A pirate’s life for me

The little one received an invitation to a pirate party and I think that I was more excited about the prospect of her dressing up that she was, well to begin with anyway.

Once she was dressed up she kept it on for three straight days, and wanted to wear it to bed, but we had to draw the line there.

All I used for the costume was a top (cream with small red spots), leggings (blue and white stripes), some red cotton fabric (red with white spots) and a parrot.

I started with the bandanna.

I cut a strip 115cm x 16cm, from the red cotton fabric and folded it right sides together then I stitched along the side to make a long thin tube.

I then cut a rough zig zag in both ends,

and turned in right side out.

This is one of the reasons that I find it so hard to throw anything away.

Both the top and the leggings that I used for this costume should have been in the charity shop months ago because they are too small.

But, once the bottom was zig zaged on the leggings they worked perfectly, and once I stitched a strip of the red spotty cotton fabric to the bottom of the top it fitted again.

For this sash I left the fabric longer than needed so that the excess can be cut with a zig zag and knotted at the side. I guessed that pirates don’t do a lot of hemming, so nether did I, I just stitched the red cotton to the bottom of the t-shirt leaving the excess to the side so it could be tied.

While talking to the little one she made it very clear that a pirate must have a parrot. After hunting though the soft toys I found a small blue, beany, parrot. Perfect. The parrot was stitched to the shoulder of the top. This worked very well and not only was I not asked to remove it within the first minute of little one putting on the costume but it even stayed in place after going through the wash.

We added a shop bought eye patch and hat, but even without, I hope you’ll agree she is most definitely a pirate, Aarrr.

Happy pirating
Shelley

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The Mad Hatter Costume

Here it is, the Mad Hatter Costume and this time it is my daughter not Johnny Depp.

I’m not sure just what this says about me, but I pulled most of the mad hatter costume out of my wardrobe.

I had already dyed an old, gold, frock coat charcoal grey, it was waiting for me to restitch the button holes as the dye had not taken on the thread, but for this costume it seamed in keeping so I left them gold. I added some lace fabric I had to the sleeve ends.

I had a pink cotton shirt and the black waistcoat which was just a little large so I stitched two pieces of black ribbon on either side of the back of the waistcoat so they could be pulled together and tied in a bow to make it a little tighter.

The brown trousers were tucked into knee high stripy socks (the socks were my daughters) which made them flair out nicely.

I raided my ribbon box and stitched 7 or 8 pieces into the left hand pocket of the coat and I replaced the laces in my daughters walking boots with orange ribbon.

All in all not a bad starting point.

I had to buy some fabric for the pink scarf around the hat and the handkerchief in the pocket. I chose Caress taffeta lining fabric in Salmon and Doll pink. I hemmed a square of the salmon and stitched it into the right hand coat pocket.

For the bow tie I found some Liquorice Allsorts patterned cotton fabric on eBay which is pretty close to the original. I think the original looks like smudged allsorts on black silk. I really like this cotton, it’s fun, just not as abstract, but this costume is not a faithful reproduction, so I was happy with that.

My daughter and I made the Bandoleer and matching earrings which I posted a week or so ago, so have a look at them, I was very pleased with how they turned out.

We did buy a orange wig from a great fancy dress shop in Norwich Top Hat Fancy Dress and then there was the hat. Oh, the hat.

I think the hat deserves a post of it’s own, so watch this space.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed making it.

Shelley

Does that bandoleer come with matching earrings?

My eldest and I have finished her fancy dress costume for leavers day. LEAVERS DAY !!!

Yes, she is about to leave school and I’ll have a panic attack if I think about it too much, so… on with the costume.

Bandoleer, how great is a costume that needs a bandoleer…

Answer, this great! Yes, that’s Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter not my daughter.

Now this is a lot of costume, so we started small.

The main ingredients for the bandoleer were;

  • Stylecraft double knit wool in khaki
  • Metal look beads, 3
  • Small metal rings, 2
  • Acrylic paint (a little diluted with water and in lots of colours)
  • Strong tea (no milk or sugar)
  • Wooden cotton reels

After asking around for wooden cotton reels in a few haberdasheries and craft shops with no joy, I found bags of mixed size new ones on eBay. Got to love eBay.

Now being new and empty they needed some thread. I like to do things properly where I have the knowledge and resources, but I also don’t like to punish myself when there is a reasonable alternative. So we painted them. I know I know, I still feel as if I cheated, but it’s done now and even painting them took long enough.

They needed ageing, so, once the paint was completely dry I dumped the whole lot in a large bowl of strong tea, it seemed very appropriate, and left them soaking for half a day, then hung then on the line to dry.

It was then a simple case of threading them together with the wool (using a darning needle) and attaching a ring at either end of the cotton reels. We plaited the wool which goes around the back with a 6 string plait but using 12 strands of wool to thicken the whole thing up (each one of the 6 strings then consisted of 2 strands of wool, I hope that makes sense). The end that hangs down from the front was a straight forward 3 string plait. We finished both plaits with the metal look beads.

I know The Mad Hatter does not have earrings, but this costume is not a faithful reproduction, more of a homage. Plus we had to, the mini cotton reels that came in the mix bag are just adorable at only 9mm long.

So in answer to the question I posed sometime ago… Yes, that bandoleer does come with matching earrings, yay.

I started by painting and tea staining the cotton reels just like the bandoleer. Then I found some button earrings that I wasn’t going to wear and removed the buttons so I was left with the flat pad stud earring posts.

Using needle nose pliers I bent the sides of the flat pad to fit around the cotton reel, I also scuffed up the pad so that the super glue would have a better surface to adhere to.

Once I was happy with the fit, I super glued the reel to the no longer flat, flat pad stud earring posts.

When the glue had gone off I wrapped the reel and the pad with a cotton that matched the paint colour.

I think that’s enough for part one.

The full outfit and more details of how we put it together, coming soon, now available here, The Mad Hatter Costume.

Shelley