Sunday, 21 August 2011

Costumes: RTW cop out and Burda Style 11-2009-143 variation

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?
SDC10197 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.


Ruthie said...

Hey pretty good costumes! I have been altering thrifted RTW :-)

Carolyn said...

Good for you!
I love the costumes you have rustled up! Gee, I miss book week! Costumes are fun and really enable one to get exotic. That dress is a great find... (and for the record, hehe, obviously I think hiking boots would be just perfect with it!)

sewing spots said...

I love both costumes! It is always fun to have an excuse to dress up.

Thanks for the book suggestion, too. We read a lot and are always on the search for more books! I have the first Dragon Keepers book on hold at our library!

Summer Flies said...

I agree with everything you say re 8 year old boys - any excuse to have a sword to school! I think you did a great job on the dress- good idea to shirr it.

a little sewing said...

Oh, I agree what fun it is to sew costumes for children. From about 1990 - 2005, that was about the only sewing I did and I relished it. It was a chance to flex my creative muscles, and of course the kids love it.

Very clever to add decorative stitching on the straps. It tied in the colors so well.

And loving your son's costume, especially his sword.

liza jane said...

Any excuse to take a bamboo sword to school-- haha! So true!
We have a book float parade at the end of the year. I dressed as Paddington bear and no one had a clue who I was. They wondered why I had bear ears and wellies on.

Kyle said...

Ha ha on "if I dress as a book character no one will know who I am". Costumes look great!

katherine h said...

Well, I can't let my son see these photos. I have convinced him to go as Tiki Tiki Tembo. He informed we that he hates book week and hates dress up so rather than make him a costume, I grabbed a women's Chinese shirt from the op shop and put a belt around it. I was going to get him one of those farmer's hats but got lazy...after seeing your photos I might just have to.

Great work on finding RTW that you could adapt. Sewing tulle is not fun. The ribbons add a nice touch.

Handmade said...

Superior indeed! Great work on the ballet costume - a very pretty dress. And fabulous Chinese "Book" costume - I once did a "Where's Wally" Collection - that saw us through many many dressing up occasions - and a cape - very versatile!

Bernice said...

Love the costumes! In the past few days I've created Meg (from Meg and Mog) for my own daughter and a dwarf (from Snow White) and Cuddlepot for a friend. You've got to love Book Week.

Gail said...

Book week has been supplanted by quickie party frocks at my place. Love the ballet costume and the Milan was a treat! Love the weapon. Oh ooy am glad I had girls.

Anonymous said...

I have girls and while one likes to take necklaces to kindy, the other will take a necklace AND a sword. Without a costume if she could. Hah! Then again they both loved the pic of your lovely girl in her dance dress. Very pretty - we all love costumes.