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No-Sew All Saints’ Day Costume {for the procrastinators!}

If you are spending today putting the finishing touches on your children’s All Saints’ Day costumes, or the completed costumes are already hanging by the front door ready for the party, I salute you! If you saw the announcement about your parish All Saints’ Day party in this week’s bulletin and your eyes widened as you started wondering if your kid can go as himself, a modern-day “St. Jack” who wears a Thomas the Tank Engine shirt, or maybe as pirate saint – this post is for you. I usually find myself in the latter group.  But it really is possible to pull off an epic All Saints’ Day costume in a short amount of time – even WITHOUT your sewing machine.

A favorite movie in our house right now is St. Francis Xavier and the Samurai’s Lost Treasure. I suggested to my two older boys (ages 4 and 3) that one of them should go as St. Francis and the other should be St. Ignatius, who makes a short appearance in the movie as Francis’s friend and the one who inspires him to give up his life in the service of God. My 3-year-old was up to the task.

ignatius

So I set about making a costume that resembled the above picture, on two conditions:
1) It didn’t take very long to make
2) My blood pressure didn’t spike while working on it.

I know how to sew – that is, I know how to operate the sewing machine and produce something mostly wearable. But between stitches skipping, needles breaking, puckering (oh, puckering!!!), and just the general frustrations that come along with sewing when you are a relatively impatient person who is also kind of a perfectionist, I usually end up with a beautiful finished project and a bloodstream full of cortisol. A “20 minute skirt” once took me 4 hours.

heygirl(I’m not really a fan of the Hey Girl memes, but this speaks to me.)

Therefore, I present to you: The Incredibly Easy No-Sew All Saints’ Day Priest Costume.

allsaintspicmonkey

{I am making it for St. Ignatius, but there are several famous priests who are usually portrayed with Roman or fiddleback chasubles: St. Philip Neri, St. Padre Pio, Servant of God Emil Kapaun, and Pope Benedict XVI. If your saint is a priest who lived between the 17th century and the mid-1900s, his vestments probably looked like this. Gothic vestments, which are the flowy chasubles that are worn by most priests today, can be made using this tutorial as well – “poncho-style.” Saints that are portrayed in this style include St. Thomas Becket, St. Nicholas, and St. Patrick.}

You will need a glue gun. Fabric glue will work, but it takes a lot longer to dry; glue guns dry almost instantly. I use a lo-temp mini one I snagged from Hobby Lobby for $2.99. My whole project used about 5 glue sticks.

I was looking for brocade fabric, and planning to make the drive to Joann Fabric to pick out some fancy red and gold. However, I discovered that the Walmart near me still carries fabric. The thought of going to Joann’s the Saturday morning before Halloween (aka 40 people in line at the cutting counter) made me determined to find something at Walmart that would work. The red fabric is cotton, the green is a thick tapestry fabric found in the clearance section. 1 yard of each. $6.44 for both. (You can also use felt.)

allst2(I hope St. Ignatius forgives me for using fabric with gold swirls.)

Cut out two matching pieces in a bowling pin shape. (For Gothic-style, keep the length at 40 inches, cut each end 16 inches wide and the center 20 inches wide – more of a hexagonal shape than a bowling pin. Keep neck hole 6″ diameter.) This is a one-size-fits-many pattern – my boys wear 4T and 5T and it fits both of them well. If you have an older child, you may have to add an inch or two to the width and a couple inches to the length.

picallst4(The “15 inches wide” bottom does not look straight – but it should be.)

Whip out yer ol’ glue gun and glue the two pieces together around the border and the neck hole. MAKE SURE you have the fabric lined up with the pretty sides out and the ugly sides in – you want to glue the ugly/backs of the fabric together, so that both sides of the chasuble look nice and it is reversible. Double-check before you start gluing or you might end up with the front on the inside accidentally. (Don’t ask me how I know.)

allst6

OPTIONAL: Add decoration. Leaving it plain is perfectly acceptable (after all, the only reason you are gluing your child’s costume together is because you are short on time), but if you add a little gold ribbon it will look more finished and legit and the other moms will be amazed at your mad crafting skills. I used one entire spool of 97 cent gold Walmart ribbon for mine, and since my little guy is a Jesuit, I added an IHS – the symbol for the Holy Name of Jesus and the monogram of the Jesuit order.

Grab a $3.97 men’s Large white t-shirt for your surplice, slip the chasuble over your child’s head, scribble on a beard with eyeliner if necessary, and you. are. done.

IMG_2903

Time to completion during naptime: 20 minutes without gold decoration, 30 minutes with decoration.
(Time to completion not during naptime: 87 minutes – includes 2 baby feedings, lunch for the kiddos, and eating Butterfingers throughout.)

You CAN sew this project if you really don’t want to use glue, and if you have an embroidery machine you could embroider a beautiful Sacred Heart or cross on the front or back. You could also make a stole instead of a chasuble and wear it with the white t-shirt surplice to portray St. John Vianney. Even if you don’t need an All Saints’ Day costume, this is perfect for the kids who like to “play Mass.”

For more All Saints’ Day ideas, including other costumes, crafts, games, and educational materials, check out this post. And if you need a quick and easy no-sew costume for a little girl, check out Catholic Icing’s Blessed Teresa of Calcutta costume!