DIY Christmas tree costume for toddlers


The second day of enjoying life as a stay at home mom of two kids was marked with another diy project. How exciting!

Thanks to cyclone Vardah, schools are closed until next Monday but the day care is functioning as usual. Since my two-year-old is so bored at home in spite of having her sister along with her all the time and her own iPad, she was eager to go to day care. Good for me!

When I went to drop her at day care on 15 December, the notice board read ‘please send the children dressed up for Christmas on 16 December 2016’. I didn’t fully understand what was meant by ‘dressed up for Christmas’. So, I asked the person in-charge and she said, “oh, anything Christmas-related”.

We don’t celebrate Christmas and we did not have any Christmas-y tshirt or a frock for Anjana. Santoshi, my elder daughter, had an idea – punch a few holes in a carton for Anjana’s legs, wrap it up with paper and ribbons and Anjana’s could be a Christmas gift. Good idea, but won’t work for a 2 year old and definitely not for Anjana.

I thought of buying a Santa Claus mask and team it with a red tshirt and a pair of red leggings, but it was easy too common. Reindeer or sleigh? No way, too complex and too little time. And, more importantly, no internet! Internet connectivity has been affected since Monday 12 December 2016 and we do not know when it would be restored [finally restored on 23 December].

But, a Christmas tree? Yes, it could work. Cardboard, green paper, decorations, etc. – all these were already in my stationery and craft boxes. I was a bit sceptical about using cardboard because even Santoshi couldn’t bring it back in one piece [the fin in the mermaid costume never came back and the Veena in her Saraswati costume came back home only after two days, that too in a bad shape]. Actually, my problem wasn’t whether it would come back. It was more about the costume staying in place at least till the end of the photo session at the day care.

The crayon costume that I had made for Anjana in November 2016 was a hit because it was easy to make and no hassles in putting it on. So, I decided to make the Christmas tree in a similar fashion – using fabric as the base.

What I used:

  • Green fabric
  • A small piece of brown fabric
  • Pipe cleaners – 2
  • Headband
  • Decorations [flower, leaf shaped]
  • Colour paper [for decorations and gift wrapping]
  • Glitter foam sheet in red colour for the star
  • Cardboard strips [as gifts]
  • Glue
  • A pair of scissors

Step 1: Lay the green fabric flat and fold it over so that there are two overlapping layers, with the wrong side [or the inside] on top.

Step 2: Measure the height of the tree from to to bottom and mark the top and bottom ends on the fabric. Since my daughter was already at the day care, I used the crayon costume for vertical measurement.

Step 3: Mark the width on the fabric – I used one of Anjana’s tshirts.

Step 4: Fold the fabric over once again – now you should have four overlapping layers.

Step 5: Keeping in mind seam allowance, draw the outline of the tree. Since the fabric is already folded, draw only a half of the tree. The costume is intended to cover the toddler from bottom of the neck to ankle [give or take an inch or two]. So, the maximum width could be the bottommost branches of the tree [close to the calf muscle] and the tree bark below that.

Step 6: Draw another outline of the tree considering the desired seam allowance. I have used about half an inch of seam allowance.

Step 7: Cut [all four players of fabric] along the outer lines.

Step 8: Open the fold – you will have a full tree.

Step 9: Right sides of the fabrics facing earth each other, sew on the outer lines. Do not sew the part marked with x in the pic and do not sew on the bark portion either.

Step 10: Repeat step 9 for the inner lines.

Step 11: Snip small triangles out as shown in the pic. This is needed so that when the fabric is turned right side out, the seams will lie flat inside.

Step 12: Turn the tree inside out [remember the portion where we did not sew – that’s the space using which we are going to turn the tree out]. Ensure that the corners are pulled gently out so that you get the intended shape. Mine didn’t come out so well, but it’s OK.

Step 13: Sew a piece of brown fabric as the bark of the tree,
Step 14: Decorate the tree in any manner as you wish. I glued some craft items.

Step 15: Cut a star out of the glitter foam sheet and paste it to the headband with a cardboard backing. Step 8 onwards in crayon costume will show you how to do this [paste the star in place of the triangle in crayon costume].

