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Do you have a tiny goblin, fairy or princess in your house? The ideal Halloween costume pieces for kids are the ones that can go into the dress-up and pretend trunk after the candy questing is complete.
Pull together a lightning-quick skirt worthy of any royal ball with Tara's No-sew Tutu project.
Or, put together a Kids Halloween Mask that will see loads of play time well past Halloween.
Even kids-at-heart need costumes as fab as those the little ones wear. The next several projects work for kids or adults, and all whip up in a jiffy.
Whether you're a hero, a villain or a historical figure, every outfit could use a good cape. Here's a quick double-layered version that needs no pattern -- just a yardstick and marker: Last-minute Capes.
If you want to add a little drama to your outfit, you can make any of these Halloween Hair Accessories in just a few minutes' time.
Do you feel the need to go wild? Fast projects for rabbits, puppies, monkeys, pigs and cats are all covered in our Animal Accessories blog!
We've also got free pattern downloads to create spellbinding witch couture. A multi-layered Witch's Capelet will help keep the chill off witches on the go!
The perfect chapeau is essential for Halloween, and the Hot Patterns Bad Witch/Good Witch Hat and Fascinator is ideal for crafting an original hat to match your outfit.
Last, but certainly not least, is a fantastic -- and fantastically fast! -- project sheet for creating Costumes on a Stick. These are great for those times when a full costume is impractical, but you still want to get in on the Halloween fun.
So, I decided to sprinkle a little pixie dust in the sewing room and create some fairy finery.
I decided to start with a pettiskirt. A couple of years ago, I made this pettiskirt in black. In the time since then, I've made quite a few others, and I have refined and altered my approach a bit. I still use the same tiered construction with a wide center strip that folds in half to form the casing for the elastic waistband, but now I have two layers of identical skirting so the pettiskirt is reversible, and I add a 2-inch wide ruffle of fluff at the bottom edge. This is similar to the ones that are often made for little girls, and I think it is SO fun. You really get plenty of swing.
I started with blue nylon chiffon tricot. I LOVE that it comes in 108-inch wide cuts. That means I don't have to cut as many strips to make a skirt, which is ALWAYS welcome news.
To start cutting, I fold the fabric onto itself a couple times, so that I can quickly cut strips with my rotary cutter. Because this fabric can be slippery, I line it up as best I can, but then I just true up the end by cutting it.
Tier one: 4 8-inch wide strips
Tier two: 7 8-inch wide strips
Hem ruffle: 20 2-inch wide strips
I don't fret too much over perfection on these. All the ruffling hides most sins. Here are my three piles all together:
Once the pieces are all cut, I start ruffling. If you have a good relationship with your ruffle foot, this project could whiz right along. I find I have problems working with sheers on my ruffler, so I gather by hand on my machine.
I just gather and gather and gather, layering strips together at the ends instead of joining them with a seam.
I assemble it all as one loooooooooong piece, and then I cut that piece in half at the mid point to create the two separate layers of skirt. For me, this saves time, because I can just crank everything out while only having to keep track of three piles of strips, instead of separating them into six piles. However, if you prefer to work with smaller pieces, that's fine, too!
Once I have all those ruffles together and then split into two, I attach them to the waist section, which I cut from the charmeuse. It's one piece, 16 inches wide, and I cut it the full width of the fabric. Then, I sew one set of ruffles along each raw edge, and sew a seam that closes up the circle, stitching from one hem up to what will become the waistband, and then back down the other side, all in one long seam. Next, I fold the satin at the middle and stitch a 1-inch deep casing for my elastic (remember to leave a small opening so you can insert the elastic!). This is what it all looks like from the inside:
Here's a tip: I don't really worry much about getting all the layers to math up perfectly in length before I sew them together. I gather all the pieces, stitch the tiers together, and if any piece is longer than another, I just clip it right off. When assembling the tiers all as one piece before splitting into two layers, I still end up with two perfectly even layers of ruffles. The only time I really make sure I match up is when I attach the layers to the waistband/top tier satin.
So, I cut 8 pieces of sheer organza ribbon to match my skirt, each 28 inches long.
I stitched the pieces of ribbon down along the waistband of the skirt.
The distance between your ribbons will vary depending on the waistband you need, so I just try to distribute them evenly.
For now, you can let your ribbons dangle or tie them in sweet little bows.
Halloween is close at hand. Did you mean to concoct a show-stopping costume, but time got away from you? Never fear! Here are a handful of ideas for quick ears and tails you can whip together in an evening. Add a few accessories, and ka-pow! Your one-of-a-kind animal costume is complete, and you haven't lost a huge chunk of your life to make it happen.
Let's start with a bunny. The inspiration for this one is Winnie the Pooh's friend Rabbit, so I chose a pale yellow minky. For all of these projects, you'll need a headband. For the rabbit ears, you'll want a wide band -- 1.5" to 2". Here's the lowdown on how it goes together:
Draw out your ear pattern. You don't have to be daVinci. Just a quick sketched out shape on note paper works just fine.
Cut 4 pieces of elastic the same width as headband. You want the finished product to hug the headband pretty tightly, so there's no need to cut it wider.
Cut 4 ear pieces. Sew your elastic to the right side of each ear front and back using a 1/8" seam allowance and joining the fronts to the backs using 2 pieces of elastic.
Sew ears together and turn, then cut craft foam to fit into the ear, using your seamline as a rough guide.
Slide your craft foam into each ear, then slide your finished ears onto your headband, adjusting foam to create the desired shape.
The tail goes together quick as a wink. Cut a round shape from your fabric (I use a dinner plate as a guide), and use a running stitch around the outer edge of the circle to gather it into a pouf shape, gently stuffing it with poly fill or batting scraps as you go.
Once you like the shape of your tail, tighten your thread and tie off. To attach your completed bunny tail, you can add a ribbon loop at the back to clip it to your clothes, or simply safety pin it into place.
Next up, puppies! This one is great to make in a Dalmatian print, especially if you have a Cruella de Vil in your Halloween crew.
Just like the bunny, sketch out a pattern.
Cut 4 ear pieces, and assemble each ear by sewing right sides together and leaving narrow base open for turning. Once the ears are turned, fold in the raw edges and stitch closed close to folded edge.
Attach a piece of elastic (once again cut to the width of your headband) to each ear base at each end of elastic.
Slide your ears onto your headband so that the elastic is on the underside of the band and the ear flops downward.
To make a tail, cut a long narrow rectangle of fabric (mine was 18" by 3.5"), and stitch it down one side to form a tube, rounding the bottom as you close it. Turn right side out and stuff gently to add body without making the tail stiff. As with the rabbit project above, you can attach a loop for clips, or pin it to your outfit.
