There’s a party, so of to find a great fancy dress costume! My first choice, especially when it’s for a fancy dress costume is to make it, which means you can individualize the whole design, and keep the cost down. However if buying little girls clothing, the range available is unlimited; styles, colours, patterns, fitted or puffy, frilly or straight? With the fancy dress party; to buy a ready made costume or just pick a dress that sort of suits the theme and add some accessories, but can then be used again post-party. When I don’t have the time to make a party dress, I like just layering pieces that I pickup either new or 2nd hand into a great individual party dress. When you let the children join in with the creation, it makes wearing their party dress even more fun.
The first step you would want to take, besides a budget, is to decide what type of costume would fit the party your child is going to:
- a fancy dress theme
- a Christmas party.
- an Easter party.
- a casual birthday party or a formal birthday party.
All require different design ideas.
The Fancy Dress Costume
There are a wide variety of ready to wear costumes at most toy shops for many popular birthday themes, but for the more generic parties here are some quick and easy suggestions:
Princess – a long, flowing, dress, even a long single style summer dress will do. You can purchase a princess crown or make a paper flower halo, or the good old cardboard cone with streamers flowing out the point for a hat. There is a lot of creative opportunities for the children to make their own hats. For the cooler months, a cape can be made out of a piece of material slung around the sholders joined with a button. Would strongly suggest not using ties to join a cloak because of the risk of choking while playing. Colours could range from white to bright pinks, purples or blues depending on your child’s colour preferences.
Fairy or Ballet Dancer – The key to this theme is twirlyness, the twirlier the better! So a twirly dress or skirt is suitable, possible materials include; several layers of tulle or netting, in soft colours of coral, pinks, baby blues or brighter colours for a fairy like green, cerise, yellows, or even a rainbow of colours. A matching top or leotard, with a satin sash around the waist, joined with velcro for easy dressing. Wings can be purchased or made out of cardboard and painted the correct colour, again with your child’s help, you could go crazy with the glitter, glue and ribbons for this project, and for the ballet dancer a long ribbon joined to the top of a short piece of dowel, will be a nice little accessory. A matching pair of ballet flats, and you have a beautiful costume that will be worn again and again.
Pirate – an easy pirate costume can consist of a black and white stripe or solid brown, pant or skirt, with a long sleeved white shirt and a red sash tied around the waist. A bandana or pirate hat with a purchased eye patch and a cardboard sword complete the effect.
Cartoon Characters – Almost any cartoon character can be made into a child’s fancy dress, my son went to a Mario brothers party last year, he wanted to go dressed as Bowser/King Kuppa from the Super Mario brothers game. For those who don’t know the Mario brothers, it is a Nintendo video game, and cartoon (Goggle: Mario brothers and Bowser 🙂 Bowser is a yellow turtle like creature with a green spiky shell, and red hair, very scary!
- I had some old yellow fabric in my stash, bought a yellow tshirt, sewed arms onto it, made some pull on yellow pants.
- I made black bands with webbing and drew silver dots for the spikes he’s supposed to have on the bands.
- I used a black cap and hot glued a red feather boa down the middle for his Mohawk hairstyle.
- I printed of a colouring in page picture of Bowser for the mask.
- We painted an old ‘Dorothy the Dinosaur tail’ yellow (sorry Dorothy!) and made some little cardboard spikes for it.
- My son then stuffed a small, old child’s backpack with newspaper and I covered it with green tshirt material which was nice and stretchy, so was able to form nicely around the bag.
- We made the spikes out of white cardboard and hot glued them onto the covered backpack. And voila! Well, you can’t see the spikes, but he looked really cute hehe.
And the list can go on and on. Break down your required costume into individual pieces you need to either find in your child’s current wardrobe, make or purchase, and you can come up with any costume you can think of.
Some other quick fancy dress costumes:
- An old sheet can become a great cape, or ghost!
- Tights, long sleeved black tshirt, a little bit of black fur fabric sewn into ears and glued onto a head band, and a few black pipe cleaners and you can come up with a cute cat costume.
A Casual Party
Probably the easiest party to dress for, sometimes you can dress up a current outfit, with a matching hat or contrasting belt, nice shoes, and little jacket or shrug. The main things to remember for a casual party is that there is likely to be alot of playing and running, comfortable clothing that is safe to play in is vital. A knee length dress is Tights are a good idea if wearing a party dress, especially trimmed with the same material as the dress, it allows running and jumping and climbing while still looking great.
For boys, I still love them to wear button up shirts to parties, or even a polo, whether or not the theme is casual, jeans are the norm especially if there will be a lot of playing etc. but a nice pair of trousers always looks smart. There are alot of lovely shorts patterns out there also, although I don’t like shorts at a party at all, but
A Formal Party
A formal party usually includes a dress code on the invitation, so the guess work is taken out of the planning, usually more structured than an informal party, the dresses can be a little fancier, in satins and velvets, with a petticoat or two to add a little puff under the skirt. Matching shiny shoes, and a ribbon in the hair, either loose or tied in a braid, and your little angel will feel beautiful all night.
The boys would definitely be in at least a button up shirt and trousers, possibly even a suit jacket and tie depending on the occasion.
From casual to more formal holiday parties, the colours of the appropriate season are a good place to start for your accessories or even dress colours. From the traditional red and green at Christmas, or silver and blue for a modern twist, to pretty spring pastels or darker winter pinks for Easter spring/winter parties, depending on what hemisphere you live in.
This article is reprinted, with some changes, from a previous blog of mine which I deleted, but I thought the article might still be of use to someone 🙂