First off, the list of must haves.
For the vest:
Either A) scrap fake leather or B) brown felt - the thick kind, from the bolt
Either A) leather fringe (trim) or B) Long, thin felt strips cut into fringe
Yellow or gold felt cut into a star shape with little circles on each point (for the badge)
For the rest:
cowboy hat (can get a cheapo one in the walmart toy department)
plaid shirt (bonus points if it matches the hat)
handkerchief (bonus point if it matches the shirt)
boots if some sort (we'll discuss this later)
Before we officially start, I just want to make a mention about fabrics. Of course, "leather" or some kind of fake variant will make you feel more cowboy-y. Everything for this little vest I had on hand already - pieces I inherited when my grandma passed away. If you aren't lucky enough to have had a grandma who saved her scraps and collected things like old pleather upholstery scraps from the 70's, then here are some tips:
Check the thrift store. I've scored weird stuff like this on more than one occasion.
Ask around. Maybe someone reupholstered their own chairs recently or something.
Look for completely different pieces in the color and texture you want - like an old coat or purse. Do you know how many fake, brown, distressed, leathery looking coats there are at my local thrift store? Neither do I. But it's a lot.
Check the leather-working section at your local craft store. I know hobby lobby has quite the selection, but it can get pricey.
If all else fails, just use felt. The stuff from the bolt is nice and thick and won't stretch out all funny AND it won't fray - so no need to finish edges, and that's just what we're looking for. EASY.
Ok. So get out your scrap faux leather and cut two rectangles. They should measure the distance from shoulder to shoulder in width and shoulder to waist in length. (I would have made mine slightly wider if I'd had more scrap pleather.)
And grab your boots! (A note about boots: I was going to make little leather coverlet thingies for his shoes to look like cowboy boots, but in the end I didn't have enough leather. Instead, I just used a simple pair of soft, suede, brown winter boots that were K's at one point. What? Yeah, ok, they're girl's boots. So?? No one can tell. My motto? (Anyone want to say it with me?) Use what you've got!)
I wasn't planning on doing this tutorial, rather just showing what I'd made. Then I realized there may be some other mom's out there who had a Wild West day SPRUNG on them at the last second. Or maybe your son or daughter decided they wanted to go trick-or-treating after all. So, if that's ever the case for you, now you know what to do - no sweat!
Here's a little snapshot of the other munchkins too... K wore a red hanky and a similar red cowboy hat and the same simple brown suede boots. And mini got into the spirit with a plaid ruffled top and jean skirt. Not that she goes to their school. She just likes to "dress up" too.
Now, get along little doggies!