As my girls have grown they have outgrown and passed down many "dress up" clothes. It kind of makes me sad to see bits of their childhood outgrown. They do still like to dress up, and both of them enjoy sewing, too. This review fits with both of those activities. I didn't see an age range specified but there is a formula included to adjust patterns for smaller sizes.
The Costumes with Character e-book explains how to change up just one dress for eleven time periods, a total of fourteen costumes and create forty-seven different items! They can even make matching dresses for their dolls! Currently on sale for $29.60 printed or $17.60 as an e-book, the 72 page full color book also has a bonus book with patterns. We were able to create our costumes without the additional full size pattern bonus using the scale versions in the e-book. (The printed patterns are now available.) You can view the table of contents and sample pages online.
One of my great-Aunts was known for not just reciting but living by the saying made famous in the Depression "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." I think she would approve of the concept shared in this book of using one dress for multiple costumes. We went with my mom to a thrift store to find the perfect dress for each of the girls to use with this when nothing in our closets quite matched the style. Some of the things you create, such as the fan, are even used with more than one costume. My daughter's tip: "You can choose your own fabric (you don't have to make it exactly like they say) so that all of your pieces will coordinate with your dress." (Think outside the box!)
There are 47 different items to make with all instructions included (hats, collars, aprons, parisols, and more.) There are 14 total costumes for 11 different time periods. Each time period has a 1-3 page summary as well as a list of recommended resources. At the end there is additional information about having a tea party, and it includes different games to play, how to make invitations and place cards, and it also talks about the food you can eat at a tea party.
I requested and received permission to download an additional copy of this e-book on my daughter's computer then let my daughter choose her own pace for this book. She was delighted with it from the start. "There is a section about each time period before the instructions to make each outfit so you not only get costumes, you get to learn the history about the time period that those costumes are from." The first item Heather cut out was the fabric for the bonnet, but she set it aside until we were able to shop for the fusible interfacing which we found this weekend so she has just begun to assemble it. Her favorite two from this book are the pioneer and the civil war costumes.
Heather found the instructions easy to understand. There are pictures to go with each step that you do to go with each accessory that you create. Pictures of real clothing from each time period are also included. There are instructions explaining the more complex steps such as ironing on the interfacing. The items that are made for more than one costume are to be made of solid colored fabric so they will match all of the different time periods.
her Pioneer costume:
Other reviewers on the Schoolhouse Crew have tried out this and these other e-books from Golden Prairie Press: Heroines of the Past Bible Study, Ten Girls from History, and Uncover Exciting History.