Easy “Man in the Yellow Hat” Costume


Dr. Seuss week snuck up on me again this year. We had a note sent home that the kids needed to dress up as their favorite book character. And of course, I had to get sick that week.

For the past two years, I lucked out and Spencer’s favorite character in pre-school and pre-K was the gorilla from Good Night, Gorilla. (Note: put the kid in a black shirt and pants, black gloves and for the gorilla ears, get small Mickey Mouse clip-on ears you can add to the sides of a black hat.)

But this time, he wanted to pick something different. He chose to be, surprisingly not George, but the Man in the Yellow Hat from the Curious George books.

This is an easy costume to do except for the hat. We already had a yellow shirt. I wasn’t going to bother with yellow pants, and planned on tan khakis but discovered he’d grown out of the pants that fit him a week earlier, so we went with his light gray baseball pants instead. I think it actually worked better than the khakis would have. Use Mom or Dad’s brown socks that can go up to his knees and some hiking boots.

That leaves just the tie and the hat. For the tie, I bought a yellow with black polka-dotted ribbon. Since I didn’t actually want to tie it around his neck and I wanted him to easily be able to remove it if he wanted, I took a bit of elastic and measured loosely around his neck, then sewed the “tie” onto a loop of the elastic. He could easily stretch it over his head and remove the tie. The elastic part was hidden under the collar of his shirt.


Now came the hat.

If I had had more time and felt better, I would have been a bit more careful and neat in sewing the underside of the hat, but I wasn’t really feeling up to anything very fancy–(or to ironing his shirt, as you can see in the photo). If he decides to wear this for Halloween (which I’m going to not-so-subtly encourage), I’ll fix the hat–and iron the shirt. And note, this was taken at 7a.m. None of us are morning people. 🙂


What you’ll need:

  • A cheap wide-brimmed garden hat (I bought one on sale from Michael’s store for less than $5) I had considered just re-using my Jessie hat when we dressed up as Buzz, Woody, and Jessie a few years before, but I was glad to not have to damage that hat.
  • Yellow Felt – I bought 2 yards. That was WAY too much. If you’re careful, you could easily get by on 1/2 to 3/4 of a yard. Sign up for coupons from JoAnns. They always have coupons for material. So I got this about 40% off.
  • 2 Air Packaging Pillows – these are those air pillows you get in many Amazon packages.
  • Black ribbon
  • Duct tape – because everything is better with Duct tape.
  • Needle and thread.

First, I took the air pillows and taped them together. Then, I taped that to the top of the hat. This gives you the height of the Yellow Hat.

I played with different ways to drape the fabric around the hat and finally ended up covering the top portion of the hat, then creating a donut-shaped ring to go around the top crown of the hat. I also created a ring to go around the bottom. At this point, I was pretty worn out, so my sewing got a bit messy. But it would be very easy to do a better sewing job on the bottom of the hat. The top looks great. All in all, this project took about 3 hours to do.

Tip on creating the donut-shaped ring. I traced with a pencil around the outside brim of the hat. Then, I just folded that cut-out ring in half and pushed it up against the edge of the crown. I used a pencil to trace about where the inside hold needed to be. Then just made a quick compass using a piece of plastic about the length I needed and going in a circle. It fit perfectly.  No actual measuring needed, everything was eye-balled.

Finally, I wrapped a black ribbon around the crown and called it done.