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Friday, July 11

Dancing With Myself (Billy Idol)

After spending a few weeks touring New England and studying the Revolutionary War, the boys were psyched to design their own costumes.  They began back at the hotel, meticulously drawing each piece of costume and musket on individual slips of the notepad.  We ended up with four notepads full of drawings.  Some of them were even viable exploded mechanical drawings!
They began with the muskets.  We raided Grandpa's shop for unused 2x4s and Dad helped them with the shop tools.  They learned wood shop safety, and used both mechanical and manual methods.
After getting everything cut and sanded, they stained the wood, then added the metal pieces.  Our older son came up with the idea of using old spoons for the trigger and other embellishments.  And while their original designs were for a real, working gun, we nixed that.
Muskets drying, we began on the costumes.  Mom's forte is with the sewing machine, and the boys have done simple sewing projects before, but this was going to take some doing!  We began by gathering as many pieces as possible from garage sales and thrift stores.  (Baseball & football pants make great breeches!)  This just left us to make the jackets.
We found two ladies jackets that looked similar to their vision, and they learned how to take tucks.  This fitted the jackets, with the added benefit of creating pleats in the back.  The 'patriot' jacket was also slit up the back to create triangular sides.  They added a multitude of buttons, which really "made" the designs, and found a set of US/UK patches that further emphasized their roles. 

Paired with the tricorns from Boston and the powder horns from Fort Ticonderoga, these were some pretty snazzy costumes!
Taking the roles a bit further, they created parchment paper from scrap paper and some old tea bags.  Then they transformed a simple nightstand into a colonial desk, with quill and ink, to write a treaty.
On the Fourth of July, they dressed up, performed a flag ceremony, and headed to town to participate in the annual festival and costume contest.  I'm not sure what the criteria were, but the Brit placed 3rd in his age group, and the Patriot placed 2nd.  We were VERY proud of our boys for their efforts!!  I know that they learned quite a bit, about a great number of topics, through making these costumes.

Some people find believability difficult when children succeed so well.  This led us to discussions about character and how to react when people question our efforts and results.      

They are already making plans and drawings for Civil War can only imagine that they will revolve around the blue & grey caps purchased in Gettysburg.  I look forward to seeing them bring their visions to fruition!!
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