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Guest Project — Dragon Tails {sewing tutorial}

My name is Jessica from Running With Scissors and I’m so thrilled to be guesting here today!
  My blog is just a collection of projects I’ve been working on as I run around sewing, crafting, refinishing furniture, painting, building furniture, and trying to decorate, all for the least amount of money possible.  Being cheap motivates a lot of my creativity.
Being a mom also gives me a lot of inspiration, making things for my toddler son and our baby girl due in a few weeks.
Today I’ll be showing you how to make 
dinosaur (or dragon) tails!**Please be respectful of my designs and only use this tutorial for personal use.  Not intended for commercial sale or manufacture, even on a home based scale.
Make them for yourself or as gifts, but I’d appreciate not using my design and instructions for profit.

This is a simple, fun, toy for kids.  I designed these tails with two straps that wrap around their waist with velcro in front making it easy for them to get them on and off themselves.

These have been fun during these long winter months when we have to play inside.  My boy has “dino fights” with his dad where he wiggles his bum to use the tail as a sword…it’s pretty cute.
1/2 to 3/4 yard main fabric– pretty much any fabric that’s not stretchy (this yellow is polyester lining)
1/4 yard spike fabric
5″ velcro
Polyfil batting (small bag)

CUT LIST: MAIN FABRIC:  tail: (cut 2): 22″ x 11″ waist straps: (cut 4): 12″ x 3″ circle: 7″ in diameter (*I cut a 7″ square, fold it in fourths, then cut the curve from fold to fold) CONTRASTING FABRIC: spikes (cut 2): 22″ x 3.5″ INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Trim tail strips Taking your two strips 22″ x 11″, lay them face down.  On one end you’ll measure 4.5″ from each side.  The two inches left in the middle will be the tip of the tail. On the other end, you’ll measure 4″ along the sides as a marker.  Connect these two markings to create a diagonal for the cone shape of the tail.  Cut off the triangular sides and throw them away.

2. Make Spike Strip
NOTE: To make the spikes easier, you could cut 1 strip out of felt or fleece and just cut out a spike strip leaving the raw edges that won’t fray, rather than sewing your spikes with 2 strips of fabric.
Take your two spike strips and lay them right sides together.  Draw a row of triangles along the strip for the tail spikes.  Begin at one end and work your way to the other, making the spikes shorter and narrower.  I left about 1/2″ between each spike.
Sew along your spike line.  When you get to the corners it helps to pivot by dropping your needle down into the fabric, lift your presser foot, move the fabric, then start sewing again.
Once your spikes are sewn, trim along your sewn line with 1/4″ seam allowance along the whole strip.
Next, you’ll need to trim the seam allowances to make it easier to turn the spikes right side out.
On the top of the spikes, you’ll trim off the point, being careful not to snip through your seam.
In between each spike, you’ll snip diagonally into each corner, once again don’t snip through your sewing.

Then you can turn the whole strip of spikes right side out, using a pen lid, knitting needle, etc. to push the tips of the points out.  Iron your spike strip nice and flat.

3. Sew Tail Body
First we’ll sew the spikes to one piece of the tail.  Pin the largest spike to the tall side of your tail piece, lining up the raw edges.
Sew the spike strip to the tail piece with 1/4″ seam allowance.  This is just basting, or tacking the pieces together.
Next, put your second tail piece so right sides are together, with the spike strip in the middle of the sandwich.
You’ll sew down the spike strip again, this time with 1/2″ seam allowance, making sure you sew past the troughs so there is a space between each spike when you turn it right side out.
Also, sew a slight curve as you go around the tip of the tail.
When you sew around to the other side, you’ll need to stop your seam to leave a hole for turning the tail right side out later.  I leave about 4 to 5″ unsewn underneath the spikes.  This way, it’s on the bottom of the tail.
4. Sew Waist Straps
Take your 4 strips for the waist straps and put 2 right sides together.  This will give you two sets.
You’ll sew down a long side, across the short, and up the other long side on each set.  Use 1/2″ seam allowance.
Then you’ll need to snip off the corners, being careful not to cut through your seam.
Next you’ll turn each strap right side out, pushing out the corners with a pen lid or knitting needle.
I like to top-stitch the edges to make the straps lay nice and flat.  For this tail I used a zig-zag stitch with contrasting thread, but you could always just sew a straight stitch.
The last step to make your waist strap is to sew your velcro pieces to each end.   Center the velcro in the center of your strap and 1/2″  from the very end.
5. Complete Tail Construction
To close the large end of the taill, first mark the quarters by lining up the top (spike) seam with the bottom seam and pinning the folds on the sides.

