World Book Day – a chance to delight in the joy (and everything else) to be found in books, and a dress up day for lots of school children all over the country. The latter is always a divider, some love it, some hate it and some secretly love it but pretend to hate it.As costume making is pretty much my favourite pastime I can’t even try and pretend, and I really liked H’s choice this year, which she came up with without any influence from me. The character she decided to dress as was Emily, from the Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi. I haven’t read the series but H loves them and has been eagerly awaiting the seventh book which has just been released. Here she is in action, perhaps you can tell why I liked her choice…
So, to the costume, which is made up of lots of elements, some which can be used for everyday wear, others will be stashed for future dress up opportunities.
The costume elements that were pieces I thought would be useful additions to H’s wardrobe I took time to finish as well as possible. H seems to wear through trousers at the knee quicker than I can make them so these were the first item on the list. Not just any trousers though, trousers made from the thickest cotton drill I could find in the vain hope that there won’t be holes in the knees by next month. I used the twisted trousers pattern from Titchy Threads that I used last year. To fit with the costume, and to accommodate the heavy weight fabric I made a simple version, avoiding the piped and reversible options, and adding top stitching to all the seams in a matching thread. I made a size 5 lengthening the legs to a size 9.
The shirt and vest were both made using patterns from one of my favourite books ‘A Sunny Spot – Everyday Clothes for Girls’ . The blouse is made from cotton shirting, using pattern K – the smock blouse pattern. I made as instructed just adding extra length to the arms and body. The finished shirt really reminds me of one from the Bobo Choses summer collection which is covered in lovely bright yellow fruit, and whilst I won’t be able to print anything that cleanly on the shirt now that it is made up, I am quite tempted to add some bright fabric paint now that WBD is over. The vest was made using pattern O for the Border Knit Coat, although I omitted the sleeves, shortened the length and added belt loops on the sides. I used brushed grey cotton for the outside and green checked cotton for the inside which was left over from making S’s smocked dress.
I took a little less time and care on the parts of the costume that are unlikely to be used for anything but dressing up. The cloak was made quickly from a freehand cut pattern using an old cotton sheet. I made an overlapping closure with 2 buttons to create a more ruched effect at the front.
For the gloves and leg-warmers (worn over brown shoes in order to look like boots) I found some odd material in the scrap bin of my local fabric shop. I have no idea what it is called but it was very inexpensive and worked well enough, although it did not have much stretch which would have made making gloves a lot easier. The fingerless gloves were fairly tricky, possibly partly because H’s hands are still quite small or perhaps because my made up pattern wasn’t great. The leg-warmers on the other hand were very quick – a simple rectangle with one seam to create a tube, then holes jabbed in with sharp scissors to thread the wool laces.
H took on the task of making the amulet although I was enlisted to help with the thin strips of black to create the design. She marbled lilac and glow in the dark Fimo together so the whole thing does glow in the dark. She painted the outer rim and back gold after it was baked and hardened.
Other World Book Day activity involved helping my neighbour (a teacher) put together a Mrs Twit costume which, worryingly involved lending my wardrobe out as ugly clothes, plus some paper mache giant walking stick making, and ping pong ball glass eye making. The children also go stuck in with making dreams in jam jars for the BFG (plus a big mess on the kitchen table) and planning things to stick in Mr Twit’s beard. The mug in the photo below was an unplanned but happy homage to all things Roald Dahl.
Until next year…