Okay, so I know that clothes don’t really “make the man”, but a few accessories go a long way to making an iconic prince costume!
We already owned most of these pieces (because I’m a bit special, like that). But, really! You probably already have a lot of this stuff in your house. I just accessorized. Minimal sewing was involved.
So, what is the anatomy of a prince costume? Here are the main components of Elliott’s royal garb.
So, let’s start from top to bottom. How did I find/make/alter this stuff?
Elliott already wore his brown, velvet soft cap as a Pilgrim. (Yeah, I know. Pilgrims probably didn’t own velvet.)
It definitely works for a prince, though! So, I took some stiff, gold netting I got at the Senior Center Thrift Store, and cut a circle out of it. I stitched on a decorative doo-dah with a pearl dangle (Hobby Lobby) and hot glued a feather to the back of it and added some adhesive gems. Then, I hand-stitched it to the hat. (A jewel fell off during the photo shoot. Next time, I will glue them on and not rely on the adhesive!)
Oliver’s prince hat was a vintage driving cap from my collection, but with the brim flipped to the inside and safety pinned. *Gasp!* Did I break my own safety pin cardinal rule? Kinda. However, a safety pin tucked into a non-stress area of a costume can be okay. The stiffened cap brim helped to pop the hat up on one side and give it that cocky, Elizabethan look. I decorated the hat, the same as Elliott’s, only this time I used a vintage button from my stash as the focal element.
Elliott wore a red dress shirt from his own closet, but with the collar flipped up.
Oliver wore one of Eliza’s outgrown blouses. I chose it because of the historical-looking ruffle details.
Oliver wore a vest from a bunad (Norwegian folk costume) that I found on eBay. Vests are always great to have on hand, btw. Collect them! I added hooks to the inside front of the vest to hook to Oliver’s shorts. Even though the vest is size 4-5 and Oliver isn’t even three, the vest was none too long on him!
I snapped up this amazing, gold jacket at Goodwill when I saw it. What an amazing, versatile piece! It’s technically a girl’s jacket, of course, as so many things are that lend themselves to different time periods.
Since the jacket is a size 12, and Elliott is only six, it needed some fit adjustments. (It’s easier to transfer from fittings to alterations with the garment worn inside out.) I liked the contrast of the lining, so merely cuffing the sleeves worked as a simple, no-sew way to shorten them. Then, I marked where the jacket needed to be taken in, at the waist, with a safety pin.
I took the jacket in at the waist with a few hand-stitches. Not the prettiest, but I was afraid that my sewing machine would snag the satin. Oliver wore this cute, tiny tux jacket that also came from Goodwill.
Elliott wore the same cape that Emma wore as part of her Sir Hiss “Robin Hood” snake costume for Halloween. The cape had been in my costume collection. I had shortened it and chopped off the hood, but left a bit of the hood to form a collar. I used gold bias tape to stiffen the top edge of the new collar and to help it stand up.
For this reincarnation of the cape, I added gold ric rac trim down the front edges and some cording to make a longer, fancier tie. Now, the cape could be worn over one shoulder and tied under the arm for added, princely flair.
I’m probably going to explore all the cheater ways to make breeches known to mankind! This time, I had Elliott try on a pair of his outgrown dress pants. I didn’t want to cut them short, because they go to a really cute outfit that I want Oliver to be able to wear in a couple of years! So, I took the minimally-invasive approach to turning these slacks into breeches. I had Elliott put them on, inside-out, and folded one leg up to the desired length.
Then, I hand-tacked each pant leg to the new height, but only with a few stitches at each side seam. This was quicker than hemming them all the way around. Also, such a deep hem meant that there was a significant discrepancy between the circumference at the hem of the pants legs and the circumference of the pants legs six inches up from the hem. The stitch lines would have been pretty obvious, and the hem would have been puckered. No thanks! I just had to help guide Elliott’s feet when he pulled on the pants, so he wouldn’t catch his feet in the wide gaps of the deep, new hems.
At this point, the shortened pants looked like pedal-pushers. How could I make them tight under the knee without the bother of elastic? I hit upon the idea of sewing some ribbon about two-thirds of the way around the base of each pants leg. The unsewn areas could be simply tied in a bow, to fit. My idea worked like a charm!
Honestly, I ran out of time to add ribbon ties to the hems of Oliver’s shorts. But, I did sew bars at the front of his waistband to connect with the hooks on his vest. However, I should have added more! Look at that shirttail hanging out! Oh well.
I mainly gave the kids gloves because it was so cold outside! However, they also added to the historical look of their outfits. I had a pair for everyone except Oliver. The kid doesn’t even like to wear coats, so I figured he could tough it out. And he did! Elliott’s gloves are 1960s vintage girls gloves. However, everyone of status wore fancy gloves in the 16th and 17th centuries; both men and women.
Now for the main accessory that would tie the boys’ outfits together, not only each other, but to the girls’ feathered wings: The shoulder sashes! I measured Elliott and Oliver for their sashes by looping my measuring tape over each shoulder and down to their upper thigh.
Time to cut the sashes! I decided to use this wide, velvet ribbon from my stash. What I didn’t know, until I opened the bag, was that it was gift-wrapping ribbon. It was just “velvet” flocking on a plastic-paperish ribbon material. It was kind of brittle, but I decided to go ahead and use it, anyway. I cut it to length and trimmed each end into V-shapes.
Next, I hot glued this rich, metallic braid down the center of each sash. I cut it to match the V ends and applied Fray Check. *I am an Amazon Associate and will make a small commission from products purchased through my affiliate links. I am careful to only promote products that I personally use and love!*
I had so much fun with this next part! I decided that the sashes would look extra cool with an epaulette on the shoulder. So, I took a smaller bit of the red, velvet ribbon and glued on gold fringe and white feathers.
Just in case the epaulettes weren’t blinged out enough, I added gold trim along the top edges, red rhinestones, and star sequins.
Lastly, I hand-stitched the epaulettes to the tops of the shoulder sashes, so I could remove them, if I want to, in the future. This was probably a mistake, because the brittle ribbon material split a little, around some of the stitch holes. I used decorative pins to fasten the sashes at the hip.
I gave Elliott and Oliver gold necklaces to finish their prince looks, and that was it! So, maybe there was a bit of work involved. These prince costumes illustrate, once again, that accessories are often what really “make” a costume deluxe. You don’t have to make everything from scratch to achieve that. Focus your energies on collecting some costume pieces that lend themselves to multiple time periods or genres. Then, spend your creative time on making a few, simple bits that really transform the costume.