My Little Pony Costume Sew-Along – Day 9: The Tail

My Little Pony Costume Sew-Along - Day 9: The Tail
I know 12 days worth of work for one little costume seems like a lot, but we’re almost done.
And by the end of this tutorial those of you who are just making basic ponies or unicorns may actually be finished! 
There’s a little bit of hand sewing to get through today though, so lets not celebrate too early. Here we go…
Today you’ll need:
pins -velcro – rotary cutter and cutting mat – a long embroidery needle – thread
a rectangle of fleece in your tail color – a strip of your body color fleece (fleece measurements below)
a binder clip and thimble are both optional, but a good idea if you already have them on hand.
Your tail colored rectangle needs to be the length you’d like your tail to be plus about a half inch,
by the number of strands you would like it to contain times the width of your strands.
Confused? Don’t worry, me too.
Let’s pretend you’ve been taking my advice on the measurements and made the strands of your mane 5/8″ wide.
For a thick full tail I like to use 36 strands, so 36 x 5/8 = 22.5.  My rectangle needs to be 22.5 inches wide.
Please keep in mind that 36 is by no means the “magic number”. For a character like Rinbow Dash with 6 colors,
four of each (24 total) would be much easier to work with. This is a personal preference and you could use any amount you’d like.
Now for the length: The strands of the tails I make are roughly 17-18 inches long. That makes them long enough to be fun, but not quite long enough to drag the ground for most kids over 3 years old. Aurelia is about 3’4″ and you can see how long they are on her here. You may need to adjust this length if your child is shorter, but by my logic a half yard of fabric is 18″ so why mess with fate?
 My rectangle ends up being 17.5 by 22.5, and I cut it into strands the exact same way that I did for the mane,
stopping my cuts about 3/8″ from the top edge.
Once all the strands have been cut, start at one end and fold over four strands. 
Continue folding, wrapping the strands around and around until your formed a little jelly roll looking thing. 
(Yes that is the actual technical jargon. 😉

Set the tail fringe to the side, and get out your body color.
The strip for the waistband needs to be the length of your child’s measurement plus your desired overlap,
by the width that you’d like your waistband to be. Then you need to add 1/2″ to each measurement to account for seam allowance.
If you would like your tail to be adjustable so that it can be worn as your child grows (and you trust my measurements) I’d suggest making your strip 27 1/2″ long by 2 3/4″ wide. This will give you a 2 1/4″ wide belt that can be adjusted for any waist size between 20 – 25 inches.
After you’ve cut your two strips, find the center and baste roughly 5-6 inches along the top and bottom edges of each.
( 1/4″ seam allowance. Black notches mark the center. Pink is your basting)
Next you’ll need to sandwich your tail  roll between your two strips at the center marking.
It is next to impossible to get pins through that many layers of fleece, so use the binder clip to help hold things in place. 
The strips should be right sides together for this step.
Use your basted rows as guide lines to help you hand-stitch the tail into place. This is definitely the worst part, and you may need to fight the needle through so many layers, but luckily it’s only about 3-4 inches. Also, if you start and end about a 1/2″ beyond the sides of the fringe, you’ll have less hand sewing to do later.
With the right sides of your waistband still together, pin along the edge from the end of your hand-stitching around to where the fringe hangs out the opposite side. Use a 1/4″ sa and be sure not to catch any tail fringe in your seam by accident.
Clip the corners, and flip the two waistband sides down through the hole where the fringe was.
Roll the edges between your fingers to create a sharp seam, and pin it in place.
Use the basted rows as fold lines along the hole in the waistband.
Fold the 1/4″ to the inside and then ladder stitch along the baste to close the opening.
Mark a new parallel stitch line about 1″ above the tail.  
This will be connected to the rest of the top-stitching by small diagonal lines on each side.
It’s kind of hard to explain, so just try to make your lines look like those pictured above. 
We’re trying to make room for the machine to stitch around the bulky tail seam.
I’ve done my marking with a Pilot frixion pen. After the seam has been stitched you can heat the area with a hair dryer to make the marks disappear, but if you use this method please BE CAREFUL. Do not use an iron! The fleece will melt! I definitely learned the hard way that you need to keep the hair dryer at least a foot away from the fabric. 
Sew a row of  top-stitching at 1/4″ around the outside edge, jumping up around the tail when necessary.
Add a piece of velcro to each end of the belt. 
I use a 1.5 x 1.5″ piece on one side, and a 4.5″ piece on the other side for the adjustable versions.
Just be sure you are stitching one to the front side and the other to the back side to avoid twisting.
If your child is readily availible, I highly suggest trying it on to check the placement before sewing the velcro in place.

Congratulations! Your tail is finished!

I hope that wasn’t too difficult, but feel free to ask if you have any questions.

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My Little Pony Sew-along Links

Pony Costume Supply List Day 7 – Pants Pattern
Day 1 – Hoodie Pattern Day 8 – Basic Sweatpants
Day 2 – Attaching the Mane Day 9 – Pony Tail
Day 3 – Zipper Installation Day 10 – Pegasus Wings
Day 4 – Attaching the Hood Day 11 – Cutie Marks
Day 5 – Ears Day 12 – Hairstyle Options
Day 6 – Unicorn Horn Spike the Dragon Pattern Pieces

8 thoughts on “My Little Pony Costume Sew-Along – Day 9: The Tail

    1. When you stitch the baste row, you aren't attaching the layers to each other, just marking the line where you'll be doing the hand stitching. Then when you sandwich the tail, the "right sides" of the belt are touching the fringe part of the tail. Once the hand stitching and left and right sides of the belt are sewn – Then you flip it so the right sides are out through the little hole where the tail fringe was coming out the bottom of the belt.

      I think you might be getting mixed up with where the top of the tail is being attached. Looking at the lower half of picture #6, the hand stitching is along the top edge of the belt, and the bottom edge is the hole where the fringe is coming out. Does that make sense?

    1. Hi there! Unfortunately we don't have a dog for me to test on, but I'll check with a few of my neighbors and see if someone wouldn't mind me pony-fiying their pooch instead.

  1. How do you do the tail for Rainbow Dash? I'm guessing I could just stack the 6 pieces of fleece on top of each other and continue with directions as is.

    Thanks for the great tutorial. We're having fun making the costume and my daughter is so excited!

    1. Yep, that's pretty much all there is to it – stack & stitch. Since I use 6 strands of each color, I fold then to make levels that are 4 strands wide. (4 red & fold over 2, 2 yellow & fold over 4 to the next row) Hope that helps. Good luck!

  2. I would rather simply attach the tail piece to the back of the sweatshirt. Since it's too thick to stitch, do you have any suggestions on how to attach it?
    Your tutorials are AWESOME by the way. So easy to follow. All I have left are the ears and attaching the tail. Phew! Not a moment too soon.

    1. Thanks Mel! The only other way I've ever seen the tail attached is with snaps. (like kam snaps) They stitched the tail fringe into a little pocket, and attached the snaps at the top edge. Other than that, you could always use less fringe to make it easier to sew through. (4 layers is my limit though I have muddled through 5 before) Hope that helps! There's no time like the last minute. 😉

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