Despite having access to an experienced in house seamstress (me), my children have rarely asked me to make them costumes. For three years straight, when she was five to seven years old, my daughter Charlotte was a cat for Halloween. It was a costume that required only a black leotard, cat ears headband and some face paint. Up until last year, my son Ben wanted to be various Star Wars characters, using store bought costumes.
Still, I have made some costume pieces for my children. For my daughter it was a dress to wear to the Bristol Renaissance Faire. We don’t go to the Faire often, averaging about every other year, so we like to make the most of it. When Charlotte was eleven she decided she wanted to dress up for our visit.
I showed Charlotte a dress idea I had pinned on Pinterest. It’s a reconstruction of the dress worn by Kiera Knightly in the movie King Arthur. She approved the design and we headed out to the fabric store. I guided her to the kinds of fabric that would work and she picked out the color. We chose an olive green cotton drill. It was heavier than what was used in the pattern and movie costume, but I wanted something solid and a bit more hard-wearing.
The making of the dress was ridiculously easy. While drapey tunics use a lot of fabric, I love them for the ease of construction and customization. The belt was made from ribbon I had on hand, with a snap fastener as a closure. That day at the faire she had a great time swanning around, shooting arrows and eating turkey legs. She’s outgrown the dress now and I have it packed up. Perhaps one day there will be another child eager to use it for dress up.
Ben’s costume story is more recent. Last year he decided a week before Halloween that he wanted to be Purple Link. On such a short deadline I ended up buying parts of the costume and sewing the rest.
The leggings and shirt came from the girl’s section at Target. I used a Simplicity “Indian” costume pattern that I had inherited for the tunic. Both tunic and hat were made from purple broadcloth I bought. The belt was made of brown cotton drill from my stash as well as yellow and brown felt I had on hand. I used hot glue to tack the Velcro fastener for a closure. The hat was made from a self-drafted pattern. The whole costume took a couple of days.
He was pleased with his costume, even if his classmates didn’t know who he was supposed to be. And Ben has kept the shirt in his regular clothes rotation, always a plus. The various costume pieces have been worn since during play and pretend time.
I am certain these won’t be the last costumes I sew for my kids. We have plans to join a boffer LARP that runs in Colorado once the move is finalized. That will require costuming for them. And there are still plenty of Halloweens to be had. I do hope I’ll have a bit more time for sewing the next time, though.