Book Week Costumes.

August 29, 2013


Onsies as costumes.

Onesies as costumes.

Yes I know I am very, very slack but this year it came down to onesies for the book parade. Judging by just how many I saw on parade day, I am not the only parent enjoying the simplicity.

10 year old , of course is Eeyore from the Winnie-the-Pooh series of books, and 7 year old is the ‘good’ pig from “The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig” by Eugene Trivizas. 

While at the parade a conversation was had about the difficulty getting a good photo during….and sometimes before ….. the book parade. I took some pretty bad ones. Did you?



...this one is fabulous!...

…this one is fabulous!…

If you took some equally awful pictures at the book parade, and you are happy to share them, please email them to me. … or comment below. I will share them if I get enough. I might even offer a prize!




Book Week 2012.

August 25, 2012

9 year old as a suffragette, complete with banner and fliers.

6 year old as Gretel from “The sound of music”

My story series. Suffragette by Carole Drinkwater


The Sound of Music by Bert Fink.

9 year old took a bold turn this book week parade and decided to be a suffragette. It lead to lots of discussion in our house…. which was helpful and an education for us all. I was totally unaware of the lengths women and men went to for equality on this issue. And while I am here, I will give this series of books a plug. Our 12 year old started reading other books from this history fiction series when she was about 10 and enjoyed them immensely. They cover royal history, some ancient history and more recently modern history. This months scholastic bookclub (which I usually groan when it gets pulled from school bags) has a great deal on these books. 22 books for $88 dollars. Brilliant!

6 year old, after much discussion, decided on Gretel Von Trapp from The Sound of Music…… and yes! it is a book. Her costume came via the grandparents. A fabulous authentic Austrian dress, and a few other bits from their amazing dress-up box. Thanks guys.

I hardly made a thing!

Hope you enjoyed your book week as much as we did.

I couldn’t resist putting this one in. Gretel, Polly ( from The Magicians Nephew by C.S. Lewis) and Emily.


Hatshesup costume  from last year.

It is my habit to only make one costume a year for book week and for all the rest to come from our dress-up box…. or someone else’s.

This keeps the cost and stress down, and helps the kids get creative about which character they want to be.

Last year it was the  11 year old (now 12) who got a special costume made.

I though, just in time for this year I would share a tutorial of how I made the bib.

If you want to create one and don’t sew, you can follow the along, but just use cardboard as the base and instead of stitching the finishes on, use glue. If you do it this way there is no need for lining or binding and would be much less time consuming.

So with no further chatter……..

The Pharaoh Bib Tutorial

What you will need

  • Cardboard or paper to make pattern
  • base fabric ( I used blue velvet) a rich colour is best
  • lining fabric (I used gold satin)
  • bias binding (again gold)
  • Iron-on stiff interfacing
  • Large gold sequins
  • Gold wool
  • Gold thread
  • Gold fabric paint tube
  • Contrasting fabric to reverse applique (I used a gold silk)
  • pencil, scissors, sewing machine and thread.

How to do it.

The pattern 

1. Start with a rectangle approx 42cm x 18cm

2. Using the measurements given create this shape (It is half of the bib…. doing it this way means you get a symmetrical result) Click on the image to enlarge.

3. Folding your base fabric in half and placing the fold on the edge marked “place on the fold” cut the basic shape.

4. Cut another of these pattern pieces in the same way for both your lining and interfacing. You should now have 3 different coloured fabrics (base, lining and interfacing) all the same shape.

5. Back on your pattern piece sketch out an idea of how you will lay on your ‘design’. Egyptian patterns are very repetitive and tend to follow the shape of the item. Start about 1.5cm in from the edge (this is where your bias will be sewn) and create a design that works towards the centre. Make sure you leave some of your background fabric to show through.

6. Put your lining to one side and just work with your base cloth (blue) and your interfacing now.

Iron the interfacing to your base cloth (wrong side of base fabric to shiny side of interfacing) using a dry iron.


7. Transfer your design onto the interfacing.

8. Sew your sequins and stitching on in the design you have chosen. (glue if you like it will be much quicker)

9. Place your other gold fabric behind the area you want to reverse applique ( have it show through) Sew, with a machine, the shape you have designed from the right side of your bib. Do this to both sides of your bib to keep it symmetrical.

10. On the decorated side of your bib lift the base fabric away from the gold fabric you have just sewn on. Carefully cut away the base fabric very close to your machine stitching.

It should look like this…..
Now do the other side.

