There was a lot to learn when I decided to go from making costumes for my little girls to actually designing and manufacturing something that people would buy. From choosing fabrics to testing and all the bits in between it has been quite a journey and I will continue to constantly learn along the way I am sure.
Before Mermaids and Dragons if I wanted to make something for my kids it was a pretty straight-forward process. Decide on a design then head off to buy the fabric. Now I wasn’t so naïve to think it was going to be quite as easy to find fabrics for costumes but surely making costumes couldn’t be too hard!

Search. Test. Fail. Repeat

I wanted to work with natural fabrics despite everyone telling me I was crazy “cotton is too expensive” and my favourite “it’s only a costume” I was determined to find a breathable fabric that feels good, washes well, looks good, is versatile and complies with the Toy Saftey Regulations- oh and reasonably priced. No small order.
It took quite a while to find the right fabrics and I have washed and burnt a lot of fabrics in the process as well. I now work with a fantastic, reliable supplier who produces ethically made cotton twill in Europe. It is not the cheapest on the market but I cant make fabulous costumes with cheap fabrics.

Which size to buy?

This is the most common question that I get asked and my answer is pretty straight-forward. Buy your normal size. A huge amount of work went into getting the sizes right for the costumes. Costumes cant be the same size as clothes because they are usually worn over at least a light layer of clothing. Then again they shouldn’t be swimming on a child, making it awkward for them to move around in. I wanted to make sure the fit was “generous” as it has been described. There is room for a child to grow into them a little. If you would like to see more on sizing you will find it here.
To get the sizing as accurate as possible (given that every child is different!) the only thing to do was make samples and test them and test them again until they were right. I recruited a local Montessori and a local school and so the sample/test process began in earnest. Is the length right? Is the neckline right? Can kids get it on and off themselves? Some mistakes, some mishaps and many, many samples later I got there. The process is a bit more refined now but I still depend on sampling, testing and revising with real children of all shapes and sizes to make sure that a size 5-6 really does fit most 5&6-year-olds.
Of course if you order one of our costumes and you are not happy that you have the correct size then please return it and of course, it can be exchanged.

Get the professionals involved

I am quite happy to make up patterns and samples but really that’s as far as my sewing skills go. Luckily I have found a fabulous team in Poland who make the costumes for me. They are a brilliant group of 7 men and women who cut, sew and finish every single costume with the greatest of care and attention. It is a family run business and I am always made feel very welcome when I visit. I think it is so important to meet the people you work with, any problem can be solved if you have that face to face relationship and there are always going to be problems in business. If I coordinate the flights just right I can manage a day trip to Poland to sign off on a sample or check on a design and hopefully I have time to pick up some of the most fabulous cakes imaginable to bring home to my girls.

Keep evolving

I now have a core range of 6 costumes which I am truly proud of. They were (unwittingly) inspired by my own life however they are all designs that are gender neutral and have a broad appeal to children. I wanted to focus on occupational costumes, they present an opportunity for children to explore their imagination as well as the reality of the world around them. For many children, the Firefighter costume is not just a costume but an opportunity to become a Firefighter, just like the aunt or uncle that they know and love. The Doctor scrubs help a child act out and process their own hospital experience.
Mermaids and Dragons costumes will continue to grow and expand the range in the coming months and years. If you have a costume that you would love to see in your collection then feel free to drop me an email

If you would like to keep up to date with new costume designs and resources then sign up to our monthly newsletter and we will keep in touch.

Making Costumes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.