Thursday, September 27, 2012

Easy-peasy Pirate Belt Tutorial

This one's awesome because 1) it's so simple and 2) it can instantly transform a regular white or black top into a pirate costume.  In fact, I may make one for myself, so I can dress up with the girls (with minimal effort! bonus!).  In these pics, the belt is over the Puffy Pirate Shirt.

You can use any kind of fabric, but I used felt and my striped pirate knit fabric.


Measure the waist of the wearer.  Subtract 2 inches from that and cut 2 rectangles of your main fabric that are that width by 5".  For this belt, my wearer's waist is 20", so my rectangles are cut 18"x5".

Round out the corners on both rectangles.

Cut a strip of your coordinating fabric that is roughly 4 times your waist measurement by 3".  This doesn't have to be exact, but you want it long enough to ruffle slightly.  You can sew two or more pieces together if need be.

Fold your strip in half and press.  Then run a gathering stitch down the raw edge.  Ruffle till it will go around your entire main rectangle with a little overlap.

Sandwich ruffle in between your two main pieces, lining up all the raw edges.  Pin.  Overlap the ends of the ruffle piece.  If you want to fold over the ends, so no raw edges are showing, do that.

Sew around the rectangle, leaving an opening to turn it through.

You'll have this.  See my pins in the top left?  Those are holding the opening closed.

Flatten that sucker out and topstitch around the edge.  

Attach your grommets at the corners of  both sides of the belt, following manufacturers instructions.

Lace ribbon or small rope through, and you're good! :)

P.S.  If you don't have grommets, you can EASILY just sew a ribbon horizontally down the center of the belt and tie the ends in the front.  That's even easier-peasier!! :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Puffy Pirate Shirt-- Adjusting an Existing Pattern

Next up in the pirate costume series is the Puffy Pirate Shirt.
"But I don't want to be a pirate!"

Seinfeld, anyone?

For this one, we'll just be adjusting an existing peasant top to become an awesome puffy shirt.

So grab a pattern you like.  My Polky-Nots dress is a peasant top with short sleeves.  Go ahead and use that and just lengthen the sleeves, if you'd like!  Otherwise, there are a lot of great patterns/tutorials out there.

When cutting your pattern pieces out, you want to add 3 inches, straight up from where you would usually cut off the neckline.  I placed my straight edge on the sleeve piece, in the pic below, to show where you would usually make your cut.  You want to add 3 inches to both the sleeve pieces and the main/body pieces.

You also want to cut 4 facing pieces (two for the sleeves, to for the body) that are as wide as the top edge of your sleeve and body pieces and are 3" tall.  Again, if you look at the pic above, my sleeve piece is 8" (since it's folded in the pic), so my sleeve facings are 3"x8".

Sew your peasant top together as your pattern indications, sewing the curved edges together.  Also sew your facings together, using the same seam allowance.

Pin your facings, right side together, to the top of your main top.  Sew around the whole thing.

Then fold it over at the seam and press.  Also press the bottom edge under to eliminate the raw edge.  

Sew close to the edge, leaving a 1" gap through which you'll thread your elastic.  

The sew another line of stitches, this time all the way around, 1/2-inch higher than the first line of stitching.  Now you're casing is done! 

Now you can do the same thing for your sleeves, but cut 2-inch wide facings.  (It's also like this tutorial!)  Then finish your top as your pattern indicates, thread your elastic, and close up your casings!  Arrrrrrr!  You're done, matey!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pirate Queen Layered Skirt Tutorial

Part 2 of the Landlubbers' Guide to Pirate Wear!  For the corset top, go here! :)

When Riley chooses her clothes (which is almost every day) and when there are twirly skirts in her drawers (which is quite often), she will almost always emerge from her room, decked out in one of said skirts.

So as I was sketching out pirate costumes for all the cousins, I knew Riley would need to have a skirt... preferably a circle skirt for its amazing twirl-ability.  So here's what I ended up with.  It takes only a short amount of time (especially if you use knit that doesn't fray-- no hemming!!) and it's great for a classy, twirl-lovin' pirate.
** This tutorial is only for the overskirt and doesn't include the tulle underskirt (which is just tulle sewn onto elastic)**
black knit fabric
pirate stripes knit fabric (got mine at Jo-Ann's)
1-inch elastic, either red or black.

**My measurements are for a (skinny!) 4T skirt but can very easily be adjusted!**

Essentially, you just want to follow Dana's Circle Skirt tutorial, but one of your "circles" will be a square.

Fold your striped fabric in half horizontally then vertically.  Measure 10 inches from each edge and cut a 10" square. 

For your waist circle, consult Dana' s tutorial (from the link above).  My radius was 3.5".  Round out the corner of your square.  I wish I hadn't rounded mine quite as much.  Meh.

When you open it up, it'll look like this.  Make sure you forget to crop your pictures so that people will see your iPhone and know you have street cred.  Then mention how you KNOW you didn't crop your pictures, so everyone knows that you were way too lazy to go back and do anything about it.  

Now make a circle skirt with your black knit.  I measured mine out 14" from the center.  Use the same waist measurement you used for the striped piece.

Stack your striped square on top of your circle.

