Our Amazing Halloween Costumes: How I Made a Custom Cat Tail

Our Amazing Halloween Costumes: How I Made a Custom Cat Tail

Last year, while browsing on Joann’s website for Zoey’s black cat Halloween costume, I came across a spool of two inch fur trim. I knew it would make a perfect cat tail so I purchased it and trusted I’d figure out how to make it into a tail once it arrived. Although I put off making it I’m so glad I bought it and forced myself to make the tail as I absolutely adore how it all turned out!

Pinterest-geared image showing my post's title, main URL, and four images also shown below.

Materials Used

  • Two inch wide fur trim
  • Plush elastic: 1.25 inches wide
  • Copper wire: I could see using floral wire… anything that keeps it’s shape as this is to make the tail bendable and shapeable
  • Masking tape
  • Serger
  • Thread and sewing needle

How I Made It

I didn’t go into this with an exact plan so I started by laying out all of my material and giving it a good look over to help decide exactly what I wanted to do. I did know that I wanted the tail to be long but I also wanted it to be easy to get on and off. I especially wanted the tail to grow with my kids so if either of them needed a black tail in the future we could easily repurpose this one with minimal trouble.

Image shows the ends of the fur trim so it looks like two pieces. On top of it lays the unopened plush elastic and behind it lays the empty cardboard spool and my scissors.
I started out with the entire spool of fur, the unopened plush elastic, and my scissors laid out on the table.

In the end I chose to use some plush elastic as a belt that can be pulled on and off over Zoey’s head. I didn’t want to sew the elastic directly to the tail so I can easily replace it in the future whether the elastic breaks or my kids outgrow it. As such I decided to leave one end of the tail unsewn so I could create an opening, or a loop, to thread the elastic through.

With that decided it was time to create the tail itself. To make it I considered just folding the fur trim in half but quickly realized that the fur would then be going in two different directions. Instead I found the midway point and cut it in half so I could take the one half and flip it around so both sides of the tail would have its fur going down towards the tail tip. I then faced the two pieces together so their fur touched, lined up their edges, confirmed the fur was tucked safely inside, and clipped them in place with my sewing clips. With that done it was now time to take it to my serger where I used a three thread narrow stitch and was careful not to trim the edge too much with the blade so the tail could be as wide as it could be. Once the sides were serged I took the end of the tail, tucked the fur inside, flattened it, folded it in again, and then serged this end closed too. This became the tail tip. I then went over the entire tail finding all the serger tails, unravelling them, and then tied them off so the seams would be secure.

Image shows either end of the tail with the one end flipped open and the other end serged to the corner.
With the fur trim cut in half and placed right sides together it was time to serge up the sides. I made sure that the fur was tucked inside as I went and left a space at the one end so I could, later, create a loop to thread the elastic through.
Image shows the tail partially turned right side out but with the tail tip sticking out and sewn closed.
Part way through turning the tail the right way out I realized it would be easiest to close the tip of the tail now rather than later. I carefully tucked the fur inside of the tail, flattened the end, and serged this end closed too.

With the tail mostly sewn closed it was now time to turn it right side out. I started with the open end and then worked my way down until it got stuck. I then pivoted and switched to the tip of the tail where I pushed the tip in and then used the wooden handle of my spatula to push it further in until it reached the other side.

Image shows the handle of my spatula stuck inside the cat tail as it helps push the tail right side out.
I started by flipping the open end of the tail over with the fur side sticking out and continued pulling until it got stuck. I then tried to help it along with my metal chopstick and then my wooden spatula before I gave up and switched gears.
Image shows the tail inside the tail (halfway through turning right side out). The very tip of the inner tail is tucked in with the wooden end of a spatula handle shown about to push into it.
After I got stuck pushing the tail right side out I switched gears and tucked the end of the tail tip in and started pushing that end right side out within the two other tubes. Eventually it reached the end and I was able to grab hold of it and pull it completely out making the tail right way facing all the way.
Image shows both ends of the tail as the tail was folded in half (off screen). In the front is the open end with the two flaps opened. In the back you can see the tip of the tail ending at a point. Behind all that are my spatula, scissors, sewing clips, and a basket.
Once the tail was turned right side out I was left with this. One end of the tail ended with a tip while the other end ended in two flaps.

