Take a rubber band. Stretch it. Now place it over an empty toilet paper roll. Staple it there all the way around. Now try to stretch the rubber band.
This simple experiment would have helped me last night before I sewed the ruffle on the elastic neck of Elsie’s Book Week Parade costume.
Three weeks ago I asked her to have a think about which character she’d like to be.
‘Think about it for a week. That’ll leave us two weeks to come up with the costume,’ I told her wisely.
‘Raggedy Ann!’ she said instantly. ‘Actually, can I write a book? Then dress up as one of the characters out of my own book?’
A prodigy. My own little writer! I may have squealed and leapt across the bench shoving a pen and notepad in front of her. I’m going to publish it. She’s going to win awards…
But in the next breath, she decided to run with her original idea of Raggedy Ann, just like in my old Golden Book.
Easy, I thought. A simple elastic neck dress. A very simple gathered apron. And a pair of bloomers.
With each passing afternoon and weekend, she begged me to make her outfit, but I couldn’t bring myself to start on it until I had no online orders to sew. That day didn’t come.
So I made it yesterday.
The dress was easy and I showed Elsie.
‘Raggedy Ann has another shirt underneath with a white collar,’ she responded as I proudly held it in front of her.
Last night once the girls were in bed, I got back to work. Okay, you want a ruffle collar, I’ll put a ruffle around the neck. I’d used 18 inches of elastic in the neck, so I just needed a ruffle 18 inches long.
That part is not true and I learnt that as I admired my newly-attached ruffle and decided I’d iron it. I went to stretch the neck over the end of the ironing board.
Try stretching the rubber band stapled to the cardboard roll over the end of the ironing board.
mumbled shouted something along the lines of, ‘Goodness me! What a stroke of bad luck.’
And I cut more of the fitted white sheet I’d found in the linen press (since I didn’t have any white fabric) and cut another strip and more red ribbon and sewed and ruffled and hummed and told myself that I love sewing and I love Elsie so what’s your problem.
There. Ruffle made the same length as the stretched elastic, sewn on and only a simple apron and an easy pair of bloomers to go. And it’s only 10 o’clock.
I went into Elsie’s room while she slept, peeling back the doona and shifting her leg so that I could wrap my tape measure around her thigh where the bloomers would sit. Remembering she won’t wear anything with elastic, I added a couple of inches to be sure the elastic wouldn’t touch her leg. Given I’d woken her anyway by doing that, it wouldn’t have hurt if I’d made just one more measurement – how long should the bloomers be? But I didn’t. As you can see when a tired mum met a tired Raggedy Ann getting off the bus this afternoon.
So now, not only is your Facebook feed full of kids in Book Week costumes, I’ve managed to do a whole blog post on it. How’d you go with costumes for your crew this year?