Time for piggies!
I had to look at some photos of pigs to get a sense of their ear shape, then sketched out my pattern and cut it out of bubblegum pink minky (wouldn't Pink Minky make an awesome band name?).
Unlike the previous two projects, this one has ears that fold in the middle -- the idea is to leave a small opening that you can thread a narrow headband through. I folded each ear down the middle and stitched, leaving a small notch open on one side at the fold, and a wider space unstitched on the other side, to make turning and inserting craft foam easier.
Just like the bunny ears, I cut craft foam to fit the interior, then turned the ears right side out and slipped the foam in. I threaded my headband through the open edges of the ears, then hand stitched the openings to close around the headband.
For the tail, I cut another
rectangle of fabric -- about 8" by 3" -- but I didn't sew it closed
into a tube. Instead, I used the stretch stitch on my machine to apply
1/4" elastic along the seam line, stretching tightly as I went, and
tapering in to make a point at the closed end. I cannot stress the tightness of
the elastic enough. If you don't stretch it to the maximum possible amount, the
tail won't do its cute trick when it's done. When you turn the tail right side
out, it curls up!
For any "Angry Birds" fans in the house, I made some green piggy accessories with this awesome dark lime minky. These pics show what the tail looks like when the elastic is sewn in, but before it's turned.
Next up: Kitties!
The ears for kitties work exactly the same as the piggy ears, but the pattern starts out a little differently.
The tail for the cat is a little different than the straight tube approach I've used so far for this post. I cut a sort of question mark shaped piece, about 18" long from top to bottom -- the curl that comes back up would measure out to longer than that if you stretched it straight.
When you stitch these tails and turn them right side out, you may or may not want to stuff it, depending on the fabric you choose. Heavier furs will fill the tail out quite nicely with no additional stuffing needed, but my velvet tail looked quite droopy and sad before I added a little stuffing.
Next up is a simple fave -- Minnie Mouse!
To make the pattern for this one, I traced a circle shape twice, right next to each other, and then drew gentle arcs to join the two circles.
Just like the pigs and kitties, these go together, flip right side out, and get an insert before being threaded onto a narrow headband and getting a little hand finishing. I used a black spa minky for mine, but if you've ever visited Disneyland or Walt Disney World, you know they sell Minnie ears in a wide array of colors and prints, so you can be as creative as you want. I finished mine off with a pink bow.
Though Minnie and Mickey have been drawn with and without tails through the years, when you see them walking around the parks, they're usually wearing clothes to cover their tails, so you needn't make one!
Last, but not least is a nod to "The Wizard of OZ" -- a flying monkey
For this project, I used the same pattern that I used for my Minnie Mouse ears, but I cut it out of this luscious swirled gray and black fur. Yum! When anchoring my ears to my headband, I moved them down a good bit further than the mouse ears. I also constructed a tiny red fez using craft foam and covered it with red cotton velvet. This is not a millinery project -- I just taped the foam together and made the cover to go over it.
Once the fez was assembled, I stitched it to the headband between the ears.
The tail for the flying monkey is the same as the kitties. The fur gives it a really nice lifted drape, and I didn't need any filler for it! Wheee!
I hope this assortment of projects has given you some ideas! Let your creativity really flow to expand on these basics and come up with something uniquely you. I think I may adapt the rabbit ear pattern to make a zebra next ...
When I was around 7 years old, my mom made me a really simple witch costume. I loved that thing. I mean LOVED. I wore it three years straight -- even though by the time I was 10, it was woefully short on me and the hat was tight. But I just adored my witchy raiment in a way I could never fully articulate to anyone. I just knew that when it came to Halloween, I wanted to be a witch.
You'd think that urge would pass as the years wore on, but it never did. Now that I'm an adult, I usually end up booked for several costumed events around Halloween, and I still make sure I dress as a witch for at least one of them every year. And every year, there has to be a new witch costume.
I really love princess ball gowns, and have amassed quite a collection of patterns for ballgowns and wedding gowns throughout the years. This year, I really yearned to make a froufy, poufy ballgown style witch to waltz through All Hallows Eve, so I selected a super girlie pattern, and set to work on my ballgown witch. For fabrics, I used a taffeta and overlaid it with an embellished tulle. Those rhinestones -- sigh! I adore them.
Here is the dress once it was assembled, but not embellished:
Now, I will share with you one of my absolute favorite (and easy) ways to make custom trim.
- First, cut strips on the bias. For this project, I used the same taffeta that I used for the dress, and cut them about 1.5" wide. I didn't worry about carefully marking out cut lines or anything -- I just eyeballed it.
- Next, use a simple running stitch to make a zig-zag pattern along the strips.
- Gather the strips along the running stitch, and you have a lovely scallop-edged trim! Didn't I promise you it was easy?
I applied the trim along the waistline, cuffs and skirt of my dress, incorporating beading into my stitching to add a little extra sparkle.
To add another element to my dress, I purchased a garland chain of black, glittery foliage at my local craft store, and clipped the leaves off. I used the same seed beads that I incorporated into my scalloped trim to tack my leaves into place, creating a sweep of trim across the bodice of the gown. I also tacked several leaves to one shoulder of my dress just above the puff sleeve.
I like to always have a little extra surprise here and there on a costume when I can manage it. For this gown, I attached a ruffle of glitter tulle to the lining, so that when I step into vehicles or up stairs, a little extra shimmer will show at my feet.
The finished dress, plus some detail shots of the sweep of black leaves:
If you, like me, still have a 7-year-old in your heart who loves to dress up, don't forget to look outside the costume pattern catalogue. Often, evening wear and bridal patterns can take a simple costume to a level of glamor and style that any witch would be proud of.
Now, I just need to make a matching hat with that divine Hot Patterns Good Witch/Bad Witch pattern from last year ... More sparkles, please!
The new Hot Patterns Witch's Capelet free download is the easiest pattern you may ever encounter. It goes together in a snap and uses so little fabric, the biggest issue you're likely to face is deciding how many you want to make. (I went with three.) With just a little fabric, a bit of ribbon, and half an hour, you have the perfect accompaniment to any witch's wardrobe.
First, I made one out of black embellished tulle, which I am IN LOVE WITH. The rhinestones scattered on this fabric make it look so lovely and elegant. I love me some sparkles. This one is so cute I may just wear it over a tee shirt for fun -- long after Halloween is over!
Fore capelet number two, I went with multicolor spiderweb net. I had no idea that there is a bonus element to this fabric: It's reversible! The backside is all silver webs. So, in the 30 minutes it took me to lay out and cut my fabric, and then assemble the capelet, I really ended up with two of them! So, whether I want to go as a disco witch or throw an icy, classic vibe, I'm covered.
