The World book day disaster!!

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A couple of weeks ago someone mentioned World book day, which prompted a conversation with my little girl about what to dress up as this year. Last year Ella dressed up as Cinderella, as depicted in the Ladybird story book that I had as a little girl. It was the book that I remember the most as a little girl. We managed to get hold of the very book that my sister was looking after and Ella loved it.

This year was no less princess orientated, all Ella’s suggestions were based on fairly generic princess/ballerina books. My suggestion of ‘Stick man’ didn’t go down very well! I had several other ideas like Angelica sprockets pocket….but no it was only going to be something princessy! Then I had the idea of the classic and fabulous Alice and Wonderland…Bingo we had an agreeable idea!

alice 13 bobbins and buttons

alice 14 bobbins and buttons

I bought this great version of the book for Ella when she was only a toddler and much to young to appreciate it. She is just the right age now to love it, so it was decided she would be Alice.

As the end of the week approached and we had no emails or letters regarding dressing up for World book day from school, I began to wonder if the event would happen this year. By the end of the week I decided it was looking very unlikely as we hadn’t heard and the teachers seemed uninformed.

When I broke the news to Ella her devastated little face broke my heart. She was so excited about our plans and we had read the book over several nights so she knew the story. I decided to carry on and make it anyway.

alice 5 bobbins and buttons

We had a wonderful time on Saturday afternoon sewing together. A really special time I will always treasure. Ella made me a ‘blanket’ she tried different machine stitches on a piece of calico and then decorated with buttons while I stitched blue satin.

alice 3 bobbins and buttons

Of course the accessories were the all important part. Especially the clock bag. The shape is from my children’s wear range. I used leftover wood print fabric for the back of the clock bag and embroidered black dots on a white base for the clock face. I made the ‘drink me’ bottle and ‘eat me’ cake just the right size to fit inside.

alice bag bobbins and buttons

drink me bobbins and buttons

alice 6 bobbins and buttons

The dress is a slightly adapted Dolly Doodle style. I added short puff sleeves and a build in stiff net skirt.

alice 8 bobbins and buttons

The apron has ruffled straps which are rather hidden by her hair, they are attached to the waist straps at the back.

alice back bobbins and buttons

alice 10 bobbins and buttons

This secret heart pocket is obviously not covering a small hole!! It is only there to carry the key…

alice 7 bobbins and buttons

Stripey tights and a black bow on an Alice band completed the look.

Sure enough there was no dressing up at school, but they were allowed to take a book in. Naturally she chose Alice and wore her Alice band as well.

Its been a subject of debate on my Facebook page this week, the pros and cons of World book dressing up days. While I can see both sides I think my feet are firmly planted in the dressing up camp. Last year was such a wonderful spectacle to look around the playground at all the outfits and working out the characters. I think the random and obscure ones are to be admired the most, they show great creativity. I know money is tight and not everyone is handy with a needle but the kids engage on different levels with this sort of creativity so I think it is really worth the effort. For me and Ella we had a few hours of lovely creativity together which we both loved. Long live World book day dressing up days!


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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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