Thursday, 29 November 2012

How to make a Nativity Play Shepherd's costume from a pillowcase

I was very relieved to find out that Harry had been cast as a Shepherd in his pre-school Nativity play. It is the first costume that we've been asked to provide, and I think that we've been lucky. Because of this I was determined to put together my own costume. Asda sell a nice ready made Shepherd's costume for £8, so my personal challenge was to make a costume for cheaper that (in my opinion!) looks just as good.

I don't have a sewing machine, and the costume probably won't last much longer than it's needed, but I think it does the job!


Homemade Nativity Shepherd costume from a pillowcase
Shepherd's Nativity costume from a pillowcase

Here's what I bought:

Pillowcase - 98p (£1.96 for two at Asda)
Ribbon - 50p (3 metre remnant)
Velcro 21p for 3 inches
Cord - 80p for 2 metres

Total cost = £2.49 - well under budget!

We already had a suitable checked tea towel, sandals, long sleeved t-shirt, stuffed sheep (free once when we bought a bed) and a curtain pole.

The pillowcase forms the base of the outfit. I cut a hole for his head in the top, and then a small slit down the back. I sewed velcro along the slit to fasten it. Then I cut a hole for each arm, from about an inch below the top of the pillowcase. I also removed some of the flap from the bottom of the pillowcase to make it less bulky. It is quite long on Harry but I decided not to shorten it as I thought I'd only make it look messy. I think that he looks sweet in an oversized costume anyway!

I decided to make the costume a bit more individual by sewing two lengths of ribbon down the front. It did take a while, and my stitches are a bit wonky, but I think it looks okay. I'm sure that a Shepherd would have sewn his own clothes, and he wouldn't have had a sewing machine. Then I cut my 2m length piece of cord into two, one half to tie around the tea towel on the head and one half to tie around his middle. Harry is wearing a long sleeved t-shirt underneath, I found one that had plain sleeves that matched the fabric.

The crook is made from an old curtain pole, the slim type used to hang net curtains. I fashioned the hooked end from cardboard, then sellotaped it all together firmly. I covered it with strips of plain paper and gave it a couple of coats of brown paint. I'm fully expecting the teachers to take it off him for health and safety reasons, as he does have a tendency to brandish it wildly!

What do you think, will it do?

22 comments:

  1. He looks so sweet! And that is a brilliant shepherd costume.

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  2. I'm disappointed as its my daughter's first nativity play this year - and she's the narrator so I don't get to make a costume. All the other mums are cursing having to make a roman outfit or a donkey and here I am with my sewing machine ready with no costume to make.

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    1. We've been looking forward to his first Nativity play for ages, so much so that we kept paying for him at nursery for an extra couple of weeks so that he could be in it! I've heard that the costumes get more difficult as they get older though!

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  3. It's great, and what a bargain! He looks so cute in it too!

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    1. Thank you, I was surprised how little it all cost!

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  4. Great! And that's an inspiration for someone as lazy as myself. I'll remember this, sgould the need arise...

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    1. Thank you! Pillowcases are great for making costumes with, and so easy!

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  5. Love it! Am including this in the December BritMums Education Round Up, live on 12th December. Watch out for it on Twitter and show it some Twitter love!!!

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    1. Thank you very much, I shall look out for it!

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  6. Great outfit and with no sewing machine! I've just made my little girl a shepherds outfit for her narrator part in the school nativity play. 1 x Ikea bed sheet, 1 x tea towel and 1 x pillowcase - take a look! http://knitstitchsew.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/handmade-shepherd-costume/

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  7. This is really good and I hope lots more parents find it and save some money :O)

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    1. Thank you! It was so simple to make, I think that I'm going to be making all future costumes from pillowcases!

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  8. Great idea. I shall be pinterest searching pillow case craft! Will be copying your shepherd costume for my 2 year old

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  9. Brilliant. I shall be copying this and pinterest searching 'pillow case craft'!

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  10. That's really clever, he looks cute, well done :)

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  11. Thanks for sharing, I will be definitely using this for my little boys first nativity play this year! He is a shepherd, although he keeps saying he is a chef! (I hope this doesn;t post twice, I did try earlier to thank you but I wasn't sure if it worked... xx

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  12. Great idea , and what a wonderful costume

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  13. So cute, just missing pictures of the process for better understanding. Love it!

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    1. Thank you, I didn't realise just how popular this post was going to be so I didn't photograph it as I went along!

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  14. I love it! clever lady I certainly will be giving it a go for my 18 month old Prince x

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