Goldfish Costume

Okay today we’re tackling a more complicated costume.  A goldfish!

These are the components you can add to a hooded sweatshirt to make the costume:

  • Eyes
  • Lips
  • Tulle Fin
  • Scales

Read on for instructions on how to make each component:


I want to clarify that the pattern for these eyes was made by me with my very own skull meat and was definitely a trial and error.  If you know of a different way that you love to use, please mention it in the comments!

What we’re going for here is a 3 dimensional eye shape with a base that can be hand sewn on to the top of a costume hood or hat.

On we go… First step is to make a pattern.  I do this by drawing half an eye shape on the edge of a folded piece of paper.  Cut out the shape with a seam allowance.  

For each eye, cut out two of these shapes from fabric.  If you want your eye to be all white, use two pieces of white fabric.  If you want the back of the eye to match the hood of your costume, cut one from white, one from the color of the hood. 

You could add your eye detail (pupil/iris) to the white piece now, or you can hand sew the details on later.  I choose to sew them on later.

Sew the eyes together, right sides together, but leave a little space above the bottom edges. 

Now to make the base return to your pattern piece.  Fold the pattern from point-to-point.  Line the crease up on the folded edge of a piece of paper and cut out the shape of the small arch.   This is the pattern piece for the base of your eye.

Take your sewn eye piece and align one edge of the eye unit with one edge of the base unit.  Make sure only one layer of the eye unit is aligned to the base and sew the entire arch, point to point.

Flip the eye unit to the other side, aligning the other edge of the unit to the base.  Sew the points and a little bit of the arch, leaving a gap in the arch unsewn so the unit can be flipped inside-out.

Note the gap in sewing signified by the green oval

Turn the unit inside-out and fill with Poly-Fil.  Hand-stitch the gap closed and attach to the hood using your best blind-stitch.

Add the eye detail (I hand-sewed some felt circles on) and you’re done!


Measure the top-edge of your hood (X) and the bottom edge (Y).

For making the lips, I like the look of a shiny fabric like an acetate. With your fabric folded so that you have 2 pieces of each shape (1 normal and 1 reverse) Cut out your top-lip shapes the length of X and your bottom-lip shapes the length of Y.

Good sides together, sew around the edges of the lip shapes, leaving one end open so the unit can be turned right-side-out.

Turn the lip units right-side out, stuff with Poly-Fil, tuck the seam allowances inside the lip units from the gap, and hand-stitch the open ends closed.  Then hand-stitch the lip units to the edges of the hooded sweatshirt.


(just a note: these are the same instructions I used for the Unicorn Mane)

Do a running stitch sewing together the four layers of tulle. Knot the beginning, but don't knot-off or cut the thread at the other end.

After you pull your tulle together and the length = x, then you can knot-off your baste stitch thread.

After you cut the slit into the hood, fold the raw edges under.

Sandwich the layers of tulle between the folded-over edges of the hooded sweatshirt. Top-stitch to hold the tulle into place and to close the slit in the hoodie.


For the scales I also like to use a shiny fabric, like an acetate.

Cut out two pieces of fabric in the shape of a scale.  Layer the pieces right sides together and sew all around the edges.  Then lift just one layer of fabric from the scale unit and cut a slit.  Turn the scale unit inside-out through the slit.  Place the slit side down onto the sweatshirt and hand-stitch into place.

That’s it!  It seems like a lot but if you do each component in one-sitting, that’s only four sittings till you have an adorable, comfortable costume you could wear every year!  I know I’ve worn mine twice and am lending it to a pal this Halloween.


Filed under Clothes, Crafts, Holiday

7 responses to “Goldfish Costume

  1. Just looked through your costume series. I have to say I LOVE the first photo in this post. Do you have it on your fridge?

  2. Thanks for this! My toddler is Elmo this Halloween – I think I’ll be her goldfish. Elmo loves his goldfish, or so the song says!

  3. jeanne

    This is just what I need! I am the teacher of the “Goldfish” Kindergarten – (We used 4 different animals from the book “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” to name our rooms) – and guess what I’m sewing tonight! My only switch is to make the body in the form of a poncho with floaty wide sleeves for my side fins!! Happy Halloween

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