Step 16: Using a few cardboard strips, make small boxes, wrap them with paper, add a ribbon or a glitter tape in place of ribbons, glue them to the bark to resemble Christmas gifts under the tree. The dark green one is the cap of a baby shampoo bottle, he he.

Step 17: Pin the tree to the toddler’s clothes using safety pins. I have pinned it to the t-shirt at the top and the end of the branches, leaving the last branch and the bark unpinned so that the costume would not hinder movement.

If you are using felt, it could be a no-sew project. Ignore all about seeing on the instructions above. Cut the felt to shape of a tree, glue the bark portion, glue all decorations and attach it to the toddler’s clothes.

Here is my little Anjana with the christmas tree pinned on to her t-shirt.

The Christmas tree could also be a cute wall decor if you wish to repurpose it!


DIY Crayon Costume


This is another DIY costume. It is again for my younger daughter Anjana.

As she is in the playgroup, they have ‘colour day’ celebrations once in two months.  The first colour day was yellow day and she went in a yellow t-shirt. As I dropped her at the playgroup that day, I realised that she was supposed to go as a slice of cheese and I had totally forgotten about it. When the yellow day photos came out, she was nowhere to be seen. I felt extremely guilty because I have never forgotten anything for Santoshi and this was the first time I had to do something for Anjana and I forgot.

It was colour red this time and I proactively asked them if I could send her as a red crayon (clearly, hibiscus or any other red flower or Angry Bird or Elmo is a lot of work and apple was just common). The teacher happily agreed to red crayon.

Next step was, obviously, googling for ‘diy crayon costume’. I got the idea mainly from here. I have not (as I always do) followed the instructions fully and have made changes to suit my child and the materials that I have.

In a recent clean up activity at home, I consolidated all of my scrap fabric pieces in one place (they were in 2 bags and a cardbooard box before). I realised that there were different shades of red fabrics which were waiting for their destiny to be fulfilled. So, I took a piece of red fabric which was solid and lightweight and also easy to sew on. I also took out a long, thin piece of black fabric for the design.

Design: The costume has two parts – crayon body and the crayon top.

Crayon body: The design was more like an apron (strap around the neck) but also tie backs behind the chest and the bottom ends will be open to allow free movement.


Trying it on my daughter before pasting the print out:


Things I used:

  • Red fabric (about 25 inches by 20 inches) – 20 inches by 18 inches (excluding seam allowance) for the body and 14 inches by 2 inches (excluding seam allowance) for the strap around the neck
  • Black fabric (about 3 inches by 60 inches) – cut 3 inches by 20 inches (for the bottom) and 2 inches by 40 inches (for the top including tiebacks)
  • Velcro pieces (for the neck strap)
  • Print out on a sheet of paper (size A3) of the text ‘Crayon’ cut along the oval outline
  • Fabric glue
  • Fevikwik
  • Hairband
  • Pieces of cardboard (8 inches by 1 inch and 3 inches by 1 inch)
  • A pair of scissors
  • Sewing machine

For the first time in all my project, I also used the measuring tape and wrote down the length and breadth of the costume.  The finished piece had to measure 20 inches (chest) in circumference and 18 inches in height (chest to ankle). I added a strap for the neck because the costume would definitely fall down despite the tiebacks behind the chest – as it happened in my elder daughter Santoshi’s Wonder Woman costume. I also decided to add veclro to the neck strap because without an opening, it seemed a little difficult to put the costume on and remove it. Why go through the discomfort, when two pieces of veclro could resolve the issue?

Crayon Body

Step 1: Cut the fabric as per the measurements.

Step 2: Sew the (shorter) black border on the bottom.

Step 3: Sew the other black border on the top, aligning the centre of the black fabric to the centre of the red fabric so that the tiebacks are of equal length.

Step 4: Sew the neck strap piece as a tube and turn it inside out using a safety pin.

Step 5: Sew one end of the neck strap to the red fabric.

Step 6: Attach a piece of velcro to the other end of the neck strap and the other piece of the velcro to the wrong side of the red fabric.

