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Bunny’s Book Week 2018 Costume: Mary Lennox / The Secret Garden

Bunny's Book Week 2018 Costume: Mary Lennox / The Secret Garden // Megan Nielsen Design Diary

It’s that time of year again! I love book week so much. I often complain about having to make costumes, but truth be told, ignoring the stress of sewing at the last minute (it’s ALWAYS the last minute) i really love it. My kids love it too and they look forward to it each year. I think that’s what is so great about book week – it isn’t just a time to dress up and come to school – it’s celebrating books and the wonderful characters they contain. It’s wonderful to see all the discussions between kids about their characters, and i often wonder how many of them discover a new book just because their friend dressed up as a character.

Bunny's Book Week 2018 Costume: Mary Lennox / The Secret Garden // Megan Nielsen Design Diary
Bunny's Book Week 2018 Costume: Mary Lennox / The Secret Garden // Megan Nielsen Design Diary
Bunny's Book Week 2018 Costume: Mary Lennox / The Secret Garden // Megan Nielsen Design Diary

This year Bunny decided she wanted to be Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden, and I really love that she chose a character from one of my personal favourite books! I remember reading this book at her age, and it’s actually one of the books we gave her for her 10th birthday. I get a big thrill from knowing my loves are enjoying the books I carefully chose for them.

Bunny is a very fast reader, and she goes through books at lightning speed. Weekly trips to the library are a necessity to keep up with her pace. But the she is taking her time with The Secret Garden – she doesn’t want it to end!

Bunny's Book Week 2018 Costume: Mary Lennox / The Secret Garden // Megan Nielsen Design Diary
Bunny's Book Week 2018 Costume: Mary Lennox / The Secret Garden // Megan Nielsen Design Diary
Bunny's Book Week 2018 Costume: Mary Lennox / The Secret Garden // Megan Nielsen Design Diary

Her dress is really simple – it’s a hack of the Mini Darling Ranges dress I’ve been developing forever (sorry) and hope to release at some point even though i’m not quite done yet (sorry again). It’s made from creamy linen and some ruffles that I had in my stash. Instead of buttons I used snaps – because as per usual this was very last minute. The sleeve cuffs are elasticated – again for speed and ease of sewing. I made the sleeves gathered as it seemed more period appropriate? I don’t know honestly. As with all the costumes I make my kids, I tried to make this one practical, customized to her tastes, and inspired by the period in question as much as possible without killing myself. The Secret Garden is set in the Edwardian era, so we are calling this “Edwardian-ish”. All the costume and history buffs are cringing at this point i’m sure ;) But at the end of the day, historically accurate or not, it’s just the way Bunny wanted it and that’s all the matters to me.

The best thing about making her costumes is how much she loves wearing them, and she had a fabulous time showing all her friends at school today and posing for these photos. She was fully in character and determined to behave as Mary-like as possible. She kills me with her cuteness! Her one disappointment was that she forgot to take her watch off for photos – and she wants everyone reading this to know that she knows that Mary couldn’t possibly have worn a bright pink watch… but she needs to know what time recess and lunch are, so here we are ;)

So there we are my friends! Another book week done and dusted!

Bunny's Book Week 2018 Costume: Mary Lennox / The Secret Garden // Megan Nielsen Design Diary
Bunny's Book Week 2018 Costume: Mary Lennox / The Secret Garden // Megan Nielsen Design Diary

ps. You might be wondering about Buddy. Unfortunately he is sick and home from school at the moment and had to miss book week – but he wanted to dress up as Peter from the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and had planned to wear the knight costume i made him a few years ago :)

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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Ann
Ann
3 years ago

This dress is perfect! I love that it looks so “Edwardian-ish” and yet wouldn’t look out of place in today’s world.

Bonnie Riley
Bonnie Riley
3 years ago
Reply to  Meg

It’s a really lovely dress, and I would think she’d wear it again with joy. I sew for my grands now, and I spent a lot of years sewing for my four kids, including costumes. I often sewed with future use in mind – Could it be street wear later? Sleepwear? Something with play value? It made the work and expense of sewing so worthwhile.

Bonnie Riley
Bonnie Riley
3 years ago

I love the dress, and the whole idea behind it! If you need any testers for the pattern, I volunteer!!! I love pattern testing, and taking pictures of my darling granddaughter.

Amy
Amy
3 years ago

Well done Meg what a lovely job you have done. This year my daughter wanted to dress up as the robin from The Secret Garden which involved me hot gluing countless feathers onto her costume the night before!

Hilary Edwards-Malam
3 years ago

Bunny and this dress are absolutely adorable! I love that she chose a character from one of our great classics. When I was teaching in primary I saw all sorts of weird costumes from film and TV, trying desperately to fit the ‘book’ genre, haha! It’s been worth the stress, she looks so beautiful.