With one of our favorite Feast Days just around the corner, I thought I’d share with you some of our saint costumes. Mind you, these are not professionally made costumes. These are the “not perfect but good enough” projects of a busy mom who has to make four costumes in one weekend or so. After several years of making these, I’ve come up with a method to the maddness. Here are five tips for sewing All Saints Days costumes which I hope you may find useful.
Tip no. 1: One of the best shortcuts I have discovered is to use the right material. Forget the cotton. When you go to the fabric store, use a stretchy polyester or knit jersey that doesn’t fray. This eliminates the need to pre-wash and iron the material before sewing. It also means you don’t have to do any hemming unless you absolutely need or want to. You cut out three of the costume-making steps just by the right choice of material. Yay!
But beware. Stretchy materials can be tricky to sew with. So do a test on scrap material with the sewing machine and be sure you have the correct thread tension and stitch length.
Tip no. 2: Many saint costumes can be made with this one pattern:
To customize the pattern:
Line A – Have your child stretch out his/her arms and measure the length from wrist to wrist. Add 1 inch for seam allowance.
Line B – Measure around the torso, right under the armpits. Divide this width by 2, since you will be cutting 2 pieces of fabric right on top of each other. Then add 4-5 inches for seam allowance and looseness of fit.
Line C – Measure from top of neck to your desired length. Add 1 inch for seam allowance if you plan to hem the bottom.
Fold the fabric in half so you can fit the pattern with the top of the sleeves lined up on the fold. You can also have your child lie down on the fabric and draw a pattern to fit. Make sure you leave enough room for seam allowances. Also, be sure to make it loose enough so the child can easily slip it over his/her head.
Draw a semi-circle for the neck hole. Usually, I start with a smaller circle, try it over my child’s head and if it won’t fit, I make a larger cut. It is better to start with a head opening that is too small than one that is too large.
This is how I made Junior’s pattern:
Then cut, sew, and turn inside out.
This simple tunic can be the basis for many different saint costumes.
Tip 3: Once you have the tunic, it’s easy to add little details that make the costume come alive. For example, a rope and a bit of faux fur for a monk’s tonsure make a great little….
adorable St. Francis of Assisi!
or St. Anthony, or St. Bonaventure, or any Franciscan saint. However, seeing that Junior is such a round-faced chubs, I should have made him dress up as St. Thomas Aquinas. He looks more like a Friar Tuck than a St. Francis, don’t you think?
Here is Princess’ costume:
Wimple (be sure to use stretchy material) For instructions on how to make one, see here.
And here you have St. Anne!
You could use this exact costume to make a St. Therese, St. Angela Merici, St Clare, or any nun saint just by switching the colors.
Now we’re on a roll, and the boys are begging for theirs.
So here is Feisty’s:
Tunic made of faux velvet
As the costumes get larger, you will need to pin the pieces of the tunic together for more accurate sewing. Not that I’m striving for perfection, but I do want the pieces to fit together!
Fur shawl (or whatever you call it)
Gold chain and pendant (made from costume jewelry and a wood ornament painted with glitter glue)
And hat from Amazon (we painted the white rim black)
Can you guess who this saint is?
St. Thomas More!
And then, here’s All-Star’s costume.
Tunic with buttons.
Shoulder cape (or over-sized collar – not sure what you call it)
Yamuka (7 triangles sewn together). Click here to see another way to make one.
Add a sash, gold cross and chain (made from gold rope and ribbon), and you get…
St. Pope John Paul II!
Tip 4: Enlist help! This weekend, Grandma made dinner while I sewed, and she sewed while I nursed. Without her help, there was no way these costumes would have been done in one weekend. Thank you Grandma!
And last but not least, Tip 5: Reuse and Recycle. We have a stash of costumes in our costume bin. This year, Sparky was kind enough to do a costume repeat. This costume…
could work for several different saints. Can you guess who he is?
St. Anthony of Padua!
Well, I hope this gave you some good ideas. Have a fun and blessed All Saints Day!