Step 7: Add the ‘crayon’ print out to the centre of the red fabric using fabric glue and let it dry.


Good job, the first part is done! While it dries, go on to the crayon top portion.

Templates for the text ‘Crayon’ and the top and bottom borders:


Crayon Top:

Step 8: Align the centre of the 8 inch long piece of cardboard to the centre of the hairband. We are using cardboard strips to give the crayon top a firm backing. Otherwise, the crayon top may (read will) start to droop like the minnie mouse ears in the earlier costume.


Step 9: Add glue (I used fevikwik) at the centre of the cardboard strip and the ends. Fold it up and hold it tight for a minute for it to dry. Trim the top end of the carboard as in the pic below:


Step 10: Paste the shorter strip of cardboard horizontally on the bottom of the folder piece of cardboard. Trim the edges.


Step 11: Add glue and paste the red triangle on the cardboard structure and let it dry.


The finished piece of the crayon top:


Congratulations! You have successfully completed the DIY crayon costume!! All you need now is a toddler to put the costume on.

Here is mine with a red frock beneath the crayon costume and a pair of red shoes!

Hope you found this helpful! There are other posts here on making diy costumes – do read those posts too. Thanks!


DIY Minnie Mouse Costume for Toddler


I recently had a chance to do a costume and this time I was extra excited because this would be the first costume for my younger daughter Anjana who is two years old.

The playgroup to which she goes put up a message on the notice board a few days back that 14 November 2016 would be a fancy dress day and the theme was cartoon characters.  Minnie Mouse was the obvious choice because Anjana loves Minnie Mouse and the costume was relatively easier to make than others like Daisy Duck or Ariel or Dumbo. As usual, I googled images of Minnie Mouse costume for toddlers to get a fair idea of what sort of a frock Anjana would need apart from the Minnie Mouse ears and bow.

Materials used:

  • A hairband
  • Glitter foam sheets (black and red)
  • A black Sharpie
  • A pair of scissors
  • Glue
  • Print out of a silhouette of Minnie Mouse face for the bow
  • A small piece of cardboard (2 inches in width, 4 inches in length)
  • Duct tape


Step 1: Mark this shape (twice – one set for each ear) on the glitter foam sheet (black) which would form the ears and cut them out.


Step 2: Place the pieces on the top of the hair band in such a way that the rectangle between the circles would rest on the band.  Place the ears with a gap of about 3 inches between them.


Step 3: Glue the pieces together.


This is where I realized that I had made a mistake. The ears were drooping down (I was so upset hat I did not take a picture of the droopy ears) because of two reasons:

  • The glitter foam sheet was not firm enough to stand upright
  • The central rectangle for too big (bigger than the width of the hairband)

So, a quick change of plan because I lost my patience or enthusiasm.

  • I removed the ears from the hairband and cut the central rectangle out from both pieces.
  • I cut out two strips (1 inch wide and about 4 inches in length) of cardboard (from an Amazon delivery box).
  • The cardboard strips were place on the hairband similar to the image below (again, no pic, thanks to my impatience).
  • Apply glue in the centre and the edges of the strips. Fold them together so that the edges are aligned and the centre rests on the hairband. In a way, they would resemble like horns protruding from the hairband.


  • Since the glue would not dry immediately, so I secured each strip with duct tape. Now, the cardboard strips stood up on its own.
  • As the glitter foam sheet was lightweight, the circles were glued on to either side of the cardboard strips so that it would now look like Mickey Mouse’s ears.

Step 4: Cut bow to shape and place it on the red glitter foam sheet. Trace the outline and cut the bow of the red glitter foam sheet. Use the Sharpie to add details to the bow.


Step 5: Glue the bow to the ears on the hairband. My glue did not work well to hold the glitter sheet (because the surface was not smooth due to the glitter), so I used some duct tape on the back of the bow to secure the bow to the ears. I did not align the bow to the centre, so it is a bit to the right, but not too obvious. So I can live with it.

My daughter has a cute pink frock with a Minnie Mouse printed on it and a pair of red colour shoes with a bow.  Here is our little Minnie Mouse:


I know, she does not look very happy 😦

One more pic:



Goddess Saraswati Costume

Hello everyone!

