Make an Oliver costume

This costume is easy to make, and is eco-friendly too! If you haven’t got a man around whose wardrobe you can rummage through, then a trip to a charity shop/thrift store/jumble sale will provide you with everything you need!

Choose small adult size clothes for children – the baggy clothes add to the scruffy urchin look! Choose dull shades of beige, brown and grey that suggest ‘just off the streets’. You could even add some facepaint or dark foundation to suggest mud and filth.

SHIRT: Take a plain shirt (off-white, cream and beige are good) and cut off the the collar (but leave the strip of fabric that joins it to the main shirt). Roll up the sleeves.

SHORTS: Beige, grey or brown shorts which were a small adult size. These were fitted in at the waist sides so that they’d fit! Alterations are disguised by the long waistcoat.

WAISTCOAT: In this case, I had a scrap of non-fray fabric that did the job. Using one of my daughter’s jersey tops, I drew out a tunic pattern (without the arms), and measured out all around until it was a bit bigger than her actual measurements. I cut the pattern out, then cut out the fabric (2 pieces), then cut directly up the centre. You could cut up any old sweatshirt or teeshirt in this way and you’d have the same effect. You could also use an old thick shirt with the sleeves, collar and button panels removed.

HAT: Make a paper pattern by drawing round your iron. Cut out 8 pieces from scraps of old thick material (this hat was made from old jeans). Stitch them all together so the points meet each other in the middle; you can finish with a button in the middle if you like!

Next, cut out 2 strips of fabric, length = head circumference plus 1.5cm seam allowance at each end; width = 7cm, including 1.5cm seam allowance each side. Put them right sides together. Using a running stitch, gather the raw edges of the crown and make into a sandwich with the strips – lay out strip 1 with the bottom edge lined up with the hat edge, then lay out strip 2 the same way. (The strips will be flat on the hat instead of dangling down.) Fold back the seam allowance and sew all around. Then Pull the strips down (so they are now wrong sides together) and fold in the 1.5cm seam allowance. Mark the opposite point from the open part of the headband; this will be the centre front.

On paper, trace out a hat peak from another hat or draw one freehand with a dinner plate as your guide. Add 1.5cm seam allowance all round, then cut out 2 pieces. Right sides together, stitch around the outer curve, then turn inside out and stitch around again to make it firm. Insert the brim into the headband, aligning the centre of it with the centre front point. Stitch around, then, after checking its fit on the wearer, stitch up the centre back opening.

SCARF: Any old scraps of beige/cream fabric will do, just as long as it’s soft and easy to tie.

Please sir, want some more? You may also like the Artful Dodger, Fagin and the Widow Corney.

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