Measure your child from waist to the floor. (For size 3T, our abdomen was 15” long)
Trace your abdomen shape on cardboard, using your measurement as a guide for the MAX length of your abdomen to prevent dragging. Cut out the abdomen shape.
Using a hard, flat object, like a yard stick, make a crease in the cardboard length wise to give the abdomen a tented shape.
Lay cardboard abdomen over green fleece. Cut out a piece to cover one side of the abdomen with a 2” margin.
Hot glue green fleece to the outer side of the abdomen (the outer side of the crease) wrapping it to the inner side of the abdomen with remaining fleece from margin.
Cut 2 more pieces of fleece with a 0.5” margin from the outside of the abdomen. On one piece of the newly cut fleece, measure 6” segments. Sew over the measured segments to create the illusion of true segmentation. Sew the 2 pieces of fleece together with the segmentation on the in between the 2, leaving the top of the abdomen open.
Flip the fleece right side out. Hot glue the fleece pocket to the abdomen with segmentation out.
Fill the fleece pocket with pillow fill. It should be full and slightly stiff. It should be full enough to angle out from the body when attached.
Sew the pocket top closed.
For the antennae:
Take 2 paper towel rolls. Measure fleece to wrap around each roll with a 1” over lap and 2” margins on the ends of the roll. (You May need to cut the roll to fit your child’s height. For our costume, we cut each roll in half.)
Hem one side of each piece of fleece so the outer wrapped side will show the hem.
Wrap the fleece around each paper towel roll and hot glue in place. Tuck the extra fleece into the holes of the rolls.
Take 2 more paper towel rolls and cut them lengthwise. (You May need to cut the roll to fit your child’s height. For our costume, we cut each roll in half.)
Wrap the rolls to make 2 cone shapes. Use tape to secure the shapes. Measure and cut fleece to wrap around the cone shapes with a 1” margin.
Hem one side of each piece of fleece so the outer wrapped side will show the hem. Wrap and hot glue the fleece around each cone. Hot glue the cone shapes into each of the other paper towel rolls to make legs. Hot glue the legs on each side of the abdomen.
For the arms:
Measure the length of your child’s forearm. Subtract an inch from the measurement. Cut 2 cardboard ovals for mantis tibia. They should be long enough to cover the width of your child’s forearm and be comfortable for them to bend their arms around.
Crease each tibia at the width of your child’s forearm so it bends around your child’s forearm at each side.
Cut 2 pieces of fleece the shape of the tibia with a 2” margin. Hot glue one piece to the outside of each tibia (the outside of the creases) wrapping it to the inner side of the abdomen with remaining fleece from margin.
Cut a 4 pieces of felt the shape of the curve of the tibias and add spikes to give the mantis a lifelike look. Hot glue them to the inside of tibias.
Cut 2 pieces fleece with a 0.5” margin the shape of the tibias. Sew a 0.25” hem around each piece.
Cut 4 pieces of elastic 1” shorter than the width of your child’s forearm. (Ours was 2.5” wide). Sew each piece of elastic 1” in from the top and side of the tibia creating a band to keep the tibia on your child’s wrist.
Hot glue the fleece pieces with elastic to the inside of the tibias, leaving the top unglued (the side that will face the hands of your child).
Take 2 paper towel rolls and cut them lengthwise. (You May need to cut the roll to fit your child’s height. For our costume, we cut each roll in half.) Wrap the rolls to make 2 cone shapes. Use tape to secure the shapes. Measure and cut fleece to wrap around the cone shapes with a 1” margin.
Cut 2 pieces of felt the length of the cone shapes and add spikes similar to those made on the tibia to give the mantis a life like arm. Hot glue the felt pieces to the hemmed side of the fleece pieces. Wrap and hot glue the fleece pieces around each cone with the felt side out.
Hot glue each cone into each tibia on the unglued side.
For the eyes:
Take a 4” sphere and cut it in half. Hot glue each 4” google eye to each half of the styrofoam sphere.
Wrap, cut, and glue fleece around the styrofoam, working it into a tight shape to form to the sphere.
Have your child try on the hoodie. Measure and mark to the outside of your child’s eyebrows to gauge the size of the mantis’s head.
Measure and cut a shape as wide as the measure meant above, round on the back and tapered in by an inch on the front. The front should have straight lines. This will make the mouth of the mantis. Hem around the head shape. Do not hem the front (mouth).
For the pincers:
Cut 2 small spikes about 3” long and 1/4” out of felt to use as tips of the pincers of the mantis.
Pin the head to make 2 pincers. Put a pincer spike in between the layers of fleece of each pincher
For the assembly:
Hem the mouth to finish the mouth.
Sew the head piece to the top of the hoodie.
Sew “X”es underneath where each eye with be attached. Each X should be about 2” wide. This will keep the eyes from drooping off the head. Hot glue each eye to the head. Use A LOT of glue to make sure they’re secure.
Cut 2 small pieces of fleece 2” by 2”. Fold each piece of fleece in half. Wrap and hot glue one around a pipe cleaner to make antennae. Attach each antennae to the inside of each eye to the head piece. They should sit half way back on each eye. Bend the antennae at about 1/3 of the way down to add character to them.
For the final touches:
Pair the costume with kids bottoms.
Put on suspenders and attach the abdomen with a suspended snap in each side.
Put on the hoodie carefully.
Put an arm on each arm with the elastic bands on the bottom.