June’s Character Trait: Resourcefulness - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

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June’s Character Trait: Resourcefulness


June is quickly approaching (can you believe it?), and though we aren't gearing up for snow, the above photo does help demontrate the character trait for the month of June – Resourcefulness:

To act effectively and imaginatively, to use information and available resources wisely and efficiently.

Another way of putting it is: using what you have to get the job done. WIth history day approaching (next Friday!), this is most certainly a great time to talk about resourcefulness in making/acquiring history day costumes! 

If you are still in need of costumes for our Civil War Picnic, it’s not too late and you don’t have to buy expensive items. Get resourceful with what you already have, or what you can find cheap at thrift stores. And if you are one of those amazing parents who has a gift for piecing home-made costumes together on a budget, please share your ideas and tips with the rest of us! 

Sometimes the best way to be resourceful is to take advantage of local resources and people who are skilled at something which perhaps isn’t your strength. Our History Event Committee has put together a wonderful list of local resources and ideas for history day costumes, which we share with you here.

Costume Rental Places  

Both CW Costume Rentals and Aimee Oliver Costume Rentals welcome our SLOCA families. Aimee’s is offering a 10% discount for our event:

1. Alesen Corella in Santa Margarita rents gowns, hoops, skirts and blouses. See her  CW Costume Rentals website or email her at [email protected] .

2. Aimee Oliver in Paso Robles rents gowns, skirts, blouses and more. Contact her at [email protected] and see her beautiful gowns at www.aimeesarmoire.com.

3. Colleen Canaan rents dresses, hoops and men's attire at Costume Connection in Atascadero. Contact her at 438-4635.

4. Costume Capers in San Luis Obispo (behind Smart and Final) rents dresses, hoops, and uniforms . Call 544-2373.

Expect to pay $30 to $60 to rent a dress and a hoop. $15 should get you a vest and tie. Uniforms and Tuxedos will be more.

Making Costumes

Costume advice for girls

Here is a sewing pattern website bit it gives ideas about what the styles looked like. 

You can also dress as Native Americans, pioneer women,nurses, farmer, etc.  Google pictures online.

Skirt and top

1)  Find a long, gathered skirt at the thrift store or some other source. Or make a skirt. Here are some directions for a quick gathered circle skirt made from a sheet or two.

A very easy way to make a long skirt is to sew a cylinder shape from a sheet, cut the hem to size, fold down the top and stitch to make a casing.  Then run a cord through the casing to cinch it up around the waist.

2)  Find a cotton, woven blouse to go with it.  Collars those days did not look like ours.  Often it was just a band or a short little bit of collar.   If the shirt you have has a collar attached to a collar band, just tuck the collar under so that only the band shows and you have a period looking neckline.

3)  Add distinguishing Civil War Era touches such as:

  • A fichu – seen here or here. This can be made by cutting a triangle out of fabric.  Glue trim ribbon to the edge.
  • Perhaps a cape
  • Hat or netted snood
  • Add a sash around the waist
  • Civil War era looking hair:  http://youtu.be/K3L10kFmM3A

Costume advice for boys

Google Men’s Civil War clothes images for pictures of clothing. Here is a sewing pattern site but it gives a good idea of all the kinds of clothes men wore back then. 

  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Suspenders
  • Slacks, not jeans
  • Vests
  • Farmer hats or kepi
  • Jackets
  • Stove pipe hats
  • Abe Lincoln attire
  • Native American costume
  • Old West attire 

In the end, do your best to make getting dressed up enjoyable, demonstrate resourcefulness to your kids, and don’t stress over the details – we’re not looking for perfection, we just want to help our kids connect with the time period. Our afternoon together next Friday will be great fun – see you there! 

Do you have any great tips for putting together Civil War era costumes? Please share by leaving a comment below! 

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