Saturday, 3 November 2018

She's Playing The Harp - And I Really Need To Get A Head

The play costumes are coming on very well. I went into school yesterday with my trusty clothes rail loaded with outfits, and was happy that everything fitted except one item. The sleeves on the coat for the trader were rather long. But it was easy to shorten them. The majority of the costumes have been straightforward, but two were particularly challenging.
One little girl is playing the harp. And I don't mean she is making music on the instrument, she is the instrument. The production notes suggest fixing the harp to one arm, so she can strum with the other.
I made a simple slim tunic, with no sleeve on the right, and a plain sleeve on the left. There is a casing on the bottom of the sleeve, into which is inserted a slim bamboo cane, to keep the girl's arm rigid.
The main fabric is golden, and the harp strings are golden mesh which shimmers beautifully in the light.
I added a treble clef on the tunic for interest and made a little crown. Many concert harps have a crown at the top of the main column.
When the actor raises her arm, the curved golden harp appears and she pretends to strum it with her left arm.
My second challenge was Baa-Bara the Sheep. I had intended to make this in the same was as all the other animal characters- a hooded tunic with a separate mask for the eyes. But the producer requested an over-the-top Marie Antoinette 'mouton' wig, and muttered about cotton wool and toilet rolls.I've made similar wigs before [tutorial here

Wadding is better than cotton wool - It doesn't shred and is easier to sew. One day I will get A Head [the polystyrene sort you see in hairdressers and shops] Then I won't have to mess about with two pudding bowls and a beer bottle anymore. Here's the wig in progress, and the finished outfit.
I'm happy to say that it looks considerably better on the actor than it does on the carpet!
Next week I will post more pictures and give some notes on making animal costumes. Having developed a rapid, relatively simple, system I think I should share it. 
I did the nativity costumes tutorial in 2010 -  but that's just people stuff. There may be folk out there who want to have animals in their Christmas production!


  1. I think you could write pantomime! Getting to Baa Bara the sheep via Marie Antoinette, cotton wool, toilet rolls, two pudding bowls and a beer bottle would surely provoke "Oh no she didn't"!

  2. You are a total star making all these costumes!

    Fat Dormouse (

  3. Love the Antoinette wig. Your one clever lady!

  4. Oh wow, these are aaaaaaaaaaaaamazing!!! I love the Harp one!

  5. Wow! I wouldn't have even known where to start! But I love the two pudding bowls and beer bottle stand! :D


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