Hot! A Sound of Music Birthday Party

My daughter LOVES The Sound of Music. Ever since she first got a glimpse of it on the television back in Christmas 2008, she's been dancing and singing to the music. She knows all the words to Do-Re-Mi and will even sing some lines to I Have Confidence (if that isn't a mark of a real fan, I don't know what is). Pen is an old soul — with a mother like me it's hard not to be — and will even sit through the entire movie. So when it came to plan her birthday for this year, The Sound of Music easily won over all other contenders.

Penelope's birthday parties are big events, but we choose to keep them very DIY. Her first birthday was themed Old Cuba because, well, she didn't have any preference and she likes to dance to bouncy latin music (and I'm part Cuban). Last year was It's a Small World — her favorite Disneyland attraction. This year, she was much more involved in the planning of the party and even "helped" me work on the decorations.

The biggest component of the party were the costumes. I decided to make green and white curtain outfits for each of the children attending. If, for some strange reason, you've never seen the movie, there is a seen where Maria (Julie Andrews) makes play clothes for all the children out of old curtains hanging in her room. I was ecstatic that I actually found green and white toile curtains at the Alameda Antique Fair a few months ago. Even better was that it was enough material for all the little outfits! Because the children attending Pen's party ranged from age seven months to three years old (and because each kid in the movie has a unique outfit), I decided to pick a different pattern for each one of the birthday outfits. 


Here's Penelope in her Maria Von Trapp costume standing with presents in brown paper packages tied up with string.


For the backdrop, I stitched various fabrics into this Alps scene. The cupcakes were topped off with images of "Favorite Things."

Backdrop Cupcakes2

The party gift bags were also simple references to the brown paper packages tied up with string.


Here's Penelope in her costume. I pieced it together from two patterns. One, a vintage shirt pattern from the 1970s. The other, a modern dress pattern.


And finally, all the children in their costumes:



Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


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  1. Oh my goodness! This party is the cutest! Looks like you spent a lot of time on this, but it turned out great.

  2. That is so cute!!
    Did the kids get to keep their outfit after the party?

  3. That’s pretty much the cutest birthday party I’ve ever seen. So much better than the plethora of Disney princess parties. Stay classy, Pen!

  4. Yeah, you are probably the best mother ever. This is adorable. Nice work.

  5. This is insanely glorious. You are champion and a hero! Holy crap!

  6. This is completely amazing! I would have loooooved this as a child (I can also sing the words to “I Have Confidence”). The Maria costume is spot-on (Love the uke!) and those curtain costumes are lovely!

  7. Wow! That’s amazing! I’m in awe of you … and a little bit scared too…

  8. No WAY! I cannot get over how entirely awesome this is. Another job exceedingly well done, Mena!

  9. This. Is. Amazing.

  10. WOW! That is AMAZING! Pen is SO ADORABLE in her dress with the little ukelele! And all those little outfits! wow…so cool….makes me think an adult party with the same theme would be fun (maybe for my next birthday!) :-)

  11. Omgosh this is amazing! I love all the decorations, and those outfits are adorable! I seriously want to have a birthday party like this…and I’m 20 :P Guess you’re never too old for themed birthday parties!

  12. Wow! That looks like it took a million hours to put together. How generous of you to make all the kids costumes!

  13. Wow, this is absolutely amazing. I love how your daughter looks in her maria dress, it’s perfect! And the brown paper packages tied up with string are so cute. Love this!

  14. Wow. That is love in action. How absolutely precious.
    Could you do a little post about how you find time to sew and still have time for other things? As my kids get older, I find I have less and less time to sew and would love some hints on getting some time back.

  15. Wow, one of the most impressive children’s parties that I have seen! I can’t believe you made every single kid a little costume

  16. I hearby award you Mother of the Year! amazing party, so cute, or should I say sew cute.

  17. This is one of the best birthday parties I have ever seen! I would have loved to have had that party when I was little. I would love to have that party now!


    i just showed my daughter wh o is 3 and also a big fan of Maria and she guessed from the pics what your theme was and her eyes lit up!!! i am guessing her next request will be a copy of that dress you made for your daughter!!! ps love the cupcakes too and the brown paper bags!

  19. Oh my goodness. After seeing this I have to suggest to my DIL that she read your blog. You two are kindred spirits. She loves dress up and Halloween is always dyi at their house so this birthday will thrill her I think. Anyway Amazing and so cute both your daughter and her friends, and the party decor. You are amazing.

