Monday, 19 March 2012

Fairy Tales and Dressing Up

A couple of weeks ago it was quite busy at little boy's school.  It was St. David's day in Wales on Thursday 1st so the kids were invited to make a fairy-tale character to be entered into a competition as part of the festivities, plus two non-uniform days on Wednesday and Thursday when the kids were supposed to wear Welsh dress (or clothes/costumes associated wtih Wales), and then on Friday they were supposed to dress up as their favourite book character for World Book Day. Phew!

So the weekend was dedicated to making a model of Jack and the Beanstalk.  The cardboard tube from the middle of a roll of wrapping paper would serve as the beanstalk, with leaves cut out from green card and Jack made from a toilet roll tube with a tissue paper head.  It turned out beautifully (forgive the poor photo), and apart from some help with cutting and sticking, it was mostly done by 4yo himself.  I especially like the look on Jack's face.  He won first prize don't you know :-D


The Welsh dress turned out to be more tricky than I expected.  All the shops were full of cute little outfits for girls, with the only option for boys seeming to be rugby shirts.  Apparently there is no such thing as traditional Welsh dress for men, so I ended up buying a rugby shirt.  I also decided to make a red waistcoat with a crocheted leek brooch as a second outfit because I knew that there was no way said rugby shirt would stay clean for two days, but I only got as far as cutting the waistcoast pieces and making the base of the leek! Oh well, never mind.  Perhaps I'll get them finished in time for next year...

Part of the reason that I didn't make the waistcoat was because I also decided to make a costume for my son to wear for the school's celebaration of World Book Day.  We decided on Captain Barnacles from the Octonauts.  Now, I have dabbled in dressmaking, but I'm no seamstress and despite not having a pattern I somehow convinced myself that it would be a quick job to whip up some bottoms using a really great quick method that I found in this tutorial, and a short-cut top by tracing around an existing long-sleeved t-shirt, but it didn't quite turn out that way! In the end not only did I make the top with separate sleeves, I also added a zip to the front and a collar.  All without a pattern! I came dangerously close to staying up all night, but managed to get at least a little sleep after I decided to ditch the hat and to make the compass and badge out of card and not fabric.  Here's what I was aiming for:
And this is the result:


It isn't perfect - some of the raw edges aren't finished, I forgot to iron a few of the seams, and the collar could have been fitted better to hide the top of the zip. In fact you'd be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss was about. But to me it's great achievement and I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  My son on the other hand was much less impressed and sulked for the entire morning after I presented him with the outfit, refusing to wear it.  In hindsight the leggings were probably a little snug, and jersey was probably not the most suitable material for the weather but I was gutted that he didn't like it.  As a compromise he went to school in jogging bottoms and wore the top.

Despite the challenges, I really enjoyed the process. I'm so pleased that I was able to create a pattern (of sorts) and construct a garment. But if you ever hear me say "I'll make something quickly. It'll be a piece of cake..." again, slap me! Hard!

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