It was World Book Day yesterday – one of my favourite days of national celebration. (Alongside national bacon sandwich day, of course. Oh, and Pi day.) Recently, after a fiasco with the making of a bat costume (for another dressing up day at school,) which took hours to make but made its owner look like a tiny Grim Reaper, I swore off making costumes. However, I almost immediately fell off the sanity-wagon and started dreaming up plans for Book Day dressing up costumes. Because, well, there really are not enough days celebrating the wonder that is books. And in particular, childrens’ books.
Will had to be talked out of several costumes which required far too much effort, but we eventually agreed on Captain Barnacles of the Octonauts (which were books before they became a TV show, which satisfies my inner book snob.) Luckily, this only required the assembly of a blue belt, a compass and a hat. The whole thing was made much easier by finding these printable Octonaut logos. It had the right badge on, so whatever the rest of the costume looked like, Will was a happy Polar Bear sea captain.
I made the hat from craft foam and elastic: cheap, and required no sewing. The belt was a bit of the bit of stiff fabric at the top of curtains where you put the hooks in, (no idea of technical term) covered with some blue fabric. Only required straight-line sewing.
Polly wanted to be a Maud, from Monstrous Maud, which is an unexpected hit from a random bundle of books she bought with her birthday book voucher from Waterstones. The book bundles are the bright idea of the manager of the Bedford branch, Fern. She selects three books by different authours, but of the same reading ability bracket, and ties them up in a nice bundle with string. You save a bit of money buying them as a set, and also you get three completely different books. Polly got a Milly Molly Mandy book, Monstrous Maud, and a book about a naughty fairy. They are all completely different, but she’s loved all three. Plus we had the lovely experience of a trip to the bookshop to choose them.
Luckily, the Maud costume required just an old black top of mine, which I livened up with a pocket in skull-print fabric. The pocket was big enough for Maud’s pet rat Quintin, which was a crucial consideration.
(Please excuse the dirt. It had done a whole day at school by the time I got a chance to photograph it. )
Tilly wanted to dress up as Lola, and frankly I leapt at the chance of making something to honour what are probably my favourite childrens’ picture books after my sacred Shirley Hughes’ Alfie books. I’ve been meaning to make a pillowcase dress for ages, and Lola’s vintage-style dress prints lend themselves very nicely to one of my mum’s old pillowcases (I did ask her first, I should add.) It was ever so easy, and I just added felt heart/butterfly shapes in felt and some yellow ric-rac to add a little pizazz.
I also, and I can’t quite believe that I am about to type this sentence – I made a foxy/rabbit toy out of Richard’s old jumper.
His head is held onto his body with poppers. It made perfect sense at the time, but I do admit that it does make foxy a bit creepy.
Sadly, on the way to school, a wailing Tilly told me that she had changed her mind, and didn’t want to be Lola after all, and actually wanted to wear her Belle princess dress.
All in all, despite the late night, the needle/finger injuries, the swearing at the sewing machine and the blatant abuse of Rich’s work printer; I’m glad I made the costumes. They are all based on books we’ve read and the kids have listened to (or read themselves, in Polly’s case,) and loved. The children all went to school bringing their favourite book characters to life. Off the page and into their imagination. And as far as I am concerned, that is the greatest thing about reading. And definitely worth celebrating.
Though I will not be making any more jumper animals for a while.