How to Make Costumes for International Day

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International Day costumes are more about celebration than authenticity.
Image Credit: Susan Vineyard/iStock/GettyImages

Many schools celebrate International Day as a way to celebrate cultures from around the world. While every school chooses to celebrate differently, many ask their students or volunteers to celebrate in International Day costumes.

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What Is International Day?

Many schools celebrate International Day as an opportunity to teach their students about the various cultures around the world. It's an opportunity for students to learn about their family histories and cultures while exposing them to other traditions.

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Celebrating International Day with an educational, multicultural festival can help teach students how global concerns affect all people. Students partake in traditional music and dance across cultures, eat cultural foods and engage in games and activities in an educational and interactive way.

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One of the ways schools help expose students to various cultures is through International Day costumes. When brainstorming International Day dress-up ideas, using it as an opportunity to explore and better understand one's personal ancestral history and other cultures can be a valuable and memorable process.

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Things to Keep in Mind While Researching

When choosing a costume to wear for International Day, it's important to take the time to learn the history of the garment and its cultural significance so you can celebrate respectfully. When determining what to wear, be sure you choose traditional garments and not garments based on stereotypes.

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When brainstorming International Day dress-up ideas, consider your own familial ancestry for inspiration. While you may already have traditional garments on hand, they might not be child size, or you might want to protect them from accidental damage while at school.

Fortunately, you can find shortcuts to mimic these garments with items you already have on hand or can easily obtain. With hot glue, Velcro and safety pins, you can bypass sewing if you don't have the time.

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International Day Dress-Up Ideas

If you are looking to learn more about German culture, the lederhosen and dirndl can be a source of inspiration for an outfit for International Day. Lederhosen were originally made from goats and deerskin in the 16th and 17th centuries. The embroidered lederhosen seen today didn't emerge until the 18th century, when it became a symbol of nobility.

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The dirndl follows a similar history. Emerging in the 18th century, the dirndl was worn by the working class, specifically women, and was designed for house and farm workers. The noble class then adopted the dirndl and used silk and satin instead of the more affordable wool.

While not traditional, you can make simple lederhosen with two belts, brown shorts and suspenders. Clasp the belts together and snip them in the back so that you can hot glue them to the suspenders. Secure them to the shorts and create the center panel with hot glue and cardboard and decorate however you wish. You can recreate the dirndl by wearing a sleeveless dress over a white short-sleeved shirt. Crisscross ribbon, like shoelaces with safety pins, on the front of the dress and tie an apron at the front.

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Additional International Day Ideas

If you are researching Japanese culture, you can sew a kimono using a kimono pattern provided by the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts in collaboration with Google Arts and Culture.

Another source of inspiration is researching traditional fabric dyeing techniques, such as Japanese shibori, to dye T-shirts. Some shibori techniques are featured online. When dyeing fabric, be sure that the clothing is cotton, or it won't hold the dye.

You can also dress in traditional Native American clothing if that is your heritage. International Day is a great opportunity to teach children about national cultures, even those separate nations situated within the confines of your own country.

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