Monday, September 30, 2013

St. Kateri Tekakwitha Costume

My daughter has her first school project due on Halloween (we get All Saints off to celebrate as a family) where she has to read a book about a saint, write a tiny report, memorize it, recite it in front of her little class, and wear a costume. Whew! Of course, I'm due with #4 less than a week before the due date so I decided to make the costume well in advance (and now it's Daddy's turn to handle the report).

I tend to get a little...elaborate...when I start making things so I forced myself to keep it super simple with minimal sewing and supplies. In the end it took about 1.5 hours to complete, but that was with three little "helpers" getting their hands all over my pins and fabric and stopping to take pictures.


  • At least 1/2 yard of brown/tan fabric for the dress. You can repurpose a t-shirt if it is long enough.
  • 1/3 to 1/2 yard coordinating brown/tan fabric for the poncho
  • Scissors, pins, chalk, coordinating thread
  • Optional: rag quilt shears, two yards of trim for poncho and headpiece, a small piece of elastic at least 1/4" thick, and a feather of any color
And here's how you do it:

I made a little prototype out of an old men's shirt and measured around it. The original was gray dress was skin tight (oops!) so I added plenty of extra fabric on the sides. Basically, the dress looks like a chunky necktie. Measure the width of your daughter's shoulders, add a couple of inches and that will be your width on top, then use your chalk to make that chunky necktie shape. Oh, almost forgot, the neckline is on the fold.

Make sure it's inside out then pin it down the sides starting four inches from the top to leave room for arm holes. If your daughter is older than 5/6 measure down from her shoulder to under her armpit for the length of the armhole.

Sew down the sides with a quarter inch seam. Next cut out the head hole. The beauty of buying knit jersey material is that you don't have to see the seams.

I folded the dress in half lengthwise and then chalked a line to make it a v neck on the front and back. Start smaller-you can always adjust and make the hole larger.

And here is the basic tunic. Fringe the bottom if you're up for it. That's when those rag quilting shears come in handy.

Alright next up is the poncho...and it is just a big ole rhombus. Fold your fabric into quarters and cut from corner to corner. I went from top to bottom. It's best to practice this and the next step with a piece of paper really quick.

Remember that corner on the fold? That will become the head hole so snip it off in the shape of a triangle. Start small! 

Here is what it looks like all opened up. I added some trim and fringed around the edges as well. You could also take sharpies and decorate it.

As far as the headband goes, I just measured a piece of trim that was about an inch smaller than E's head and then sewed a tiny piece of elastic onto the ends to make it a band.

And the feather was just hot glued into a little tiny crevice I found.

The final result:

I hope this helps inspire you to make a costume for All Saints Day!


Apple Jacs said...

Brilliant. I love it!

Susan DiParisi said...

Beautiful handy work!!!

June said...

Love, love, love! I'll be referring back to this when Mary is older ;)

Chantal said...

E is the cutest little model ever!