Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Crimean Soldier costume tutorial (sort of)

Little man came home one day announcing that, as he was doing Florence Nightingale at school, he had to go in dressed as an injured Crimean soldier on his class's Florence Nightingale day. My mind immediately sprang (hopefully) to an easy trip to a fancy dress shop, or maybe we could make do with something simple, ha, ha, ha! I made the mistake of looking up the costume,on the internet, only to discover that my task (should I choose to accept it) was to make a proper, traditional red soldier's uniform...
I searched fancy dress shops, scoured the internet for a toy soldier costume or even a useful tutorial, but I drew a blank. Nothing, zip, nada. Is little man's school the only one which puts mothers through this trauma?

I couldn't let little man down so I came up with this:

Before I begin, this is for any poor unfortunate mother who is faced with the same dilema as me.

You will need:

1 red jacket
1 length gold braid
1 length thick white ribbon
6-8 large gold buttons
large poppers (snap buttons)

First of all little man and I set off to our closest charity shop (thrift store) to find a ladies' (they're smallest I could think of)deep red jacket. Miraculously I found a single breasted one (UK size 10, US size 8)on the sale rail for £2.50! I bought the rest of the 'equipment' at the haberdashers in our town. Then I got to work. This is the Jacket before the transformation:

I cut part of the arms off the jacket(and hemmed them roughly), so that they were the right length for little man. I also cut the buttons off. Then I put the jacket on little man, turned the collar up and wrapped one side of the jacket over the other, turning it from a single breasted jacket to a double breasted one. I stitched the popper buttons on so that the jacket could be buttoned up. Then I stitched the gold buttons on the front of the jacket, and the braid on the collar. Finally, I drapped the white ribbon over little man's shoulder and stitched it to a length I had velcroed round his waist. Little man was so impressed he said 'Mummy I didn't know you were THIS good!' which really made my day! Here's the finished article (we used red food colouring (for blood)on the bandage, which was amazing except for the fact that it dyed a patch of little man's hair red for a few days.):

The moral of the story is, make friends with a mother of older children, who have a whole wardrobe of relevant costumes you can borrow!