Town centre: Step-by-step guide to making a kid’s fancy dress costume
Gill Towell, who runs a sewing, patchwork and tutoring business in Maidenhead, GillyMac Designs, explains how you can make your own pirate costumes for your children – or yourself – cheaply and easily in time for this year’s Maidenhead Festival on July 26-27.
‘I have always enjoyed making costumes for my girls over the years.
And even though I could often buy similar from Amazon, Tesco or eBay, there is something really lovely about having a go myself.
In making this costume, I have incorporated a couple of the ideas I roll out for many of the things I create, I hope you find them as useful as I have done over the years.
1. When making any outfit, try and keep a focus on a couple of parts such as the top/waistcoat and bandanna for the pirate costume. The trousers can be any dark pair of trousers or shorts. You don’t need to make everything.
2. Have a look at what clothing you have that can be dyed. Machine dyeing – I always use Dylon machine dye – is as simple as doing a 40° wash and turns something old into a dressing up item of the right colour immediately.
The dye won’t damage your machine. Just run a 40° cycle afterwards with your normal powder and a cup of bleach (both placed directly into the drum) after you have finished dyeing the garment.
3. Finally, pop down to a local sewing shop and see what they have that could inexpensively enhance the outfit – pop into Sew Crafty in Maidenhead to get your accessories.
To make the pirate shirt, I used an old school shirt, cut the cuffs and collar off and put some elastic in the
shortened sleeves to make it look ruffled.
I made a belt tie from a piece of striped fabric, but a red scarf would do the same job.
The shirt was finished off with some gold ric-rac ribbon.
To make the waistcoat I dyed a white T-shirt, which had seen better days, black.
I then trimmed off the arms, cutting straight up the front and then shaping the bottom front to look more waistcoat-like.
I added anchor buttons to it and the rest of the gold ric rac.
I added a home-made skull and crossbones brooch, which I made with two circles of felt fabric, a skull and crossbones button and a safety pin.
The final outfit only needed a bandanna to finish it off. Using half the striped material I bought, I hemmed around it, folded it into a triangle and tied it into a bandanna. The final accompaniment was a cutlass which was made out of a cardboard box and tinfoil.
So the final costs – and shopping list – if you want to replicate the outfit:
0.5m Striped PolyCotton Fabric £2.48
1m 0.5cm elastic £0.50
2 Anchor Buttons (75p each) £1.50
2m Gold ric rac (£1.20/m) £2.40
1 sheet of black felt £0.75
Skull & Crossbones button £0.75
Plus Dylon at £6.95 which is needed to dye fabric if you don’t have a black T-shirt.
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