The woman whose creative ability first inspired the making of paper costumes in flower shapes for children was more of an artist, possibly, than she knew.
It is now more than a year since the first “flower” party was given, but the idea was at once so unique and distinctive that they naturally became the vogue and still promise to remain fashionable throughout the winter and springtime gayeties.
To see a bevy of peachy-skinned youngsters, all artless and unconscious of their beauty, and grace, is to see a real animated flower garden at its best, and a proud mother, who has never seen her lambkins frisking about as flowers, will be prouder still when she beholds them.
For private parties and various carnivals and entertainments paper costumes lend themselves most charmingly, being an effective as well as an economic means of decoration, obtainable in no other way.
In regard to its inexpensiveness, one roll of crepe paper, which costs from 10 to 15 cents, according to the quality, contains ten feet of paper and will go nearly twice as far as any other material of the same width. A unique characteristic is its “stretchability,” and, indeed, should always be stretched before employing it, thus preventing the paper from puckering when used as a plain surface and from bulkiness when draping it.
A great deal of time may be saved when working with paper, as a paste tube is quicker and will save the labor of sewing, which easily tears. A linen thread should always be used when gathering, as mucilage would in no way answer the purpose.
Charm of color schemes
Parts of flowers, the calyx, stamens, petals, stems and centers may be purchased, which greatly lessens the work of making the flowers as a whole.
Explicit direction for making various flowers and articles of varying description may be had for the asking from specialty houses.
The artistic beauty of floral costumes is very largely enhanced by the great variety of colored papers available, from the pale to the deepest tone of all rainbow hues, and the wealth of green matching every verdant thing that grows.
Note the variety of color schemes among the illustrations, which may be easily copied in several ways, according to varying hues of the natural flower.
For example, there area scarlet, yellow, pink, and white poppies, the most becoming hue being chosen for the little masquerader.
The upper portion of the dress is a single width of paper, cut low in the neck and bordered by small poppies. The little elbow sleeves are two pieces of shaped paper, resembling petals, and the skirt simulates the profile of the flower by the overlapping petals. A large poppy is worn on the right side at the waist, and a still larger one, over wire, on the head. Several thicknesses are used for making the skirt, to give it sufficient foundation, while the skirts and hosiery, carrying out the color, greatly add to the beauty of the costume.
The sunflower and daisy
The little sunflower boy is a most fetching creature. Here the waist portion and trousers are formed by overlapping pieces in several shades. A huge sunflower, yellow with brown center, is worn as an armor plate, another with upturned petals rests on his head, while a huge one, stem and all, is carried in his hand as the lance.
The daisy costume is less complicated, but very graceful in its sweet simplicity. The waist and skirts are each fashioned of a single width of paper, which are gathered quite full, then pressed in tiny plaits, resembling fan plaiting, and secured by a linen thread to a piece of ribbon.
The petals of a daisy form the unique color, the sleeves are quite short, topped with large daisies. The fetching hat is likewise fashioned of paper and decorated with daisies and foliage. The color scheme may be carried out in yellow and white, brown and yellow, or as marguerettes, with a little alteration in the petals. Here lovely pinks, lavenders and reddish purples may be chosen.
Variety of rose costumes
The sketch for rose frock is one of many and possibly the simplest. Here the waist and skirt may be shirred or plaited and trimmed with strings of roses, a garland for the skirt, others trailing over the waist and sleeves. The little peaked hat is also gayly decorated. A bunch of roses, with a few small ones suspended, are worn in back.
Another idea, carrying out the rose motif, is plain paper in apple green, having an arbor painted in brown or gilt, with roses placed at intervals, trellising the arbor. Green leaves should be judiciously added. Still another idea is to make the frock of rose petals overlapping in characteristic fashion, the waist being of green paper. A plain green dress, with dashing cabbage roses placed as a border on a skirt, the low cut waist, and one on the head would be equally fetching and new.
Pansy, Valentine and Quaker costumes
Costumes made of several shades of the same color are especially effective and do not cost any more, a good thing to remember.
Costumes for little men are usually made over a becoming model, middy suits, man-‘o-war and various Russian styles, besides the regulation Knickerbocker, with well-fitting little coats, some made swallow tail when desired. Pansies, buttercups, scarlet, sage, and tulip costumes are appropriate for boys; also such miscellaneous ones as Sir Valentine, Little Bears (Indian), and other nursery characters, “Little Bo Peep,” “Jack and Jill,” “Mother Hubbard,” and the picturesque Kate Greenaway characters offer many more possibilities.
In the lower right hand corner is shown a little costume fashioned after the Puritan or Quaker model.
The crepe papers, with fanciful border of flowers, autumn leaves, holly berries and Dutch figures are very pretty and quite easily made. There are two widths for the skirts and one or two for the waist; ribbon sashes may be added, and a touch of the same on the sleeves, with bows or rosettes with ends. The holly pattern, with its green leaves and brilliant berries, on white paper, is especially timely.