For the third iteration of this pattern, I decided to go ghostly instead of witchy, and I love the result. I used white chiffon, which I steamed while it was twisted to add a wrinkled texture. After I cut the pieces, I made a series of shallow snips along the edges and then frayed them gently to add a little texture. With my ribbon tie in place, I'm ready for haunting.
So, what kind of witch will you be this year? Remember, witches don't have to wear all black -- you can layer a sheer black over another color for depth, or go completely original as a pink or red witch. If you combine your capelet with a matching hat (we've got you covered with a free pattern download there, too!), you can be any kind of witch you like!
Get the free pattern here -- and get creative!
So, I've been (foolishly) making large-scale costumes for a number of years, and people always want to know how these wild concoctions come together, what's inside them and how I wear or puppeteer them. For my next trick, I will walk you through one of these projects from soup to nuts: Chairry from "Pee Wee's Playhouse."
Before I kick off the proceedings, I feel compelled to confess that I procrastinated on this one. Well, that's not entirely accurate; it was more a matter of not finding time to really dig in to this project until two weeks before I was scheduled to have it done for Dragon*Con. So the pictures in this blog were all taken over a 10-day period of crammy, slammy building and sewing. When I first started building large-scale, mascot style costumes, I never could have pulled off such a short build, but thankfully, I've learned a few tricks through the years so there's not too much guesswork.
Ok, so I wanted to build a chair that people would be able to sit on. So, I started by screwing together a base. It's a sloppy affair, but as I have learned from previous endeavors, each step tends to reinforce the step that came before it, so, I wasn't too fretful about the funky angles.
The second step was adding a flat seating base to the base.
Once the base was reinforced and load tested to make sure a decent-size adult could sit on it, I traced out the backing shape onto pegboard, and cut it out using a jigsaw.
I wanted to make sure the back could: a) fold down, and b) stand stably. To make sure it would have a stable base, I made legs that attached to the back of the peg board.
I tested the placement of the backing, and once I was good
with things, I cut eye holes and then attached the backing to the seat with
hinges. You might notice that the hinges don't match. My policy is generally to
use whatever I have on hand if it will work instead of spending money. In this
case, the hinges will never be seen, so mismatched is just fine! You'll also notice a very classy cardboard wrap around the base. Yep! It's not weight bearing, and it's just there to help the shape. Recycling, always!
To create Chairry's depth, and the area where I would I would stand to puppeteer her, I used pool noodles and built backwards from the backing board. I used zip ties to hold everything in place, and reinforced with low-temp hot glue. (Note on hot glue: it can melt materials like pool noodles, so always test on an inconspicuous area.)
In this shot, you can see Chairry folded down with her pool noodles attached. The zip tie ends eventually got trimmed down, but not before I triple checked that everything was holding where I wanted it to.
Once the basic shape was in place, it was foam time! I literally use bed foam that I buy in sheets from my local discount department store. The foam was wrapped around Chairry, and in areas with curves, I simply cut darts and hot glued things as best I could to the appropriate shape. There have been times on previous projects when I mapped everything out and drafted patterns, but often, things work out just as well if I fly by the seat of my pants with no plan. Your mileage may vary.
Once the foam layer was in place, I covered the seat of the chair. If you ever watched "Trading Spaces" or any of the other speedy home décor makeover shows, you've probably seen the quick-and-dirty method of making a slipcover where you pin everything onto the piece of furniture inside out, and then just stitch as pinned, turn right side out, and voila! A cover is made. I use the exact same method. If you don't know much about Chairry, you'll eventually see why I used that pink knit on the base.
This shot shows a preliminary draping of the backing fabric. Sometimes, it's good to do a quick mock up of the next step, just to give yourself a little hope and momentum. Have I mentioned that the fabric I used is a lush, plush minky that is crazy insane delicious to sit on? It makes the whole thing feel so luxurious. I heart it.
To make the seat cushion, I used a combo of bed foam and an elderly futon mattress that was due for recycling. I kind of just dove in and hacked away at it layer by layer with a pair of heavy-duty scissors.
The same inside-out pinning method was use to make the cover for the seat cushion. It's finally looking like a real chair!
Chairry next needed waveable arms. Pool noodles to the rescue again! I slotted noodle segments over dowels and wrapped them with more bedfoam.
To slot the arms into place, I had to cut small holes into the backing board from inside, and then make a tiny snip in the fabric in each insertion spot. The arms were not permanently affixed -- that way, they can slide right out and the chair folds down for transport.
Cutting eye holes in a project like this is always daunting. It usually happens so late in the build that I'm always afraid I will ruin everything by cutting something incorrectly. For this project, I cut the eye holes open as though I was slicing an oblong pie, and then carefully wrapped the cut pieces back around the foam layer. Here's poor Chairry looking like something out of a horror movie.
A quick view of Chairry from the side.
This is the very fancy and technical drawing I made to use as a pattern for cutting Chairry's eye details. As you can see, I'm quite the fine artist.
Once the eyes go in on any project, it's usually the first time I really feel like it's working -- unless it doesn't. Fortunately, Chairry's oculars slipped right into place without much issue. The black sections are actually a lightweight Allure knit stretched taut to provide a spot where I could peek out.
I wanted to show a view of me actually in Chairry. I'm sticking my rear out to illustrate where I am (all too well). I enter and exit this costume/puppet via a long zipper in the back.
And here she is, ready to roll. As is now evident, that pink fabric that might have looked a little odd earlier is what forms the interior of Chairry's mouth. The teeth are cut from craft foam.
The next two pictures feature Chairry at the con -- both alone, and with the rest of the Playhouse gang. I am pleased to report that our crew was very popular -- I think all of Dragon*Con sat on Chairry for a hug!
I hope you have enjoyed this walk down crazy lane -- it's a peek into the sometimes ridiculous things that get built at my house. If you're thinking of making a giant beast for Halloween this year, remember that safety and health are always first and foremost. Originally, Chairry was going to be built on casters so I could roll her around, but once I realized the dangers involved in trying to wheel around a 70-pound costume with reduced vision and hearing, that detail got scrapped. Chairry is parked in place when she goes out to see her public, and I always have plenty of water and ice packs to keep cool and hydrated inside my creation. Stay safe, and have fun in all your creations!
I'm a firm believer that the difference between a good project and a great one is usually just a matter of detailing. To illustrate this point, I offer up one of my costume projects from this year: an 18th century lady's riding habit.
