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These were last year’s costumes. It was only while discussing them with a friend that I remembered I hadn’t posted about them. They are of course Matilda and Miss Honey from Roald Dahl’s brilliant book.

These were easy peasy to make and based on the Quentin Blake illustrations below.

The Matilda costume was created from 2 primark blue t shirts one long sleeved one (cheaper) sleeveless vest that were both in the same material. They were both adult ladies ones, the long sleeved was a size 6 and the other the largest I could find, size 20 I think. First I took the long sleeve tee in to fit my daughter a bit better I did this by increasing the seams on the shoulders and down the sides the sleeves were narrow enough. This brought the neckline up a bit and made it into more of a boat neck – the excess fabric simply tucks inside. The skirt was made from the other bigger t shirt. I cut the top part off just under the armpits to create large tube and attached this to the adapted long sleeve tee, with a half shearing elastic stitch that I’ve used for t shirt dresses before. (Hand wind your bobbin with a colour matched elastic, with normal cotton thread in the needle sew as usual to self gather and maintain t shirt stretch). The other bits of this outfit are white plimsoles from primark and a faux/clip in fringe bought from eBay. The book prop is a cereal box with a piece of pipe lagging stretched over one side and hot glued in place covered in paper and painted.

Miss Honey’s was even easier! Bought a long sleeve orange t shirt from eBay and made the skirt from a  large men’s grey t shirt from the charity shop. I cut the t-shirt from arm pit to arm pit, keeping the bottom hem and side seams, I turned over the top of this large tube of fabric and hemmed it, and ran a length of elastic through this. Miss honey scarf is a silver grey napkin from the charity shop, and her glasses are pound land reading glasses with the lenses popped out.

Hope your World Book day outfits are as simple as this to make?

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Peacock Butterfly Costume

November 3, 2015

   
 
We made this costume recently for the ‘Ugly Bug Ball’ at school. 

After deciding she wanted to be a Peacock Butterfly (of course!) my original low effort costume idea was to buy a butterfly kite and attach the wings to a long sleeve t shirt. But my thriftiness got the better of me so decided to paint the wing pattern onto white lining fabric instead. 

  
We drew the pattern onto half the fabric (1m length of 150cm wide) with a sharpie/permanent marker. Then painted in each colour with ready mixed poster paint. I traced the outline into the second wing through the thin fabric.

Unfortunately the left wing got a bit crumpled while it was still wet, so if I was making this again I’d leave it to dry flat before moving it. 

I cut out each wing and stitched it onto the back of a black long sleeve t shirt. I attached elastic loops to the ends of the wings to go onto her fingers, this meant she could take these off so the wings could fold up behind her for travelling in the car/sitting at school. 

She wore the wing t shirt with black leggings and antenna made from pipe cleaners and an Alice band. 

  
It was Halloween last week, I was not prepared. I had agreed to make this costume before and little girls never forget a promise, so I was reminded of it 2 days before All Hallows’ Eve. 

Fortunately I had a plan and some old t shirts from the 99p charity shop. The base grey dress is an extra large men’s t shirt with the sleeves removed and two new seams to bring it into shape

  
I used the sleeves from an orange and a teal t shirt and patched them onto the grey base dress, then took the shoulder areas of the orange and a mint green one for the shoulder patches. A large panel of the real t shirt went onto the skirt with an orange patch. It was all a bit mix and match much like Sally herself. 

  
Then I took a black permanent marker and drew on the stitches around each patch and some patterns on the coloured patches. Some stripes, spots and swirls. I also drew some lines of stitches over an old pair of white tights. 

She also had a pair of stripey socks to go over the tights but she wore her wellies for this picture, which is a shame. 

Elsa from Frozen Costume

August 26, 2014

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For her birthday Alice was given tickets for ‘sing a long a frozen’, at the Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square and as the audience is encouraged to wear appropriate dress up, we had a sudden demand for a Frozen dress for her to wear. Her sister had her Anna Coronation Dress I made for her (posted previously).

