So yes, this year, I was an okapi. My second-favorite animal, after a giraffe. Okapis are actually the nearest living relative to a giraffe. They have shorter necks, but very long tongues. Look ‘em up; they’re pretty neat.
Here’s an okapi.
And here’s me dressed like an okapi.
As is the custom, I made my own (um, custom) costume.
I ordered a brown sweater dress from Amazon, figuring at least when I’m done I’ll have a nice new sweater dress. I wear my sweater dresses a little longer than was suitable for okapi-making, so the first thing I did was tack the hem of the dress up quite a bit. (Right: actual length of PattyBoutik Women’s Cowl Neck Long Sleeve Knit Dress.)
I had ordered women’s brown tights and white leg warmers from Amazon as well, but the leg warmers were cream and the tights were dancer-leg brown, so neither of those worked. I decided to go with an old pair of brown tights I had even though I was originally thinking I wanted something thicker. They worked. (Left: Okapi legs.)
For the bottom of the legs and the forearms, I used little girls’ tights. I got size 12-14 for the legs and toddlers’ 2-4 for the arms. I cut the feet off (and hemmed them and sent them to Munchkinhead) and cut leg lengths suitable for their purposes. Then, I cut rings out of the rest of the leg. It worked really well.
For the bum stripes, I used the top of the toddlers’ tights because they had the cable-knit pattern all the way up to the top, unlike the girls’ tights, which had a sort of control-top looks-like-tightie-whities thing going on. I hand stitched the whole thing with big stitches in back so it’ll be easy to remove without snagging the dress. I sewed the bum stripes with the dress on my dress dummy to ensure everything would stretch correctly once on me. First, I sewed the top down on the full piece. Then, I cut one stripe, sewed it’s bottom and the top of the next. Then cut the next stripe, and so-on and so-on. (Right, above: Okapi bum stripes in progress.)
The bum needed one more thing after that, a tail. I bought some chenille, fake fur and quilt batting at Jo-Ann’s. I cut a wide strip of the chenille, making the stripes in the fabric vertical. I cut a matching width of batting and basted the two together. I cut a piece of fake fur about two inches long and basted that to the center of the bottom of the fabric and batting. I folded it in half, including the fur, and stitched across the bottom and up the long side. (Right: basting and stitching tail.)
Lastly, I needed headwear. Mommy and I realized while looking at photos of okapis and the stuffed okapis in her zoo, that okapis have horns. I needed horns and ears.
For the ears, I found giant brown pipe cleaners at JoAnn’s. Who knew such things existed?! (Probably Munchkinhead…) They were super easy to bend into the right shape and wrap around a brown headband. I have enough left to make a nice monkey tail if anyone ever needs one. (Right: Ears in progress.)
For the horns, I used another brown headband and Styrofoam cones covered in brown felt. I tacked the felt to the cones with small pins and used scraps of felt pinned to the bottom, around the headband, to attach the cones.
I found out the day before Halloween that only male okapis have horns. I wasn’t ready to give up on them because 1) they took some effort, and 2) the cones were expensive! I had to buy a pack of 6 for $9. One of my coworkers saved the day by declaring that it was fine, I was just a transgendered okapi.One thing I know for sure, I was a happy okapi.
Okapi with her friends at their Halloween party.