Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Sheep and the Doves

File this one under "How did I ever get myself into this?"

The two local Churches where I am involved in music ministry have a joint Theater group.  It started out at choir rehearsal.  The woman purchasing fabric for costumes does not sew, and had some questions about what type of fabrics to buy.  I offered to go shopping with her, and somehow I ended up sewing costumes for the Christmas program! A far cry from all the quilting I had wanted to be doing this month.
Sheep: This looks much cuter on the kids than on the table!

But, it's been an enjoyable and challenging adventure.  My job was drafting patterns and making a dozen sheep and two dove costumes for some of the children in the children's choir.  They will be singing "The Friendly Beasts," and be surrounding the Shepherds during other parts of the performance.

"I," said the sheep, with the curly horn,
"I gave Him my wool for a blanket warm;
He wore my coat on Christmas morn."
"I," said the sheep, with the curly horn.

"I," said the dove from the rafters high,
"Cooed Him to sleep that He should not cry;
We cooed Him to sleep, my mate and I."
"I," said the dove from the rafters high.

The sheep were pretty easy.  We just tore 18-21-inch WOF strips of curly fake fur, and folded them in half.  The selvage edges became the bottom of the vest.  We stitched up side seams leaving 10 inches open top and bottom on each side.  Then, using a sweatshirt pattern to get the right shape/size, we cut a neck hole in the fold.  The children will be wearing purchased black long-sleeve t-shirts and black pants.  They just pop one of these little vests over their heads, put on a white felt hood with ears, and TA-DA!  Sheep, as cute as can be.
Dove front

An old 1970's cape pattern was used to get the shape for the dove wings.  Drafting this pattern idea was a little trickier than the sheep, but I think it will do.  The fabric is some type of chiffon with swirls and rosettes stitched on top from the 'bridal fabrics' department.  I do think it gives a lot of texture to the wings.

Some stitch-and-cut made partial sleeves to help carry the weight of the cape, and, those doves can flap their wings!   A feathered mask and sparkly white t-shirt finish up the costume.  Good thing I took a photo of one for you!  When I put it on a hanger I discovered the weight of the cape was a bit much for the t-shirt, and decided to tack the cape at the shoulder seam as well as the neckline.  
Dove back

I'm excited to see the whole performance come together.  (As the guitarist, I've only seen the songs which I will be playing so far.)  There are over 20 children, and 35 adults taking part.  They will tell the Christmas Story through acting, choral and congregational singing.  There will be a fair amount of humor, if I know this group.  Can't wait to hear what the Wise Men's Wives have to say about their husbands taking off to follow a Star!  (By the way, we bought some lovely brocade fabrics for their gowns!)

I'd better get going....rehearsal at 8 PM tonight!

"Fear Not!  Reflections at the Manger"
an original performance by the Heaven Help Us Players
Friday, December 18, 2015  6 PM
Nativity of Mary Church
9900 Lyndale Ave. S.
Bloomington, MN
Saturday, December 19, 2015   6 PM
St. Bonaventure Church
901 East 90th Street
Bloomington, MN

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