Costume making- Carnival 2019

Carnival in my country is officially over and everyone who took part is in full recovery. It was L’s first year taking part in  Carnival festivities in Primary school and of course we were tasked with the job of making his costume. The theme sent home by the teachers was ‘Flora and Fauna of Trinidad and Tobago’ and L automatically wanted to wear his porcupine costume again. I, of course had no problem with that since it would have saved me the costume-making process. However, as life goes and children grow, L could no longer fit into the costume, so here we went trying to get some ideas for a whole new costume. Thankfully, we had a lovely 2018 calendar that I had the wherewithal to save that covered the exact topic of local flora and fauna, so all I did was show it to L and let him make a choice. This year he wanted to be a bird; a Laughing Gull to be exact. So off to the craft store we went, after putting our heads together about how we were to move forward with this. This year, the husband decided he wanted to be part of the costume making and try his hand at wire-bending.  After a week of measuring, cutting, sticking (so much glue!), re-sizing and wire-bending we came up with our laughing gull costume. L was ecstatic and excited to wear it:proclaiming it was his favourite costume by far! Check out below pictures of our progress and the final costume. Let me know what you did for this Carnival with the kids in the comments.

The wire frame for the wings

The wire frame for the headpiece -both frames courtesy the husband.
The process was a bit tedious, but it really did utilise all our skills. First we worked on the wings. I measured L and cut out the individual wings and the hubby spray painted a feather pattern onto the black fabric. We then stuck the wire frames onto the back of the fabric. This was a team effort and L was the lead on this task.

A close up of the feather spray painted pattern on the black fabric.
Then, I covered the back piece with white fabric. I sewed it to the black piece on one side and stuck it on the other sides. Let me tell you, sewing wings that has wires in them are a task and a half, but I managed to do it without breaking or bending the wires (huzzah!) The husband and I decided that lightly spraying the white cloth with the grey spray paint would tone down the harsh white contrast a bit, so we did that and I added two large elastic loops so L could easily slip his hands into it and control the wings. Then my husband created a backpack piece that he covered in foam and I covered in red felt. This was the piece that would be strapped onto L’s back.

The heart shaped foam piece became the ‘backpack’ section that would attach to his back.
Next, came the headpiece. I covered the plastic cap with the same black fabric used for the wings, and the beak I covered with red felt. Before that however, in order to give it more form I used pieces of styrofoam and stuck it around the perimeter of the beak frame, covered that with foil, and covered that with the red felt. That way the beak was a full beak and not simply cloth covering that would lose its form under pressure. I finished it off with some fabric eyes. I also did a tail piece of feathers that was pretty simple and L took the lead with sticking the feathers on, and even the waist band.

Tail piece

Final costume (sans gems on backpack)
Final touches included the addition of feathers and some gems. Overall the kid loved his costume and even put it on every day after his parade at school. I plan to hang it up on the wall in his room so he can always have it close.

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