Toddler Cosplay/Halloween Anime Schoolgirl/Sailor Costume

For this year’s Halloween, I decided to dress Madeline up as an Anime schoolgirl because her daddy loves anime and he’s also deployed. So I’m hoping to surprise him by sending some pics of Madeline in her costume. It’s getting quite chilly here so I made the sleeves long so that she could wear a long-sleeved onesie or even a sweater underneath depending on the weather. The box pleat skirt has an elastic waist and the tutorial for that will be coming soon!

I think this is one of those outfits that could either be a schoolgirl or a sailor outfit. *UPDATE- Originally this was an Anime Schoolgirl costume but we went to several Halloween events and everyone thought Madeline was a little sailor and as one of  friends who’s a huge anime buff pointed out that you’d have to be familiar with manga to recognize it as Japanese schoolgirl outfit. Duly noted. So I ended up renaming the pattern. 🙂

It can also be made as a boy’s sailor top as well by adjusting the sleeve’s gathers. This was actually my first time drafting a kid’s sailor collar. To be honest, I’m not entirely satisfied with the collar but with Halloween being so close and having just finished off the last of my Prednisone – I think it will just have to do for now. The toughest part for me was squeezing that fabric glue bottle, if you’re having any joint pain in your fingers you can machine-sew the ribbon down. The gathers on the sleeves require a little pulling on the threads but other than that this top is pretty easy to sew.
I used bleached white muslin which literally has no stretch so if you’re using a fabric with little to no stretch make sure to measure your child’s head first so that it will fit through the top’s neck opening which is approximately 20.5″ wide.

Ok so let’s get started…

Things You’ll Need:
White fabric
Navy fabric
Red fabric
3/8″ white ribbon
Snap buttons or Velcro
Lightweight fusible interfacing
Print PDF pattern *here*

For reference…

Madeline’s Measurements:
Head: 19.5″
Waist” 19
Finished garment measurements:
Neck: 20.5″
Waist: 25″

Print out the first page of the PDF pattern which has a 1 inch test box and make sure that it measures correctly before printing out all the pages.  After sewing each seam, don’t forget to finish the edges with a serger or a zig zag stitch on a regular sewing machine. Most sewing machine have a mock overcast stitch. I’m using a Janome HD1000 and this “H” stitch with my overcast presser foot.


Let’s start off with the collar.

1. Cut out 2 collars in navy and sew with a 3/8″ seam allowance except on the neck line. Turn the collar right side out – (a) to get sharp corners fold the top seam towards you. (b) Then fold the side seam over. (c) Place your hand inside so that you’re pinching the 2 seams with your index finger and thumb and then turn it right side out. You can use a ruler to push out the corners. Iron the collar.






2. Place the ribbon 1/2″ from the edge and either glue or sew it down. Fold the ribbon inward at the corner of the collar.


Now the collar is done and moving onto the body of the top.

3. Cut out the front and back piece in white fabric. I fused the fabric with medium fusible interfacing because it was all I could find in the closet. Then I cut out the facing pieces, joined them and pressed the seams open. For now, sew only the shoulder seams of the top and press them open. I find it much easier to sew the collar onto the top when it can be laid out flat.


4. With the right side of the top facing you, place the collar on top of it and pin it all the way around the neckline. Overlap the 2 ends. The neckline has a 3/8″ seam allowance but we will sew with a 1/4″ for now.


5. Place the right side of the facing on top of the collar. Sew with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Clip down close to the stitch in the “V” area and also clip around the entire neckline which will make the facing sit nicer after it’s turned inward.


6. Turn the facing inside the top and iron it down. I also stitched 1/4″ from the neckline to keep the facing in place.


7. Fold the insert in half and sew with a 1/4″ leaving about a 1 1/2″ opening. Turn the insert right side out through the opening and iron. Close the opening by stitching close to the edge.


8. Pin the insert to the neck and sew it to the facing on only one side. The other side will be for the snap buttons. I used Velcro instead which I cut into little circles, glued them in place on the insert and facing and sewed along the edge of the Velcro.


Next step is the sleeves.

9. Matching the notches, pin the sleeve to the body of the top and sew with a 3/8″ seam allowance. To create gathers, sew 2 rows with a contrast colored thread using your widest stitch length. The seam allowance is also 3/8″ so you will want the 2 rows to sandwich the 3/8″ seam.


10. Pick up the top 2 threads and pull until the sleeve is the same length as the band. You can use a seam ripper to spread the gathers evenly.


11. The band is 7 3/4″ x 2 3/4″. Fold it in half. Glue or sew the ribbon 1/2″ above the folded edge. Then pin the band on top of the sleeve gathers.


12. Sew the band to the sleeve with a 3/8″ seam. Then remove the contrast colored threads.


13. Sew along the sleeve and the side seam with a 3/8″ seam allowance.


14. For the hem, fold up 3/4″ first and then fold the raw edge under 1/4″. Sew close to the folded edge.


And that’s pretty much it for the top! The last thing will be is to make a bow and attach it to the top.

Making the bow…

1. Cut out the 3 pieces.


2. Sew with a 1/4″ seam.


3. Make sure the seams are in the middle and press flat.


4. Turn the raw edges in 1/4″ and sew them close.


5. Pinch and sew the tail and then the bow so that they are side by side. Also leave a little tail of thread.


6. After a few more stitches, bring the needle back to the tail of thread and do a double knot.


7. Wrap the small piece around the bow and tail. Sew along the edges shut.


8. I placed my bow about 1/2″ above the V. Start the stitch from the inside of the top leaving a tail of thread and attach the bow. Use the tail of thread to double knot.


And that’s it! The most fun part will be seeing Madeline wearing it on Saturday at the Cosplay/Halloween event at the library. I wanted to make myself matching costumes with her but where does the time go? Maybe, next time…

I hope this tutorial was simple and easy to follow. If you have any questions please comment below and I will reply as soon as I can. If you made this for your little one, share some pics below – I’d love to see it!


You may also like


  1. I found your site quite by accident, but I want to thank you for your toddler fleece hat pattern. I can see my little great grand daughter in one. I don’t get out much because of my health, but love to sew and quilt. Thank you again.

    1. Thank you so much for the lovely comment Lyn! I don’t like to go out much either when I have a bad flareup – I usually just draft patterns or sew quietly so I completely understand. I will be posting an adult’s fleece hat with ear flaps as part of my therapeutic sewing projects so please keep checking. I wish you good health!

  2. I love this, I subscribed but unfortunately the pattern link doesn’t work for me. It takes me to a subscription page and I already subscribed. Is there another link to the pattern?

    1. Hi Lola,
      Thank you for subscribing!
      The subscription page loop happens due to your browser setting so you will need to go to your internet browser setting and turn off the pop up blocker. This will allow the pattern to open in a new tab. Happy sewing! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *