Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Benjamin Franklin Costume DIY

This is an idea for a do-it-yourself Benjamin Franklin costume.

My grandson was preparing for a wax museum program at school.

He called upon me, his grandma, to be his stylist!

Such an honor.

I made this costume for a total cost of $3.75 and the use of some supplies that I had on hand. Ben was able to supply the pants and shoes from his own clothing.

1st stop.... a good look in your own closets (because re-purposing is the best) or nearby thrift stores for a jacket. I found this one in a thrift store (my first stop....grandma magic you know!) that happened to be having a 50% off all items that day. What a bargain at just $2.75. It is a ladies small, black velvet, with a white satin lapel.  It had some beading on the front near the jacket closure that I removed. Papa was with me and questioned my selection but I could already vividly see where I was going with this little project.  After our first fitting, I turned the front of the jacket inward, tacked it down with hot glue and needle and thread to make the chest opening smaller and to bring in the waist to fit. I then hand stitched about six inches of the front of the jacket together at the waist.

I cut some length off of the sleeves and tacked them up with needle and thread for a custom fit! Not a hand sewer? Sure you could use hot glue.

For the chest "Dickie" I cut a piece of heavy white ribbon 1" wide to fit his neck and allowed an extra 5 inches for a 2 1/2 inch Velcro overlap in the back.

I used a scrap of white fabric to cut a rectangle of fabric two and a half times the length of his neck measurement and twice the length that would fill the entire chest opening of the jacket plus another 12 inches. The extra 12 inches is going to allow for an ample tuck into the jacket. Fold the rectangle in half by matching up the two neck lengths. Stitch or hot glue closed to create a 1/4 inch seam with all cut edges hidden on the inside.

Create two more white rectangles as above but cut at different lengths depending on the size of the costume. My Ben is about a size 12. I cut one at about 5 inches finished, and the next at 8 inches finished. (These are going to create more ruffle to the neckline.)

Hot glue or stitch 2 1/2 inches of Velcro to each end of the neck ribbon. Make sure to put it on the right sides so that when brought around the neck it will over lap and stick!

Stack all three finished rectangles. Longest on bottom, shortest on top. You can now add lengths of flat or gathered laces and trims if you choose by stitching or hot gluing into place.  Once you have it how you want it run a gathering / long  basting stitch to gather all three top edges together. Pull to gather so that it fits between the two pieces of Velcro.

Stich or hot glue the gathered fabric into place matching top edges with ribbon. That's it you're all done with the "Dickie".

(You could also add fabric and lace ruffles to a white crew neck t-shirt or purchase a thrift store ruffled shirt.)

Powdered Wig:

Purchase a painters hat  from your local building supply store. $1 at Home Depot. Cut off the brim. I placed a couple of stapled pleats on each side of the back to get a custom fit to Ben's head.

Now your are free to style your wig anyway you like. I used leftover quilt batting to first cover the entire hat. Nip, cut, trim, and hot glue as needed. Create curls and shape by rolling desired lengths of batting cut at approx. 1 1/2 inches wide and hot glue into place. I used a band made from the cut off velvet sleeve to hold his ponytail curls in the back. (Another student used cotton balls to create the curls. That worked well too!)

Pants, Socks, and Glasses:

Papa removed the lenses from a pair of his old glasses and donated them to Ben. His pants were a pair of sweats rolled up to length. White socks were added to cover his legs and pulled up under his pants.

Shoes and Buckles:

I made buckles for his shoes from textured black card stock with gold glittered buckles also cut from card stock scraps. I hot glued one side of a  large paper clip to the back of each buckle. Folded the paper clip back over so that the paper clip/buckles could be slid and held onto the tops of his black Sunday shoes.

He looked great don't you think? Best of all he could sit perfectly still just like a wax statue and he when he came to life to perform he knew his stuff!

We really enjoyed the wax museum presentation. Each student had a sticker on their hand. Once you pressed on the sticker the statues came to life and they each performed perfectly memorized speeches on the history of their amazing lives.

1 comment:

  1. "Grandma Magic" indeed! You are amazing! This looks so good and your final cost leaves me speechless! Ben's teacher is very creative. I'm sure the parents and kids all enjoyed the presentation!