With the tail turned completely right side out it was now time to create the loop to thread the elastic belt through. Here I basically had two rectangular flaps at the end of the tail so I flipped one over and tilted both to the side so I could clip their ends together with the fur side facing. Once it was clipped into place I took it back to my serger and finished the end. This created a loop at the start of the tail showing the unfinished side of the fur trim. I left this as-is as the fur trim didn’t look like it would unravel, but if you were concerned I could see finishing the sides before sewing the end closed.

Image shows the end of the tail with the flaps flipped over and clipped together. You can see the wrong side of the trim showing.
After folding the flaps over with the fur facing I clipped them securely together making sure the main tail part wasn’t stuck between them.

With that the tail was completely finished… but before adding the elastic belt I wanted to make it a bit better. I did this by including wire in the tail so we could shape the tail depending how we felt. When I first thought of this I pictured using floral wire from years ago (previously used on hairstyles to attach a Dinosaur toy and later a mermaid toy to my child’s head) but I couldn’t find it so I ended up using a spool of copper wire my husband had on hand. This turned out perfectly. I measured out the wire twice as long as my tail before folding it in half, twisting the folded end to create a loop, and pushed it all the way through the tail to its tip. Once there I handstitched the wire loop to the tail tip using some black thread. I then twisted the two open ends together creating another loop, protected it with masking tape, tucked it into the newly created fur tail loop, and stitched it into place.

Image shows the two ends of the wire sticking out of the tail.
I measured the wire against the tail and cut off a piece twice as long.
Image shows the wire end twisted to create a loop. It's held above the tail with the thread and sewing needle in the background.
Once it was folded in half I twisted the folded end to create a loop.
Image shows the tail tip with thread coming out from the end attached to a silver needle.
Once the wire was fully inserted into the tail and the loop was in the tail tip I handstitched it in place with matching black thread so the stitches would be hidden within the fur.
Image shows the two wire ends folded over to create a loop and then twisted around to hold it in place. The two loops are connected by going through the other.
With the looped end in place it was now time to deal with the other end and its two sharp tips. Looking back I should’ve threaded some heat shrink tubing to one end of the wire so after the ends were twisted together I could’ve simple shrunk the tubing around the join and protected it that way. Instead I had charged forward and created two joined loops by folding one wire in half and twisting it around to create a second loop. I then took the other end, threaded it through the first loop, and then folded and twisted it. thus creating another loop… and then worried about the sharp wire ends that didn’t twist in easily.
Image shows the loops still visible but there's now masking tape hiding the wire twists.
As it was too late to use heat shrink tubing I decided to go with the tried and trued masking tape. This way the sharp wire tip is blunted and I don’t have to worry about the wire untwisting.
Image shows the loop at the end of the tail with the masking tape coated wire nestled in place and secured with thread.
I then carefully pushed the wire loop into the tail loop so it was nestled in place and picked up my sewing needle again to stitch it more securely.

With the wire fully secured to the tail it was now complete and all that was left was to fashion the belt. At this point Zoey was either in bed or at school so I checked her waist measurements and cut the plush elastic one inch longer than marked. I then threaded the tail onto the elastic before sewing the elastic closed making a belt that would need to be pulled on to wear.

I had planned to overlap the elastic ends and sew them together but my sewing machine was threaded with red and I was lazy. Instead I put the ends wrong sides together and took the elastic to my serger where I stitched them together. This ended up turning out and there were no complaints about the seam.

Image shows the plush elastic laid out on a quilting ruler.
I checked Zoey’s waist measurement and cut a length of plush elastic about one inch larger.
Image shows the tail threaded onto the elastic.
Before clipping and sewing the ends of the elastic together I first threaded the elastic through the tail’s loop.

The Final Tail

And with that the tail was done and looked awesome. It ended up being adult-sized so I shaped the tail into a spiral so it wouldn’t drag on the floor. Zoey didn’t like that as she preferred it dragging so that ended up becoming its default position. Overall I’m so glad I made this! It was epic and even looked great on me.

Image shows the back of Zoey while wearing the tail around her waist. The tail itself is spiraled at the bottom and curved near the top so it barely brushes the floor.
The tail ended up really long but could be folded into a spiral or curling around Zoey keeping it off the floor.
Image shows the tail from the front but this time placed around a black dress. Now it blends in rather than popping like the previous photo.
With her whole costume black the belt didn’t stand out against her dress. If you do want it more finished I could see the belt being placed under the dress with the tail coming out from under the skirt.

Zoey absolutely loved the tail and I’m so glad I made it… I guess we’ll see if it survives future years and, potentially, other costumes. Such a simple project that delivers a big bang to the overall costume.

Have a great day! And if you make your own tail I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

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