26 May 2014

Nanny Piggins costume

Is a costume successful if people laugh at it? Does it count if the costume maker is the only one that's laughing? I think so. I've been cracking myself up all weekend over my daughter's special costume request. It's all thanks to Book Week, which is happening at school over the next, erm, week. Each child is encouraged to come to school tomorrow dressed up as their favourite character.

When Sienna said that she wanted to dress up as Nanny Piggins, I automatically tried to steer her towards suggestions that could easily be assembled from items in our overflowing dress-up box. It's not that I am not excited about sewing costumes. It's just that I have learnt that it doesn't pay to be overly organised about these things as eleventh hour costume changes are common around these parts. Renee was not particularly enthused about dressing up at all, and while she seems happy with my suggestion to wear last year's Red Riding Hood costume, anything could happen.

In the end, my vision of a weekend afternoon spent watching netball on tv went up in a cloud of smoke and I settled in for a few hours of patternless sewing instead.

This is my reference image. Pleats. Peter pan collar. Pigs ears. I got this.
In my fabric stash was some blue knit. Knit scares me. My sewing machine doesn't like it at all and I knew the raw edges would curl up. After cutting out a basic dress shape and seeing that it didn't fray, I realised that having no seams would work in my favour anyway. I didn't need to hem the skirt and the sleeves wouldn't be seen under the bolero anyway so there wouldn't be much swearing at the sewing machine required after all. This kind of fabric does not seem to hold creases well, but I pleated it the best that I could before overlocking it to the base of the dress.

The bolero is made from an old dark blue hoodie that was in a bag of clothes to take to the clothing donation bins. Rather pleased I hadn't yet found the time to make that trip. I cut off the hood, removed the zip, curved the front panels and chopped off around 10cm from the bottom of the hoodie. I found that chenille frays badly if its not hemmed but the sewing machine coped okay with the thickness and making this bolero was literally a two minute job. I kept the sleeves long because its getting cold in this part of the world and if the school does a costume parade outdoors like last year, at least Sienna will be warm wearing it this length.
The peter pan collar was not as hard to make as I thought it would be. I drew a pattern freehand and cut it out using another old top. It's not perfect, obvs. The jersey knit fabric has got a good amount of stretch in it so once it was attached to the dress neckline, it pulls over Sienna's head easily.
Two triangles were cut from felt to form the ears and they were attached to a headband. The snout was troublesome and I had a few attempts at making it. It's still being tweaked as I type this. Thank goodness Sienna is easy to please.

To finish the costume off, I made an over-sized pearl necklace using beads from an old necklace in the girls' jewellery box. Renee was my little helper and painted them white for me. I think it's my favourite part of the costume. Wilma meets Nanny P.
Tonight Matthew, I'm going to be...
Everything needed to make this costume came from supplies already to hand. I would say though that if I tallied up the blue knit fabric and felt purchased a few months ago the costume cost a huge sum of $5.70 to make. I think the wearer is happy with it. Huzzah!

Joining in for the first time in a long time over at Leonie's place.


  1. Well I am very impressed in your level of creativity, not sure my efforts would have even come close. And might I add your little one looks adorable in the finished product, what a star! And what a Mum! :)

  2. Super cute, well done :0)

  3. I think it is fantastic Leanne!!!!!!!!!! You did an amazing job and it is so great that it cost so very little to produce! What a clever Mummy you are. I hope that it goes down a storm at school and gets lots more use for dressing up! xx

  4. Seriously, you are an inspiration. This is so clever.bet she was stoked :)

  5. Seriously well done Leanne - it is awesome! I'd be happy to be a piggy nanny too with such a great outfit! No wonder she's wrapped!

  6. Really super costume. Dress up days are great fun.

  7. Awesome! she must have been the best dressed for that day! really really clever :))

  8. I LOVE it! And what a delightful girl!

  9. Wow! That is a fantastic costume and she looks great. But then she must have excellent taste because Nanny Piggins is awesome. x

    1. Doesn't she rock? An anti-establishment caregiver, love her! I normally reply to comments by email, but can't reach you that way so just wanted to say thanks for leaving me a message.