  20. That’s the most amazing Birthday party I have ever seen, the effort you made was phenomenal. Penelope is a lucky girl to have such a wonderful Mum. I love The Sound of Music :-)


    Are you kidding me???! This is awesome and a little insane :) My daughter is lucky if we find the time to fill up the pinata with candy. I am completely awestruck by you right now.

  22. You can tell that, that precious little girl is loved just by the smile on her face! Great job MOM.

  23. This is just the most beautiful thing I have seen for ages. I remember my sons having pirate parties, and going to prince and princess parties, but those kind of parties don’t happen any more around here – just trips to MacDs or similar. It is so wonderful to have photos to look back on such special occasions and your daughter is a very lucky girl to have such a wonderful mum xx

  24. Amazing! I’m totally in awe and inspired!

  25. Wow! Thats some dedicated party planning. It all looks fantastic! Happy Birthday, Penelope!

  26. Holy. Cr*p. I would have killed for that party as a kid. We’re kind of pretending I wouldn’t kill for it now.

  27. Oh my Gosh!!! What a great party! And I can tell you, that Austria looks just like it does in the movie, dirndls, leiderhosen and all! You can even take a Sound of Music tour in Salzburg and visit some of the sights used in the movie. We started going to Austria for vacations when my daughter was 3, and she has grown up loving the country and culture. During our trip there this past summer I made sure to hit one of my favorite sewing shops, and picked up a bunch of wonderful Austrian buttons to add to my collection (I buy buttons, trims and such whenever I am there, not to mention this awesome pattern magazine called Dirndl Review…..). Anyway, I’ve got enough of those little Austrian beauties to share a few, so email me if you want some and I will be happy to send you some to embellish that adorable dirndl for sweet “P”!

  28. Oh my gosh, such a wonderful idea I want to cry a little. So good.

  29. my god this is amazing. i love the fact that your daughter is totally into the sound of music!! :D

  30. Oh my god!!!! The curtain outfits are soooooooo great! I can’t believe it, it’s exactly like the one in the movie! Man I wish this was my birthday party :D
    Your daughter looks so precious, all happy :)

  31. I would never go to that much effort, but it’s an adorable idea!

  32. OH my goodness. Really?

  33. Oh God, how cute. Now I want a party like your daughters, hehe. :) You did such an amazing job. <3

  34. Amazing! I’m just so thankful that my daughter didn’t see it when she was still young enough to want the same kind of party!

  35. Heather Menzies Urich

    I’m in awe!

  36. Oh My Goodness!!! Love, love, love it! This is awesome. Your daughter is so lucky. I’ve been toying around with a Maria costume for Halloween. I may just have to do it now. :D

  37. I’m jealous of a 3 year old’s birthday party. I… want it for me!
    Penelope looks absolutely darling with her dress and guitar. (And I sing ‘I Have Confidence’ all the time, too.)

  38. What a wonderful birthday party. I think that is the best birthday party I have ever seen. What a wonderful idea. Those outfits are just beautiful. You have a great talent. Thanks for sharing the ideas.

  39. Can I be your friend? Pretty please?
    Great job!

  40. Wow! This so reminds me of the party I held to celebrate my 40th birthday. One of my friends made everyone their own costumes from an old set of curtains. We did not look as cute as these three year olds, but still had a great time!

  41. this is AMAZING!!!! i want a Sound of Music party! FANTASTIC job!

  42. This is adorable! Everything about it – that a 3 year old loves the Sound of Music, that that was her party theme, that you MADE OUTFITS! for everyone, just all of it. I love it.

  43. I have seen The Sound of Music 35 times so far! Four times at the cinema and the rest on TV, videos or DVDs. Penelope looks gorgeous in her costume! So, let me love you and leave you on a Sound of Music note: ” So long, farewell, aufwiederzehen, goodbye. I’d like to stay and taste my first champagne!” Many happy returns to Penelope and a big kiss from Cyprus.

  44. WOW! I found you through 30 Days and I am over-the-top impressed with this party idea! First of all, I LOVE The Sound of Music. Second of all, we are currently in the adoption process and if we get a girl we are naming her Penelope. And finally, I used to be an event planner and I absolutely LOVE all the amazing little details you thought of for this party. FAN-freaking-TASTIC!
    Emmy from

  45. Wow! I kept waiting for a punchline of some sort…but no, you actually did all this yourself! That is just amazing… and all the cute outfits you made actually fit the party guests. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a creative and unique birthday party idea. You have really set the bar high for your sweet girl. :)