Unexpected clown trousers

On Saturday afternoon, Boy the Younger handed me a letter from his schoolbag informing me that, as it was Creative Week starting on Monday, the children had to go into school in clown outfits to start the week in a jolly way.  Oh blimey.

I bought a couple of yards of blue and white spotted fabric and some elastic and set to work.
I cut out four giant trouser legs and hemmed them all round.
I then stitched them together and made a wide hem round the waist, leaving a gap for threading wire through.
I opened out a coat-hanger and bent it into a circle, pinching hooks into the ends to link them together, then threaded it through the waist hem.
I squeezed the ends of the hanger shut with pliers and then stitched up the gap in the hem.
At the bottom of the trouser legs I did the same, but threaded those through with elastic so the trousers were really baggy.
I made braces out of ribbon, but I wish I’d bought extra elastic so that the trousers would have stayed on better AND bounced up and down.

To finish the outfit off, he wore some long striped socks and my Converse on his feet, a dark blue long-sleeved t-shirt with a red Indian waistcoat and I had made a bow tie out of the surplus trouser fabric.  I didn’t have time to make a hat, so he wore a wizard’s hat which I made years ago which has a big padded brim, a pointy cone and an old diamante earring stitched to the front like a jewel.

Children’s dressing up clothes can be made quite simply with cheap material and a bit of imagination.  You don’t have to have tailoring skills – just look at a pair of trousers, for example, take note of the shape of the pieces and copy them.  Even shirts, tops and dresses can be made with little skill.

Alternatively, you can pick up bits and pieces from charity shops which can be adapted with the application of a pair of scissors and a strip of Wunda-Web* into something marvellous.

I once made a Robin Hood outfit for Boy the Elder out of an old airtex shirt of mine, dyed green.  I made a little shoulder cape out of a remnant of green upholstery fabric and cut out a crenellated edge which I finished off with blanket stitch to make it look authentic.  Then I gathered the edge of the cape slightly with a drawstring thread and stitched it round the collar of the shirt.  A belt was applied round the waist and bingo!, a Merry Man as I lived and breathed.  Boy the Younger was wearing it only yesterday.  All day.  With my pirate boots.

* Wunda-Web is a  wunderful thing.  It is a long thin strip of something vaguely sticky which you fold into the hem of the garment you need turning up.  You then iron it on and it holds the hem or seam – no sewing required.  A boon, particularly if you don’t have a sewing machine.


Filed under Children, Household Hints, Sewing

11 responses to “Unexpected clown trousers

  1. Those look great! I have a mental picture of hundreds of parents reading the same letter and inwardly swearing – bet not many reacted like you!

  2. Morag

    I bet he was the best dressed clown in the class!

    I’ve probably told you this before, but a few years ago, Bob decided to go to school for Book Character day as Neville Longbottom (all the other boys went as Harry Potter). I asked him what kind of outfit he was going to put together and he said “School uniform, of course.” Well durrrr, Mummy!

  3. Toffeeapple

    As if you didn’t have enough to do. At least you don’t seem to mind things like that. When my daughter was school age, we used to get the letters about two days before-hand, infuriating!

  4. Fab outfit. Fab mum. Wundaweb is fab too – has got me out of many an awkward sewing situation!

  5. Don’t you love it? My kids are at school today as Mary Tudor and Elizabeth Tudor (it’s go as a Great Briton day). I’m just glad they warned us before half term, because we often don’t get that much notice! I’m not the sort who can whip up costumes at a moment’s notice, a skill I seriously feel the lack of.

  6. Sue

    One of the best things about my youngest finishing primary school this term is that there will be no more such letters. Hallelujah say I.

    I do think you clown trousers are fabulously ingenious though.

  7. Jo Halford

    I’m with Sue, but I envy and admire your talent in equal measure! Sadly I have no imagination, patience, time or talent, in short I am a truly useless mother.

  8. g-rider

    “To finish the outfit off, he wore some long striped socks and my Converse on his feet”
    Converse = clown shoes?! I’m shattered, WH. Please tell me they’re not black ones.

  9. wartimehousewife

    The thing is, I really like doing stuff like this and it was nice to have the opportunity to get the sewing machine out for something fun.

    I’m surprised that many of you think you have no imagination and can’t do stuff. Often it’s more about having the will than the skill, coupled with the time. The more you do things the quicker you get at doing it. I sometimes wonder if my ability to sew is genetic though as my grandmother was a tailor and milliner and my mother knits. Saying that, I don’t knit; I can do it (so that if war broke out I’d know how to knit stripy sleeveless pullovers – probably out of leftover potato peelings) but it gives me no pleasure.

    G-Rider: Of course they were black Converse – black Converse are cool.
    I ain’t dissing the Converse, man. The clowniness came from the fact that I am a size 7 and he is a size 3, so they were big and floppy on him and came halfway up his skinny little legs. Thus, working with a stripy sock / baggy trouser combination, the look became clown rather than hip, 40-something person who thinks trainers are uncool.
    Boy the Elder has a pair of union jack ‘The Who’ Converse. Now they are seriously cool.

  10. g-rider

    Your son has The ‘Oo ones? – I’m gutted. I’ve only got a t-shirt.

    I almost didn’t wear my Converse today, after reading your post, but couldn’t break the habit of a lifetime. I get the idea now, oversize shoes = clown. You almost had Chuck Taylor spinning in his grave, though. 🙂

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