“Alexander Hamilton. My name is Alexander Hamilton. And there’s a million things I haven’t done. Just you wait, just you wait.” I knew I need to make a DIY Alexander Hamilton Costume for my son. We have been listening to Hamilton’s soundtrack ‘non-stop’ since Spring Break. My kids are obsessed. Actually, our whole family loves Hamilton. And in case this is your first time hearing about the hottest new Broadway hit, let me fill you in.
I first heard about Hamilton from my husband. I have to admit, he’s a lot cooler than me. He told me a gentleman named Lin-Manuel Miranda who was reading Alexander Hamilton’s Biography by Ron Cherrow and was inspired to write a rap musical. I was totally shocked. This idea that biography could inspire a rap musical was intriguing. The way our Founding Fathers argued and defended their beliefs reminded Lin-Manuel of a rap battle. Seriously impressive. And my first thought was that this would be a great way to teach our youth about our Founding Fathers. I would hear Grady listen to bits and pieces here and there.
Then Grady made a Spotify play list of the songs that would be appropriate for our family to listen to while driving or working together. We all loved it!!! And it’s been on repeat for quite some time. I don’t think there is anything cuter than my 3 year old daughter singing along and dancing to Hamilton. I should warn you in case you don’t notice the parental warning on the album cover, there is language and content that is not appropriate for children. The link to the Playlist above is pretty clean and child friendly.
Meanwhile Hamilton has been gaining more popularity and not just with our family. This year at the Tony’s Hamilton was nominated for 16 Tony nominations, winning 11, including Best Musical. Another thing I love about this musical is the casting. Usually when we imagine early American history we think of white males with powdered wig. Lin-Manuel’s hit represents today’s America, with a variety of racial backgrounds. I seriously love this!!! What a beautiful way to represent our nation. And the cast is seriously talented!!! (I’ll share my favorites later) It would be a bummer to limit the talent to actors who fit a certain mold.
Not only is the music catchy and makes you want to dance, the lyrics are powerful. Alexander Hamilton’s story is simply inspiring. I had no idea he was an immigrant and an orphan. He was brilliant and hustled like no body’s business to make a name for himself. There are great lessons to be learned in this musical. But Hamilton isn’t the only inspiring man in this Broadway hit. I also loved hearing about strong women who helped shape our nation. I recently watched a video in which Emma Watson interviewed Lin-Manuel for He for She and loved every minute of their interview! (Talk about two inspiring people) I know the interview is kind of long, but I loved every minute of it. It made me love Emma and Lin-Manuel even more.
Favorite Songs (because I know you want to know)
- Aaron Bur, Sir
- The Schuyler Sisters
- You’ll Be Back
- Right Hand Man
- Guns and Ships
- What’d I Miss
- Cabinet Battle #1
Really I love all of them! But these songs are my favorites! Aaron Bur’s voice is lovely and the story is told from his perspective. My favorite character (besides Hamilton, Eliza, and Angelica) is Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson, both played by Daveed Diggs. So pretty much any song with him in it is a favorite! I love how he portrays each of the characters. Also George Washington has a super dreamy voice! And Jonathan Groff, who plays King George III, is hilarious. I think he’s a favorite among my kids. Yoda love the Farmer in the Farmer Refuted (I love hearing him sing along. He sounds very Broadway-ish), Draco loves Hamilton (he LOVES his new costume) and insists on singing his part when we listen (and sing) together as a family. And Gandalf’s favorite is Lafayette (Seeing him break out in dance during Guns and Ships is pretty awesome!). Little miss Georgiana loves the Schuyler Sisters. It’s hard to pick a favorite sister!!! I really admire Angelica and wish I was more like her. But I think I relate more to Eliza. Lin-Manuel does such an amazing job it might be hard to imagine anyone else singing his part. I love the uncertainty he shows in Aaron Bur, Sir. Even though Hamilton makes some poor choices, you can’t help but admire and cheer for him.
