Tag Archives: fancy dress

A boy in a tutu

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Next weekend, we’re going to a garden party with the theme of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Now I need little excuse to dress up, especially if that dressing up can possibly involve tutus. But I’d been pondering a little what to do for Arthur… I was working generally around the idea of ‘woodland elf’, but was having trouble finding anything terribly inspiring. And then we went to my friend’s daughter’s first birthday party. And she was given a tutu. And it looked fabulous.

It got me thinking that maybe I was being a little narrow-minded in not including tutus as part of Arthur’s dressing up repertoire. I mean, tutus come in all sorts of styles and colours, and surely I could find one that would be fun for a little boy? Having trawled the internet though I could find nothing that wasn’t incredibly girly or incredibly expensive. But what I did find was a great little tutorial for no sew tutus – the perfect style for a woodland elf too rather than the more manicured ballerina-esque approach.

Using the tutorial as a guide I rustled up a tutu in no time at all. I’m fairly free-form in my approach to making things, but I’ve tried to break down how I did it here in case you feel the need for a tutu in your life!

Super easy tutus (for girls OR boys)

You will need:

Net in your choice of colour(s) – how much will depend on the size of the tutu, for Arthur’s I used about 4m off the roll

A length of elastic to fit round the waist

Basic sewing kit

Step One:

Cut the netting into strips – about 10 cm wide and twice the length you want the finished tutu to be. I used equal amounts of three colours (light green, dark green and brown) which I think looked pretty cool.

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Step Two: 

Cut a length of elastic to fit around the waist. You want it to be stretched quite tight as the process of making the tutu loosens it a bit. I sewed the ends of the elastic together, but you could knot it if you prefer.

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Step Three:

Find something to use as a frame for making the tutu: you want the elastic to be tight enough not to fall down but not stretched too much. I started off with the piano stool but that was actually a bit too big. The handle of Arthur’s walker was a much better size!

Taking each strip in turn, fold it in half, put the loop at the top over the elastic and then draw the two ends through and pull tight. I didn’t manage to get a very good photo of this process but hopefully you get the idea…

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Keep going all the way around the piece of elastic. The tighter the knots the more strips of net you’ll need but the fuller the tutu will be.

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Step Four:

Try the tutu on for size!

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Arthur was a little bit sceptical at first but as you can see from the picture at the top of the post it wasn’t long before he was loving it!

I made one for myself too, following exactly the same process but just sizing everything up. The upturned piano stool was perfect this time.

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So there you have it: two gorgeous tutus ready to party.

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Leigh was feeling left out by the time I was done so I’ll be making him one too this week. Watch this space to see how his turns out, and also for all of our finished costumes! Just a few more bits to do…

 


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My little pirate

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Every year on the first May bank holiday, our town becomes over-run with pirates. We’ve managed to (unintentionally) miss the fun over the past couple of years that we’ve been here, but this weekend we had no excuse so we bundled up our sleepy teething baby and wandered down to the harbour to see what was going on.

First step was to fashion Arthur a costume: it’s amazing what can be achieved with a stripy top and a napkin. The parrot was actually one of Leigh’s birthday presents. We have a way to go before our efforts come close to some of the spectacular pirate outfits we saw in town, but it’s a start.

For Arthur’s animal companion we settled on a monkey backpack that handily converts to reins. I’m not generally a fan of the idea of keeping my son on a leash, but with the crowds around and him desperately to get in on the action it felt like a sensible safety line in case he managed to slip free of our hands – and particularly useful for gently edging him away from the lure of a springtime swim.

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The water was actually not as cold as we expected. It certainly won’t be long before we brave a dip, but I couldn’t quite pluck up the courage this weekend. There was still a bit of a nip in the air, but the weather was generally gorgeous – definitely sunglasses territory, though Arthur seems to prefer his Dad’s to his own!

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Brixham was absolutely buzzing – music echoing around the harbour bowl from the stage in the old fish market, performers taking over the streets and a mix of locals and tourists in some pretty impressive piratical attire.

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I think Arthur was a little confused about what was going on – quite understandable really as it certainly wasn’t your average Brixham weekend! But nonetheless he seemed to enjoy himself, watching transfixed as his town was transformed. It definitely managed to take his mind off his teeth which is no bad thing.

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Baby-led weaning ears

Despite being pretty convinced before we got there that I’d be embracing the world of purees, Arthur’s explorations of food beyond breast milk have ended up being very much baby-led. And we’ve loved it! I’ve loved watching the expression on his face change as he tentatively brings new tastes to his mouth, I’ve loved the delight he’s taken in a variety of textures as he squidges food through his fingers, I’ve loved how his dexterity has slowly improved so he can now pick up even single grains of rice, I’ve loved having him as a companion at the dinner table with his giggles and expanding conversation. But what I haven’t loved is the mess.

I was ready for the carpet of discarded morsels on the floor, for the smears of carefully smushed food on anything he could get his hands on, but (perhaps naively) I hadn’t quite anticipated the effect on his hair. Arthur has a lot of hair, beautiful hair, and there is nothing he loves more at the end of a good meal (and at various points during it) than running his fingers through that hair. Cute, but oh my gosh so messy.

We tried various headbands, but all the ones that fitted were invariably and unmistakably made for baby girls. I’m all up for avoiding gender stereotyping, but as the collection of photos grew and our friends and family raised a huge collective eyebrow I decided we maybe needed to find another solution. And so baby-led weaning ears were born.

I started back in the craft burst of December, creating bear ears, mouse ears and fox ears from old pairs of tights and scraps of felt.

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They came out rather well, and certainly did the job of keeping the hair well away from offending foodstuffs. So much so that I’ve decided to add to the collection, beginning with a pair of dragon ears that I will talk you through here.

First, amass your materials. These ears are brilliant for using up bits you might have lying around, just taking a bit of creativity to fit what you find to an appropriate creature. For the dragon I used a palette of green and yellow. You’ll need part of a pair of old tights, two colours of felt, and thread to match.

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The first step in the actual making is to create the band itself. I tend to loosely test this on myself first, cutting a section of tights that fits snugly on my head so it will have a bit of give for Arthur. Then you simply need to sew a line along the two cut edges, turning the band inside out ready for the next stage. I use a back stitch for this which seems to hold, but feel free to bring your own sewing expertise to the details!

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Before you go any further you might want to just check the headband fits your little darling. As you can see Arthur was thrilled to have me interrupt his play time to test this out:

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Next it’s time to start work on the ears themselves. You’ll need four larger pieces for the main part of the ears, leaving an extra bit of felt at the base of the ear shape for attaching to the headband. These pieces should all be pretty much identical – I drew the first one freehand with tailor’s chalk then used it as a template for the others but a paper template would work well too. You’ll also need two matching  ‘inner ears’ in an appropriate colour.

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Before you begin attaching the ears I’d sew the inner ears on to their base like so:

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Then with a bit of pinning to get the ears in place, attaching the ear shaped parts to each other and separating the flaps to pin to the headband, you can sew it all together so it looks something like this:

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I played around with the stitching a bit with these ones to give the ears a more three dimensional quality, but the other ones worked out fine just staying flat.

And that’s it! The finished ears will go through the washing machine on a 30 degree cycle, though I haven’t tested them in the drier yet. Their potential is of course not restricted to the dinner table – after chatting to a mummy friend over coffee yesterday I’m thinking that tails might be the next step to take them to a whole other level…

But as you can see they do a very good job of holding back that beautiful hair whilst Arthur tucks into his food. And all whilst looking totally adorable in the process.

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