Whether your kiddo is an early settler, exploring America in the playroom, or performing on stage in a preschool play for the first time, you can help them get into the role with an easy colonial costume -- even if you don't think you're a crafty mama. Fashion during the American Colonial era was simple, making it an easy choice when you're looking for a costume in a jiffy -- and you may even have parts of the costume lurking in the back of your closet, so you don't have to break the bank.
Cut off a pair of khaki pants about an inch below the knees. Fold over 1/2-inch along the cut edge of the pants and hem. Now you have a pair of Colonial-style pants to wear over top of white baseball socks that come up to the knee.
Cut off the cuffs of the oversized dress shirt. Measure around your youngster's wrist and cut two pieces of elastic to that length. Sew the elastic into the cut ends of the sleeves to make puffy sleeves.
Cut off the sleeves from the large brown T-shirt and cut a slit right down the center front of the shirt. Now you have a commoner's vest for your kiddo to wear over top of the dress shirt.
Lay the straw hat top down on the center of a large piece of dark brown felt. Fold the felt around the hat and tuck the felt up into the inside of the hat. Cut off any excess felt and sew the felt in place so it doesn't gape away from the hat.
Fold the front brim of the hat upward and sew the edge in place. Fold both sides of the brim upward and sew the edges in place too. Now you have a tri-corner hat to complete the Colonial costume.
Pair the brown dress shirt with an ankle-length brown skirt. If you can't find one, cut a circle out of the center of a brown table cloth to make a waist. Try the "skirt" on your gal and try to convince her to stay still long enough to mark ankle length on the fabric. Take off the skirt and cut off any fabric below her ankles. Sew some elastic around the waist to keep the skirt up and hem the bottom. Now you have the costume basics.
Add a plain white apron to the costume. You can add a lacy trim around the apron if you like.
Draw a circle with a 12-inch diameter on a piece of lace and cut it out.
Measure the circumference of your kiddo's head, subtract an inch and cut a piece of elastic to this length.
Sew the elastic around the outer edge of the lace circle to make a mop cap. That's it -- quick enough that you can sneak in a cup of coffee before anyone realizes you're done.
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- Nifty, Thrifty, No-Sew Costumes and Props for Children; Carol Ann Bloom
Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.
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