Next you’ll pin your waist straps inside the tail.  Pin the straps to the quarter side marks.
The important thing to remember is the velcro has to be pinned opposite so the straps will match up around the waist.  So put one waist strap with velcro down on the right side of the tail, then pin the other waist strap with the veclro facing up into the cavity of the tail.
Sew the straps to the sides of the tail 1/4″ from edge.
To finish off the tail, you’ll pin your circle fabric (with the right side facing into the tail) around the large tail opening.  I fold my circle in quarters so I have a crease vertically and across to use as a guide to pin to the two seams (top and bottom) then line up with the waist straps on the sides.
Next you sew around your circle with 1/2″ seam allowance.
6. Stuff and Finish
At this point your dino tail is sewn and you can turn it right side out through the hole you left on the bottom seam.  Your velcro waist straps should be oriented to match and stick together, and your spikes should stand up out of the top seam.
Next you’ll stuff your tail with Poly-fil batting.  The density of your stuffing does determine how the tail will look.  I stuffed this yellow tail tighter than the blue or green tails, and I noticed it stood almost straight out from the boy’s back, where leaving the stuffing a little looser makes a more droopy tail.  Whichever you prefer.
Once your tail is stuffed to your liking, pin the hole closed underneath.  I chose to just machine sew the seam shut, but it would probably look best to hand-sew the seam closed to allow it to lay flat.
Then you’re finished!  Now you can whip out a whole set with different colors!
Some ideas for variation:
length: it’s easy to make the tail longer or shorter, by cutting the tail and spike pieces longer than 22″, but all the same length.
felt or fleece spikes: as mentioned ealier in tutorial, you could make the tail even easier by cutting felt or fleece spikes with one layer rather than sewing/ turning 2 pieces of fabric
make it girly: you could make a more feminine tail for little girls by making the spikes rounded scallops rather than pointed spikes
printed fabrics: I stuck with bright solids, but textured or printed fabrics would look awesome too.
Oh my goodness – that is so cute! 
I love those Dino tails!! 
Thanks Jessica!! 
Check out the fun ideas at Running with Scissors: 
Be sure to check out the wonderful ideas on  
PS – the winners of last week’s giveaways have been announced over on the


  1. Marsha C says:

    This is such a cute project. Perfect for my 2 1/2 year old grandson who loves to dress up as monsters. The picture of the little guy laying on the floor is way too adorable! Thanks so much for posting the directions! This rainy day is not wasted

  2. Carmelina says:

    Thank you so much for this!! I pinned it when my boys were new born, they’ve just started stomping and roaring around the house so I think its finally time to make these!!! Im so excited!!!
    Thanks for sharing the tutorial, the pictures and instructions are really great!!

  3. Thank you so much! I have never sewed before, but my 3 year old girl wanted a dinosaur themed birthday party, so I thought it would be great treat. My friend, mom and I made 23 for the party and mate another pattern that was 1/3 the size for the baby sisters and brothers. It was such a fantastic party favor and SOOOOO hilarious to watch them all run around with their tails on. Thank you for the excellent directions that were easy enough to follow that someone with no experience (me) was able to figure it out. It took me about an hour per tail once cut. We made a template out of card board to make cutting quicker.

    • Carmelina says:

      Oh Aurora that’s a fantastic idea for a party!!!!!!!!! I bet the kids had so much fun and it would’ve made for awesome pictures!! So keeping that in mind for a future party for the boys!!

  4. Thanks for the great tutorial. It had been a while since I used my sewing machine, but this made it so simple to put together a great Halloween costume for my daughter. Her pink and purple dinosaur costume was a hit – with her and her friends!

  5. Just finished my son’s dragon costume, complete with a spiked tail. Thank you for the great tutorial! I’ll be making more for play dates, I am sure.

