Carnotaurus in the Workshop

I knew that my Royal Ontario Museum project had to include a big fierce meat-eater with lots of sharp teeth.  Julius Csotonyi‘s carnotaurus image from the exhibit was perfect!  This dino has the fabulous fierceness and sheer size of the more famous T-Rex, but has the added appeal of two big, blunt horns (hence the ‘taurus’ in its name).  I knew the features that I most wanted to give the kids to distinguish the experience of being a carnotaurus, were the huge, heavy tail, the horns and the spindly little short arms.The fabric I’d chosen was perfect!  A gorgeous coppery-sheened, glossy polyurethane with reptilian scale pattern pressed right into it.  I already use the same fabric in green for my Short Dragontail costume, so I knew I’d be able to work with it easily. The tail ended up being much easier than I expected and I miraculously got it right the first time – 3 identically shaped wedges, sewed together to make a lovely, beefy tail with a broad base and pointy tip.  I closed off the end like the end of a wrapped gift so that it would hinge against the wearer’s behind and turn up (at least on the taller kids), when they bend over. Attaching this big, meaty tail was quite a challenge and I had to bring in a friend to help me carefully maneuver the contraption through the sewing machine.  I was enchanted by the tiny little front legs of the carnotaurus and wanted the kids to be able to put their hands into short little legs so they could feel what it was like to have a short reach and understand how this dinosaur must have used its powerful head, jaw and tail to compensate.  My original idea was to make the vest with no standard armholes – just openings at the front for the kids to stick their hands into puppet-like arms.  However, I realized that putting excited small children into the equivalent of a straight-jacket was likely going to cause some falls and fat lips.  Instead, I made a standard vest, but opened up the bottomside of the arms so you can put your hands in, but have your elbows free to help maintain balance.  Seems to work fine!  Everything was stitched within an inch of its life to ensure that these can stand up to exceptional use.  I expect adults to try to squeeze into them, kids to flail the tails like the massive weapons they surely were and strain of great proportion to be put upon every seam.  For the headwear I knew exactly what I wanted from the beginning, so it was pretty easy.  A hungry eye that you wouldn’t want focused on you, lots of small jagged teeth in a massive jaw and of course – the amazing horns! Wrap-around style for size-ability and we were done!

If you and your kids have played with this costume at the Royal Ontario Museum, we’d love to hear about your experience or see your photos!