11. Paint your reverse appliqued sections and allow to dry.

12. With right sides together lay your lining onto your bib. Stitch the straight edge with 1cm seam allowance.

13. Turn bib so that the wrong sides are together. Give it a really good press with the iron. Be careful of the sequins as they can melt! Best to iron from the lining side.

Pin lining and base bib together at neck edge and outside edge.

14. Machine your bias binding around the outside edge. Do the same with the neck edge leaving 15-20cm at the beginning and end of the neck edge. This will be your tie to secure it around the neck. Fold over to encase the cut edges (trim if you need to)  and pin.

15. Using slip stitch, hand sew the bias binding down on the lining side. Tie a knot in the neck edge bias strings to secure.

16. Now, if my directions are clear, you will have your own unique version of this.

To complete the costume use the fabric and decorations you have left over to make a headband and armbands. Strips which velcro together. Wear over a long thin white dress (or a white sheet worn in a cylinder shape) with a straight black wig and go nuts with the eye make-up.

Time to “Walk like an Egyptian”

Let me know how you go. I’d love to see your creations.


I love this idea! Image from Disney family fun.

As there were no current takers for the interactive Pinteresting series I decided to pre-empt the upcoming book week celebrations, with a collection of 50+ ideas for costumes.

In the collection I have made sure there are lots of simple “last minute’ ones and many ‘no sew’ ideas.

50+ book week costume ideas.

I have tried to be fairly generic, and stuck to books over movies.

This years theme is “Champions read” and parades are approaching fast (August 18-24)

Let me know what you think….. and if you use any for your children.

This ‘cut-out doll’ idea I love……. but I am not sure I will be able to persuade one of my two to do it.

We will see.

For some ideas from past years, you can see them here and here and here.

Lots of these costumes we still have and are happy to lend, if you live close.

We love a good dress up at our house!

The deceptively simple easter egg flower hat/fascinator for 8 year old.

From the other side.

You can see our inspiration here.

Both hats cost less than $8.

Mummy was really happy with the outcome, and the girls had a great time.

It’s something of a spectacle to see 730+ kids, plus a good number of teachers, getting creative.

Magical rabbit in the hat. Designed by 5 year old. Made with lots of help from 13 year old.

Easter hat inspiration.

April 1, 2012


Image from Chanel Couture spring show 2009.

As I said last year….Easter hat parades have nothing to do with Jesus.…. So stop beating yourselves up about the bunnies and the eggs.  Easter hats are all about spring, fashion and celebration.

“Easter was once known as the “Sunday of Joy.” After the Civil War, mothers and daughters who had donned the dark colors of mourning for such a long time began wearing colorful flowered hats and elaborate corsages as part of the Easter celebration. Their hats were adorned with blooming and fresh flowers. If the flowers were not blooming they would make them from paper, ribbon, feathers or sea shells.” quote from dgreetings  

Unfortunately, it’s autumn here and there aren’t any rabbits (or bilbys) or chickens roaming the streets of the inner city… anywhere for that matter.There aren’t any new flowers in bloom and things are much more in the dying phase than the regenerating one.  So  I have decided to just go with the whole feel of it and enjoy the spectacle.

I recently calculated that I have made or co-made more than 15 Easter hats so far…Yes that’s a lot of visits to $2 shops! Our school also has a rule that you are not allowed to put any chocolate eggs on your hat! You can see some easy hats you are welcome to copy here and here.

Beautiful soft flowers and feathers by Loboheme via chic bridal hairstyles.

I was a little  low on inspiration this year and we had only a small window of opportunity in which they could be completed….this week being pretty full.

So I thought where better to get my inspirations than from the catwalks of Europe. After all, who does fashion, spectacle, spring and extravagance more indulgently than them.

I was keen to focus on the flower….. which would have to be fake, so as to keep the cost down, and allow us to make them earlier in the week.

I started having a look around and this is what I found.

Fabric flowers. Image from Martha Stewart.

So fabulous !

Fortunately, there are lots and lots of how to videos and web sites out there on how to make all sorts of flowers.

I have listed them below in case you are in need of some inspiration….

Martha’s paper and fabric flower tutorials.

How to make Crepe paper flowers.

Thai paper flowers 

Tissue Paper Flowers.

Roses from Coffee Filter Papers.

Giant Tissue Paper Flowers 

Origami Flowers 

Image from Ascot style millinery from the Paris Catwalks.

I wanted to keep it inexpensive, so decided on paper.

After sitting through some of the videos with my 8year old and a little sharing of ideas we put together something pretty special…… Which of course you will have to wait until thursday to see.

Happy Easter hat making…..

