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Finished Costume

The 'No-Sew' Costume

Here are instructions for making a very simple 'no-sew' costume. This will be suitable for most Nativity Play characters, who need to wear a tunic and head dress.

The instructions are contained in a PDF file which you can print out to make it easier to follow.

Please be aware that this costume is very simple to make, but the downside is that it won't last very long. Leaving all of the edges unfinished means it will fray at the edges. However it is ideal if you have no time or aptitude for sewing.

Of course, an alternative is to visit While Shepherds Watched and buy a ready made costume, made from Organic Fairtrade certified cotton which will last for years.

Simply follow the instructions ...

1. Measuring

measure back of child

First step is to work out how large the costume needs to be. This will determine how much fabric you need, and will entail measuring your child.

Sadly, this requires them to stand STILL for a short while - I recommend getting then to stand up whilst watching the television, and then sneaking around with the tape measure.

If you don't have a tape measure, you can use a piece of string. You don't need exact measurements.

You need to measure how long the costume should be and how wide. So measure from the nape of the neck down to where the bottom edge will go. Can be knee level or longer, depends upon how much fabric you have. Bear in mind that too long a costume can result in a child tripping over their costume, particularly if they'll have to climb steps up onto (or down from) a stage, or will have to sit down and stand up again.

measure back of child

You will also need to measure shoulder to shoulder.

Double the length measurement.

Add about 10" (25cm) to the width measurement (almost double).

Don't worry - that's the maths done!

For my model, I measured 80cm from neck to knee, and 33cm from shoulder to shoulder, so my Fabric measurements are length = 160cm and width = 58cm.

2. Cutting Out

A video where I tell you about cutting out the fabric for your no-sew costume.

measure back of child

Ideally you will already have a long thin piece of fabric. Most fabric comes in widths around 150cm, so you may find yourself having to buy more fabric than you need in order to get the correct length measurement. A top tip is to team up with another mum who has to provide a similar costume, and share the fabric. An alternative is to use the width of the fabric as the vertical measurement of the costume. You may end up with horizontal stripes rather than vertical, but I shouldn't worry about that too much.

Don't forget, you can buy fabric from this site! We sell pieces of fabric in just the right size to make this costumes, and in just the right design (stripes a speciality!). Have a look at our selection here.

Trim all of the edges of the fabric so they are neat. If you've cut a piece from the width of the fabric, you'll have the selvedges as the front and back hem. These won't fray, so leave these on!

3. Cutting the Head Hole

A video where I tell you about folding the fabric ready to cut out the neck hole.

Fold fabric first Fold fabric second

Now you need to fold the long thin piece of fabric in half so you have a front and a back (fold where the shoulders and neckline will be).

Now fold it in half the other way, so you are folding along what would be the centre front / centre back.

Now to cut out the neck! The neck is always smaller than you think it needs to be, so start small, stand your model back in front of the televisions set again, and try it on. If its too small to go over their head, then cut a little bit further. Try on again. Repeat until you have a neck hole that fits snugly over your child's head. It will fray a little as its worn, so it will become looser.

Cut neck

On my example I cut around 11cm from the centre.

Nearly there!

4. Final Touches

A video where I show you the finished costume.

Finished Costume

As this is a 'no-sew' costume, your child will need to wear trousers or leggings, and a top or T-shirt underneath. Pop the costume over, and use a length of fabric, or a tie, or elastic or some rope to tie around their waist. I used just under 1m which is just long enough to be able to tie.

The tea-towel, or matching piece of fabric if you had some left over, can just be put on their head and again use either a piece of fabric, a tie, or some elastic to hold in place.

Stand back and admire your hard work!