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How to Make a Rum Tum Tugger Costume

Updated February 21, 2017

Rum Tum Tugger is a feline character in the musical "Cats," which was composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and debuted on Broadway in 1982. John Partridge originally portrayed the role of Rum Tum Tugger. Tugger is difficult to please and usually wants the opposite of what is given to him. He is a black cat with a wild brown mane and leopard spots on his chest and legs. Rum Tum Tugger is best described as the rock star among the other cats in the musical. You can easily create a Tugger costume with some fur fabric, paint and accessories.

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  1. Paint the chest of the unitard with yellow fabric paint. The yellow section should create a "V" that comes to a point at the bottom of the chest.

  2. Paint the ends of the sleeves and legs yellow. Paint about 6 inches of the sleeves and 9 inches of the legs.

  3. Paint brown dots onto the yellow parts to resemble leopard spots.

  4. Cut a piece of the fur fabric that will drape around the shoulders and meet at the point of the bottom of the chest. If you want to make the fur look even wilder, add some black streaks through the fur with a small amount of black fabric paint.

  5. Apply fabric glue to the fur fabric and glue it to the unitard so it frames the yellow spotted section on the chest. Apply glue to a small bit of the fur at a time so you can get it lined up before the glue dries.

  6. Cut a strip of leopard fabric or a piece of the leopard scarf and tie it around your leg, just above the knee.

  7. Accessorise the costume with rock-star-inspired fingerless gloves, boots, a spiked collar and studded belt.

  8. Tuck a 2- to 3-ft. section of the leopard fabric into the back of the belt to make the tail.

  9. Apply white make-up with small black dots above the upper lip to resemble a cat's mouth.

  10. Add yellow and black stripes that extend from the hairline onto the face.

  11. Tease your hair so it is wild and sticks straight out like a mane. Colour your hair with temporary coloured hairsprays to match the fur fabric, if you wish.

  12. Wear a set of fake ears attached to a headband if you can find them, but the costume will still resemble Rum Tum Tugger without them.

  13. Tip

    You don't have to spend a lot of money to make this costume. Use a pair of black jeans and a long sleeved T-shirt if you don't have a black unitard or cut off the tips of black gloves if that is what you have on hand.

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Things You'll Need

  • Black unitard (or black spandex trousers and shirt)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Yellow fabric paint
  • Brown fabric paint
  • Black fabric paint
  • Scissors
  • Shaggy brown fur fabric
  • Fabric glue
  • Leopard-print scarf or narrow strip of leopard fabric
  • Black fingerless gloves
  • Black shoes or boots
  • Spiked collar
  • Studded belt
  • Black, yellow and white stage make-up
  • Temporary coloured hairspray
  • Cat ears headband

About the Author

A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.

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