My First 17 Projects of 2013


My daughters’ school is putting on a production of Little Orphan Annie this winter, so I volunteered to make the orphan costumes! It was a fun exercise. The fabric is sheets from Goodwill that I dyed in my washing machine. I developed the pattern myself. I thought that, since I’m not really that great a patternmaker, costumes made from my own pattern would look more authentically orphan-y. I gave them to the girls today, and they seem to really like them. The pics are of them rehearsing some of their song-and-dance numbers.

Normally, when I sew, I spend a lot of effort trying to avoid that “homemade” look. It was kind of fun to make something look as homemade as possible. Rather than refilling bobbins when I ran out of bobbin thread, I would just reach in the drawer and pull out another bobbin with thread on it.

I cut the whole thing with pinking shears, and left the hems and the apron edges raw.

In the photos, the girls are still wearing their school clothes under the costumes. They will look a little better with tights and proper shoes underneath.

I’m getting paid for this (another reason that I developed the pattern myself). The parents can either rent the costume (less $) or buy it (more $). I’m planning on selling the rented costumes when the production is over. Does anyone know of a good place online to sell used theatrical costumes?




There’s one color scheme for the lead orphans, and another for the orphan chorus. The dress and apron are seperate. I used some authentic depression-era velcro to fasten the apron.



  1. Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink | Reply

    What a great palette on those costumes — beautiful job as always, Claudine.

    “Rather than refilling bobbins when I ran out of bobbin thread, I would just reach in the drawer and pull out another bobbin with thread on it.”

    That’s the way I sew 90% of the time! LOL

  2. Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:43 am | Permalink | Reply

    I agree, the palette you achieved for the costumes is spot on!

  3. Posted January 12, 2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink | Reply

    Oh, wow. You have been awfully productive.

  4. Posted January 12, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink | Reply

    BTW, when I worked as a wardrobe mistress in Berkeley, we used to search through a local warehouse of theatrical costumes for rent. We’d build our own costumes (expensive) only if we couldn’t rent something suitable.

    LA has several of those. Is there one by you? Perhaps they would be interested in your orphan costumes.

  5. akismet-21b053fec805c8711a1f608da8cdd26a
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Wow, you are so unselfish! I have spent the last 4 or 5 months trying to hide my sewing skills from Jack’s school. πŸ˜‰

    Love the costumes. They look amazing. I love especially your used of authentic depression era velcro. hehehe


  6. Nancy Karpen
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    They are just adorable. Nice job. I used to dye in my washing machine until I got an energy efficient one. I haven’t been able to figure out how to dye in it. Do you have an older model or have you figured out how to dye in the newer ones?

    • Posted January 12, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I have a front loader, and it works fine. I pour the stuff in through the detergent port in the top. I start by pouring in the salt while the machine is filling, then I pour in the Procion dye slurry. I let the machine toss for a while, press pause and wait for several minutes, let it toss again, pause, repeat. Then I add the soda ash, then toss, pause, toss, pause several more times.

  7. Shams
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 2:34 am | Permalink | Reply

    Before I got to the comments, I had the same thought. What a beautiful color palette you have created! Those are great costumes!

  8. Posted January 14, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink | Reply

    These costumes are absolutely brilliant, and I too just adore that colour scheme! Your daughter’s school must really love you πŸ˜‰
    wrt your comment, thanks for the positive spin, but I can see no way in which that anon comment could be construed as a compliment. Maybe I should have explained that it came on the heels of about four previous anon comments that have all been equally vicious.

  9. Posted January 14, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    These are great! The girls seem to be having a lot of fun in them, lots of swing.

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