And if Lin- Manuel ever happens to read this (or someone close to him) I would LOVE a clean copy of this music!!! I know this is a lot to ask. I’m sure he’s crazy busy right now. My kids (3, 5, 8, 11) love this music and they would love to hear more songs. Thanks to The Rockefeller Foundation 20,000 New York City public schools will be able to see Hamilton for only $10. Lin-Manuel describes if Ham for “Ham”. But if there was a copy of this music, with out swear words or adult content details, then kids in elementary and middle schools could use this to learn about American history. And we all know music has that amazing teaching ability. What a gift and talent Lin-Manuel has!!! I am seriously impressed with his genius of creating this musical, in this style, from a biography, which I totally want to read now. He has inspired people of all ages to learn more about our Founding Fathers. What an amazing gift! And Lin-Manuel I know you must be crazy busy, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Update!!!! Apparently there is a clean version! You can find it here!
Okay, on the the Alexander Hamilton Costume Tutorial.
DIY Alexander Hamilton Costume
- Royal Blue Material
- White Material
- Ivory Material
- Sewing Machine
- Pinking Shears
- Vegas Gold Heat Transfer Vinyl
- Elastic (For the pants and the wrist cuffs)
- Hook and Eye Clasps
Alexander Hamilton Costume: Jacket
- Using a suit jacket, or large shirt, trace your bodice on folded blue material. Remember you are just cutting half of the jacket to create the front. I had my son lay down next to my material to determine the length of the jacket (Picture). Use that cut piece cut your other front piece. Only reverse it. Once you cut two front jacket pieces, open them up to and lay them out to measure your back of the jacket. You are cutting 1 piece for the back. (see picture where I traced my pattern from my two front pieces. Repeat this with your ivory material and set it aside. This will be your lining.)
- With right sides together, sew your front jacket pieces to your back jacket piece at the shoulders and sides.
- Measure the arm holes, making sure they are both the same length. Then cut out long blue rectangles for your sleeves. I have to admit, sleeves aren’t my strong point. If you know how to cut sleeves properly, by all means do that. With your jacket inside out, turn your sleeves out and then place them inside your jacket, matching right sides together. Stitch.
- For your sleeve cuffs, measure and cut rectangles out of your ivory material. Remember to allow for seam allowances. I folded my ivory rectangles so that I could match up my frayed ends with the sleeve ends and save myself the trouble of hemming the sleeves.
- Next measure your neck length to determine your collar. Cut a long rectangle to match your length out of your ivory material and some interfacing. Remember to sew your rectangle ends at an angle to create the collar points. My dyslexic brain found it best to pin them and then make sure I was sewing the angles the correct way. So you want to allow room for the points. Apply your interfacing and sew your collar together. Press. Stitch to the top of your jacket. Also have your child (or self) try on the jacket and make any adjustments with the neck line needed.
- Follow step two for your jacket pieces in the ivory material you set aside. Then sew, with right sides together, the ivory lining and the blue jacket. I left the bottom open so I could turn it out. Press.
- Cut a line up the center back to create the crease in the back. I used pinking shears for this. Then stitch around your split. Another option is to create two back pieces and leave a slit in the bottom back seam, but I was trying to save a step.
- I then folded and ironed a hem for the bottom of the jacket. Stitch your hem using blue thread on top and ivory bobbin on the bottom.
- Cut 4 small blue rectangles to be the fake front pockets. Sew each pair of rectangles together, right sides together. Turn them out and press. Pressing the unfinished edge down and then sew that side on to the jacket, making sure the pockets are balanced.
- Cut two long ivory rectangles out for the front of the jacket. Press your seam and then stitch them onto your jacket. You want your ivory strip to stop at your waist.
I found it best to use pinking shears while making cut to help my basic cotton material to not fray. This is especially important around the sleeves and armholes as they won’t be lined.
Alexander Hamilton Costume: Pants
- I started with my son’s baseball pants. Slim cut shorts could also work. Cut at lease two inches higher than the waistline to make a casing for your elastic. Cut four pieces of shorts. Stitch, with right sides together, up the sides and in the middle, till you get to the crotch. Repeat with the other side.
- Turn one right side out and place it in the inside out leg, matching right sides together. Stitch them together, with a reinforcing stitch in the crotch. Turn the other leg out.
- Measure elastic for around your waist. (isn’t his belly button cute?) Fold down, twice on the top of your shorts. Press. Then stitch the shorts and inch or so below the top of your shorts leaving a hole for the elastic to be inserted into.