When I first envisioned this project, I knew I wanted it to stay feminine. Women's riding habits in the 1700s were made exactly the same as men's garments, so choosing a girly color like pink was an easy way to keep the look soft. (I know, I know, I make everything in pink. That's not likely to stop anytime soon.) I went with a cotton velvet for the jacket, because who doesn't love velvet? It's yummy and has a rich, buttery look. For the vest, I selected a flocked home dec fabric in a large floral print. I love how the bold black and white contrasts with the pink velvet. To complete the look, I used a striped taffeta I had in my stash. It was one of those great deals I got from the $1.95 section a while back, knowing I'd eventually find the perfect use for it. Hooray for stashing!
Now, as you can see from this in-progress shot, even once the costume was mostly assembled, it looked sort of anemic. Enter the magic of trim. Metal buttons dressed up the vest and jacket, but braided trim was really needed to bring it all together. I decided to have a little fun customizing mine. I started with a taupe colored Expo braided trim, and then dyed it. What makes this trim fun to dye is the fact that it has a cotton background base with a rayon overlay. Because rayon and cotton take dye very differently -- rayon tends to grab pigment aggressively, whereas cotton does not -- I knew I'd end up with a unique two-toned effect.
To do the actual dyeing, I used a large GladWare container.
I filled it about 1/4 of the way with hot, hot water, and then dissolved the
dye into it.
Once the dye had completely dissolved, I added more hot water until the container was about 2/3 of the way full. Then, I pre-moistened my trim, and dropped it in, making sure all of it was submerged in the dye mixture.
I popped the lid on and very carefully and gently shook the container to disperse the color across the trim. I HIGHLY recommend doing this in a sink, as I did have some sloshy escaping of the dye mixture. I let the whole shebang soak for about four hours, occasionally giving it a gentle rocking shake. I rinsed the trim about four times, making sure I eventually got it to a point where the water ran completely clear. Since I was planning to apply my dyed trim to a light-colored fabric, I wanted to ensure that no color rubbing or bleeding would occur.
Once the trim had dried thoroughly, I applied it to the coat
and the hat for the costume, and instantly, the whole outfit felt much more
"real." The hat also got a dose of ribbon and a cameo pendant I'd been hoarding for a while.
As you can see, trim -- basic things like braiding and
buttons -- can completely transform a costume, and the same is true for
day wear. So, when you're planning your next project, be sure to pick out some
good trims and hardware to make it something special.
Since we're so close to Halloween weekend, I wanted to close out with an all-too-familiar last-minute scenario:
We've all been there. You find out hours before a party that it's a costume affair. Your child or spouse promised someone that you could absolutely make them a cape for that play... and forgot to tell you until the dress rehearsal. Or, life got busy and robbed you of costume prep time before Halloween.
Fear not! Even when you're in a crunch, you can churn out a quick costume piece that will earn you awed gazes from your fans and admirers. I can usually bang one of these out in about 90 minutes, which includes interruptions from my pets and my beloved. Once you have the construction down, you can really churn them out at a rapid pace.
What you need for this is a sizable piece of fabric -- I grabbed a piece of flocked taffeta I had left over from a costume several years ago that added up to about three yards. You want enough that you can cut 2 decent-sized squares out of it.
Ready, set, go!
1. Cut your fabric into 2 squares, one larger than the other. You will likely want to cut them as large as you possibly can. Mine are 40"x40" and 60"x60"
Note: for my larger square I had to piece it from 2 pieces which were 60"x30" so if you don't have a full square, you might be able to creatively build one.
2. Fold your squares in half, then in half again along the first fold to make smaller squares.
3. Locate the corner of the first square where both folds pivot. This would be the center of the original piece of fabric if you were to unfold it.
4. Use a yardstick to measure the side of your square, then pivot the yardstick at the fold point described above and mark that same distance from one corner of your folded square to the other side, so you create an arc of marks.
5. Repeat the process above using a radius of 3" -- this will create the neck circle.
6. Cut both of the arcs your created with your marks. You should have a circle with a hole in the center of it.
7. Repeat steps above for your second square of fabric, marking the radii of the full length and neck circle and cutting along both lines.
8. You will need to cut along one fold of your fabric to create an opening in the circle.
9. If desired, finish straight edges and large lower arc of your circle. I used a quick and dirty rolled hem. For non-fraying fabrics or for costumes where a rough edge is acceptable, you could even skip this step.
10. Lay smaller circle on top of larger circle, right sides down and matching up neck edge.
11. Stitch circles together along neck edge.
12. Flip smaller circle out to the right side.
13. Set a piece of ribbon between the two cape layers and machine at front edge of both sides of cape. This both attaches the ribbon and hides the neck seam.
14. Press if you wish. Your 2-layer cape is done! Go trick-or-Treating! If you want to go fancy schmancy, you can always add a bit of trim for extra sparkle!
Oh, the envy I have felt in my heart while watching little girls twirl in their glorious petti-skirts! It always seems so unfair that whimsical designs are made only in little sizes. The ones you can find in adult sizes are usually a little anemic when it comes to ruffle-osity, which is totally unacceptable.
One of the great benefits of having sewing skills is the fact that I can take matters into my own hands and make up for the short-sightedness of apparel manufacturers who think only little girls under the age of seven might want to spin and giggle in fluffy finery.
So, into the fray I decided to go, to make myself a petti-skirt. If I had known what awaited me, I might have turned back.
Be warned, brave costumers! Should you decide to churn out one of these babies for yourself, a life of cutting long strips of fabric, seemingly without end, awaits you!
Seriously, it just takes some patience. I am a fairly patient seamstress, but I found mine running a little dry at several points on this project. But never fear - costumes, like fairy tales, usually have a happy ending.
I primarily used the awesome Seraphina Chiffon we got in stock recently for this project. It's a poly chiffon with a weave almost like a knit, but there's little to no stretch to it. And the important part: it doesn't fray! Sometimes it will run if stretched vigorously across the grain, so I opted to cut my ruffling strips in the other direction - problem solved!
Here are the cutting details for my adult petti-skirt:
Top tier/yoke (I used Nu-Suede):
Cut 2 pieces 8" x 45"
First tier of ruffles (Seraphina Chiffon):
Cut 7" wide strips of fabric with the grain to get 360" worth of length. Piece if you need - I just cut the full length of a 10 yard piece for my first layer.
Second tier of ruffles (Seraphina Chiffon):
Cut 7" wide strips with the grain to get 1440" worth of length. With my 10 yard piece, this was 4 strips.
Yoke Lining (China Silk):
Cut 2 pieces 11" x 45"
Lining ruffle (Organza):
Cut 9" wide strips with the grain to get 360" worth of length.
Cut a piece of 1" wide elastic the length of your waist plus 1".
So, with all that cutting, I hope you had some good music or a movie to watch! I have read pettiskirt tutorials which suggest cutting multiple layers of the sheer ruffle fabric at one time. My luck in this endeavor was hit-or-miss, so I ended up going the careful but pokey route and only cutting one layer at a time.
