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).


Monday, May 13, 2019

SOM Costumes - Nightgowns and Pajamas

"One little girl in a pale pink coat . . ."

I know I posted in January that I would be making costumes for Sound of Music and I thought I would be able to post as I made the costumes through the Spring.  Uh, not possible.  So now I can go back after the production is over and go through the various costumes I made.

In the musical, the Von Trapp children gather in Maria's bedroom during a thunderstorm to sing "The Lonely Goatherd."

These were the first costumes I made because they were the easiest.  Bright colored cotton nightgowns in the same pattern from Simplicity:

This was a great opportunity to clear some of my cotton stash and the rest I found at my favorite discount fabric store in Phoenix - SAS Fabrics.  Because I already had the pattern and some of the fabric, I was able to make all 7 Von Trapp kids nightclothes for about $4.00 per costume!

The boys' pajamas were even more interesting because I was able to find plaid cotton pajamas in men's sizes at Goodwill on half-price Saturday (about $3.00 each).  It's almost easier to choose pajamas that are several sizes too big because cutting them down is not a precise endeavor.  I took measurements at the chest, waist and hips, as well as the rise (waist to crotch).  Then the cutting began.  You want to keep the stuff that is hard to reproduce - collar, lapels and buttons, sleeves and sometimes the waistband (although I didn't use the waistband on either set I altered).  

First I cut off the sleeves right above the seam.

Then I cut a few inches on each side of the torso from the side seams.  Don't bother to open the seams when you are cutting this much, just cut the whole seam off (with an inch or two on the front and back) and then resew a new seam on each side.

For the pants, I had to convert them from an adult large to a boy's large.  That required cutting off the waistband (because of the size of the waist and the rise between the waist and crotch being too large); cutting some of the width of the legs and cutting length from the bottom.

I turned the pants inside out and then folded them so the crotch was on one side and the side seams were opposite.  Then I was able to cut just an inch or two from both legs (make sure you need to cut that much!).  I needed to cut off the waistband, but had to leave enough length above the crotch to create a new casing for a new elastic waistband.

Once I finished with the other parts of the pants, I cut off the length to fit.  And that's it!

This project was perfect for me because the combination of creating something new and upcycling is very satisfying.  This was a great start to the other costumes too because I started with the easiest Von Trapp costume.  Only 4 more sets to go!


Monday, January 21, 2019

The Hills Are Alive - With Some Costume Making!

Welcome to 2019!  I'm excited to tell you about my first adventure in sewing this year - making costumes for The Sound of Music for Ville de Marie's first musical!  Yeah!  My husband agreed to direct and I jumped on the opportunity to be the costume mistress.  I'm familiar with the show, but after reading the script, I was a little intimidated with the number of costumes and how costume-driven the plot is in this show!  So, with a minimal (no) budget, I'm challenged to make/buy costumes for a full musical!

The show isn't until May, so you will see a number of posts about the various costumes I have to make.  I work full time outside of the home, so I will be mostly a weekend warrior!  (I'm sure I will have some help on some things, so don't worry - I'll survive.)  The difficulty with The Sound of Music is that the 7 Von Trapp children need several matching sets of costumes.  Combined with 5 nuns in full habit and that makes for a lot of fabric.  I started with my own Pinterest board "Sound of Music" where I have collected and categorized the various costume ideas I could find (and there were many!).  Feel free to peruse for ideas and follow me on Pinterest!

In addition to some full costume construction from fabric, I'm hoping to upcycle and adapt some inexpensive new clothing items.  I'm excited about this challenge - stay tuned to see the updates.