Flashback: Sushi Costume

Costumes, Cosplay, and Props Home

Love sushi? Why not represent with a clever sushi headpiece on Halloween? This week we have another flashback for you from Make: Halloween Special Edition, a collaboration between the editors of CRAFT and MAKE, our sister publication. Crafter Helen Jen shows us how to whip up some shrimp sushi, for your head.
Shrimp Sushi to Go
Disguise yourself as a tasty crustacean with this simple-to-sew costume.
By Helen Jen

Last October in Taipei, I gathered with a group of friends to do something about our homesickness brought on by the lack of Halloween spirit in Asia. Our costumes had to serve two criteria. We’d have to dress as a group, and also pay homage to our new home. We found inspiration in the popular revolving sushi restaurants, where a customer can pick up a plate of fish from a conveyor belt that snakes around the sushi bar as a busy chef works to replace the dishes. I decided to go as shrimp sushi. After some experimentation, here’s how I did it.


Tape measure
Marking pencil
White jersey fabric
Pink felt
2 needles
1 regular sewing needle and 1 thicker needle strong enough to sew through a spandex swimming cap
Pillow stuffing
Spandex swimming cap
Fabric paint in white, orange, and pink


Step 1: Prepare your pattern.
Loosely base your pattern on the shape shown above. The shrimp will lie across the top of your head like a headband. Measure from just above one ear to just above the other. This will be the length of your pattern.
On white fabric, draw and cut out 2 identical patterns for the top and bottom of the shrimp’s body. Using the pink felt, cut out one pattern for its tail, which should be roughly 1/3 the length of the body.
Step 2: Sew together the shrimp body.
Place the top piece over the bottom, and draw an outline of the pattern about 1/4″ in from the border. Sew along the drawn line, leaving the tail end open.
Step 3: Stuff your shrimp.
Turn the shrimp body inside out, so the stitches aren’t visible. Fill with stuffing and sew shut. Down the middle, where the vein of your shrimp would be, sew through the top and bottom of the shrimp to create an indentation.
Step 4: Sew the shrimp to your cap.
Put on the swimming cap, then position the shrimp on your head with the head and tail ends resting just above your ears. Carefully, using the thicker needle, sew both ends to the swimming cap. (I tried sewing on the shrimp with the cap off, but that really cut down on the cap’s elasticity and it wouldn’t fit over my big head. If sewing while wearing the cap is too difficult, enlist a trusted or skilled friend to help you out.)
Starting with the back of your head, sew the edges of the shrimp to the swim cap. The idea is to make sure the shrimp hugs the surface of your head. Once the shrimp is securely sewn in the back, pull the shrimp toward the front where your hairline is and begin sewing it to the cap. It’s important to pull on the body as you sew, giving it more definition so it doesn’t look like you’re wearing a pillow on your head. Remove from your head when done.
Step 5: Paint the shrimp.
Using a paintbrush and a mixture of pink, white, and orange fabric paints, paint the shrimp’s body and leave it to dry before starting the next step.
Step 6: Attach the tail.
Sew the tail to the tail end of the body. It’s a good idea to attach the tail with a faint curve added, and not lying strictly flat.
Step 7: Add rice, and you’re sushi!
Assuming the swim cap base is not already white, you will need to use white fabric to cover it up and create a “rice base” for your sushi. Tie a length of white fabric over the forehead and swim cap, or for better coverage, sew white fabric to the edges of the shrimp in the front, and simply tie the loose ends in the back.
About the Author:
Helen Jen recently moved to Los Angeles where she continues to work in the animation industry. She likes doodling, designing toys, making little cartoons, and being a digital diarist, as evidenced by her blog, hidinginasia.blogspot.com.
Though Make: Halloween Special Edition was originally released in August of 2007, you can still pick up a copy at the Maker Shed. This volume features all things Halloween, from costumes to makeup to party foods and haunted house projects.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at snowgoli@gmail.com or via @snowgoli.

View more articles by Goli Mohammadi