In the summer of 2005, just after Max was born, I had the opportunity to costume an entire show, a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream set to music, and presented outdoors in a local park. My sister Katie and I had performed in this same show as small children, and she was, in fact, directing this time around. She told me she wanted the fairy costumes to be reminiscent of the costumes we ourselves wore as "Cobweb" and "Ladybug" back in 1982, but gave me free rein with the final product.
I had a lot of fun outfitting the "mortal" members of the cast, in a kind of 1950's, Mayberry/rockabilly style comprised entirely of items pulled from the theater's costume closet and items that I thrift-shopped and altered to suit. But the most thrilling part, to me, were the FAIRIES.
Titania and her assistant were fun to do, with long flowing gown and wings, but I really got into the little kids' outfits. There were five little girls and two little boys in the cast, with delightful names like "Mustardseed" and "Peaseblossom", "Moth" and "Firefly" and something else I can't remember anymore, in addition to the aforementioned "Cobweb" and "Ladybug" (and yes, some of these names are nowhere to be found in the original Shakespeare....)
Each girl wore a different color leotard, with multicolored ribbons sewn along the arms. I fashioned teeny tiny handkerchief skirt/tutus out of this tulle that had little sparklies polka-dotted all over it (actually, I think it was little bits of glue, similar to artificial flowers that have "dew drops" on them, but the overall effect was quite nice). Most girls got coordinating flower wreaths for their hair, one or two got flower hair clips instead.
The addition of white knee socks by the wee yellow fairy was totally unauthorized.
All of the small fairies wore wings, which were made from old tights and wire coat hangars on a felt and elastic harness. I ultimately replaced the black elastic (pictured above) with clear elastic, which looked great, but proved to be VERY fragile for the young cast members. I had to repair elastic every night. The wings were hand painted to reflect each fairy's theme (Cobwebs had silver spider webs all over them, Firefly's had flames).
My absolute favorite costumes were for the two little boy fairies. I took inspiration from Peter Pan:
and covered their shorts with flowers (for Moth) and autumn leaves (for Firefly). A sash, some anklets, a crown....and several days convincing my bashful 4-year old nephew to go shirtless.....
I loved making these costumes, and seeing the kids in action, in the park, in the twilight....was magical.
Winning our theater's annual "Best Costumes" award was nice, too.