This is a post on how a costume of Saraswati was put together for my 5-year-old daughter Santoshi .

On the last day of school before the I Term holidays, Santoshi woke up earlier than usual just to tell me, “My teacher asked me if I would like to dress up and go on stage. I told her that I’d love to”. I did not think much about this, though the teacher had promised all parents that all the students would get an opportunity to perform in one way or the other during the academic year.

Strangely, the school informed us about ten days in advance that she has been chosen but did not reveal more information until the day before the show.  I was excited because Santoshi likes to dress up and I love experimenting new things/ ways of doing things.  With the limited information that was provided to us, we needed a white silk saree with gold trims and designs, a bright coloured blouse in contrast to the white saree, a veena, some jewels (crown, necklace, bangles) and face make-up – eyeliner and bindi and, may be, a dash of lipstick.

White saree

  • Santoshi did have a set of off-white skirt and blouse which may be acceptable by the school but I was not happy with that. So, I started looking for all the white coloured clothes/ fabrics that were at home. I had ordered this for myself and I still had the fabric for the salwar unused, looking pristine white. With more than two metres in length, it was the best choice for the white ‘saree’.
  • Santoshi still needed a white skirt to wear underneath. So, I bought a thin white dupatta with gold trims to be tied over the white skirt. In order to team the white fabric with blue trim with the dupatta with gold trim, I bought two metres of gold ribbon and two metres of blue ribbon and  attached them to the respective trims. Now, they looked close to a white silk saree.
  • Bright coloured blouse for the saree – we chose a dark purple blouse which was close to the blue trims of the ‘saree’.
  • Wrapping – Santoshi wore the purple top over the off-white skirt.


  • Aligning the trim at ankle level, the white dupatta was wrapped around her at chest level.



  • It was secured with a knot at the back, just tight enough so that it wouldn’t slip.


  • Next was the other white fabric to which I added the gold trim – it was pleated and secured on her left shoulder with a safety pin, with one of the fabric falling behind her shoulder for about one foot. The rest of the fabric was wrapped around her and the other end was pinned to the dupatta and the blouse near the waist.


  • I took a print of photo of a veena on vinyl material and cut  it to shape.

  • The print out was turned over, glue applied near the outline and pieces of cardboard were stuck on it to give it a firm backing. I used heavy books to press the cardboard to the vinyl material.

  • After the glue dried, I cut the excess parts of the cardboard, which I realised was a mistake. First, I should have drawn the outline on the cardboard and cut it to shape and then glued it to vinyl.  This is because cutting the cardboard with the print out on top was very difficult and I was running the risk of ruining the print out.
  • The print out was about three feet in length and I did not have a piece of cardboard than was as long. Instead, I had four smaller pieces of cardboard which made the veena bend at every joint.
  • I wanted to add a long strip of cardboard for the entire length to prevent bending but then a light bulb went ‘ding’ above my head. Last year, I had made a mop with a lightweight PVC pipe as part of the costume for cleanliness dance.
  • With packing tape, the PVC pipe was attached to the veena which gave it a rigid, firm backing, yet keeping it lightweight.
  • The hollow pipe was perfect as loop for the string which was used to hang the veena across.


I bought a gold colour crown from a local store along with a set of glitter foam sheets. The saree was white and blue. So, I used superglue to attach the blue glitter sheet with gold trims behind the band that rests on the forehead. The crown already had a clip/comb-like end on both sides to secure it in place on her forehead.


I  couldn’t find bangles of her size in the colours that I wanted. So, I cut the glitter sheets into thin strips and taped them together around her wrists.


An imitation gold-colour necklace that we already had. I didn’t add more in terms of necklaces or long chains because one, it may be uncomfortable for her and two, the veena will be hung on her shoulder across her body, hiding any more jewels.

Face make-up

She wore a black eyeliner with a golden dot at the end, a red bindi and a light pink lipstick.

Here she is in the full costume

  Thanks for reading my post!


DIY Wonder Woman costume for kids

Hi! Another costume for the summer camp.

