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.