Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Parrot Steals the Show

Seriously, I have the most entertaining kid!

Last week, well a little more than that, but on July 12, I shared an image on Instagram of a Parrot's cape that I was making for my son, despite being in the middle of a flare up due to a back injury. That week he was at Music Camp at a local church and had been chosen to play the part of "vendor" at the beginning of the play, and Petey the Parrot in the second half. 

Now both roles were "supporting role" with the main part being the young boy, Andy, who is learning the lesson that He is a treasure on Earth, not all the material things. It was a cute play called, "Pirates of the I Don't Care-ibean". 

My son's character was merely suppose to add a little comedy to the scenes with the Captain as he'd repeat things that he said with a "Sqwak!'. But, alas, my son took it upon himself to channel the comedy of Johnny Depp as a drunk Jack Sparrow ... though in a more appropriate way because he's 7 and we haven't let him see those movies yet.

My Instagram has a video of him "take a bow" or a hundred at the end of the play. I'll have to find some others and post them, but he definitely took to the limelight like a moth to a flame.

But, back to the Parrot Cape. 

On day 2 of the camp, as I was picking him up for the day, the camp director said that for the parrot costume they were going to give him a stuffed parrot to hang around his neck and a leaf garland crown, sort of like what we see Romans wear in movies about Caesar. I offered to make a cape, which she said was fine if I wanted to take the time, but really they were low-budget for these things.

Well, I channeled my inner costume designer and outer crafter and headed to Hobby Lobby after dropping him off the next day ... because housework can wait.

I got a yard of red felt and half yard of green, yellow and blue for less than $14 and headed home to get started! Here is how I did it. 


1 yd red felt
1/2 yd each blue, green, yellow felt
Sharpie or other marking pen
paper to make pattern
hot glue gun and sticks

Step-by-Step Instructions:

1. The first thing I did was make a pattern.  I folded a blank sheet of printer paper in half making it 8.5x5.5 inches. Then I free-hand drew a half of the feather I wanted, then leaving the paper folded, I cut it out. It was quite a large feather.

(Seriously, this is the best I have ever draw, so I may have to put it on the fridge. I can't draw what I see in my head most days.)

2. Next I folded the red felt in quarter, (fold in half, then half the other way) to make the cape.  I had completely forgotten to measure my kid before sending him to camp, so I guessed 18 inches and using a measuring tape and Sharpie to make dots every inch or so  in the shape of an arc 18-inches from the center point. Then I carefully connected the dots to make the 1/4 arc of the cape, before cutting it out.

(Don't worry if the arc isn't perfect, the feathers will over lap and hide the edges.)

3. Once the cape was cut out, I started on the feathers. I decided on a pattern, but you could certainly do random if you wanted. I didn't know how many feather I would need at first, but I knew I wanted an odd number for each row so that the center would have a point.

I folded the cape in half with the backside facing up, so I could work on that side first. So my first/bottom row of blue had 11 feathers. I simply traced my pattern onto the felt with a Sharpie then cut them out. I started at the "shoulder" and laid them overlapping to the middle of the back, then do the same starting at the other "shoulder". (Make sure if it had markings from the Sharpie or marking pen to lay that side face down.) Then I place the center one where it would overlap each of the side feathers next to it.

I then added the other layers of colored feathers, overlapping the row beneath it. At this point I had them laying there on the felt backing. I DID NOT GLUE any of them down until I was finished and satisfied with the way they were placed.

** Hint: the top blue layer overlapped the edge of the neckline, but I trimmed it once I was complete with the whole cape.

4. Once all the feathers were placed, and i looked at it from different angles, I heated up the glue gun and started to glue. This is where I learned by trial and error. It took me a while to figure out how I would glue them. I realized I did not want to move them once I had them laid out. So I will save you the work and tell you, glue them from the top layer. That sounds like a no-brainer, but just in case you don't think about it, SIT at the top of the cape (looking at it as the finished photo above) and glue from that direction! I tried from the bottom, which is how I laid it out, then from the side, but this certainly worked best. I would simply flip PART of the overlapping feather over, so it remained in place, but that I could glue the one beneath it. Then put it back in place and repeat to glue that one.

I glued that top row of 4 blue feathers. Then once dry (only a minute or so) flipped them all "up" and started on the red row at the shoulder moving towards the middle, just as I had placed them. Don't glue the middle one down, until you have glued the other side starting at the shoulder. Hopefully the photos help.

5. Once the cape was done, I flipped it over and cut a straight line up the center of the cape to create an opening so he could put it on like a jacket. I repeated Steps 1-4 again on the front, but this time had a different patter, having the same row of colors, but the feathers were in a straight line instead of an arc. I matched the rows with each side of the front, but did not overlap the ones that meet in the middle.

The blue row at top doesn't look like it matches, but once I tripped for the neckline it did. The great part about this two sided cape was that it created a shoulder line so my son't knew where the cape should sit on him so it didn't fall off. 

(I will say the one thing I didn't think of and was only a problem during the play was, I didn't glue down the tips of the top blue feathers and so the ones on the end would flip to the side when he put his arms down. It was actually more funny because he was constantly trying to get them to flop forward when he was off standing to the side during the plat and it looked like he was a vain parrot preening his feathers. So many people stopped to tell us how funny that was after the play.)

In the end, he loved it and had a blast. He has so many people stop and tell him how funny he was as a parrot and for a kid whose goal is to be a class clown, that was great news for him. I was just happy he wasn't getting in trouble for being funny like he sometimes does in school.

Despite the grumpy face ion the above photos because he had to pose for photos BEFORE having a cupcake (the horror!), he loves it. We've added it to his pirate costume collection, so I'm sure he and his friends will have fun "sailing the open seas" with it the rest of the summer.

If you make a Parrot cape, let me know, I'd love to see it!

Until next time, stay #CreativelyInspired.

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