Ethan’s school is having a Disney Prince and Princess theme day which means mommy has an excuse to do some sewing. I have been so busy lately I haven’t used my sewing machine in months and after a few hours spent on Pinterest, I have plenty of new projects planned. During my search, I was surprised by how few posts there are for boys dress up costumes. Desert Chica has good no sewing required tutorials for Prince Charming and the Snow White Prince, but besides those, not much else. Like Karen, I chose to make a costume for the Prince in Snow White. He wasn’t given a name in the original book, and apparently since he was so difficult to illustrate, he only had a small part at the beginning and end of the story. He was thought to be later named as Florian or Ferdinand, but I’m just going to call him The Prince. My little prince did enjoy dressing up with his sister for the photos and even though there were no toy fire engines in Snow White, he has to have a car in his hand at all times and I guess it’s better than a sword.
I chose materials for the costume from my stash of fabric and sewing supplies as I really need to start using what I have (and in any event, I couldn’t find anything nicer from a trip to my local fabric store). As I started making the costume, I changed some of what I was going to originally use and you should do the same. See what works and what doesn’t for you. I don’t have a pattern or measurements as I used my son’s T-shirt, but will show how I made it as best as I can below. If you don’t have a sewing machine, you could make the same from felt, hand-sewing where required.
1. Materials: I used my stash of polycotton blue and red fabrics for the tunic and cape. Brown ribbon for the chest straps, thin gold ribbon for the edging, thick gold ribbon for the belt, tan felt for the buckle and red felt for the neck trim. I secured the belt with blue snaps (or use velcro). You will also need matching thread, scissors and a sewing machine.
2. Tunic: Lay two pieces of blue fabric on top of each other. Fold the fabric in half right sides together and pin to secure. Place your child’s T-shirt on the fold and you it as a guide to generously traced around it to make your tunic. Since I used a thin polycotton, I decided to cut two identical pieces to sew together. This would strengthen the tunic and I wouldn’t need to hem the fabric. If you are using thicker fabric, you can rather use one piece and hem all sides.
3. Trace around the neck, arms and curve the bottom edges. Even though there are no arm holes, the shaping around the arms sits better on the body. Unfold the fabric, pin the two layers right side together and sew around the edges (except the neck) leaving a 3 inch gap. Turn the fabric right side out through the gap and press with an iron. Tip: pin the edges, trace and cut the one arm hole. Flip over and use this piece of fabric to trace the same shape on the other arm.
4. Cape: Fold the red fabric in half right sides together. Place the folded tunic on the fabric and trace around it to create the shape of the cape, adding 1 inch on all sides and an extra 2 inches of length at the bottom. Pin right sides together and sew around the edges leaving a 3 inch gap. turn the fabric right side out through the gap and press with an iron. Top stitch with red thread around the edges of the cape, closing the gap along the way.
5. Straps: Pin 2 pieces of brown ribbon (or closest colour, as you can see mine is more tan than brown as that’s what I had) from the middle of the neck to either side under the arms. Stitch in place.
6. Edging: I used gold ribbon, however bias trim would work better. Stitch the ribbon along the front edge of the tunic, except the neck. Instead of pinning the ribbon as it was so narrow, I slowly fed the ribbon in place as I sewed along the edge.
7. Belt: There are a few ways you can make the belt, depending on what materials you have available. I stitched gold ribbon along the front waist of the tunic, leaving 5 inches on each side. I cut a rectangle out of tan felt and stitched in the centre as the buckle.
8. Ties: Fold over the ends of the ribbon twice and stitch. To secure the belt to the back of the tunic, I used matching blue snaps in two positions so it would fit different child sizes. You can use velcro instead of snaps. Alternatively, use a long piece of ribbon which ties at the back in a bow.
9. Neck: Cut a thin strip of red felt, fold in half and stitch around the neck. You can use bias if you have. I used the colour red as the cape in the illustrations of The Prince, ties to the front of the neck.
10. Cape: Sew the cape to each shoulder of the tunic. I wanted the costume to be in one piece as it had to be easy for my 2 year old to wear, and for safety reasons I didn’t want a loose cape hanging around his neck. The weight of the cape off the shoulders does mean the tunic pulls back a bit. If you want the cape sitting more forward around the neck, spend a little longer in step 4 tracing around the neck hole so the cape comes to the front more.
11. Costume: Now you are done, you can sit back after the 4 hours it took to make it, and admire your work. Match with a white long sleeved top, grey/blue trousers, and boots. What I like most about the tunic (besides being fairly easy to sew) is that it will grow with your child. You didn’t put all that effort in for them to outgrow the costume in a few months. If you ensure the neck hole is generous, the costume will last a few seasons and be handed down to friends and family over the years. Enjoy playtime!