Thursday, 15 August 2013

Making a Forest Folk Outfit

My youngest has just finished his first year of proper school, and he's loved it. Perhaps his favourite thing of all, though, was Forest School. Once a week his class were taken out to a corner of the school field where they have an area enclosed by trees, with sawn logs to sit on, a wild life pond, bird feeders, wild flowers, and a special tree where the Forest Folk live. The children get close up with nature, hunt for bugs, look at leaves and flowers, and in the winter they have a camp fire with hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows. But now that's over. They'll still do things outside, and the older children have a vegetable patch and a sensory garden, but no more Forest School. So, they had a party to celebrate (or perhaps to say goodbye). The school asked that the children come dressed as Forest Folk (we've never been told what the Forest Folk look like, of course. The children are meant to use their imagination) and us parents were asked to come up with an outfit but let the kids design it.

So I asked youngest what he'd like. All I got was a shrug and a 'I don't know'. Not a great start. But I couldn't stop thinking about Epic, having been to see it recently. I remembered some of the characters wearing nutshells on their backs, or bits of beetle (something from The Spiderwyck Chronicles too). So I suggested making a beetle carapace or a leaf shield out of cardboard. Nope. Youngest informed me he'd rather have a cloak. I suggested maybe a leaf. I knew I had a bundle of green fabric tucked away in my sewing box, so cutting something out wouldn't be a problem. Youngest agreed, and since we were visiting the school for an open evening so he could show us his work over the year, we visited Forest School too, and he picked a couple of leaves that he wanted for his cloak. He finally chose this one (ash, I think).

I didn't do a perfect job of cutting out the shape (I'm not what you'd call an expert) but youngest was happy with it.

Then I had to figure out how to keep it clasped around his shoulders. At first I was just going to sew it together, with maybe a fabric leaf-shaped 'broach', and let him pull it on over his head. I'd already cut out a 'leaf' and used some embroidery thread to make the vein pattern on it.

But once I'd done that, I came up with another idea. I had some scraps of green fabric left over from cutting the leaf cloak, so I plaited them together to make some cord, and cut two ties.

 Once I'd stitched the ties in place, I made a second leaf 'clasp' and used both leaves to cover the join.
The last job was to put some veins on the main leaf. I unravelled some black cord that I'd bought, and hand stitched it down the length of the cloak. It didn't have to be perfect because a real leaf isn't either. :)

And there you have it - the finished article. The fabric cost me about £3 from a charity shop (and I have enough material to make another three or four, it was THAT big a piece), the black cord cost me 50p, the embroidery thread came from a huge bag of the stuff that I bought for £1, and it took me just over a day to cut out and hand sew the whole thing. I didn't put a hem on the cloak - the fabric was jersey, which doesn't fray much, and the ragged, slightly curling edges just added realism to the overall effect. Boy was happy with it, the party went with the swing, and I enjoyed myself. Now, where did I put that pattern for a Jedi cloak for me...

1 comment:

  1. Great. Look forward to the pics of him wearing cloak. And incidentally....what a fantastic school!!!


I always love to hear your thoughts.