Santoshi announced that she needs to be dressed up as a superhero for summer camp on Friday.  Thankfully, she gave me the information on the Wednesday before which was enough time to think of a costume and try to come up with an acceptable idea.

I interviewed my husband (he loves books, comics, superheroes,…) on female superheroes and we came up with quite a long list (supergirl, catwoman, gamora, black widow, scarlet witch, wonder woman, etc.) but we finalized wonder woman because there was no male counterpart and she was a very strong character.


When I asked Santoshi if she liked to dress up as Wonder Woman, she agreed.  She also said, “that means you would let me go to the summer camp in my underwear like wonder woman?” Whoa, that actually threw me off balance, so I turned to my hubby for help and he showed the latest Wonder Woman costume. A quick check of Santoshi’s wardrobe and my bag of scrap fabric pieces revealed that there was no blue leggings or trousers or jeans. So I had to go with a different kind of costume – one that involves a skirt.  Santoshi has two short blue skirts – one was light blue Barbie skirt and the other was pleated skirt in dark blue with white spots.  The dark blue seemed to match the skirt of the first wonder woman in this picture.


I wanted to add stars to the skirt. Given my superior sewing skills and the shape of the star and my not-in-an-adventurous mood, I thought of pasting stars cut out of paper. But instead of paper, I used a subway take-away bag for the stars and used fabric glue to stick the stars to the skirt.



When Santoshi asked why she had to wear a skirt when the picture of Wonder Woman she had coloured at the summer camp did not have a skirt, I had to think of something quick – that she forgot to wear the skirt before someone took a picture of her. That got Santoshi thinking (for the next n questions on the statement I made, so I tried to divert her attention to something else).


Now for the top. I got shiny red and bright yellow fabrics from my stash and also a lengthy ribbon.


After googling the Wonder Woman logo, I cut it out of the yellow fabric, stitched it to the top of the red fabric using buttonhole stitch and trimmed the strands that frayed out.


The ribbon was cut into four equal pieces. I attached two of them to the top ends of the red fabric and the other two to the middle so that this piece of fabric could be wrapped around Santoshi’s torso over her t-shirt and the bottom end could be tucked inside the skirt.



I thought this would be easy but turned out not to be so. After pasting a star made of red paper on the band of golden paper, a piece of cardboard was pasted behind to make it firm and also hard to tear.


Then I realized that my practice of procrastinating (of cleaning up waste paper, stationery, etc.) paid off this time. I found the paper crown ‘I survived the angriest whopper’ (adjustable to fit the head circumference) that Santoshi received during our recent visit to Burger King. I pasted the headband on to the BK crown and cut off the unwanted parts of it. I guess Santoshi was waiting for this moment “Mom, WW has no hairstyle, so I need to leave my hair loose!” Made a small plait on each side of the forehead and brought them together to the centre and put a rubberband to secure them. Then the headband was adjusted to fit her head.

Bracelets of submission

A sheet of silver paper was cut into half, wrapped around each hand and secured with sticky tape. This was the easiest part 🙂

All done – Here she is, proud of being (dressed up as) a superhero.


PS: the red fabric started sliding down, so I had to pin them up to the t-shirt.  The yellow colour on the pink t-shirt is the top of Tweety’s head.



DIY mermaid costume for kids

When I enrolled Santoshi for summer camp, my expectations were quite straight forward and simple – that they would keep her for a specified period of time each day and also entertain her.  She winning some new friends would just be a side benefit.

But, whether these expectations were met or not, I ended up with assignments more than once.  The first was my daughter squealing delightfully, “Mom, I need to dress up like a mermaid tomorrow!” When she told me this around 2 pm that Wednesday, I said, “wow, great!” without any emotion, as usual.  Then a few hours later, I realized that Santoshi was thinking that a mermaid costume would be ready the next morning and that I needed to get to work.

I googled ‘diy mermaid costumes for kids’ and ended up with a lot of results with awesome costumes. Short on time and with materials that I could gather from local stores, I had to improvise a lot.

