Halloween DiY: Bumblebee Costume {Part 1}

How to make a bumblebee costume.  So darling and SO simple to make!

I have never attempted to sew a costume before, but Princess really wanted to be a bumblebee this year.  When I started looking at the bee costumes that were available, I was appalled at the idea of anyone spending $25 or $35 per child when I knew I could make it for much cheaper.

At first I thought about making a black tutu and pairing it with a yellow & black t-shirt, but then I remembered the pillowcase dresses I made for the girls a while back, and decided that would be the cutest and easiest solution.

Here is what you will need:

1 yard bright yellow fabric
1 roll 2-1/4″ wide black grosgrain ribbon
2 yards of 1″ wide black grosgrain ribbon

 I used white thread because that was already in my machine!  To save money, I used some 40% off coupons at Jo-Anns and spent just under $10 on ribbon and fabric for the 2 dresses.


Step 1:  Cut out the dress out of 2 identical pieces of fabric. (It is a good idea to pre-wash/pre-shrink the fabric.)  The easiest way to figure out the size is to take a dress that fits and use it to measure the length, then make it a little wider.  When cutting, fold it in half lengthwise so that your armholes are uniform.  To make the armholes, cut a “J” shape about 6? long and 3 inches wide.

How to make a bumblebee costume

Step 2:    Lay out the 2 1/4″ ribbon on the dress to make 3 stripes & cut to size.  Be sure to cut 2 of each size.

How to make a bumblebee costume

Step 3:  Lay front and back of dress on table side by side, making sure the bottom edge lines up exactly.  Pin the stripes in place so that they line up with each other.

How to make a bumblebee costume

Step 4:  Carefully stitch the ribbon stripes in place.  This is the most time consuming part of the whole project!

How to make a bumblebee costume

Step 5: Line up front and back pieces face to face so that stripes line up, then pin in place.  Stitch each side & remove pins.

How to make a bumblebee costume

Step 6:  For a cleaner finish, trim the raw edges with a pinking shears.  Or, if you’re one of those fancy sewers, finish edges with a serger. (Lucky you–I would love one of those!  Husband, if you’re reading, you can add this one to my wish list!) ;-)

How to make a bumblebee costume

Step 7:  Fold bottom hem over twice to hide raw edges, then iron flat and stitch in place.

How to make a bumblebee costume

Step 8:  Fold over armholes twice to hide raw edges, iron flat, then pin and carefully stitch in place.  This is the trickiest part of the whole dress (but it’s really not that tricky.)

How to make a bumblebee costume

Step 9:  Fold over twice top of front panel.  Iron flat then sew in place, leaving a 1″ allowance for ribbon to pass through.  Repeat for back panel.

How to make a bumblebee costume

Step 10:  Thread approximately 1 yard of ribbon through 1″ ribbon through hem on front panel, then repeat for back panel.  Tie ends together at shoulders to close armholes.

That is pretty much all there is to it, at least to Part One of this little Bumblebee costume.  Check out Part Two here for instructions on the wings & antennae!

A very detailed & easy-to-follow tutorial for making a little girl's pillowcase-dress style bumblebee costume.  So cute, so easy, so inexpensive!

Altogether, I spent about 2 hours making two dresses.  I was a little nervous about getting the stripes to line up, but it really was very easy.  As with my original pillowcase dress, I sincerely apologize for these instructions if you are a “real” sewer.  I am a marginal sewer at best, so If you actually know what you are doing these instructions will probably seem woefully amateur!

*   *   *

So what do you think?  Do you usually make your own Halloween costumes, or do you prefer the store-bought variety?  What are your costume plans this year?

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{ 24 comments… add one }

  • Alisha October 11,

    VERY cute!! My next investment may have to be a sewing machine! :)

    • Ruth October 11,

      Christmas is coming soon! Maybe Santa will bring crafty gifts this year. :-)

  • Samantha October 11,

    SO CUTE! Sadly, I don’t sew so my kids’ costumes are usually bought the year before from after holiday clearance sales (my daughter will be Dorothy this year ’cause I got her dress from Target for $3.50 last year).

    • Ruth October 11,

      Samantha, that is such a great idea! It is hard to beat $3.50 for a Halloween costume!

  • Brittany Vandeputte October 11,


    • Ruth October 11,

      Thanks Brittany!

  • Pounds4Pennies October 12,

    Very cute. I wish my daughter was small enough for this idea. I do have little face I can still pick his costume, but I don’t think I can make him a dress.

  • Sandra October 22,

    Absolutely adorable! I just finished my very own version of the bumblebee costume for my toddler girl, so thanks a lot for the inspiration and easy-to-follow instructions! I also added a stinger and a pair of wings, both made out of black fleece. I think this is so much better than the store-bought Halloween costumes :-)

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  • Mommy Ava October 25,

    This is a great tutorial. I am in the process of making my son a bumble bee costume and this is helpful. (I don’t know why most store bee costumes are geared towards little girls–boys want to be bumblebees too!)

  • Darija February 15,

    OMG! Thank you for the great tutorial, I am in the process of making the bumblebee costume for my daughter. We celebrate our own version of mardi gras here in Croatia, so I like to have atleast two to three kid’s costumes ready for kid’s parties during this time before Lent. This costume is fast to make, also going to use it for her parrot costume and add wings and head piece. Will send photos! Many, many thanks and appreciation!

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