Let’s meet up with Kristoff on our journey through Arendelle! Elliott helped me with the first steps of making his costume.
First, I had him model the pieces we already had. These consisted of a blue sweater, brown pants, and Kristoff-ish boots. Here’s a closeup look at the swanky boots! They’re a little big on him, but boots from Lapland don’t exactly grow on trees.
I love Elliott’s sweet enthusiasm. He was so gung ho to help me make his costume!
Now, we need to make Kristoff’s main, focal costume piece: his fur-trimmed brown vest! Of course, no such vest exists at Goodwill. (Believe me, I’ve been looking for a couple years!)
However, I did find this sweater! I make a habit of going through the boys’ racks twice at thrift stores, because all of their neutral colors and subdued patterns blend together. I almost missed the potential in this sweater! A closer look showed me that it is all cotton and could probably take a brown dye.
My plan is to dye it, chop off the sleeves, and add the appropriate trim.
I found the dye color I needed at JOANN Fabric and Craft. Another crucial dyeing ingredient is salt. I prefer to buy it for 50 cents at the Dollar Tree.
It was time to prepare the “dye bath”, but not until we donned aprons! My favorite kids apron is the Måla Long Sleeve Apron from Ikea. It’s waterproof and the long sleeves completely cover the child’s clothes.
We added white, distilled vinegar and one cup of salt to the washing machine, plus a splash of detergent. While the washing machine filled with hot water, we opened the dye powder and pre-mixed it in a small tub of hot water. That splatter is why we wear aprons!
Next, we soaked the sweater in warm water until it was completely saturated. By this time, the washer was full and had been on the wash cycle for about a minute, allowing the detergent, salt, and vinegar to mix. I poured in our pre-mixed dye, shut the washer, and let the wash cycle continue for another minute to mix in the dye. Then, we popped open the lid, added the wet sweater, and continued the cycle.
After the wash cycle finished, we immediately washed the sweater with cold water and a bit of detergent. This helps to remove any excess dye. It was so exciting for Elliott to open the washer to discover that his sweater had changed from a charcoal grey to the perfect shade of dark brown! He tossed it into the dryer.
And, here it is! My next step will be to cut off the sleeves and add bias tape and fur trim.
Here’s a before and after look at the transformation our sweater has gone through, so far! What’s the takeaway so far? Well, as usual, sometimes great costume pieces are hiding in plain sight. This sweater had the perfect neckline, a good “weight” and it was a good size. It was the wrong color, but that was something we could change. This know-how takes a little time and practice, but your world will open up as you experiment with the hidden costume potential in plain, ordinary clothes!