On to the stitching, which is a simple though time-consuming affair:
- Join all your bottom tier ruffles together end-to-end to make one long strip of ruffle material. Do not close the circle - all gathering will be done with the skirt open on one side so you can handle it as a flat piece. Much easier that sewing in the round!
- Gather bottom tier ruffles to middle tier using the gathering method of your choice. I had a bad argument with my ruffle foot and it hasn't agreed to take me back yet, so I did the gathering by hand. If your relationship with your ruffler is better, have at it! It will go much more quickly!
- Join the two top tier/yoke pieces on one side. Again, do not stitch together on the second side yet!
- Gather middle tier to top yoke in the same manner you used to attach the bottom tier.
- Once all ruffling on the outer layer is done, close up the side of the skirt.
- Join the two yoke lining pieces on either side so you make a closed circle.
- Stitch the yoke lining to the top edge of the yoke, right sides together. At this point, you should have a skirt that looks like this:
- Fold the lining inside the yoke, and stitch a 1" wide casing into the waist.
- Stitch your lining ruffle pieces together end-to-end, leaving open on one end.
- Gather lining ruffle to yoke lining. I cheated here and just hand gathered as I stitched, which saved my sanity. When I finished the circle, I overlapped the ruffle fabric about 2-3". I didn't even bother to close the lining ruffle seam.
Ok, at this point, I was feeling quite hateful to this monstrosity. It was getting to be a heavy, unwieldy behemoth of ruffles.
And then I put it on.
It gave me that magical fairy-princess feeling! I twirled and swirled and scared the cats. It was worth all the anguish of cutting and ruffling and arguing with cranky fabric. Because now I have my own fluffy petti-skirt! And the feeling is so intoxicating, I am shopping for the next color I will make one in!
As you may have heard around the school yard, tulle can be a little persnickety to work with. Think of it like approaching a feral animal -- you want to be confident and in charge, but keenly aware that of its unpredictable nature.
Here's how I make a quick, adjustable tutu:
- Cut a length of scrap ribbon 5-7" larger than the intended wearer's waist. (This will not show on the finished product.)
- Cut a piece of tulle 4-5x longer than the your ribbon, and twice the length you want the tutu to be. 5x will give you more volume, of course, but if you need to economize, 4x works, too! My pieces are 5 yards long and 54" wide.
- Cut as many pieces of tulle as you want layers in your tutu. 2 works but can be a little anemic. 3 is better, and 4 gives you pretty good opacity, depending on the color you use.
- Fold your tulle in half lengthwise so each piece is 4-5x the waist ribbon length and the desired length of the tutu, double layered.
(I like to use our 54" tulle because I can leave the fold in it just as it comes, there's a good color range, and the length is good for an adult tutu. If you want to take a shortcut and don't mind wasting a little bit, you can do the same for a child, maintaining the center fold and just trimming the length.)
Once all your layers are cut...
-Mark the center and quarter points on your ribbon.
-Mark the same points on each of your tulle pieces. I use a Sharpie at the fold line, as it will be hidden by the waist band in the finished garment.
-Gather your first layer of tulle to match the marks on the waist ribbon, using your gathering method of choice. I like to use a plain old needle and thread, gathering with a running stitch and machine stitching down one quarter of the waist band as I go. I have incredibly bad luck with ruffler feet and tulle (I always end up shredding the tulle to pieces), but your mileage may vary.
-Once your first layer of tulle is stitched, repeat the gathering process with the second layer, and the third and fourth of you have them!
-Try on your tutu and check the fluffiness levels. Adjust as needed. I like getting a feline opinion. (Ozzel approves.)
-Once your tutu skirt meets your requirements for voluminous glee, cut a piece of grosgrain ribbon that is 2x the length of your waist ribbon, plus 2-3"
-Stitch the grosgrain down the inside of your previous ribbon. I make 3 rows of stitching to compress all that gathered tulle as much as possible.
-Trim any pieces of gathered tulle that are sticking up past the top edge of your grosgrain waistband.
-Take the long remaining portion of the grosgrain ribbon and fold it to the front side of the waistband to encase the original ribbon entirely. Stitch it at the top and bottom edge, folding in and extra so no raw edges show.
-Sew a series of snaps or pieces of velcro to the waistband to close your tutu. I used a scrap of snap tape I had lying in a drawer. (You should have some overlap, so you can adjust the waist slightly if needed on future wearings.)
That's it! Your tutu is fluffy and dreamy and ready for twirling - plus, it can expand if you eat too much candy corn!
It's a staple of a Victorian wardrobe, but it can also be used for all kinds of dress up fun: the bustle skirt! Fairies, princesses and even fancy female pirates can all use a good skirt with some pouf to it. And the best part? This is a shockingly easy project!
This is a great project for all kinds of fabrics. I used a striped home dec fabric, but silks and taffetas are also fantastic. Whatever you love that has a bit of body to it. I would not recommend this projects for lightweight or sheer fabrics.
You will need to cut three identical pieces for the skirt front and skirt sides, similar to the diagram below.
Line 1 = ¼ your waist measurement
Line 2 = the distance from your waist to the floor, plus 5"
Line 3 = 3x the length of line 1.
The 4th piece you need to cut (which will form the bustle) is a simple rectangle. I used the full 60' width of my fabric, 2 yds long. If you would like a less ample bustle, you may reduce the measurements to suit your taste.
- Sew your three front and side pieces together. Since they are all identical, order is of no concern.
- To attach bustle, stitch it flat to the side pieces 5" down from the waist, and 12" up from the bottom, leaving the rest of the seam open for now. You should have a longer amount of the bustle piece left loose than you do the side piece. (I had a remaining side length of 24" on my skirt side, and 56" of bustle left.)
- Pleat or gather the remaining bustle fabric into the seam. I like to use binder clips to hold the pleats while I test for placement. Once you have things the way you like, stitch 'em down!
- Repeat pleating on opposite side of bustle, matching pleats/gathers to the first side.
Turn your skirt right side out. You're probably thinking "I made a big wadded up tube!" and to some degree you're right. But now we will sculpt said tube into skirty awesomeness!
- Leaving your three skirt front and side sections flat, pleat the bustle in at the waist to reduce it to the size of your waist, leaving approximately 9" unpleated and loose at center back. This is a time when a dress form or similarly-sized friend is indispensable. Again, my love of binder clips shows.
- Baste waist pleats into place.
- Cut a waistband out of any scrap of fabric long enough to encircle the entire waist of your skirt. I used a scrap of satin cut about 3.5" wide.