Santoshi had decided to wrap one of my stoles across her chest over her camisole. I was relieved. I had to work only on the fin portion. I bounced my ideas off her to avoid a tantrum the next morning.  She was ok with my idea (which I will explain in this post).

My idea was to cut a piece of chart paper in the shape of mermaid tail (two pieces of the same size), add fish scales using the gift wrappers and tie them around her waist – one in the front and one in the back.

Things I used:

  • One piece of chart paper
  • Two sheets of gift wrapper
  • Glue
  • Pencil
  • A pair of scissors
  • Two pieces of ribbon/ string


I folded the chart paper in half and cut them in the shape of the fish tail (measured to fit Santoshi from waist to roughly below the calf muscle). The gift wrappers were cut in many strips with a straight top and a wavy bottom.  These strips were pasted on the chart alternately in a staggered fashion to get a design (remotely) resembling scales on Disney’s Ariel. Once done, I let them dry overnight.


The next morning, once Santoshi was ready wearing a t-shirt and a pair of leggings, I tied the stole across her chest, which made her giggle and grin sheepishly.  The top portion of the chart was folded back and secured using packing tape. I slid a length of thin ribbon into the loop and tied each piece individually around her waist. She was elated to be dressed like a mermaid.


The only trouble was that she could not sit with the piece tied behind her.  After posing for a few clicks, she wanted the rear tail to be removed. As I had supposed, she came back from the camp without the tail. ‘It tore off, momma…,” I was like, “yeah, of course it did”. With the intent of maintaining peace, I didn’t talk about how it tore, etc. And anyway, there other tail was still around.

The fact that she was excited about the costume makes me want to make one out of fabric – just a tail for the front which she can tie around her waist on any frock or skirt. That’s for a different day, though.



Prop and costume for “cleanliness” dance


It all started with a call from my mother that Santoshi, my daughter, was selected for a dance programme at school and that she needed to carry a prop with her the next day.   Unfortunately, my mother couldn’t explain what exactly the prop was.  She said it was a duster.  I imagined it was something similar to this but she said it had stringy ends made of cotton.  I was irked because I didn’t know what I had to send the next day.  When I called the school to get some clarity from the teacher, I got to know that the teachers had left for the day and even if they were still around, parents needed to come in person.

I called my mother again and she repeated the same thing again – stringy cotton end duster.  On the way back home, I got a duster which somewhat resembled this one.  When I reached home, my daughter opened the door and greeted me.  She was amused by the duster that I had in my hand.  I told her that it was her prop for the dance programme, she said, “No, I need to carry a mopstick and this is not a mopstick”.  I called my mother and she repeated for the second time that it was a duster and not a mopstick.

I sent the prop with Santoshi the next day, which was a Tuesday.  She told me that she needed to carry a mopstick and not a duster.  Since it was becoming frustrating, I decided to meet the teacher on Wednesday morning.

Santoshi was quite upset that she had no prop to take with her and that the teacher had asked her on Tuesday why she hadn’t brought a mopstick.  I convinced her that I would be meeting the teacher to find out what needed to be sent and that she could carry it the next day.  She must have been wondering, “Why? I already told you, it is a mopstick”.

After dropping her at the gate, I filled out a request form to meet the teacher and waited at the lounge.  A few minutes later, a member of staff told me that Santoshi’s teacher was on leave.  I explained to her that I wanted to know the prop for the dance programme. So, she asked me to follow her.  She introduced me to Ms. D, who was in charge of the dance programme.

When I told Ms. D that I was Santoshi’s mother and I was not sure of the prop to be sent.  She thought for a while and said, “Santoshi is in the first row; so, send a mopstick”.  I asked her what kind of mopstick she was expecting.  She took me to another room and showed me “the mopstick”.  I wanted to know where I could get one such thing.  She told me, “No, you need to make it at home”.  “How exactly should it be made?” She looked at me as if I should have known the answer.  “Buy a PVC pipe as tall as your daughter, wrap it with bright coloured paper, cut a mopcloth into strips and attach them to one end.”  It was then I told her that since I did not know what to send, Santoshi hadn’t brought any prop.  I assured her that she will carry a mopstick, as instructed, the next day.  She gave me the evil eye and I decided that it was time to take my leave of her.  I was at the door when she told me, “I am sure you know about the costume, too”.