  6. Thank you for the great tutorial. I just made to for my daughters. They are going to wear them tomorrow to school.

  7. I just made 11 of these for my grandson’s 3rd and 5th Birthday party. The boys LOVE them. I can barely sew a straight line but the directions, especially pictures, were a tremendous help! My first one was a throw-away but after that I cut a pattern out of poster board and started cranking them out. I used a fabric from Joanns called “snuggle fleece” (I think) using a dinosaur design for the body and solid for the spikes. They turned out amazing!! I did run out of velcro but it was just as easy to sew on afterwards. Now I don’t want to stop!! Thank you for the great post and directions!!

  8. Thank you so much for sharing your very original idea. Just have to find the time to do this before Christmas – one for my grandson and one for my SON. The little one has to have a playmate and my 6’3″ son would look like a hoot. I can’t wait to go through your other ideas. Thanks again.

  9. Just finished a tail for my sons 1st bday party, dino theme :) Thank you SO much for this, cutest, awesomest thing ever!

  10. Fantastic!! Disfraz de dragon!! Muy bien detallado!! Muy buena idea!!! I love it!

  11. Made this tail for my little guy! He LOVED it and you helped me save Halloween
    (I linked to your blog in my latest post, just fyi http://clutteredhouse.blogspot.com/2012/11/how-pinterest-saved-halloween.html)

  12. Thank you for sharing this! My mom made some for my kids (3 and 9 months). They are SO CUTE! Plus the kids are crazy about them.

  13. Shaunna Beauchamp says:

    Exactly what I was looking for to complete my nieces’ dragon costume . Quick and super simple. Thanks so much !!

  14. Wow, just finished the dragon tail and I absolutely love how it turned out!!!! I know my son will have a blast running around with it ! Thank you so much for posting this!!! The directions were simple and the pics were super helpful :)

  15. Just finished the DinoTail for my 2yr old son’s Halloween costume. Great tutorial! Thanks so much!

  16. I’m using this for dad’s Dinosaur Train Buddy costume to match our son’s. Thanks

  17. Thank you for your Dino tail tutorial. I used it to make the tail for my son’s dinosaur Halloween costume. Your instructions were easy to follow and it turned out awesome. Thanks!

  18. Jessica Swart says:

    My husband is in the Army and currently deployed. I used some of his old uniforms (the legs were almost perfect for the tail, once the pockets were removed) and my girls loved that they had something of Daddy’s. I sewed strips of ribbon where the spikes go and then tied bows. It didn’t turn out like I expected, but it was still cute. =o) Thank you for sharing your genius with us. I appreciate it so very much.

  19. Danielle says:

    Thank you for a GREAT tutorial! Came together quickly and easily. A perfect (free, using fabrics I already had!) birthday gift for a 4 year old’s party tomorrow :)

  20. Made these for my Nephew & Niece – thank you for sharing this tutorial :)
    View the results here:

  21. Hello !! I have loved the tutorial on how to make dino tails. I have a dinosaur online shop and a blog and would love to translate the tutorial and post it in my blog, with a mention to your blog, of course, what do you think? Many thanks and kind regards, Cristina

  22. Hi Jen, the dinosaur tails you create are so beautiful, my son loves dinosaurs and for carnival i’ll try to make one of it. Thank you for the adorable idea !!!

  23. I wanted to thank you for your amazing tutorial. I made this for my nephew for Christmas, along with a pair of dino head gloves from a tutorial on Martha Stewart. It went over very well :) And was also fun to make! Attaching pictures of the final projects:

    Tail: http://flic.kr/p/aHeDf4
    Gloves: http://flic.kr/p/aHeF3p

  24. Oh My Goodness! These have got to be the most adorable thing I’ve seen in a long time! <3

    I've been searching and racking my brain for months trying to come up with something that little boys would like to dress up in! I have the market cornered for girls with my Tutus <3, but just couldn't come up with anything easy, fun, different and boys will like. Some of my other ideas were Superhero capes (so over done), Bow ties (what boy REALLY wants to wear one?), etc, etc, etc. I've been playing around with ideas of dinosaurs and monsters for a bit; now I can try your brilliant idea out!

    Thank you so much!

  25. My daughter will be teaching 4 year old children next year. I’ve been looking for interesting ideas for her classroom and in particular, costumes for her fantasy area. You can imagine my delight when I saw your dinotails …. simply awesome!!!! I’ve made four thus far … and can’ wait for next year to get feedback from her children and colleagues. My daughter loves them! Thank you for sharing your marvellous idea.

