Friday, September 6, 2013

Improvised Masquerade Costumes

A tiny belle of 1830.
      With so many children, the idea of "dressing up" even of having or of going to a masquerade party, is likely to be a thing of shot notice. Often the jolliest parties of all are those got upon a day's notice.
      The costume part of the program is, of course, the most delightful part of it--unless you don't happen to have one, or find, to your dismay, that you've outgrown yours. If there is plenty of time, there is no trouble, but many a youngster has cried herself to sleep over having to decline an invitation to a Halloween party because the necessary costume was lacking.
      For that matter, a creditable costume can be improvised out of material at hand, and the youngster sent away, happy in her disquise.
      Her older sister's red party cloak, with its full hood pulled down over her face turns her into a quaint Little Red Riding-Hood as ever graced the pages of a beloved old fairy-tale book. Give her a little arm, apparently filled with the goodies she was to take to her grandmother when she set out upon that memorable walk. If the party chances to be a birthday party, the basket may contain real goodies, to be presented to the little hostess.
With A Kimono and Sash
      A fascinating Pierrot costume may be made of the small boy's white pajamas, if you sew great fluffy choux of scarlet or of blue or yellow mosquito netting (or the finer net) down the front. Make a "sugar-loaf cap," stuff it full of tissue paper, so that it will keep its shape, and sew another ruff upon the tip end of it. If you've time sew bands of color about the sleeves and trousers and the funny loose jacket.
Turned into a Japanese
      With a figured kimono and a sash, and attractive little Japanese lady may be evolved in short order. If the kimono is her own, so much the better; if it's a grown-up kimono, turn up the hem until it is the right length, and baste the new hem in place over a wadding of cotton. Treat the sleeves in the same way. The body part may be drawn in as you please under the "obi," which is nothing in the world but her own sash tied in Japanese fashion. Twist her curls high on her head and stick through them tiny Japanese fans, or the tiny lanterns made to dangle at the end of a long stick. let her carry a folding fan, of course.
      For a very tiny boy, a pretty variation of the Pierrot costume consists of a funny, full affair, all in one piece-sleeves and trouser-legs as funny and full as the rest, but gathered in at wrists and ankles by hands and bows of bright ribbon. Big stars, cut from paper the color of the ribbon, are pasted onto the costume. 
To Make The Pierrot Buff
      The famous Pierrot's ruff is made of netting cut about twelve inches wide and gathered in the center. Make it as full as you can, pushing the gathers together until they are tight upon the thread. Then the ruff becomes as fluffy a thing as you want.
      A short red or yellow skirt, with a bolero borrowed from your store, will be needed to make your gipsy costume. If you've a scarf (those gay, embroidered piano scarfs are splendid for the purpose and a Roman sash is most effective), tie it around her waist, pulling it a little low and knotting the ends at the left side in front. Heap all the strings of beads and bracelets you can upon her, and if you've a bright silk handkerchief, cover her hair with it. The best way to do that is to lay it on flat, turning back the hem a couple of inches or so across her forehead and fastening at each side with a big round broach.
A gypsy, Little Red Riding Hood and a Quaint
little Quaker Lady
      For a little Irish lass a skirt of bright green with a full white blouse, open at the throat in a sort of V, may be run up in a little while. Tie a red bandana about her waist, and another about the throat, fasenting the knot to the end of the V.
      The "Old Virginia girl" and 1830 costumes are easily made of flowered cretonnes or of the crepe papers that come in such variety.
      Those crepe papers by the way make stunning costumes if you've time to devote the best part of a day to the making. The prettiest flower costumes topped off with a big flower for a hat; Mother Goose and her tribe of nursery fold: night and morning and twilight; witches and elves: children of other nations--there is no end to the costumes which can be made of them. If you make the paper costume upon a foundation of muslin, or. at least sew it upon a belt of strong muslin, with bands outlining the neck and ending the sleeves, there's little danger of the dress sagging or worse still, of pulling apart.

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