Book Week Parade

August 29, 2011

8, 5 and 11 year old dressed for the school book parade last Friday.

I know I am a bit of a freak when it comes to this sort of thing….. but I love book week parade. To make it a little less stressful … and thriftier …only one child gets a costume made each year. The others scrounge from what we have or call friends and borrow bits and pieces.

5 year old got in on the act (unnecessarily dressed up) as Felicity Wishes… from the Friendship and Fairyschool by Emma Thomson. I made this costume for 11 year old for her kindergarten book parade six years ago. The crown was always a little odd!

8 year olds went as EJ12 from ‘EJ12 Girl Hero Pyramid Puzzle’ by Susannah McFarlane. She has just got to the ‘Colour Fairy books are not cool’ stage….YAY!!!… EJ12 is like a female Zac Powers. She pulled this costume together with things from her sisters (and her) wardrobe and phoning an adventuring adult she knew for the bits she was missing. Thanks Heidi for the binoculars, shoes and rope.

 11 year old was the one to have  her costume made this year. She is Hatshetsup from the Ramose series of books by Carole Wilkinson. The white dress was in our dress-up box and the other bits I made. We were enlightened about egyptian makeup here. She was delighted to be unrecognisable by some of her school mates. A lot of people thought she was Cleopatra….but she was prepared for this! Hatshesup was the first female Pharaoh of Egypt. She stole the throne from her nephew. Male Pharaohs didn’t like the idea of female ones so spent the years after her reign trying to remove any historical trace of her….. just a quick history lesson for the uninitiated (me included before I started making the costume). I even went fabric and bits buying with a totally different Pharaoh as my inspiration. Oh, the shame of it!!

As it turned out, 12 year old had a multicultural day at school on Friday as well! She went as an English punk. Sorry about the dreadful photo…. but I couldn’t leave her out.

Well book parade over for another year. Sniff. Still time to add your comments to the book week giveaway. I will announce the winner soon. Don’t miss out!

Easter Hat parade.

April 7, 2011

Strike a pose...

News Flash …. The Easter Hat Parade has nothing to do with Jesus!

This has always annoyed me, but it turns out  historically …. it really doesn’t.

It’s more to do with fashion and spring.

This year, we ran with it…..

More like a fascinator than a hat or bonnet..... but once you get to year 6 the sillier the better.

Origami crane with hanging bilbys. Thank you 12 year old for your origami skills!

4 year old just got in the act. A simple rock star hat.

End of year means concerts, concerts and more concerts.

I know some of you like to keep up with what the girls are doing.

I chose these pictures as they are very representational of their characters at the moment. I love how 4 girls born fairly lose together, and with the same parents can be so different.

This post is especially for you.

12 year old in the recent year 6 show. Big thank you to our friend the Dr Who mad Galaghers who made this awesome costume.

7 year olds in the "We are the World" year 1 and 2 show.

Not your typical bible character for this time of year. 10 year old as a devil.

4 year old hasn't been in anything, but has gone to everything!. I could hardly leave her out.

Starting with the basic or collared cape.... we then....

1. Draw the outline of the shape wanted you want to applique. If it is a symmetrical motif, fold in half and cut it out making it even on both sides.

We were after a 'Mickey Mouse-esque' devil face outline.

2. place it on your fabric and cut out. Remember to leave about 1 to 1 1/2 cm seam allowance.

You should end up with something that looks like this.

2. Decide where you want your reverse applique to be. I choose the centre back because the original bathrobe was monogrammed and I wanted to get rid of it. (I could have done a normal applique, but because this cape was made for the stage, and the monogramming was white, I was concerned that under the stage lights it would still be visible.)

4.With the right side of the applique piece against the wrong side of the cape...(read carefully) pin in place.

5. With a straight stitch, sew around the shape at 1-11 /2 cm from the edge. Go around the shape 2-3 times. Do not worry if your stitching line isn't exactly on top of each other. It does not matter!


It should look like this from the inside of the cape.

5. Turn the cape to the right side. Make a small nick in the cape fabric within the outline that you have sewn. Be very careful to only cut the cape fabric (red) and not your motif fabric (black).

6. Make a cut out toward the edge of the outline.

7. Cut as close as you can, without cutting the stitching, around the shape until the whole piece can be removed.

.... and whoa-la a devil cape complete with collar and devil motif. Total cost $3 for the bathrobe.

*Please note: This cape/cloak is made for the stage and for older children. If you are making this as a dress-up for toddlers the tie at the neck may result in choking when playing around the house and on play equipment. I guess that’s why in ‘The Incredibles’ the designer says “NO CAPES”