Holly: September 2010 Archives
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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!
There was not much engineering to be done - it was just a simple ribbon with a velvet back and 1/4" elastic sewn to it. And it was $15. Ok, here's where I admit I'm a little bit of a cheapskate. If I think I can make a thing (sometimes even if it will take me a long time and a great deal of thought) I will never pay for it, aside from supplies. I don't know why. I just can't help it. There was simply no way on earth I was going to pay $15 for something that required - at most - $4 of raw materials. Especially because it was an insanely easy thing to make. Plus, I didn't even know if they really were non-slip or not. (It turns out they really, really are.)
So, here's how to make my version:
1. Cut 2 lengths of ribbon 14" long.
2. Cut 2 lengths of Velvet Ric Rac Ribbon 14" long
3. Cut 1 piece of 1/4" elastic 7" long
(These measurements are for an adult noggin - you may want to adjust for kids or bigger/smaller heads.)
4. Stitch the 2 pieces of Velvet Ric Rac Ribbon side-by-side on one of the pieces of regular ribbon. This will be the interior of your headband. If you wish, you can use a basic ribbon like a grosgrain for your backing and save that extra fashion ribbon for another yummy project (or a second headband for a friend).
5. Place your 2 pieces of fashion ribbon right sides together with your elastic sandwiched in the middle. Stitch each end.
6. Flip your ribbon right side out and edge stitch the two pieces of fashion ribbon together along each long side.
No joke, it took me longer to type this than it does to make one. I have field tested these numerous times, and the one shown here (which I made last night) was immediately used for an hour long run, and never moved! Hooray!
This is a great project for kids or new stitchers - because it's so easy, quick and useful, it's a great way to build sewing confidence.
While the impetus for this project came from a runner's need to tame a flyaway mane, these headbands can be made with adorable flowers and butterflies for the perfect fairy hair accessory, or you can add a bit of glitz to glam it up for a special event or night on the town. I suspect many of my friends will be receiving these for holiday gifts this year!
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!