Cut your elastic for your waistband (mine was 20").  Sew together and sew the seams down.

Pin your two layers together, just so they stay put.  Then sew on the elastic how Dana taught you how!  Just make sure you're sewing through both skirt layers!

Easy, right?  And it's even better if you make a tulle underskirt, so it's twirly and full!  :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pirate "Corset" Top Tutorial

Shameless self-promotion... If you like this, can you vote for it at Instructables??  There's a little "Is this a winner?" button at the top!

Oh boy oh boy oh boy!  I finally got the costumes sewn and the tutorials ready!  Here's part one of the pirate costume "series"!  Behold, the pirate "corset" top!
red cotton fabric
black cotton fabric
trims-- including either small rope or tiny rick-rack
1/8-inch elastic

**My measurements are for a size 4T top, but with a very little work, you can adjust it to your size of choice!**

Cut out your pattern pieces.  They're all rectangles-- woohoo!

2-- black side panels, 9" x 11"
2-- red front and back panels, 6" x 11"
2-- red straps, 3" x 16"
(not shown) 1-- red ruffle, 4" by width of fabric (roughly 48")

Take one red front panel mark (I did it from the bottom), 1 inch up, then 4 more inches, then 4 more.  Do the same on the other side of that same panel.

 Cut 6 pieces of tiny rick-rack, about 3 inches each.  Loop them and pin them at the marks you just made.  You'll see that I like to leave a little tail, but make sure you take your seam allowance into account when judging the size of your loops.

Tack the loops in place, to make your life easier. :)

Place black panel, right sides together, to that panel and sew up the side.  Finish with a zig-zag.  Do the same with the other black panel on the other side.

Then sew your other red panel to the black panels so you have a loop.

Now cut a piece of fabric that is 3 inches tall and as wide as your loop, plus 1 inch for seam allowance.  This is the facing for your top.  Sew the short sides together and hem the bottom.

Fold the loop of your main piece in half.  Do the same with your facing piece.  Then cut out little arm grooves like this.  It doesn't have to be exact, but they'll be about 2 inches wide and 1 inch tall.  The TOP of your front panel piece should have the rick-rack that is only 1 inch away from the top.

Here's what your main piece will look like when opened up.  Scroll down a few pictures to see the facing piece as well.

Take your strap pieces and fold them in half.  Then stitch up the long sides and flip them right side out  (on the left is with the sides stitch.  on the right, I'm using my handy turner tool-- looks kind of like a chopstick).

Press your straps flat then pin your trim down the middle.  Sew the trim on.  With this particular trim, I used black thread, and you couldn't see it at all when I had finished.  You'll also notice that it frays.  Don't worry about this.  We cut the straps a little longer than we need, so we don't have to worry about it.

Okay, so let's check in... Here's what you have-- your main piece, your facing piece, your two straps.

At this point, for a cleaner look, I pressed my seams toward the sides then topstitched.  This also helps the rick-rack on the front panel to lie flat.  BE CAREFUL when you press close to your trim.  It may be made of polyester and will melt!  Try to avoid it!

Now-- straps.  Pin them so that there's enough room for a 3/8-1/2" seam allowance next to the arm grooves.  I actually just lined the edge of my trim up with the edge of my front panel to make my life easier.  

Baste them to the front of the top (it's not really necessary, but I like not having to mess with pins when I'm sewing the facing on).

Mark 7 inches down from the top of your strap.  You'll line this mark up with the edge of the back.

Turn your top right side out and line up that 7 inch mark with the back.  Pin (and baste, if you want to).

Place your facing over the straps, sandwiching them.  Pin all around.  See how you have excess straps on the back?  We'll trim it off later.  Sew together.

Turn right side out and press, again being careful around your trim.   Top stitch around the whole thing.

Grab your ruffle piece and sew the short sides together.  Hem the bottom and run a gathering stitch along the top.

Gather it so it's the same width as your top.

Pin, right sides together, and sew.

Flip it and voila!  We're so close to done!!

To give it a better fit, now we'll cinch in the back slightly.  Cut  7 pieces of 1/8" elastic, each measuring 3 inches.  (Apparently, I only took a picture of 6.  Whaddayaknow?!  I also guess I took this picture before adding the ruffle to my top.  Interesting...)

Starting at your topstitching line, on the back panel of your top, make marks 1.5 inches apart.  Do this on both sides of the back panel.

 Tack one side of the 1/8" elastic pieces to one side of the panels.  I did it all in one fell swoop-- didn't even bother to trim the threads in between.
  Once you have those all in place, place the other side of the elastic on the other mark.  Do a couple stitches and backstitch.  You'll see that your fabric will fold.  Pull it flat, so the elastic stretches.  Then sew a straight line down the elastic onto your flat fabric.  Do this will all 7 pieces.

It will gather the fabric up a little like so.  Don't worry if your stitches are a little wonky.  It won't be noticable from the front.

Flip it and it will look like this, which-- for some reason-- looks really pirate-y to me.  Why is that?!

Grab your rick rack or other trim and weave it through the loops you made in the front.

Leave enough for a little bow...

And there you have it!

Or, if you live somewhere warm, wear it on its own!

Tomorrow, stay tuned for the pirate queen layered skirt that Riley is wearing!