This is a project that could include varying levels of child involvement depending on their age and skill level. It may just involve playing in the costume! Materials T-shirt Tracing paper Felt (a large piece for the tail, a strip for the headband and several colours for the feather details) A thicker interfacing such as flexi-foam Sewing scissors Sewing machine/thread (if you decide to go with this option) Fabric glue Craft gems Velcro (we recommend extra strength) Child’s belt (we used one that was elastic in nature so the costume could fit any child) Sewing marker Directions Purchase or re-use a t-shirt to use as the body of your bird. Tail Place lightweight paper such as tracing paper over your t-shirt. Make your tail shape, making the larger, middle curve over where your child’s head would be. Make two smaller curves on either side (try to make them approximately the same size. Follow this by two more, for a total of five. (The size of the curves will vary with the size of the t-shirt and the child.) You could use a measuring tape for this process as well. Cut out your tracing paper tail. Hold the cut-out up to your child’s back to see if it fits. Alter it until it is the right size for your child. Double your felt over (we used dark green) to form two layers. Put the fold at the bottom of the tail (where you will slide the belt in). Take your tracing paper tail, pin it to the felt and then cut out two layers. If it helps, go around the edges with a sewing marker. (As suggested, don’t cut the bottom where it folds over to save a step. We cut it apart for the photograph, but on the second version of the costume, this was a great trick!). Remove the tracing paper pattern and pin it to the interfacing to make one layer to go in between the felt to help provide structure. You will want to then trim about 5 centimetres/ 1 inch around the interfacing so that it will be covered by the fabric on the edges when you sew the layers together. Sandwich the interfacing in between the felt tail pieces and pin it in place. Measure the width of your belt and then allow for about 1 centimetre on either side. Measure this distance from the bottom of your tail (where the fold is) and then sew (or glue) across this part. This will provide the channel for the belt to go through. It is important that you do this step first before you sew around the edges of your “sandwich”. Sew around the edges of the tail (removing your pins upon approach), be sure to start at the line where you made the channel for your belt (don’t accidentally sew it closed!). Use the foot of the sewing machine to help you create an even margin. You could also use fabric glue for this process. To provide further structure to the tail, we made sure there was a needle on our machine meant for “tough jobs/thick fabric” and we sewed up the edges of each curve. This holds everything in place and provides some visual interest. Trim the edges of the tail if need be (as some shifting may occur during sewing) to assure that there is an even, clean finish. Embellishing the tail with feathers Your child will be able to wear the tail in two positions- one up and one down, so that is why it is important to make enough decorative finishes to cover both sides. The amount of feathers that you will make depends on the size of your child. We made approximately 30. Take various colours of felt (we used greens, blues, yellows and purples) and cut out layers of oval shapes, getting smaller with each one. We completed this with a circle. Glue them on top of each other with fabric glue, finishing with a craft jewel in the middle of the circle. If you want to create more detail, sew from the middle of the circle to the outside of the feather with a light coloured thread. (We sewed once through the middle and twice off to the sides in diagonal lines before gluing the jewel down (As shown). Glue the feathers onto both sides of the tail, staggering them and adding craft jewels in between. We recommend glueing one side, letting it dry overnight and then repeating this process for the other side. Trick for holding the tail upright With the top most feather (on the largest curve) on the side that would fold up (going towards the child’s head), only glue the top of the feather. Then sew or glue one side of a hook and loop closure (Velcro) under that feather. Thus, when the tail is down it is hidden, but when you go to put it up, gently fold the feather up and attach the Velcro to its match which will also be hidden on the back of the t-shirt. T-shirt (Body of the peacock) Glue feathers around the front neckline. On the back of the shirt (for the purpose of completing a hiding spot for the other side of our Velcro) sew or glue only the top of the feather with the match of the Velcro piece underneath. Thus, when the tail is down you simply hide the Velcro, but when it is up you lift it (and slightly move it off to the side) so that the Velcro pieces can adhere to each other and the tail stands on its own! Belt We used an elastic belt that we dyed using fabric dye to match the colour of the t-shirt. You could re-use a belt you have or dye thick elastic. The belt we used had metal clasps on each end that fit into each other which was perfect for pushing it through the channel of the tail. (You could use a safety pin clipped to elastic for this). Once you have slid the belt through the channel, secure the belt to the child the child for wear or cut off the clasps, sewed the ends to prevent fraying and then sew one piece of Velcro onto one end and another onto the other end. We recommend that you pin this first, test it out for size with your children and then sew it. If you were doing this for a classroom resource this would allow for all children to access the costume if either the belt sizing was restricted by the clasps or they were too complicated for children to do independently. Headpiece We used the 1920s as an inspiration. Take two strips of fabric (to make it a bit more structured), sew the edges together and then adhere a long strip of Velcro to one side on the inside and the Velcro match on the outside of the other (we always recommend pinning and testing it out before you sew so you can make alterations and assure that the opposite sides of the Velcro line up correctly). We then glued on some of our embellishment feathers to the side on the front and let this dry overnight. Putting it Together Don your costume and strut your stuff- like a peacock! Imaginary play Developing planning skills, creativity and fine motor skills. Transferring/ recreating visual knowledge into a physical form. Safety Notes Be sure that scissors, sewing machine and iron are used with adult supervision. As this costume uses a belt, it is recommended that you review safety of this (that it is intended for use around the waist only). Direct supervision is recommended. Please like & share: Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Name* Email* Website Comment Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.