  26. Julie Weninger says:

    Thank you SO much for posting this tutorial. The directions are very simple and detailed. I found it very easy to follow, even for someone with limited sewing skills like myself. I made 6 for my son’s upcoming birthday party. They turned out so cute! Many thanks!

  27. I’ve just found your website via Pinterest – I love the tails… and was amazed to see them because I made a stegosaur tail for my daughter for book day in almost exactly the same way! I’d velcroed the tail to her trousers but your idea of a strap around the tummy is much better. I’m going to ‘upgrade’ her tail. Thank you for sharing.

  28. My sons saw these pictures, roared, and thought they were the coolest things ever. My mother is giving me one of her old sewing machines for the holidays this year. I’m thinking my boys will be getting their dragon tails this year! 😉 Thank you so much for sharing this pattern.

  29. I love the dragon tales. Amazing and they look like fun. I will have to give them a try so we can add them to our “imagination” bin. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  30. Just used this tutorial to make the tail for my son’s dinosaur costume. I used fleece for the body and felt for the spikes. The entire costume came together in under two hours. Thank you so much!!

  31. Thanks for the great instructions! My 4-year-old son wants to be a dinosaur for Halloween and these tails are perfect. It came out great. I even made a 2nd one for his little brother. I would’ve really botched this up if I hadn’t found your tutorial. Thanks again for sharing. My kids think I’m Supermom.

  32. i made three of these this afternoon for halloween. they are so fun, the kids love them! thanks SO much for a great idea and terrific instructions.

  33. Holiday Snob says:

    So I finally posted the dragon tails I made from this tutorial here:


    Thanks SO MUCH for sharing!!!

  34. K.Papageorge says:

    I just finished the bulk of my dragon tail and I am SO excited, it looks so cute! It's for my daughter who will be 3 next week. I am glad that I didn't have enough stuffing or velcro to finish it today, otherwise I wouldn't be able to wait until her birthday to give it to her! Thank you for the tutorial!

  35. Holiday Snob says:

    So excited to make these! Jen, I have to let you know that TWICE today I was thinking of a project I'd seen SOMEWHERE (couldn't remember where…) and googled the key phrase. Skimmed through tons of "eh" pictures until I saw the fabulously cute thing I was thinking of and saw OF COURSE it was from Tatertots and Jello. Love your blog…

  36. ylvacitat says:

    I just made a dinotail for my daughter, she just loves it!!! Thanks for the tut! See pics at my blog:

  37. I made one of these for a 4 year old birthday party last week.. of all of the gifts given and opened that day, the tail was the only one that was immediately played with! Several moms have asked me to make some for their kids, too! My 3 year old daughter totally wants one… and I have plans to make her one as soon as I get done making all of the birthday gifts.

    As I am making so many as gifts, I decided to make a pattern on cardboard… I got a large flat rate box at the post office (for free)and it is big enough to cut the shapes out without having to tape on more cardboard (like what happens with frozen pizza boxes!)…

    So, thanks so much! The perfect and much loved gift for birthday parties and GIRLS too!

  38. ¡I liked it! and your photos are so nice (sorry for my english)

  39. Just finished a set for my boys, who are obsessed with dinosaurs right now. THANKS so much for sharing!!!! They're having a little trouble balancing the new weight, but are having too much fun slamming my tables with thier tails.

  40. jennasaurus says:

    I am a brand new follower and I absolutely LOVE this project! I don't have kids… but I am a preschool teacher and know plenty of kids who would adore something like this!!


  41. so so so funny idea! must to try!!!

  42. Strapworks.com says:

    Amazing! Truly a unique design. Can't wait to try one myself!


  43. The Alexanders says:

    These are PERFECT!!! I absolutely MUST make them for my three little fellas!

  44. saltandnectar says:

    I am DYING from the adorableness. DYING.

  45. What a fabulous idea!! I love it!

  46. HammBone says:

    sew cute I had to pin it! What a fun project!

  47. Polly @ Helping Little Hands says:

    This is so cute!! What a fun idea. I've added it to my To Do List.

  48. Kelli @ RTSM says:

    Those are adorable! My boys would love them!

  49. Faith Pray says:

    These are brilliant!

  50. Those tails are so fun!
    I'm laughing at them because they are just so stinkin cute, and I can totally see my 4 year old diggin' them! fun tut, thanks for sharing!

