern for the other side.

If you want to make your DIY elf costume a dress, you can stop here. If you want to make it into a romper, you’ll need to cut the crotch area.

Tracing shorts to make the elf romper bottom

3. Make the romper bottom

Lay your well-fitting shorts as a template. Fold the shorts in half at the center so the crotch is pulled out. Use it as a rough guide to see how low or deep the crotch should be.

Making the crotch for the DIY elf costume

This is a quick way to make the crotch. If you’ve got great mad sewing skills, you can sew a more refined version.

Placing the zipper on the DIY elf costume

4. Size the zipper

Lay an 18-inch zipper down the center of the front of the shirt starting from the top down. Mark where it ends on the front.

Cutting down the center of the t-shirt

Cut directly down the center of the design. 

How to make an elf costume for Christmas

If your top is similar to the one I’m making, try to keep as much of the cute pattern as possible. 

Sewing the DIY elf costume

5. Sew the romper

Turn the shirt inside out and repin the entire shirt for sewing. Make sure the fabric is pulled straight without stretching the fabric or creating any wrinkles. Use as many pins as possible to keep the fabric smooth and straight. 

How to sew an easy DIY elf costume

Zigzag stitch all the seams. Start with the sleeves, by back-stitching first and then using a zigzag stitch. Once all the seams are sewn with a zigzag stitch, follow up just to the left of the seams with a straight stitch for that extra security! 

Pinning the zipper to the elf romper

6. Sew the zipper

Once both sides and sleeves are sewn, install the zipper. If you need more help, check out my video on how to sew a zipper.

Pin the zipper on the wrong side of the fabric. Install the zipper foot on the sewing machine. Place the zipper teeth into the channel on the right side. Backstitch and then sew it on. Take your time doing it so it looks right!

DIY elf costume

Simple elf costume DIY

How to make a cute elf romper for Christmas

DIY elf costume tutorial

This is how it looks when finished. This simple elf costume DIY romper is so cute and festive! Please comment below with your thoughts. Be unique this holiday season! Merry Christmas!

Suggested materials:
  • Extra-large Christmas t-shirt
  • Your own well-fitting top and shorts to serve as a template
  • Marking or tailor’s chalk
See all materials

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