Costume? Oh, I should have known.  I asked her to explain the costume to me.  “Send her in dungarees”.  “Dungarees?”  “Yes, dungarees.”  “Sorry ma’am, what exactly do you mean by ‘Dungarees’?”  “You know, the overall types with ankle-length trousers…” “I understand ma’am, I will get it.” “Also, a blue t-shirt.” “Light or dark? Full-sleeve or half-sleeve?”  “Light blue t-shirt, because the dungarees are dark blue.” (another piece of information that dungarees had to be in dark blue colour.)  “Anything else, ma’am?” ‘Navy blue socks.”  “What about the shoes?” “No shoes.”  My next question was about the hairstyle, then better sense prevailed over me and skipped that question.  I thanked her from the bottom of my heart and was about to leave.  That’s when she said, “bring the costume before Friday for approval”.

I was thinking about where could I ever find dungarees for a 4-year-old girl (who is actually tall enough to wear the clothes of a 6-year-old girl).  I printed out a picture of dungarees and made a list of shops which might carry them.  In the lunch hour, I went out to the shopping district of our city.  Most of the shops looked at me as if I was an alien looking for dungarees for 6-year-old.  One of them openly said, “Don’t you know that the biggest size in this pattern can fit at best a 2-year-old?”

So, no dungarees.  It was a Wednesday and I was already two days behind the other parents who had got the information on Monday that week.  Could I get denim fabric by the yard and get a tailor to stitch it?  No one would make it in a day and it was close to the biggest festive season in India and no tailor would even agree to make it.  Can I make it myself? I only wished I had learnt sewing.  Oh, wait, I can’t make one from scratch; but, I could put a pinafore and a pair of jeans together and create one!  Luckily, Santoshi had a dungaree dress already.  I only had to buy a pair of jeans of the same shade of blue.  But, the entire thing depended on the teacher approving the costume.

dungaree dress

I bought a pair of jeans and a light blue half-sleeved t-shirt and went back to work.  Once I was home, I dug the dungaree dress out of the bag which had clothes to be given for charity.  I packed the jeans, the t-shirt and the dungaree dress in a bag to be shown to the teacher for her “approval” of the DIY dungarees.

Then, to involve Santoshi, I took her with me to buy the items for the DIY mopstick pop.  It was raining, so we took an umbrella.  Santoshi started singing, “It’s raining, it’s boring (pouring),the old man is snoring; he jumped on his bed, bumped his head and couldn’t wake up in the morning!” She told me excitedly that she had learnt the new song that day.

We went to the store that sells pipes, taps, etc.  When I told the shopkeeper that I wanted a PVC pipe of about 40 inches in length, he immediately asked me, “1/4 inch, 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch diameter?”  Wow, I didn’t know.  So, he got PVC pipes of all diameters out.  Everything was quite heavy and would not be the right material to make the prop.  I asked him if there were any PVC pipe that would be light.  I explained to him that the purpose was to only serve as a prop for a school programme.  He told me to go to another shop which would have light-weight PVC pipes.  I thanked him and went to the other shop.  They did have such pipes!  I got a pipe which was 40 inches in length.  Next stop was at our grocery store where we bought two pieces of mopcloth.

After coming home, I wrapped the colour paper on the PVC pipe; I then  cut both the pieces of mopcloth into long strips, pasted them to one end of the PVC pipe with a string.  Then, I realized that while I was pasting the strips, the fabric glue ruined the surface of the colour paper.  So, after the fabric glue had dried, I wrapped more colour paper around the pipe and added a label “Santoshi” on the top end.  Santoshi wanted to know why I put her name on the mopstick.  I told her that the label was to identify this mopstick as hers and no other child will take it.  After all, I didn’t want Santoshi to come crying the next day, “…that boy said it was mine and took my mopstick away.  Can you make another one for me?”

