Cave girl costume

Cave girl costume

Cave girl costume (and teach your child to sew)

I am sure many of you will be able to relate to this feeling, it’s the last day of term, whilst emptying the school bag for the last time this school year, you find a screwed up note that says on the first week back after the summer holidays their is going to be a themed dress up day. The theme is “Stones and Bones”. Easy I thought, I’ll have plenty of time to knock something up over the holidays. So up it goes on the pin board of stuff. Everyone has one of these, right?

Now, let’s fast forward 6 weeks and I suddenly think, darn it, when’s that dressing up day at school again? A little rummage through the layers of paper to discover it’s in 3 days’ time. Luckily Evie makes the decision of what to make nice and easy, by asking to be a cave girl. A quick trip to Fabricland to stock up on faux fur and I’m ready to hit the sewing studio with a very keen helper in tow.

Materials:

  • 0.25m of 4 different faux fur – 112cm wide (£3.49/m)
  • 0.5m elastic – 8mm wide (£0.30/m)
  • Square of white felt. (£0.90 each)
  • Brown and white thread (already had)

Total cost £4.20.

This kind of fabric is loads of fun, plus you don’t feel the slightest bit guilty about picking up the scissors and hacking into it. In fact, for this outfit it actually looks better that way.

We start by measuring around her waist and subtracting a quarter, this is the length we cut the waistband elastic, this ensures there’s a slight stretch when she puts it on. Then we set about cutting 8 strips of each of the different furs with pinking shears, which give it a ragged edge but also stops it from fraying. Making sure that within each fur type we have differing lengths, finishing somewhere around the knee on Evie, with varying angles on one end. For the other end just leave this squared off. Whilst you don’t have to be overly accurate with the widths of these strips we stuck with about 10cm wide.

Stitching:

For this bit we take each strip and at the squared off end simply fold over to about 3cm and run a straight stitch across the width. This gives us a long strip with a loop at the top for the elastic to pass through. Now all we have to do is repeat this a further 31 times!!! I was truly amazed that Evie sat and helped through most of this stage. She got in to a real rhythm of folding over the end, putting the presser foot down, hold and feed the fabric through on the left, presser foot up. Of course I kept control of the fabric on the right of the foot and also the pedal.

If you’re thinking of teaching your little one to machine sew, here’s a few of my tips:

  • Start with a clear workstation, little bits like pin cushions do distract them.
  • Try and have them sat on your lap.
  • Think of two or three tasks that they can focus on. (Ours was folding over the end of the fabric, raising and lowering the presser foot).
  • As with most kids they get distracted from time to time, each time Evie looked away I stopped the machine to prove the point and spoke to her about concentrating on where the needle is.
  • Get them to take a few minutes to look at what they’ve made, and give them a little praise, it’ll go a long way.

So with the fabric strips collected in a random order we feed the elastic through and stitch the ends together. Evie then selected one of the furs for a shoulder strap, for this I measure from Evie’s hip up and over her shoulder to the same point on her back. We then cut a strip the right length, but double the desired final width, plus a seam allowance. The strip is then folded in half lengthwise and with right sides together we stitch around one short and one long edge. Turn out the right way and stitched up on the remaining, open end.

The strap is then attached to the front and back of the waist band at a slight angle, so it sits well over the shoulder.

Nearing the end, and we’ve decided that every cave girl needs a prehistoric bone attached to their costume. So I take the square of white felt, fold it in half and run a bone shape stitch around, this is then trimmed back to within about 5mm of the stitch line, and fixed on to the front of the shoulder strap.

And that combined with a white t-shirt gives us a fantastic cave girl costume, with the benefit that it cost way less than amazon, was undoubtedly of better quality and it gave us some great daddy and daughter time.

Hopefully this helps give you some inspiration for those school dress up days.

Matt & Evie xx

The stitcher. A magnet for foolery & prankster at heart. Loves being creative, whether with some wood and a saw or with a needle and thread. Attempts to disguise his past time activities as manly pursuits, but is actually pretty handy at sewing!

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