- Use this waistband scrap to encase the waistband. Stitch the waistband to the the skirt, right sides together, all the way around the circle of the waist opening. (For a nice, clean finish, fold in the raw edge of the waistband where you start stitching. )
- Flip the remaining waistband fabric to the inside of the skirt and hand or machine stitch it in place.
- At the center back of the waist, sew in a heavy-duty hook and eye. Yes, you'll still have 9" of waist fabric flapping around with no tether.
- Fold remaining waistband fabric to form two even pleats across center back. Sew skirt hooks onto waistband to secure pleats. Now you can put on your skirt and it won't fall off!
To form the bustle - (here's where patience and play meet):
- Sew 3 30" pieces of grosgrain ribbon at the waistband of the skirt so they dangle free inside the skirt. Attach one at each skirt hook, and one on either side of the center back closure.
- Using safety pins, tack your skirt fabric to the grosgrain ribbon to create the bustle shape. Fold and billow your fabric however you like - there are no hard and fast rules for this!
- Once you have your fabric bustled to your ribbon, be sure to put it on a dress form or friend to check the shape and placement. What looks good flat on a table doesn't always translate on a body. If you're like me, it will take several passes to get things where you want them.
If you like the ways things are looking, lock it down! Stitch the fabric to the grosgrain and remove all safety pins. Cut any excess ribbon that dangles past your last bustle point.Try on your skirt to check the length, then hem either by machine or by hand.
Voila! A Bustle Skirt!
There are many places you can go from here. Add trim if you like. I cut about 300" of 7" wide bias and pleated it to make the two rows of ruffles pictured on the sample garment. Trim is always a fun way to really customize a piece like this one. You should also feel free to change the method of bustling if another makes more sense to you. Make a shorter version for a less formal feel. Remember, this is your creation - have a ball!
Ahhhhh... the corset. So many people have so many opinions about corsets. Just in the time it took for our photographer to snap shots of today's sample pieces, numerous staffers walked by and shared their thoughts, everything from "Hmmmmm.... I don't know," to "I love this!"
I could wax rhapsodic about corsets for days. I love reading books on the history of corsetry. I love seeing antique corsets. I love the way the proper foundation corset makes the difference between a good historical costume and a great one. The back support is pretty fab, too. I would like to dispel the notion that corsets are uncomfortable garments made to coerce one's form into distorted shape. True, there are certainly corsets out there of that nature and they have their enthusiasts, but for the average person, a well-fitted corset should support the body and clothing worn over it, rather than distort it.
I delight in making corsets - everything from steel-boned Victorian affairs to modern poly-boned bodices that are more fashion than foundation. And I firmly believe that every costume collection should have at least 1 (or 10). Wear one over a tee for a funky party look any time of year, wear one under a blazer for a more dressed-up look, or top off a skirt and add accessories for an insta-costume. Versatile and fun, corsets are here to stay, and I couldn't be more delighted.
Most people will probably not want to jump right into making a steel-boned corset, and since Halloween is sooner rather than later, I wanted to offer a few tips on a relatively fast and easy way to get some of the support and all of the style of a boned corset. Vinyl, here we come! Vinyl is usually stable enough that it will give you support and structure without having to mess with boning.
- When selecting a bodice pattern (this Kwik Sew is a gem), choose one with simple lines. Vinyl is tricky to sew fussy seams on, and you really don't have many chances to pick and re-stitch a seam with most vinyl fabrics.
- Choose your vinyl wisely. The stiffer it is, the more structure it will offer, but the more difficult it will be to work with. Just know what you're getting into.
- I highly recommend tracing your pattern pieces to the back side of the vinyl and then cutting along your tracing lines (remember to reverse when you need to cut two of something!). This is about 1000 times easier than trying to keep the vinyl and the pattern paper aligned properly during cutting.
- In lieu of boning, you can stitch grosgrain ribbon to the lining fabric at seams or in any position you wish to fortify.
- Some vinyls will happily accept grommets without tearing. If you choose to set grommets into your corset, I highly recommend using an awl instead of a punch to create the holes. It makes wiggling the grommet into place more difficult, but the fabric retains more strength.
- If you choose to use vinyl to bind the edges of your corset, I highly recommend gluing the back edge in place rather than stitching it. It will add another dimension of strength and will prevent the frustration of trying to hand stitch or stitch-in-the-ditch, which can be tricky.
- If every you find yourself at a point where you have to stitch something with the shiny fashions side of the vinyl against either your presser foot or the throat plate, know how to combat the grip effect! Cover the shiny vinyl with a piece of tissue paper. It will prevent drag while you're stitching, and can be easily torn away without damaging the seam.
If you've got a costume in mind this year that will involve a fitted garment like this, especially out of a fabric that can have some tricky elements as vinyl can, I encourage you to go for it, take your time, and remember - this is supposed to be fun! In your most frustrated moments, take a break and relax - you're making art. Sometimes it's a struggle, but in the end, it's worth it!
I call this blog entry "The Witching Hour" because that's about as long as it takes to put one of the new free Hot Patterns Good Witch/Bad Witch hats together. Any good costume trunk needs a witch hat. My trunk has... a number I'm not entirely comfortable disclosing. (Truth be told, I have no idea how many witch hats I have.)
This pattern gets an A+ in the fun department. I love, love, LOVE it! I couldn't stop myself from making hats! It's a fantastic project to burn through scraps of fancy fabrics that you couldn't bear to toss, and it's also a great way to experiment with new fabrics.
I won't re-write the instructions for making the hats - the free pattern has got you covered there. I will give you my tips and insights, and a photo series of the making of one of the smaller hats.
Here are my tips/thoughts:
- -For the large hat, which I made using a home dec velvet from my stash, I found that to make the crumples sit the way I liked them, it took a little bit of hand stitching to tack things into position.
- -The smaller hats do require a bit of patience when affixing the body of the hat to the brim. This is especially true when working with vinyl. (The trim on the pink sparkle vinyl hat is there to hide some atrocious stitching crimes.) It just comes with the territory when you're working with small items.
- -After making several of the smaller hats true to pattern, I found myself wanting some variation, so I cut the next several with straight bodies instead of crumple bodies. To do this, I just traced the outline of the lower edge of the original pattern and used that as the base of my triangular straight pieces.
- -I didn't want to purchase a bazillion headbands for all my hats, so instead, I stitched elastic onto circles of fabric to create a channel, and then glued the circles to the bases of the hats (in the photos below, you can see the underside of one of the smaller hats to clarify what I'm talking about). This way, the small hats are interchangeable on one headband.
- -The smaller hats would make darling table centerpieces for a Halloween party. They're also so quick to whip up that if you're having a smallish party, you could make them as party favors. You'd surely be known in your social circle for having the best party takeaway EVER.
