Wednesday, 14 December 2016

If You Want To Get Ahead...

This is probably too late for Christmas 2016, but you may want to file it away for next year. I was talking with Miriam, our brilliant Youth Minister about Tiddlers[our Toddler Group] who will be having a brief Nativity Service this morning. For the 10 minutes that the children sit round the manger and sing a couple of songs, you don't want to be spending just as long getting them in and out of costumes. I remembered that at almost any museum I have visited lately, there's a basket of headgear so children can put on a hat and pretend to be a character. What about a basket of Instant Bethlehem Hats?
First up, the angels...that's easy, just make a circle of tinsel 

Instant Turbans for Eastern Magi - draw round a 7"/18cm plate and cut out a circle of fabric. Zigzag/overlock the edges. Now cut a strip 24"/60cm long and 6"/15cm wide of matching or different fabric, and a second piece the same size, from wadding. Right sides together sew a seam down the long edge of the fabric to make a tube. Turn inside out. Stuff this with the strip of wadding. Wrap round into a ring, and sew the ends together. Put this on the circle and handstitch round the edge. 
Having no child's head to model this, here is one posing on the fruit bowl on a glass vase, and you can see all the others I made below.
Finally the Instant Shepherd/Mary/Joseph/Innkeeper.
I admit to being especially proud of this one. I should have patented it, because I have never seen this elsewhere. I can do the traditional "rectangle tied on with a strip of cloth", and the neat and nifty "teatowel-edge-rolled-round-a-shoelace-and-tied-on" but this one is even quicker and easier on the day.
Cut your base cloth about 20"x30" [50cm x 75cm] or thereabouts. Or use a tea towel.
Now cut a strip of cloth 24" x 3" [60cmx8cm] - preferably something with a little bit of 'give' eg tee shirt fabric, jersey etc. Overlap the ends by 12/2.5cm and sew into a ring. 
Place the ring on the short side, top centre, and sew in place. Just sew a short line, down the middle of the strip [see picture top right]
If it is in the right place, when you flatten the ring, it will lay to one side [see bottom left]
When you drape the cloth over the child's head [or fruit bowl] you can then ease the 'holding ring' down and it will keep the headgear in place. They work really well, and there's no bits to come adrift, and no pins. 
And you can fit a whole set into a small box, ready for the next production

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