Pilgrims and Indians are a big part of celebrating Thanksgiving, and many schools re-create the day with simple little skits. To prepare for the event, teachers, students, and their parents are busy constructing the various costumes. Because budgets can be small or nonexistent for these programs, an Indian vest made from a brown paper bag is a wonderful way to outfit your child. This simple vest is quick to make, and children can easily decorate it using crayons, markers, or paint.
Open a large brown paper grocery bag. Cut the bottom from the bag and discard it. Fold the sides of the bag outward, instead of their natural fold inward. Flatten the bag on your work table. Cut a piece of clear packing tape the width of the flattened bottom of the bag. Lay the length of the tape on the top edge of the cut bottom, with half of its width on the bag and the other half on the table. Peel the tape from the table and fold it over the other side of the bag. This will completely close the bottom of the bag. Note: The bottom of the bag becomes the shoulders of the Indian vest.
Lay one of the child's sweatshirts on the bag, matching the shirt's shoulders with the taped edge and centering it on the bag. The arms of the sweatshirt should lay naturally at the sides. Using a pencil, mark on the bag the sides of the neck hole, the top of the shoulder, and under the armpit. Remove the sweatshirt.
Draw a slight smile-shaped line from one mark of the neck hole to the other. Draw a smile-shaped line from the top shoulder mark to the armpit mark on one edge of the brown paper bag. If the armpit mark does not touch the side edges of the bag, move it to the side edge of the bag. If the child is small, use the armpit mark as a guide for the side edge of the bag. Cut off the side edges of the bag, from the bottom to the top, using the new guide mark. Tape the open sides like the bottom of the bag. Match the marks where you originally drew them.
Cut along the drawn smile-shaped lines through both layers of the bag, to create the arm holes and the neck hole. Draw a straight line from the middle of the neck hole to the middle bottom edge of the vest, using a ruler as a straight edge. Cut the vest open along the line. Cut fringe, 2 inches long and 1/4 inch wide, around the bottom of the vest.
Turn the brown paper bag right side out. The store logo will now be on the inside, providing a clean surface on the outside for surface decorating. Decorate the bag using crayons, markers, or paint to create a Thanksgiving-inspired Indian vest.