I quite like making costumes.There is nothing like a dress up party or book week for making the seamstress mother feel quite superior. There are also no indications for couture techniques on a costume.
However, when I was walking past a dress shop on my way to the bank on Friday, a RTW dress on the pavement sale rack caught my eye.
Does this dress look like a ballet costume to you?
My daughter has a solo in her concert.(She will not be wearing her black wool school uniform tights for the ballet concert) She threatened to model this with hiking boots when I asked her if she could put on her ballet tights for the photo, so I thought it better to just be grateful for the modelling despite the incongruous tights.
The dress was $35, and far too big, but I could not buy the 9m of tulle in the 3 layer skirt for $35 locally, let alone the other fabric.
I added shirring elastic to the back, rather haphazardly, reminding myself that this was a costume when I thought about unpicking, and added ribbon straps for the exercitations of dance and the slender bosom of the dancer.
Inside view of shirring.
I did not have the right colour ribbon, so added decorative machine stitches to the ribbon using thread that matched the dress.
She is quite pleased with it. Although I usually loathe and avoid alterations, I am glad I did not try making it from scratch.
Next up, was book week at the primary school. Due to the retirement of a wonderful teacher, who used to run every fun thing at school, my childrens' school has not celebrated book week for 5 years, putting rather a dampner on my costume sewing showing off. Last week, the newsletter finally announced that a book week parade would be re-introduced, and the requirement was to dress as a character from another country. Naturally I assumed that this character would be from a book. I quizzed my son "Which character will you be ?" He said, "a farmer from Mulan, Mulan is from China and I have a sword from China". I pointed out that Mulan was a Disney movie, and suggested that he dress as a character from the Dragon Keeper series, set in ancient China, which we have just finished reading together. My son was quite exasperated. "If I dress as a book character, no one in my class will know who I am!". Obviously, I am out of touch with book week.
Here is our Chinese farmer turned Mulan's soldier.
Apparently a weapon is a requirement for dress ups if you are an 8 year old boy. I am not sure that Chinese soldiers wear farmers' hats. I strongly suspect that the costume is merely a background excuse to take a bamboo sword to school.
I suppose this makes a change from magic wands.
The pattern is Burda style 11-2009-143, boys' pyjamas, with the gathering cuffs left off, the top lengthened and turned into a wrap top. The trousers are cut down from a pair of mine -the fabric is a sort of polyester hessian that kept coming apart at the seams (I bound them for the costume). The top is a vaguely Asian print polyester woven, given to me by my grandmother about 20 years ago. You never know when these things will come in handy.
The hat is a gift from his aunt to his sister, from Vietnam, and the sword is a gift from his uncle, from China. Nicely international, and quite inauthentic.