  51. Madigan at madiganmade says:

    These are just darling! Fabulous tutorial, Jessica. And fabulous pics, too. The little guys (and tails) really stand out in the snow.

  52. Jen-CraftOManiac says:

    THOSE ARE SO DARLING! love it! winks-jen

  53. Free Pretty Things For You says:


  54. Sue (Someone's Mom) says:

    Well I don't sew, but I think these are so cute! So are the models!

  55. That is funny Beckie, my husband wears them on his head like a unicorn crown to play.

  56. Infarrantly Creative says:

    My 4 year old would flip for that. Heck my husband would flip for that..okay maybe not really. I love Jessica she is so talented.

  57. WAY cute!

  58. so adorable. wish my boys were still little, i'd make them some!

  59. Chrystal's Corner says:

    Ohhhhhh….THANK YOU!! So excited about this post. My youngest is turning 1 in May and having a dinosaur themed party. I am so making these for big brothers and niece to wear at the party!

  60. lauren@warmandfuzzy says:

    OMgoodness!!! I reeaaallly need to learn to sew!! These are adorable!!

  61. Candace McClintick says:

    OH. MY. GOSH. I love these! You totally made my day. And I am totally going to make one of these. Or seven!

  62. Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage says:

    Awesome tutorial Jess! :)

  63. jennykate77 says:

    Isaiah would LOVE those dragon tails!! So cute!

    I love that pic of the nursery! Gosh it is ADORABLE!!

  64. Lil Mama Stuart says:

    so fun! bookmarking to add to my to do list!

  65. Vivienne @ the V Spot says:

    Oh good grief! That is the cutest thing ever! Wow. (That last photo of the little guy on the floor with his tail up in the air is beyond cute.)

  66. Adorable!

  67. I haven't commented in awhile but I've been here. I love this and am going to have to make some for my three boys.

  68. Jenae @ Wildflower says:

    OH MY GOODNESS this is perfect!! my little boys would love this!

  69. You are so awesome.

    Nuff said.


  70. You are so awesome.

    Nuff said.


  71. Brittany@Love Stitched says:

    what a fun way to play dress up as a boy! I love this idea and am sharing it with my FB friend and my cousin~

  72. What a cute project and so useful for Halloween. Just dress them up in a solid colored sweatsuit, make a cap and VOILA! instant costume.

  73. Mallory says:

    That is so cute! I can see little boys wanting to wear that everywhere!

  74. Super cool! Anyway you can post the winners on here?! I gave up Facebook for Lent:)

  75. Dixie Mom says:

    Oh…that was the coolest tutorial! Wish I had a little boy of my own to make those for! I may have to make them for my nephews and friends…or make some for my house for kids to use when they come…:)

  76. love love love it!
    great pictures too!

  77. cutekittypunk says:

    i'm not much of a sewer, but that's sew cute. :)

    pun intended

  78. Jessica at Me Sew Crazy says:

    this is such a unique and wonderful project! love it!!!!

  79. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!! Totally gawking! Great project!



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    […] Would your little boy go nuts for a dragon tail??? Again, sewing experience required for this cool gift. OR… find a family member or friend who […]

  45. […] little sewing experience. (I think I want one in MY size!)#5: Would your little boy go nuts for a dragon tail??? Again, sewing experience required for this cool gift. OR… find a family member or friend […]

  46. […] Para hacer este disfraz necesitaras los siguientes materiales: 2 grandes pliegos de tela del mismo color, velcro, una tiza, una máquina de coser y relleno de cojines. Para comenzar, cogemos los dos pliegos de tela del mismo color y con la tiza marcamos un triángulo grande en cada pliego (esto será el esqueleto de nuestra cola de dragón). Luego, con la maquina de coser las unimos y después la rellenamos con el relleno de cojines. Si deseas ver los pasos con más detenimiento, pincha el siguiente enlace. […]

  47. […] tutorial is here on Tatertots and jello. Aren’t they cute?! GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); […]

  48. […] or dinosaur tails from a guest post at Tatertots and Jello.  Jessica from Running with Scissors provides a sewing tutorial with clear instructions and […]

  49. […] por tatertots & jello web: http://tatertotsandjello.com/2011/03/guest-project-dragon-tails-sewing.html […]

  50. […] from: Guest Project — Dragon Tails {sewing tutorial} This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged a-home-based, appreciate-not, commercial-sale, […]