I bought 2 ladies camisole vests size 8 in sky blue from Primark, to make the base of the dress. I cut across one from armpit to armpit and sewed this to the bottom of the other vest to make it dress length. These vests had adjustable bra type straps so I was able to reduce the length to fit Alice (and leave growing room). I bought a sparkly, sequinned net curtain from a bargain homeshop (can’t remember the name of it) for £6.99, this became the cape part of the dress. I used the whole width of the curtain and gathered it to fit the vest dress from front strap to front strap around the back and then sewed it on. I had the bits of light blue sparkly fabrics left over from a mermaid costume (I still haven’t posted about!). The sequinned one was part of a dress bought from eBay and the metallic fabric came from a top bought in a charity shop. I didn’t have enough of either to use just that so ‘patchworked’ the two fabrics onto the vest dress as appliqué. I tried sewing this on with my sewing machine, but it really didn’t like the sequins so after replacing the needle twice I resorted to hand sewing the pieces on and adding a few iridescent sequins that came in a mixed bag from Poundland.
I was undecided about the need for the sleeves, as we were going to the sing along in August, but at the last minute took a pair of white sparkly tights from H&M size 13-14, and cut one leg off and removed the toe part to create a long tube, then cut a long slash half way along so Alice could put her arms into the two sleeves and have a piece of the tights fabric across her shoulders and back, which I think was quite successful.
At the last minute I added two elastic loops to the corners of the cape, to go on her fingers so she was able to hold it up, so it wouldn’t snag on the escalators for the tube.
She looked amazing and was very pleased with her Elsa dress, and we got lots of lovely comments on both the girls dresses, both on our way there and at the event, which was lots of fun and a great 5 year olds birthday treat.

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I believe this is technically known as an IKEA hack. Take a cheapo IKEA basic piece of furniture and make it look a bit less cheap and basic with paint/knobs etc.

This is for Martha's new bedroom and kept me busy today before the early school run for end of term. The Rast unit was £20 from IKEA last week. The teak colour woodstain/varnish was from Homebase (chosen to match an existing wardrobe) and I gave it an extra coat of clear on top. I picked the knobs up in TK Maxx, they were in packs of 4 hand painted vintagey knobs I like the mix and match look of them the wardrobe got some of these as well!

The hack involved making the flat pack unit (without the back board and drawer runners) and painting this and the drawer fronts 3 coats of teak varnish then one of clear to seal it properly – I imagine a few bedtime drinks will be spilled over it in the future! Then finishing the drawer build adding the new knobs and adding the runners and backboard to the unit.

Can't wait to get it in her new bedroom, but I need to wait for the carpet fitters first.

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It’s been a while, but am returning to posting with this costume made for my now 7 year old (how has that happened?). Her best friend is having a Frozen themed party next week and it seems this current Disney Frozen kiddy craze means there are no costumes to buy anywhere! And as the best friends have been Anna and Elsa every playtime since Christmas I felt I should get the sewing machine out!
I am in the middle of a house overhaul and in a recent cull of my collection of vintage fabrics found this 60s Regency Stripe fabric in dark olive green and cream, perfect for Anna’s skirt as worn to her sister Elsa’s coronation in the film. Before I found this I did have a plan to use a solid green dress lining I have and sew a contrast colour satin ribbon in stripes which I still think would work pretty well.
To make the skirt I sewed box pleats in 6″ lengths at the waist of the skirt, hiding the cream stripes inside, my fabric was only about 36″ wide so I used double width and sewed two seams to join the front to the back. I sewed a generous hem in the top and elasticated the waist gathering the pleated fabric to the size of Martha’s waist. Then cut and hemmed the bottom.
The corset top of Anna’s dress is a black spaghetti strap ladies vest from H&M in XS (£3.99). I had to shorten the straps by about 6″ unpicking them from the back cutting them shorter and reattaching. I then cut the hem of the vest into a point at the front and straight at the back a little lower than Martha’s waist so it would hide the waistband of the skirt. Then I edged the top and bottom with gold ribbon, I didn’t bother to hem the vest.
For the little capped sleeves I cut two squashed semi circles out of doubled over emerald green satin fabric. (The fold is the straight edge) and sewed them together right sides in leaving a gap in the middle of the curved edge to pull them right sides out. Then I attached the gold braid with bobbles on around the curved edge with a zigzag stitch also sealing up the gap. These were attached by hand sewing the end points to the vest top where the straps are joined to the body of the vest.
I know Anna’s sleeves in the film are edged with green lace, but I didn’t have any, however I found the gold bobble trim in another box of collected vintage sewing stuff and they reminded me of the bobble trim on Anna’s travelling cloak! (Yes I have done my homework!) I also had a plan to embellish the front of the corset with blue and pink fabric paint, but Martha is happy with it as it is and I am slightly afraid of spoiling what I think is a pretty decent job!
If necessity means that any readers out there are driven to trying out this make for their own Frozen costume, I would recommend looking for a similar curtain/upholstery fabric on eBay or Etsy, useful search terms would be regency/brocade/jacquard stripe. Or try the ribbon stripe effect. Please let me know how your projects turn out?

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A great book about a boy and his dad, perfect for Father’s Day! Billy is ‘difficult to please’ but his Dad does his very best to amuse him with some of the worlds best instruments, animals, games and a trip to space, but ungrateful Billy gets what he’s due!

Happy Father’s Day to Mr Peacock and all the other Dad’s who have children who are occasionally ‘difficult to please too!’!