Monday, October 24, 2011

The Costume Ordeal

So I had hoped to be blogging my progress on my Advent Calender, or maybe my Fall Table Runner for entry into Celebrate Color, but unfortunately I am STILL trying to finish a costume I had agreed to make a friend of mine a few weeks back, and man has this been an ordeal.  You see, my friend is doing an "All-Saints-Day" festival for the kids at her church.  She is dressing up like a nun, and her husband is going to dress up as St. Francis.  Her husband is about 6'3", and they could not find a costume to fit a man so tall, so she asked me how easy it would to sew up a simple tunic for him. I thought "Oh heck, shouldn't be hard at all! Nothin to it, sure I'll do it for you!" Well...having never sewed a garment before, and not having any sort of pattern, I should have thought this through a little more. But, oh well, no time to second guess this, I had to get started! We found a picture on line of the idea she had for it...

Yeah, so he's not supposed to look as creepy as this guy, but it gives the general idea of what we were going for.  My first step was to figure out how much fabric I would need...In some kind of crazy math, I came to the conclusion that I'd need about 6 yards.  After I had drawn up a lovely plan (ok, so it was a stick figure with a rectangle around it...) I ventured off to Jo-Anns for some cheapo brown cotton fabric and took it home to get started.  I cut out the part to be the robe itself with a hole for the head, and thought "Heck, this is going to be a cinch!"

 that's a whole lotta fabric....

I proceeded to measure out the shoulders and cut a spot for the arms, then I hemmed up the bottoms and sides, and thought now all I had to do was throw on some sleeves and a hood, bada bing, bada boom, we'll have ourselves a tunic!  I was quickly on my way to victory! I guess I got too confident too quickly, because this is where things started to go downhill...Did I mention that I was only going off of rough measurements, and wasn't able to actually put this on the person to make sure everything fit? I had my hubby try it on to give me an idea, but he's not near 6'3", so I was left to estimate...ALOT. 

On to the sleeves...I guesstimated a length, did my best to figure out how big the sleeve hole was to get the width, and cut myself a rectangle. Then, I cut it to curve with the arm hole, sewed it up so it was a tube, and proceeded to try to attach this thing...Needless to say, this was a disaster. Enter seam ripper. Maybe I needed to sew it on BEFORE I sew it into a tube...Nope, disaster #2...good thing I still had my seem ripper handy.  I started trying to think of a better way to do this, and finally decided I needed to maybe "google" how to attach a sleeve.  Yep, should have done it before sewing up the sides of the garment so it can lay flat to attach it. Alright, easy enough, nothin my good ole friend the seem ripper couldn't help me fix! So, garment apart, laying flat, I pinned and attached the sleeve. Success!!  Finally think I got it figured out, until I measured the length...dang, I had turned the rectangle the wrong way before I cut the curve, and wouldn't you know the sleeve is too short now...I attempted sleeve number two with the correct dimensions, and it was much better, so I felt confident to (ONE MORE TIME) rip the seams and redo the first sleeve.

Why hello there, BFF's...

Well by this time, I was running out of fabric, so it was off to Jo-Anns to get some more. 2 more yards should do it for one more sleeve and the hood.  I get home, cut out my rectangle for the other sleeve, and go to pin it on when I realized I had gotten the WRONG FABRIC!! Uuugggh you've got to be kidding me! Back to the store... (20 minutes away, mind you...) Grabbed myself 1 more yard of the RIGHT fabric (I figured I could use the other stuff for the hood thing, the color matched it was just a slightly different material).  I finally did get the second one attached, and I pinned up the sides to finish it off and turns out, the hems on the bottom don't match up! Duh...should have waited to hem the bottom... (hello again, seem ripper). Anyway, I finally got the sides all stitched up, evened out the bottom and hemmed it back up. PHEW! I don't really know what went wrong, but the armpit area wound up looking pretty wonky, but at this point...I was willing to let the slide so long as it fits him right.   

I packed it all up and brought it to my friend at work today so she can take it home to her hubby to make sure it fits, I made it extra long *just in case* so I'm expecting to have her bring it back so I can hem it up to final length. I'm still waiting to hear how it went...Tonight I made the hood, and surprisingly, that went together with no problems at all


God willing, this will all look good once its on and finished off with the rope belt. I hope to have a picture of him in it if all goes well.  One thing is for sure after this project, I now know that you can improv on some things, but garments (that other people are relying on you to make...) are not one of them! 

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