Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Scarlet Pimpernel Costume

My almost-8-year-old chose to be the Scarlet Pimpernel for Halloween. Sir Percy Blakeney is known for his impeccable fashion taste. I don't think he would have worn rolled-up jeans, but that's okay.

Step One: The Coat - My son tried on several women's coats at the thrift store. This is the one he chose because it's supposed to be "really fancy." He didn't like the solid navy wool coat that I chose because it wasn't fancy enough. I relented because I'm trying to let him make more choices (even though I wouldn't have needed to modify the navy one to fit him!). He knew what he wanted and it was perfect. Or soon would be. Once home, I put the coat on him inside-out and pinned along the underarm seam and down the sides of the coat. He helped with the sewing. After sewing I trimmed the seam allowances with pinking shears. I also turned up the sleeve cuffs. Simple and easy. I even sewed and trimmed right over the pockets! The coat is nice and long on him. He seemed upset when I seam-ripped the shoulder pads out, but I didn't feel like giving in on that point.

Next comes the lace: The jabot (jah-boh), cravat (not pictured, but what is just a rectangular strip of white fabric tied around the neck), and the cuffs (which have elastic on them). I never thought I'd ever buy lace for my son's Halloween costume!

The jabot is made of strips of gathered lace sewn to a trapezoid of cotton (actually, two), then sewn to a ribbon with a velcro closure. This particular ribbon and velcro originally came around the Christmas pajama pants I got the kids from Target last year. Yes, I saved it. Yes, I used it. I think I deserve a pat on the back for that. I just realized that I forgot to make lace and/or buckles for his shoes. Ah well, Halloween is always rushed. I don't think I would have had time, anyway!

I didn't know if anyone would recognize "what" his costume was supposed to be, so I asked Alexander if he wanted me to make him a name tag. He said yes, as long as the writing was fancy enough. Apparently my penmanship met his approval. I used some parchment paper scraps I just happened to have around.

The oversized scarlet pimpernel flower was a cheap-o poinsettia from the dollar store. It used to have seven petals but I cut off two to make it star-shaped and hot-glued the empty spaces together as I was gluing the flower to the name tag. Yes, I also have a stash of brooch pin backs.

The green vest was from an old white rabbit costume that my sister wore in a ballet recital many years ago. I'm glad it didn't clash with the coat. Black trouser socks and dress shoes finished off the bottom half of the costume. The sword helps balance out the masculinity of the costume. Sink me! If only I had time to find a magnifying glass for a chain around his neck.

They seek him here, they seek him there...


  1. My 8 year old just told me that he wanted to be the Scarlet Pimpernel for Halloween this year. Seeing what you did helps me so much to see what can be accomplished. It's so funny to me to know that my son is not alone in his selection of this great character, in spite of knowing (but maybe not fully) that no one will have ever heard of him. Great job! Thank you. :)

    1. That's great, Susan! Your son must have superb taste ;) The name tag helped a lot for the people who didn't recognize the costume. Most kids probably still didn't get it, but the adults did once they saw the name. And they're the ones giving out candy! But what's really important is that your son likes it.


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