I'm going to be a Panda this year too! I'm going to be in North Carolina, where a cold front will hopefully have engulfed everything next week.
I'm making mine around a black body suit I found at a thrift store this summer. It has all black arms and legs, turtleneck, everything. I figure I'll just make some kind of white middle part out of a t-shirt and a pillow- the head I'm making out of a giant stuffed animal I found at Goodwill. The stuffed animal's head is white so I'm just going to cut the head off (un-stuff it) and give it some black ears- instant mask/head.
I am plegued with making the costume cute as well. It's hard to make fo-fur nice looking, that I do know. Maybe make the dress out of something lighter like the person above said and using the fur for your head and one color (black or white)- and your paws?
Do you know what you're doing for your makeup / face yet? I don't know if I should try to make a fake nose thing or just paint my face.