Here's how my jacquard fascinator came to life:
Cutting the interfacing:
Ironing the cut interfacing to the back of the uncut fabric (This way, the interfacing becomes the pattern cutting line):
The brim pieces stitched together:
The point of the body, stitched and clipped (I like to leave that little tail to give the point a teeny bit of support - your mileage may vary):
Clipping the interior edge of the brim once it's turned (you'll find this makes stitching a good bit easier):
Stitching the body and brim together:
Stitching from another angle:
Hat with stitching completed, awaiting crumple:
Three of my hats, crumpled and awaiting instructions:
The finished batch of minis! There's seriously no telling how many more of these will come to life between now and Halloween. I'm a hat junkie!
Avast ye lubbers and bilge rats, ye dandies and beauties! This weekend be the time of International Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sept. 19th)!
Who among ye hasn't longed for a life of livin' free on the winds, away from the burdens of modern life, perhaps in a time when things were simpler?
Embrace that voice that whispers the promise of gold and adventure. Let your inner pirate loose for a while and feel unfettered freedom. Taste the salt of the ocean on your lips and a breeze on your face.
Even if ye be landlocked, there's no reason to let it limit yer spirit! Get yer mates together and sing a few shanties. Watch all yer favorite piratical movies all weekend long. Celebrate fun for fun's sake. And for the love of all that's holy, dress the part!
Seriously, I'm sitting in my office dressed as a pirate while I type this. It's silly, but it makes me happy. When people see me out and about today (oh, yes, I have to run errands at lunch), I'm sure many of them will think I look like a fool. But a handful will smile and remember that we need to make fun for ourselves (and sometimes of ourselves), every day. And those people are my people. Happy TLAPD, mates! May the wind always be at yer back!
Now, on to the project!
A Semi-Demi-Historically-Correct Pirate Shirt - No Pattern Required!
If you look
around online, you can find numerous fabulous tutorials on making an 18th
century style shirt for a gentleman (this is the correct style for most
pirates), often drawn from a wealth of historical sources. I have road tested
many such tutorials and found every one to be worthwhile, though some are
trickier than others. This version is made for me, so the measurements listed
below are for a medium-sized woman. The shirt is loose, but not so engulfing as
the ones I have made for my delightful spouse. Sometimes, ladies want pirate
I will also confess - I have to qualify this as "semi-demi" correct to time period because while the layout and assembly of this shirt is more or less the same as it would have been back in the 18th century, I'm going with modern construction methods and changing up some of the measurements. Whereas a true 18th century man's shirt would be much longer, this one is shortened for modern convenience's sake. I even skip the traditional heart reinforcement at the bottom of the neck opening. Feel free to add it!
Here's what you need:
-2-3 yards of 58-60" wide fabric. Linen is lovely and will make for a fancy shirt. Muslin or broadcloth works fine for rough-and-tumble pirates. I like gauze because the shirts I make are often going to be worn in very warm climates.
-Your sewing machine
- Optional interfacing: a small scrap of a woven fabric like muslin or broadcloth, about 18"x10" is plenty.
1. 1. 1.Measure across the shoulders, and add 12" to that measurement. This will be the width of your shirt. The length is twice the length you wish the finished garment to be, plus a few inches for hem and adjustment. I'm short, so mine is 60" long. (Alter to suit your taste, of course!)
2. 2. Cut 2 22"x22" squares. These will be the sleeves. (Again, these can be lengthened or widened to suit.)
3. 3. Cut 2 3.5" squares for neck line gussets. (If you're not sure what a gusset is, hang in there! You'll see!)
4. 4. Cut 2 6" squares for underarm gussets.
5. 5. Cut the collar 2-2.5" longer than the circumference of your neck, and 5" high.
6. 6. Cut two cuffs 2.5" wide and 10-11" long.
7. 7. Cut one piece 2.5" wide and 11" long for your neck opening facing.
8. 8. Cut 2 2" squares for hem gussets.
9. 9. Cut 2 7" x 3" pieces for shoulder reinforcements.
Lay out these
measurements in whatever way makes the best use of your fabric. It will probably
be useful to sketch things out on paper first. This is how mine ended up:
On to the stitching, mateys!
Create the neck opening:
the body in half or so it is slightly longer at the back. The fold will be your
or measure to find the center of your garment at the shoulder fold.
- Cut along your first fold 9" from center to either side.
8-10" down the center front to form front neck opening. If you're a more modest
pirate, you can shorten this cut.
Set in Front Neck Facing:
slash in the center of your front facing to match your front neck opening.
sides together, sew facing to front neck slash, forming a V at the lowest point
of the neck opening.
facing to inside of garment and stitch down, turning under raw edges if
Inset shoulder reinforcers and neck gussets (this bit's tricky!):
both neck gussets diagonally.
a 3.5" slit in the center of one end of each shoulder reinforcer.
I highly recommend basting this next bit. Once you see how it goes together, it is much easier to understand what's happening here.
wrong side of body up, lay triangle into place on one edge of neck opening, and
lay shoulder reinforce over it, also wrong side up.
one side, pivot at triangle, and baste along other side. Once it's basted, turn
and check. Shoulder reinforce should sit on outside of shirt.
- Machine stitch over basting.
facing to outside and top stitch facing into place along shoulder line, folding
under raw edges.
have a funky little fold/lip of fabric at the neck. Trim out these pieces to smooth neck
Apply the Collar:
collar in half along its length. If you are using a gauzy fabric, cut a piece
of interfacing the size of the folded piece out of any non-stretch scrap you
have handy. Broadcloth or muslin is excellent.
each end with a ¼" seam allowance, catching in interfacing if you're using it.
Turn and baste interfacing to one side of collar.
the center and quarters of the collar.
- - Mark center back of shirt neck. The centers of the neck gussets are your quarter marks.
neckline of shirt to match the collar and baste into place along interfaced edge of collar. (If you're not interfacing, just pick one side of the collar or the other.) Leave the gusset
sections flat - do not gather. I usually use a needle and thread and a quick
running stitch for this, gathering and basting all in one go.
- - Once you've checked the basting seam and adjusted gathers as you like them, machine stitch with a ½" seam allowance.
stitch interior edge of collar into place, catching in raw edges of seam
Hem and Hem Gussets:
- - Turn shirt wrong side out, folding at shoulder.
down 11" from fold and stitch the side seam, leaving a 4-6" opening at the
- - Fold hem gussets into triangles.
- - Set the gussets into the tail/hem slit by sewing up one side of the triangle, pivoting at the apex of the triangle (which should align with side seam), and sewing down the other. Here's a terribly fuzzy picture of the affair:
- - Fold in raw edges of tail slit. Press and stitch into place.
- - Turn up hem front and back and stitch, enclosing raw edges.
