Cleopatra - A Christmas'tree - The Chimney Sweep - Robin Hood
A children's fancy dress ball is one of the prettiest and gayest sights imaginable, and fancy dress is nowadays so popular for children's parties that most little people receive invitations to several of such revels in the course of the Christmas holidays. It becomes, therefore, imperative to be able to contrive suitable fancy dresses at home.
Where this is done, the matter of expense need hardly be considered, for most effective costumes can be made from inexpensive materials, and many of the needful accessories fashioned from odds and ends to be found in every house, or from the contents of the children's wardrobes and toy cupboard.
Several of the dresses described in the present article can be carried out merely with the expenditure of a little time and ingenuity alone, while many others could be easily manufactured at an outlay of a few shillings.
The Dutch Boy and Girl make a most attractive couple.
His socks are white, striped with blue. Wooden sabots complete his attire.
The little Dutch girl should be portrayed by a fair child with quantities of golden or flaxen hair. She wears a dress of cornflower blue linen - of a shade which will remain brilliantly blue at night - a plain, short-sleeved bodice and a very full-gathered skirt, worn over numerous petticoats.
The apron is of white muslin, adorned with a couple of bands of blue and white embroidery, and a band of similar embroidery . encircles her neck just below a flat frill of white lawn. A similar frill peeps out beneath the sleeves of the little gown.
Blue stockings and wooden sabots complete her attire, and her hair is parted from back to front, plaited and tied with big bows of white or blue ribbon to hang over either shoulder to below the waist.
A Pantomime Fairy is a character which will delight the imaginative child. Her frock is composed of white dewdrop-spangled tulle, with a short-waisted bodice, cut with a low neck and wee puff sleeves surrounded by a tiny ruche. The skirt is very short, ending some inches above the knee, cut very full indeed, and finished at the bottom with an inch hem, or a wee ruche to match those on the bodice.
The little bodice should be lined with silk, but the skirt must have five or six under-petticoats of stiff, clear book muslin, cut half an inch shorter than the tulle over-skirt, and very full indeed to make it stand out.
Both under and over skirts must be caught up slightly higher just at the back to produce the true ballet skirt tilt.
Very long white stockings must be worn, and white kid or satin shoes, with crossover elastics for dancing, and a pair of tiny gossamer wings made from stiff white-covered hat wire. The wire should be bent to the required shape (not forgetting a couple of wee loops by which to put on the wings), lightly covered with stiff, transparent book muslin, and painted with water-colour to resemble a butterfly's wings. Each wing must be fastened on separately, a few inches apart, to look as though springing from the shoulders.
The fairy's hair should be fastened up on top of the head, with a wee white-spangled rose tucked in at one side, and her outfit is completed by a ribbon-covered wand, with a bunch of silver ornaments at the top.
A Dainty Dress
A Silver Butterfly dress might be carried out in almost exactly the same way, only in this case the wings should be of silver tissue, and a butterfly should adorn the top of the wand, with a trail of tiny silver gauze butterflies hanging from it. A pair of ribbon gauze antennae - fixed to an invisible wire to encircle the head under the little one's hair - should take the place of the white rose of the fairy's dress.
The under-dress should consist of a white muslin frock, cut rather long and very simply made, worn over a single soft white cambric petticoat.
The over-dress is made in the simplest fashion possible of soft dull green ninon, the colour of a beech-leaf in June, cut the same length as, or an inch or two shorter than, the frock, and finished everywhere with a hem a quarter of an inch wide.
Round the waist a wide sash of dull yellow silk, with a big bow and long ends, may be tied ; though it may be omitted if not suitable to the child, and the ninon coat left to float free from neck to hem.
The feet may be bare, or clad in soft green shoes and stockings. On the head is worn a wreath of spring flowers - white may or cowslips and wild daffodils, and the maypole is tied with green and yellow ribbons, with a big posy of primroses, cowslips, kingcups, and daffodils at the top.
The eldest of a family of little sisters might wear the May Queen dress, and the younger ones each a similar white muslin dress with a green over-dress, and garlands to represent some wild flower. One should be a Daisy, with a daisy chain edging her tunic, a double chain hanging from her neck, and a huge inverted daisy for cap upon her head, or a wreath of daisies.