My sister-in-law called me a week or so ago, wanting advice. “You’re so crafty,” she said, “and you have such great ideas, I wonder if you can come over and help me with ideas for these angel costumes for the kids’ Christmas play. It’s just that none of them match, and they’re too long…you’re just so creative…” I agreed to come over, and thought of what I’d say, things like, you know, “gold belts would look great… or why not try halos? or how about cutting holes in white sheets?”
It turned out that when I got there, she had about a dozen non-matching costumes for kindergarteners, all of them long enough for the kids to trip on as they walked up to the stage. We looked at what she had, and I said, “In a perfect world, what would you want?”
All of the costumes looked like they had been put together at different times, by different people. Some with genuine sewing skills, and one of them was, no kidding, a sheet with holes cut in it. My SIL said that in a perfect world she would want the costumes all to match, and not be as long, and this one (she pointed to one of the several lying on the floor) had nice wingy sleeves. By the way, she also had a bolt of white muslin. Well.
We figured out that we could trace a pattern with the one with the sleeves she liked, and had enough muslin to cut out 8 at 18 inches long, which was just right on my nephew, who is one of the Angels in question. I took the bolt home, washed the fabric and ironed it, which is always the worst part. In fact, since my SIL agreed to iron all the bits and pieces as they came off the sewing machine, sewing them wasn’t so bad. I checked the internet to see if anyone in the blogosphere had any tips about angel costumes, but seriously, they were along the lines of: gold belts, halos, cut holes in sheets…
SIL brought the kids over to my house the next day and we set up an assembly line, cutting out the necks and sleeves from a symmetrical pattern, like a valentine heart. (The kids weren’t in the assembly line, by the way, they pretty much ran around, swordfighting with sticks, and breaking up the ice in the goldfish pond with a shovel.) Then I stitched the sleeves and armpits, then the necks. We were going to try to get away without doing the necks, but then one angel ripped it when trying it on, so I zigzagged around each neck hole.
All the angels were adorable at the Christmas play, although I didn’t get any pictures- we were late, as usual, to the performance, and they took off the costumes pretty quickly after the show was over. It took an afternoon of work, but we’ll see the costumes for years as my nephews and nieces work their ways up from angels to census takers to shepherds year by year.
Sigh, in a perfect world, I would have had more time, to hand-bind the necks with silver ribbon, a simple detail that would be invisible from the audience, but I would know…