Saturday, June 29, 2019

SOM Costumes - Sailor Suits!

"Do a deer, a female deer . . ."

What is more iconic than the Von Trapp children in their sailor uniforms?  This particular costume was pretty easy (and inexpensive).  First, the boys needed navy blue docker pants - very easy to find at Goodwill.  Likewise the girls needed navy blue school uniform skirts.  The high school girls at our school wear the uniform I wanted to use, so I only had to find some Goodwill versions for the younger girls - not too hard.  Pair that with white knee high socks and black shoes and the only thing left was the shirt.  The sailor shirt makes the outfit.  To make these shirts you need a white long sleeve crew neck t-shirt, about 1/2 yard of navy blue poplin or cotton fabric, about 1.5 yards of white satin ribbon 1/2" width and a package of white Velcro.

First, cut off the neck and sleeve cuffs. Turn the raw edges on the neckline under and sew so you have a finished edge on the neckline. (The second picture is before I turned the raw edges under.)


To make the sailor collar, start by measuring the shoulder width on the back of the t-shirt.  Then in the front, measure the center point of the neck opening diagonal to the shoulder seam.  Cut your navy fabric with the dimensions of shoulder width x diagonal measurement + 8".  For example, one of my shoulder widths was 16" and the measurement from the center of the front neckline to the shoulder was 8".  The result is a rectangle 16" x 16" (because I added 8" for the back).  Next you are going to cut out a neckline, using your t-shirt as the pattern on the navy fabric.  You also need to cut the curve of the neckline in the front.  When you're done, it looks like this:

To make your collar, cut two pieces of navy fabric in this shape and then sew them together, right sides facing, leaving a small opening on the collar so you can turn it inside out.

After you turn it inside out and close the opening by hand stitch, you can sew your ribbon about 1/2" from the edge and then another 1/2" inside of that.  Notice how the ribbons will overlap as you get to the front of the collar.  Use a lot of pins to keep it straight while you are sewing, and for a finished look, use navy blue thread in your bobbin so the white thread outline of the ribbons doesn't show on the wrong side of the finished collar.  Pin the collar on the neckline and sew. 

 To make the cuffs, cut the navy blue fabric into 2 rectangles, 2.5" x 10" (for each cuff).  Sew the two rectangles together, right sides facing, leaving a small opening to turn it inside out.  Using two pieces of fabric this way gives more body to the cuffs and makes the seams invisible.  

Apply two satin ribbons, turning them under the wrong sides on the ends so you don't see any fraying.

Now cut a small square from the Velcro (you will have one "loop" piece and one "hook" piece).  Sew the loop piece (it's the soft part of Velcro) to one end of the cuff on the right side, and the hook piece (it's the rough part of Velcro) on the other end of the cuff on the wrong side.  Looking at the right side of your cuff should now look like this:

The reason you are using Velcro instead of just sewing the closed cuff onto the t-shirt is because the t-shirt is made from a stretchy polyester and your cuff will not stretch.  Lay the cuff onto the sleeve and sew along the top edge so the entire cuff is over the sleeve.  Don't be surprised if the length of the cuff doesn't go all the way around the sleeve.  It will look fine.

If you need more help making the sailor collars, don't forget to check out my Pinterest SOM Costume Board where I found inspiration for all of my costumes (and detailed instructions as well).


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