Easy-peasy Thomas the Train Costume (Applique Tutorial)

easy thomas the train costume

Halloween is in just over a month!  It’s time to start thinking about costumes for the kids (or yourself, if you have a fun party on your calendar).  My son needed a quick costume in August for “Fantasy Day” at preschool.  Of course, he decided he wanted to be Thomas the Train.  How was I going to make a quick Thomas the Train that was comfortable and cool enough to play in all day?

I ended up brainstorming and making a quick trip to Michael’s and Kohl’s for some supplies.

Easy Thomas the Train Costume

Pictured are:

  • Thomas Drawing
  • Blue Shirt
  • Red Shorts (Thomas’s bumpers)
  • White, Grey, Yellow & Red felt
  • Heat ‘n’ Bond
  • Tulip Slick Dimensional Fabric Paint in Black
  • Top hat to make into a smoke stack
  • Ducktape (for hat)
  • Thomas chipboards (for hat)
  • you will also need a disappearing fabric pen

If you have never done an applique, they are SO easy.

easy Thomas the Train costume

I drew out Thomas’s face and marked the placement on the shirt with safety pins (I had Liam put the shirt on to find the proper placement).   If you don’t feel comfortable with free-hand drawing you can always enlarge a picture from the internet, like this one:

easy Thomas the train costume

Once you have Thomas’s face drawn, trace it with a disappearing fabric pen onto your grey felt.  It was dark outside, so I used my iPad as a light box:

Easy thomas the train costume

I downloaded a free iPad app called “flashlight” and it worked great.

Next, you will trace your facial features (mouth, eyes, pupils and eyebrows) and smoke stack onto the paper side of your Heat ‘n’ Bond.

 Iron the pieces to your felt and THEN cut around the shapes.

Note: if your drawing is directional (like words) make sure you trace it backwards onto the Heat ‘n’ Bond.

Peel the paper backing off and iron all your facial features to the grey felt (use the synthetic setting on your iron, so you don’t melt your felt).

Use your fabric paint to outline everything and draw in the nose and chin:

Fabric painting tulip slick paint

Time for a break, while you watch the paint dry!

Easy Thomas the Train costume

Next, pin the Thomas face to the t-shirt and do a satin stitch around the outer edge.

easy Thomas Train Costume

 A satin stitch is just a very tight zig-zag stitch.  I like to do a narrow zig-zag on my appliques, so I set the width of the stitch at a 3 and the length at 1.

You can also make the entire costume without sewing!

After you trace your facial features onto your grey felt, iron Heat ‘n’ Bond to the back. Cut your large, grey, circle out and iron it onto the shirt.  Then proceed with ironing on Thomas’s facial features and using the fabric paint.

easy thomas the train costume

Liam was so happy and he had no problems playing and climbing at school.  I did the “1” on the back with only Heat ‘n’ Bond.  I actually remembered to make the “1” while Liam was eating breakfast, oops!

Once you learn to do iron-on appliqué, a whole new world of costumes opens up to you!  I’m totally going to make a fool out of myself right now, but here is another costume I appliquéd a couple years ago:

Gilly costume

I was a totally rockin’ (and totally pregnant) Gilly from SNL.  I bought a cheap black dress at Target and ironed on all those felt hearts.  It was a hit!

Now go get appliquéing all those fun costumes!

4 thoughts on “Easy-peasy Thomas the Train Costume (Applique Tutorial)

  1. This is a fabulous costume idea – my little guy loves Thomas! What did you do with the top hat to turn it into a funnel?

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