- Place a safety pin on the end of your elastic and work it through your casing. Pull it through the other side and stitch together. Sew across the line to connect and close the hole you have.
- Press and then hem your shorts. Using your iron really does save time.
Alexander Hamilton Costume: Vest
This vest was super easy. Which is great because I have more to make for our Halloween Family Theme this year.
- Use a T-shirt as a guide cut two pieces of the front of your vest. I like to use chalk to draw my design.
- Flip your vest over and cut a mirrored piece, on a fold, giving you two more pieces.
- Sew those pieces together. Press
- Cut with pinking shears a back for your vest. I used an old sheet so I wouldn’t waste more of the material I needed. Sew the front vest pieces to your backing at the shoulders and the sides.
- Cut 4 rectangles for fake pockets again. Sew them together, press, and attach to the front of your vest.
Alexander Hamilton Costume: Cuffs and Neck Cloth
I was most excited about these details. I cut two long strips of my white material. I hemmed both sides and then pressed them. I then stitched a large spacious stitch to create a ruffle. Once you have finished the row of stitches, pull on the bobbin thread to create a long ruffles. Repeat with your other rectangle.
Measure elastic for your wrists. Sew your elastic together at the ends to create two elastic bracelets. Attach the desired amount of material to your elastic and sew in place.
For the neck cloth I cut, with my pinking shears, a long white rectangle. Hem this piece. Then about four inches from the bottom I hand stitched my ruffle in a gorgeous arrangement, so they are stacked. To style this neck cloth, tie the other end around your neck in a knot and let the ruffles sit on your chest. Tuck the under piece under your vest so it stays put. It kinda takes a couple tries but the effect is beautiful.
Now as I was studying this beautiful costume I couldn’t help but notice all the gorgeous buttons. They are everywhere! Jacket, cuffs, vest, pants. I knew that buying that many buttons was not in my budget. (I think I counted at least 50 on his adult costume) Then I got the idea to use some heat transfer material from Expressions Vinyl to create my buttons. Saved me a ton of money! (Why are buttons so expensive?) But I was still able to achieve the look I wanted. I used their Vegas Gold EasyWeed Heat Transfer Sheets.
I created 1.5 inch circles with my Silhouette Cameo. When you are working with Heat Transfer Sheets you always want to mirror your image. But since I was creating circles this wasn’t an issue. Remember to place the shiny side down on your Silhouette mat. I removed everything except my circles. Then place your heat transfer on your jacket, cover with a thing towel, and press. Hold your iron down for 90 seconds and then check to see if your Heat Transfer attached. If it did, continue to remove your plastic covering. If not, then place your plastic part back down and re-press.
I applied “buttons” along both sides of my Hamilton costume jacket, the cuffs, the collar, the vest, and the sides of his pants. My son was so impressed with faux buttons! It really made the costume. I just used a simple sew on hook and eye for the vest that I hand stitched on.
My 5 year old was really bummed I didn’t make him one. And my daughter kept asking for her “girl Hamilton costume”. I finished it the day of our city’s Constitution Fair. Draco loved being in costume for the event. Most people assumed he was George Washington. His favorite part was meeting “George Washington” (They had people dressed up as important leaders during early American History) and asking if he could be his right hand man. Draco then told him who he was and then General Washington told him he certainly was his right hand man. The Constitution Fair is always a blast. And we got invited to a Rebels and Redcoats event that Alexander Hamilton might have to make an appearance at.
Thanks for reading this long post! I hope you love our DIY Alexander Hamilton Costume was much as we do. And if you haven’t had the chance to listen to Hamilton- go check that out!!! I think you will find it simply inspiring. There are so many great starters for family discussions. Gandalf, my oldest, was heart broken when I explained the meaning behind the Reynolds Pamphlet. I love that our Founding Fathers aren’t sugar coated. We learn about Hamilton’s amazing brain and his passion for improvement, but also his weakness and pride. I love music that make you think and understand others better. Talking about history with my children and then about our choices and what we stand for has been a blessing. As parents, or teachers, we can help our children better understand what is right when we have open and real discussions about things relating to life. And when you use books, music, and art to teach these things our message is more powerful. Click to subscribe and to follow along on social media.
And leave a comment below telling you your favorite song or character from Hamilton….
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