Assemble the Sleeves:
one edge of sleeve gusset to edge of sleeve piece (join at the part of the
sleeve that will be the underarm area).
gusset out and stitch to other side of sleeve, continuing seam down the length
of the sleeve, leaving 4-5" open at the bottom.
assembled, your sleeve should look like this:
- - Hem the cuff opening by turning in raw edges and stitching in place.
cuffs to sleeve using the same method you used to attach the collar to the
neck. As before, interfacing with a lightweight fabric is optional.
Attach the Sleeves (it's almost done, I promise!):
- - Mark top of sleeve (the fold opposite the point of the gusset), and quarter sleeves. Mark the correlated points in the sleeve opening.
sleeve to fit sleeve opening and baste in place.
the fit and your gathers, and machine stitch into place.
Buttonholes (Sort of optional):
- Since most pirate dress-up involves keeping things loose and rakish, you're probably not going to be buttoning your collar and cuffs anyway. If you're pressed for time or just don't feel like it, skip it! (You can always add them later.)
- If you do wish to complete your look with buttonholes and buttons, stitch a buttonhole large enough to accommodate your choice of buttons on each back cuff edge, and two buttonholes on the left side of the collar (as you're facing it), one close to the base of the collar and one approx 1.5" down from the top edge. As always, play with these measurements to suit your fancy.
There! You've done it!
Remember, being piratey means making your own way in the world. If you want to change up your shirt to suit your own style, by all means do so! Skip the hem gussets if you like. Make the sleeves shorter or longer. Add lace at the neck and sleeves. (Nerd note: historically, the delicate lace would be set into a fabric casing which was basted onto the garment openings. The lace could then be removed for washing to prevent damage.)
Chart your own course -- there's nothing truer to your inner pirate!
One of my cardinal rules when it comes to costumes: never forget the importance of headgear. A perfectly lovely ensemble sometimes gets lost in the crowd if it doesn't have the right touch of zazz to top it off.
The top hat is a costume classic - but no one wants to wear the same old chapeau from the party store that everyone else has! So, here's a not-so-quick little tutorial on how to cover your standard felt top hat and make it something special. All you need is:
- a hat
- a yard of fabric (you'll have tons left over to make a handbag or pocket square)
- a needle (curved is best)
- about a yard of 1" grosgrain ribbon (again, leftovers)
- tacky glue.
And of course, whatever bits and bobs you want to embellish your finery and really make it extraordinary. One word of note up front: this project is heavy on the hand sewing!
BEFORE YOU START: Remove any trim, edging, etc. from your hat. You want just the hat, nothing else!
1. Trace the crown and brim of your hat onto paper. Since most brims have been steamed to curl up slightly on the edges, make sure you get as flat a tracing as possible so your pattern won't run small. Inside the oval you traced for the brim, center the crown and trace it again. Add about 1/2" seam allowance to the edges of your tracing to create your pattern.
2. Measure the height and circumference of the sides of your hat. On the bias, cut a piece of fabric just a little larger than these measurements (1/2" extra on all sides is a safe plan). This is the first element we'll fit to the hat, and it will probably require a few passes to get it just right.
3. Sew the side piece closed and wiggle it down onto your hat so the seam sits at the back of the hat. Adjust as needed. You want it to be fairly taut. If your hat tapers towards its top, you will need to angle your seam slightly.
4. Cut 2 brim pieces from your fabric. I generally try to cut on the bias, but you have some leeway if you need to rotate things a little.
5. Snip around the interior circle of your brim pieces. I normally snip a little more conservatively on the piece that will go on the underside of the hat.
6. Place your top brim piece onto the hat, and fold under the bottom edges of your side piece so they cover the raw edges of the brim fabric.
7. Hand stitch the side fabric to the brim. This is where a curved needle will really save your sanity.
8. Stitch the edge of the brim fabric down to the edge of the hat. if you can manage doing so with a sewing machine, it will go faster. If your hat is uncooperative, you may have to do it by hand. This is a basting stitch, so no need to worry about perfection!
9. Cut 1 crown piece from your fabric.
10. Lay the crown piece onto the crown of the hat. Tuck the raw edges into the fabric on the side of the hat, folding the side fabric under as neatly as you can. Hand sew the crown in place. I find this is one of those times that pinning is my friend. It allows me to get a nice tight fit arranged before I start stitching.
11. Stitch the lower brim fabric onto your hat at the outer edge the same way you did the upper brim.
12. Trim the brim fabric so it matches up to the edge of the hat's brim. This is normally the time I start thinking, "Hey! This actually looks like a hat!"
13. Cut a piece of bias approximately 2.5" wide, and long enough to go around the outer edge of your brim (plus 5-7 extra inches, for safety). This can be pieced if you don't have one strip long enough to do the whole job.
14. Sew the bias to the top of your brim, lining up one long raw edge with the brim's edge. You'll want to fold your bias at the beginning. This is another time the sewing machine will make your life easier. (Thanks Elias Howe!) This seam should be as neat as possible, so if you go the hand-sewing route, be sure to take your time and make your stitches as even as you can.
15. Fold the unstitched edge of the bias over the brim edge to the underside of the hat. Play with where you wish to place the fold until you like the look of things. This becomes more important if you are using a contrasting fabric for your binding. Hand stitch the bias binding to the underside of the brim as carefully as you can.
16. Flip the hat so the interior is exposed to you. Check to see how well the snipped edges of the brim's interior edge fold into the hat. Adjust clipping as needed.
17. Run a bead of glue (any tacky glue works fine) all along the interior of the hat, then push your raw edges down into it. Be careful not to get glue on the exposed parts of your chapeau! I like to wrap another hat with plastic wrap and snug it inside the hat I'm working on to ensure that the fabric adheres smoothly into place. Any object you can find that will apply light pressure to the inside of the hat will also work.
18. Time for a break! You've gotta give the glue some time to dry, so make a snack, watch television, go to the movies, or doze off. Drying times vary depending on glue and fabric, so give it a while. If you're feeling crazy industrious, you can always start another project.
19. Once the glue has dried, hand sew your grosgrain ribbon to the interior of the hat, overlapping the ends by an inch or so. You're so close!
20. EMBELLISH TIME! This is always the fun part. Add a pretty hat band. Feathers are always fab. Silk or fabric flowers, crazy birds, that weird bauble you bought with no plan -- now is the the time to let your inner milliner run free!
Voila! You are now a hatter, and not a hint of mercury poisoning. ;)
For this project, I used dupioni silk. My other example hat features black velvet and tulle with various trims I had in my stash.
Tune in next week for another project for your costume trunk! It's themed in honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day, so if you've ever dreamed of life as a seafaring scallywag (and really, who hasn't?), it'll be right up your alley!