Oliver started school this September and last term we were given a couple of weeks notice of a pirate dressing up day at school. I got all excited and asked him if he would be dressing up as a pirate and my reply was ‘no’.
After some thinking (I didn’t want him to feel left out not dressing up if all the other kids were), I came up with a solution. What if I could make his pirate outfit somehow dinosaur related, he might just want to dress up. I put this thought to Oliver and he very excitedly agreed that if I could make him a jumper with dinosaur bones, more specifically Therizinosaurus bones on it then he would wear it for pirate day.
So I went down to Hobbycraft and made good use of the 3 for 2 offer they had on yarn on that day and came home with chunky yarn in red, white and black ready to make him his dinosaur jumper. not quite sure how I was going to add the bones on, I decided to start with the back of the jumper first. Surprisingly for me, I decided to knit this jumper rather than crochet it. I’m not the best or quickest knitter, but I have been seeing a lot of lovely knitted jumpers online recently and I guess they inspired me to try and knit this. I started with red and made a double ribbed stripe and then worked stripes alternating in red and white until it was long enough for Oliver. I took the risk not to make a swatch up first and ended up undoing the jumper twice to get the right width. After adjusting the size the panel only actually took a couple of evenings to work up and if I hadn’t have been busy planning a birthday party for Oliver that week then I may have been able to work it quicker.
After completing the back I decided to sketch out some ideas for the dinosaur bones on square paper. After drawing a few different ideas, I came up with something that vaguely resembled the head and claws of the dinosaur Oliver had chosen and decided to try and work this design on to the front of the jumper in black, contrasting with the red and white stripes. Up until this point, I have never knitted anything so complicated. I had always stuck to squares and rectangle in solid colours or thick stripes. This
was an experiment. I am used to working graphs in crochet, but I usually use Tunisian crochet for these things and so I don’t have to work the reverse side. After a few attempts I eventually got the hand of reading the graph forwards and backwards and I stopped needing to undo my mistakes quite so often. I’m actually pretty happy with the result, it looks amazing and Oliver loved the dinosaur on the front, even if he was disappointed that it wasn’t the whole skeleton! It does slightly annoy me that I didn’t calculate it perfectly and the design isn’t completely central, but not enough to make me redo it.
The sleeves were actually pretty simple after working the front, two long stripy rectangles, similar to the back panel but thinner. I am used to the process of putting a jumper together anyway, so the sewing it all up was easy enough too. Luckily I had tried the jumper against Oliver several times during the making, so when it was complete I knew it would fit him and thankfully it did. After seeing the jumper being made, Oliver started to get excited by dressing up and decided to expand his pirate costume, he now needed a hat. A hat seemed a lot simpler than a jumper and I had plenty of yarn left, so I made a hat from a stripy rectangle. The first stripe was made in double rib, like the jumper base, but longer than the hat by 15 stitches each end, which were cast off before I worked the main hat. I then decreased the last two rows of the hat before sewing it shut at the top and side and then tied the two longer edges together, to create the sort of bandana effect you often see on pirate hats.
Oliver was delighted with his hat, and then asked to make pirate maps, swords a telescope and a cannon. I drew the line at cannon, but we did work together to create a map, map holder and a telescope. We used the inside of a kitchen roll for the map holder and covered it in red foam and kitchen foil to make it look more piratey. We did the same for the telescope too. Both the map holder and telescope had holes pierced in them and have a yarn loop attached so they could be attached to a keyring and
hung from a belt, so they don’t get lost. To make the maps, we tea stained some paper and ripped some of the egdes to make it look old, before drawing on maps and landmarks, not forgetting to mark the treasure with an X. We rolled these up and then placed them in the map holder. I knitted Oliver a simple long black belt, folded it it half and sewed the sides together, leaving a portion unsewed at the end to create a holder for the sword. I added little loops for the keychains to go on as well so the maps and telescope could also be added. My knitting skills didn’t extend to being able to knit a sword, so I stuck to crochet for this. The handle was made from black back looped single crochet and then for the actual sword and details I used some silver yarn I had bought earlier in the year in an Aldi yarn sale. I used stuffing in the handle and a cut up piece of cardboard to keep the blade stiff.
To finish the pirate costume, I got a pair of black jogging bottoms and cut the bottoms off and cut a sort of jagged pattern to the bottom to give it a more pirate feel to it. I wanted to find some stripy socks for him to wear underneath, however, I could only find some stripy red and black tights, so I cut these up instead to create his pirate socks. To complete the outfit, Oliver added his own parrot toy that he has had for a while.
Oliver was super excited to try on his pirate costume at the weekend and he really didn’t want to take it off. Its so nice to see him finally excited about dressing up and I know he will love playing pirate at school with all his friends. I am hoping this is the start of more dressing up costumes to be made as him and Lily grow up as they really are fun to make! If you want to make your own Pirate Costume, then you can find the instructions to make your own jumper, hat, sword and belt for a child age 5-6 here.
See you next week,