It was Thursday morning. With my laptop bag on my back, purse on one shoulder, mopstick on the left hand, I took Santoshi’s hand in my right hand and started walking from the parking area to the school gate.  Santoshi asked me if I could carry library folder too; ugh, ok.  I thrust the folder into my purse and walked along.  While most passers-by (not connected to the school as teachers or parents) looked at me weirdly, one of the parents of Santoshi’s class rushed to me, “Are we supposed to send anything today?  Have I forgotten?”  I assured her that everything was ok and that it was Santoshi’s prop for dance programme.  She was relieved.  So would I be if the teacher approves my idea, I thought.

As I dropped Santoshi at the gate, a member of the staff said, “Why such a big mopstick?  We had said it had to be her shoulder height of the child.”  Facepalm! I forced myself to smile and told them, “I can saw it to her shoulder height, ma’am”.  She said she would let the teacher decide.  I filled a form out and met the teacher.  Thankfully, Santoshi’s teacher was available that day and I told her that I couldn’t find dungarees for her but I could come up with one if she would allow and explained my idea to her. She looked at everything and said ok.  Yay!!  I thanked her profusely and asked her why these instructions (prop, costume, deadlines, date and venue of the programme, etc.) couldn’t be put in the school diary in the ‘Notes from Teachers to Parents’ section, which would have ensured that there was no ambiguity or anxiety about the entire thing.  She had no response but at least assured me that they would do it the next time.

Back home that evening, I snipped the top of the dungaree dress and attached it to the waist of the jeans and voila!


Though she is smiling in the photo, she was not very happy wearing it.  I told her that this was what her teacher wanted for the dance programme and she reluctantly agreed.

The next day, I took the “finished piece” to Ms. D and she too approved it.  Whew, what a relief!

On the day of the programme, we were supposed to get the children dressed in their costume and bring them to school about 30 minutes ahead of the start time.  Which meant that she didn’t have to go to school at the usual time.  When it was close to the time we were supposed to leave for school on normal days, Santoshi grew suspicious.  “Why are we not leaving for school? And, why are you not dressed for work?” I explained to her that we were going directly to the stage (the auditorium, that is) a little before the time when the programme would start and that I would go to office after her school gets over for the day.  She was not very sure of the first part of the answer but was happy about the second part.  Then, more questions on if I would be around for the programme, if I would pick her up after school,… which I tried to answer before my patience ran out.

We reached the school about 30 minutes prior to start time.  She was very happy to see her classmates (who were also part of the programme) in the auditorium while the others were still in the classroom.


The programme was enjoyed by all of us. Santoshi’s dance was the concluding part and chaos reigned with sixteen children aged between 3 and 4 running all across the stage.  After the programme, we were allowed to take a few pics.  Santoshi was busy looking at the mop holding it upside down and spinning it around.


The school ensured that we had more ‘fun’ after the programme, too.  Parents were asked to pick their wards up from the stage, get them back to wear uniform and drop them at the classroom.  I picked Santoshi up and asked one of the teachers, “Ma’am, where can we change her clothes?”  She said, “Well, we hadn’t thought about it.  Now that you are asking, why don’t you choose a corner where no one is around?”  I don’t think they realized that children didn’t want to change clothes in the open.  Then, I took permission from a member of staff and used the first-aid room to change her back to uniform.

As I dropped her near the staircase leading to her classroom, she seemed upset.  She waved bye to me and proceeded to her classroom.  There was still about an hour to pick her up. I couldn’t help but think of the previous year when she was selected for the anniversary programme in August that year.  When the teacher proudly told me mother about this, my mother swiftly requested to take her out of the programme.  The teacher was quite surprised.  My mother pointed out to the teacher that it would be too much of work for me to run around for costumes, accompany her for rehearsals, arrange for pick up and drop at school, etc. since I was pregnant at that time, due by end of September.  I was very grateful to my mother, though more than year had passed from then.

I picked her up at the usual time and proceeded to office.  I made my mind up that if she gets selected for any other programme, I would have to make it a point to meet the teacher at the earliest opportunity.  There might come a time when both my kids are chosen for one programme or the other at the same time.  It makes me rejoice that it’s not for another two years from now.