When I initially started arranging our Church Nativity Play I used to find outfits a big problem, due to the fact that we have a mixed age group of kids in our cast, and the amount of kids changes every year. One year Mary might be played by a petite 5 year old, and the following year by a tall 9 year old, so the same outfit wouldn’t work! Plus, if we were blessed with the exact same children continuing to attend, the ENTIRE CLOSET of outfits would need to be larger, not just a few. Thus, throughout the years, we have developed a stock of varying sized outfits that will certainly fit a number of purposes, but these are a couple of hints and suggestions to help those of you that are still working towards that.
CREATING THE STANDARD OUTFITS
1) Make T-shaped tunics, without any shaping and which are not planned to fit anybody in particular! Use a drawstring or elasticated neckline so that it will certainly go over a large or little head (Make sure that the opening isn’t so broad that it will not stay on a young child’s shoulders).
Make it medium length: too long for the youngest kids, who can then use it hitched up with a belt around their waist, and too short for older youngsters who can then just use it as a short tunic over a pair of pants.
2) Make basic waistcoats, once more without any shaping or sleeves: effectively just a square tunic which is divided down the front. It requires no buttons or fastenings of any sort.
Ensure that the neckline isn’t really too large, so that it will certainly stay on the youngest kid’s shoulders. Perhaps, you could even utilize a drawstring or some elastic around the edge of the neckline just like the tunics.
3) Make robes / capes for the kings in rich looking material like velour or satin, or in bright regal colors. Old curtains are great for the job, as you can thread a piece of cord through the top hem for the child to attach it around their neck like a cape. (CARE: We have occasionally discovered these to be so heavy at the back that the kids couldn’t keep the cape around their shoulders, or that they pulled on their neck. It was practical, in this case, to have a little fastener at the front of the cape, a little below the drawstring, or to shape the shoulders of the cape).
Alternatively, does anyone have a satin look kimono/dressing-gown? These will be just as effective!
4) Make wings for the angels making use of large pieces of silver or gold card (or just spray plain, white card gold or silver).
Position 2 holes on each side of the wing, roughly at the top and bottom of a kid’s armpit (if in doubt, make the holes too far apart, instead of too close!) Thread loose elastic through the holes and tie together, being generous with the elastic as a youngster has to be able to fit their arm through it.
5) Have lots of pieces of cord to make use of as belts to hitch up the tunics and hold on the waistcoats as required.
6) Have tinsel to make use of as halos for the angels, and as belts to hitch up the angels tunics.
7) Make basic headdresses making use of little rectangular pieces of cloth (traditionally teatowels!) and tied around the head with a piece of cord or material or, ideally, thick elastic headbands. Fold the overlap back upwards and tuck behind the elastic to look more professional and less ‘teatowel-like’!
Do not attempt to make the costumes too perfect or ‘show-like’. The simplicity makes it more special and cute! Even better, let the little ones make their own crown, halo or animal mask etc for a personal touch.