Friday, August 24, 2012

Review - Golden Prairie Press - Costumes with Character

Costumes with Character
Golden Prairie Press

Author:  Amy Puetz
Web Site
Cost:  ebook - $21.95, printed - $37.00, patterns - $15.00
Ages:  Elementary to High School
I agreed to review Costumes with Character because I wanted ideas to make a dress up box for my two twin nieces.  What I didn’t realize was that this e-book is so much more than just a set of ideas for making costumes! 

Costumes with character is written by Amy Puetz – a homeschool graduate who is passionate about history.  I’m so impressed with this young lady’s store – she has several books all pertaining to history in some way that she has developed.  You can read all about her and her online store at

So, back to the e-book.  I expected to see ideas for patterns for different costumes representing genres in history.  What I didn’t expect was to find a curriculum.  She starts with a basic dress.  What a great idea!  One dress that you then add different embellishments to to transform it into the period costume.  The directions for each embellishment are clear and concise.  You don’t need to be a seamstress to follow along.  They are simple enough that most anyone can do it.  She provides clear details to ensure you are creating a costume that will fit your child or you. 
  When my boys were younger, they loved being in the moment.  In fact, my middle son used to say he was “being” not “pretending”.  This meant he needed full garb and tools to actually “be” the character, not just pretend.  This is what these costumes are about – being, not pretending.  This book offers costumes covering ten different periods from Colonial to Turn of the Century and ends with the makings of a lovely tea party.  (My daughter loved her tea parties when she was young!)

But that’s not all…  Remember I said it was so much more than just a book of sewing ideas – it’s a curriculum?  Not only does she include the ideas for making the costumes, but each section is a history lesson where she describes what the dress of that period was and why.  What was its function, how did the men dress?  How did it identify them in society? 

Adding to her own insights are quotes from the period, beautiful illustrations and Recommended Resources to allow your student to really immerse herself in the period through literature.  Each period also includes a section of questions for the reader to respond to – questions like “Name the first governor of Plymouth Plantation.”  A little research goes a long way to really developing a rounded understanding of the period being covered.  (Answers are provided.)  To see what I’m talking about, view a sample of the book here - 
I LOVE this concept.  We like to be a school of experience – live it to learn it.  We enjoy cooking period food, reading period pieces, or even visiting sites that help us develop a better understanding of life during that timeframe.  How wonderful to be able to take one dress and with your daughter embellish each one to fit the period you are studying.  Makes me want a little girl of my own to do this with! 

As your daughter makes her outfits, the sewing does progress.  For example, in the Romantic Era she’ll add simple embroidery to a small letter case and create a bonnet.  Several hats are created to go along with the time of the Pioneers, Civil War and Sailors.  What fun!  In the end, she’ll have a tea party complete with homemade invitations, games and suggested foods.  If your daughter is like mine, she has a favorite American Doll.  The book suggests making costumes to fit the doll along with the ones your child makes for herself.  You know she’ll love that!

Amy has just posted a book of patterns to her web site as well.  If you prefer to simply print out patterns instead of using the measurements to create your own – this is a great addition at only $12.00, on sale now!  The patterns print to legal paper.  Some are larger and require you to cut them out and paste them together.  Easy! 

I just love the creativity and inspiration that went into creating this book.  If you have daughters at home that love “being” instead of “pretending”, give Amy’s books a try.  You’ll have a great time not only learning history, but learning about sewing and developing a fun mini-wardrobe that your children can use to create small plays, or just live in the past for a little while. 
To see reviews by other Schoolhouse Review Crew members – click here.

*** Disclaimer:  I received these e-books free of charge as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review.

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