Mary Poppins and the Dancing Penguin: Jolly Holiday Halloween DIY Costume

Mary Poppins Costume

I have always loved Mary Poppins white and red dress from the movie. It’s iconic and beautifully accented with pops of red. I have been hunting for a dress that would be passable for a Halloween costume forever, but Etsy sellers charge over $500 for a single dress — yikes!

I did not have $500 to spend on a replica from the movie, but I came pretty close and here’s the breakdown for prices:

  • Foam core board
  • White t-shirt (from men’s section at Walmart)
  • Red t-shirt
  • Red Ribbon
  • 2 rolls of tulle
  • White fabric paint
  • Red Buttons
  • Faux red roses
  • 2 yards white fabric
  • Lace ribbon
  • White gloves (from Daiso)
  • Lace parasol (optional)
  • Total:                                                                            $47.98
$6.00 (with Michael’s coupon)

That’s less than $50!


I also was able to find this penguin costume for Casper for around $10 at Michaels on sale before Halloween, which made us supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

And this is not our first perfectly coordinated outfit:

Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson costumes

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson

Carl Fredrickson and Russel the Wilderness Scout from Disney/Pixar’s UP

Carl Fredrickson and Russel the Wilderness Scout from Disney/Pixar’s UP


Yes, we were pretty epic. I am not a fashion designer by any means and I usually use very basic sewing techniques with pre-made items to customize them, so I would rate this project at Beginner+. All the skill is at a beginner level, but it will take a lot of hard work to complete this project. To make your own Mary Poppins costume, just follow the directions below.

Mary Poppins Costume



Cut the white t-shirt straight across the stomach approximately 1-3” below the arm pit. Cut the red shirt at about the same spot.

Tip: One thing I didn’t account for was stretch. I would shorten the red shirt a bit so that the weight of the skirt doesn’t stretch the dress and make it too long.

Sew the top of the white shirt and the bottom of the red shirt together. This will be the bodice of your dress.


Although I said 2 yards of white fabric were needed, I wanted a very full skirt so I probably bought way too much for most people. I would measure around the widest part of your waist and multiply it by 2 to find the amount of fabric you need. Also, because it is white and most white fabric seems to be very see through, I would plan on having at least two layers for your skirt.

I bought a very wide white fabric and folded it width wise so that the two finished edges were at the bottom of my skirt.

Sew the skirt along the side to form a very long tube.

With a sewing machine, stitch the entire length of the fabric with a very loose stitch and gather the skirt until it is the right size to attach to the bottom of your bodice (i.e. the bottom red portion of your t-shirt).

Attach the bottom of your bodice to the top of your skirt. I recommend reinforcing the stitching here because this will be where most rips and tears will happen with your dress while you’re running around on Halloween!

I then took the top layer of my skirt, and created gathers evenly spaced around the bottom edge. I made red bows with the ribbon and sewed those to the top of each mini gather.

Skirt Details and Gathers

Ruffled Bodice

Take the bottom section of your white t-shirt and separate the front from the back so that you have one rectangle.

Sew lace ribbon down the length of the rectangle on each side.

With a loose thread, stitch down the center 3 times and use these threads to gather the ruffle. This ruffle should reach from the neck to the red part of your bodice.

Bodice Ruffle

Stitch the ruffle down to the front of the bodice.

Add 3-4 red buttons down the center of the ruffle.

Bodice Stripes

Tape off the red section of your bodice with masking tape or painter’s tape. Tape off thin stripes with the tape and paint with either fabric paint, or white craft paint mixed with fabric medium. Paint your stripes at a slight angle toward your belly button. The end result is a nice pop of color to break up the red.

Bodice Stripes Detail


This hat was a millinery wonder. I made the entire thing out of foam board and tulle and it looked amazing!

Hat - Top View

I found a mixing bowl in the kitchen that could fit my head and traced that onto the foam board. I then measured about 10 inches past that measure and drew another circle. This hat was a bit large when I finished so I would recommend a brim of no more than 6 inches. At one point, it even got wedged in a hallway because it was too wide to fit!

Cut out the large circle and the smaller circle. At this point, it should look like a very large, white donut.

I wrapped the entire donut with tulle so that it would have a softer look. Hot glue every so often so that the tulle is secure, but try to keep the hot glue on the inside of the hat where no one will see it.

Take a spare scrap of white fabric from either your t-shirt or your skirt material. Hot glue the fabric to the inside hole to form the top of the hat.

Hot glue several layers of tulle over the white fabric to camouflage it.

Cut several pieces of tulle in 1.5 yard lengths. Lay these over the top of the hat and let the lengths hang down. Secure with hot glue. This can be tied under your chin to secure the hat.

I tucked the last piece of my red ribbon around the brim of my hat and added several red roses to the back of the hat for finishing touches.

Hat - Side View


The gloves were a great deal that I found at Daiso. I just added some red buttons to the cuff as a finishing touch.

Crafts / DIY, Fan girl, Fashion
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  • Sonja Kuvik Loyd
    November 10, 2016 at 8:28 am

    Your costumes are so cute! Love the creativity ! A few favs are Mary Poppins and Sherlock Holmes and Watson.Your pup makes all your costumes Superb!