Being Donald Duck (a real man)

November 3rd, 2015 - 


Being pregnant on Halloween presented a welcome sartorial challenge. I spent some time researching options and decided I wasn’t crazy about anything that had been done before. I settled pretty early on Donald Duck but wasn’t sure I could pull it together until just last week, so I was also considering Ursula or Miss Piggy. I just kept coming back to Donald Duck though, so I’m glad I went with it and had some success.

A few months ago I was thinking about my new body shape and what to do for Halloween. I had just listened to the first Brad Hammerstone appearance on Comedy Bang Bang (where Brad and all his “real man” friends like to waddle around, eat bread, and wear sailor suits…they are ducks) and it really made me laugh to think about dressing as this character, especially since Donald Duck has a fat bottom just like my pregnant body would.

I was just a *little* disappointed to be pregnant this year because I really wanted to be the tightrope walker from Haunted Mansion for my next costume, but hopefully I can do that another year. Would love to actually dress as the tightrope walker for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween sometime, but we’ll see.

Anyway, I thought about the best approach for being Donald Duck and couldn’t get it going. I thought I’d do a weird hoop skirt or paper mache bottom worn kind of like a barrel with suspenders, but it was just overwhelming to get started and I wasn’t sure I could sit in something like that or be comfortable for a whole night.

In the end I went all fabric with nothing to shape the clothes but me (which seemed to be enough!) by cobbling together a bunch of already existing patterns. Pretty pleased with the results!

Here’s what happened from top to bottom.


I cut fabric for the hat after I’d already cut the shirt, and didn’t think I have enough. I made as much of a circle as I could, then gathered the edges. I measured my head where I wanted the hat to go and cut a 2.5″ band of black fabric to roughly that length (23″). I sewed that into a circle, doubled it over, and serged the gathered edges from the blue fabric along the open fold of the black fabric. I then cut two identical pieces of black fabric into a forked tail shape, for the top of the hat, and sewed it along its edge. Then I flipped it right-side out and ironed it flat. I found a button that would work to accompany the little tail, and sewed that on top to connect the tail. I decided to wear my hair in a high bun and put the hat around it, cinching it to my head as much as possible. I think it gives the hat a nice lift like cartoon Donald has, and it managed to stay on my head all night, which was a miracle.


I bought this from Amazon. It’s a whistle that looks like a duck bill. It’s very like the official ones you’d get at Disneyland but much cheaper. I kind of wish I’d gotten something that was always on the face instead of this one, which needs to be held in the mouth, even though the shape was very realistic for the character.



The main body came from McCall’s 6793, a loose-fitting top with no bust marks. I made this last year, grading from a L at the top to an XL at the bottom (I think?) and found it was WAY too large to be flattering. It sort of fits now that I’m pregnant, but I still graded the front bodice out at least an inch at the waist since the broadcloth I used for the top had no stretch. I kept the pattern pieces the same length (just didn’t add the peplum), lengthened the arms, and shaved about .5″ off from the sleeve cuff, since it had been gathered in the pattern. I think I could have added 1″ more length to the sleeves and maybe lengthened the front pattern piece a little bit to help cover my belly a bit more, but it’s fine.

I took the sailor cape from McCall’s 7141 and made adjustments to it and the body fabric inspired by this tutorial. Rather than inset the yellow stripe on the cape, I just bound the edge in yellow, to save on time. I did inset and top stitch the yellow stripe on the sleeve cuffs, however. I used a blue and yellow broadcloth for the top and hat. This was my first time making binding tape. I probably could have bought some pre-made, but I liked the golden color of this broadcloth, it seemed more authentic than what I found in the store. (The black fabric used on the hat was just leftover from some other project, I can’t even remember what I bought it for specifically, but it was also used on my pilgrim dress.)

Again, as a time-saver, I just used my hem roller to finish the sleeves and bottom of the top. This went much smoother with the stiff broadcloth than it has with my other more silky projects!


I used an old timey bloomer pattern from Simplicity 2777 for the duck bottoms. I went with view E, in the largest size, and dropped the crotch by several inches. I thought this would leave enough fabric to cover my belly, but I was wrong! I should have added a few inches to the top front of the shorts.

I made a channel at the bottom of each of the legs and inserted some 1/4″ elastic. Then I gathered the top of the shorts and took a 1″ band of white elastic cut and sewn into a circle to the length I wanted, and sewed it to the gathered top of the shorts.

I noticed the top and shorts gaped a bit at the belly, so I did decide to add some big yellow buttons to the front. I sewed them to the shorts and made button hole openings on the shirt, so once they were both on, I could button them together and hopefully keep everything in line.

I decided not to add a tail to the rump. I just wasn’t sure how I’d want that to look, and thought it might add too much weight and make the duck bottoms less fluffy.


I tried very hard to find a pair of tights I could dye or wear that would fit my pregnant belly and be yellow. It was basically impossible, so I made a pair of tights using McCall’s 6173.

I made a muslin of these leggings ages ago and figured they would work. I made them long enough to cover my feet, then did a little bit of adjusting to get them to fit more snugly around the foot. Still pretty loose, but not bad.

This is my last big project before the baby comes, glad it’s over! It was fun to wear and piece together, but I’m ready for a break.

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