What’s at the heart of Another World Costumes?

Here’s a bit about what’s at the heart of Another World Costumes and why I think imaginative play and creativity is so important.

Rolls of brightly-coloured fabrics, including soft suedette, fluffy velboa animal prints and crushed velours, fill my workspace.

I have shelves stacked with reels of plain and polka dot ribbons, braid, fringing, boxes of velcro, threads and tubs of cut out pattern pieces ready for sewing.

Labels include horse blazes, owl beaks, dog noses, hen combs and hat feathers!

There are bookcases full of my favourite fairytale collections and children’s books which I use for inspiration.

Some are from my own childhood and some from my children’s young childhood. Others are books I’ve bought along the way whenever I see beautiful illustrations!

2 images showing the fabrics and trimmings used in Another World Costumes. On the left is a yellow fabric background with trimmings, threads and scissors. On the right is a work table covered in threads, trimmings, scissors and pin cushion. 2 hands are threading elastic through an owl hat.

Another World Costumes HQ

I’ve never been the world’s tidiest person and have always embraced organized chaos! Since, however, like many other small businesses, my home and workspace are interconnected, I’ve had to work much harder at keeping things tidy.

My argument has long been I can never find anything when I’ve tidied up! I’m not entirely there yet but I’m getting better at being more disciplined.

All of this is now made much easier now that Another World Costumes HQ has moved into our new garden studio at the bottom of the garden.

2 images, on the left, pots of geraniums on a paved surface, with a rake beside them and clay Peter Rabbit models by the terracotta plant pots. On the right is a paved area with metal cafe chairs, pots of geraniums and a hand holding a cup of tea.

I have a lovely daily commute through our small garden in east London. Despite being in the city, what always strikes me is how much wildlife and nature there is.

I find myself distracted by the birds, foxes, squirrels and frogs in our wildlife pond.

The distance from our flat, albeit small, means I feel totally immersed in costumes and stories which is my happy place.

4 images showing from clockwise, a fox on a fence, a bright pink wild rose, passion flower on a trellis and pond with marigolds.

So, why costumes?

I’m passionate about celebrating and nurturing creativity and nourishing our imaginations and believe a wonderful way of doing this is through storytelling and imaginative play.

At its heart, Another World Costumes is all about celebrating play and creating dressing up costumes which inspire children to explore and express themselves freely, discover, empathise and work out their own ideas and stories.

And, why fairytales?

The costumes are based on traditional fairytale characters, human animal and mythical.

There were a number of reasons for starting here.

Firstly, we learn these stories from an early age, both at home and school so there’s familiarity for children. They’ve been passed down from generation to generation so whatever our age, fairytales are something we can all share.

They are filled with enchantment and magic where anything and everything is possible.

But for me one of the best bits is they are great for creating our own versions, with endless possibilities and no rights and wrongs.

2 images showing children wearing Another World costumes. On the left is a child wearing the troll costumes, standing against a yellow fabric background. On the right is a child standing on a pile of logs in a woodland setting, wearing the woodcutter tabard and archer's hat. He's hold a bow and arrow.

Each costume has lots of stories to tell.

I love to think of my dressing up costumes as a tool for children’s imaginations.

In sitting down and coming up with my designs, my aim was to create costumes which were versatile and adaptable. I want to avoid children feeling restricted to being a specific character.

Each costume can be transformed into lots of unique characters with exciting adventures to go on!

It’s all in the detail.

I want children to feel excited and magical when they wear my costumes.

The texture and feel of the fabrics, the bright colours, the patterns on the trimmings I choose and the applique design are all thought through and intentional.

One thing I quickly learnt when I set about designing them, was children notice the little details.

That’s what makes designing for them special.

Whimsical Nostalgia

I knew I wanted to create timeless classics from a past age with a hint of whimsy and nostalgia.

Think hooded capes, dresses with aprons, mob caps, archer’s hats and woodland animals.

Incorporating a sense of theatricality and slightly ‘otherworldly’ quality was also important to me, without the designs being too abstract or scary. I don’t, for example, put sharp teeth on the wolf, fox and bear.

Above all, it’s about being child-centred and playful.

2 images, on the left is Sarah in her workspace sewing a fox hat. On the right is a photo collage of 9 images of costume details, including the fox, fairytale dress, mob cap, knight, wolf, gingerbread man, hooded cape, fairytale cape and feathered bird cape.

Imaginative play was my happy place.

On reflection, I don’t feel surprised that I’ve arrived here. 

As a little girl, I loved all kinds of creative play including dressing up. I created my own world, pretending to be different characters.

It was an exciting and safe space where I was in charge, could be anything I wanted and could let my imagination run wild.

From making magic potions with the rose petals in our garden, enjoying adventures on my hobby horse, to running a teddy bear hospital from the garage and exploring the woods where rabbit holes became entrances to fairy kingdomsimaginative play was my happy place where I made sense of the world.

My father was an actor so I saw dressing up as part of everyday life too!

2 images, on the left showing Sarah as a little girl in a long dress, wide brimmed straw hat and riding a hobby horse. On the left is a Sarah's son wearing a gold crown and red and white and black spotted cape.

Imaginative play is a time to treasure.

When I had children of my own, I loved making them dressing up outfits and watching them create their own imaginary worlds.

They were explorers in a jungle of large rhubarb leaves on our allotment, chefs running a play dough café, fairytale royalty and superheroes with special powers.

It brought back happy memories of my own childhood.

As a child and a mother, imaginative play was to treasure.

My mission is to create costumes which delight and enchant.

Starting Another World Costumes combines my love of pattern cutting and sewing with the magic of theatre and children’s imaginative play.

I feel like I’ve come full circle.

As Einstein said, ‘imagination will get us everywhere.’

I’m totally with him on that, aren’t you?!

2 children in a field in front of a vintage caravan. The child on the left is standing by a large bright yellow toy teapot, wearing the yellow pinafore dress and the child on the right is sitting in her wheelchair wearing the blue pinafore dress with red hooded cape.

I hope you enjoyed reading a bit about what’s at the heart of Another World Costumes!

For more about my costumes, fairytale magic and imaginative play, have a look at my blogs about the inspiration behind my costume designs,  fairytale elements and imaginative play.


Enjoy a FREE fun fairytale-themed Children’s Activity Pack, full of lovely creative things to do, delivered straight to your inbox every month, along with the latest Another World Costume news and updates and offers!

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