Tuesday, 26 May 2015

A Pirate Costume

I got a request from my daughter to make Baby I a pirate costume. She will be wearing this to a wedding in August. (What kind of a wedding? Well, a pirate wedding I assume!)

Baby I is 15 months old, but, being tiny, is just moving from 6-9 month clothes to 9-12 month clothes. So I figured that by August I could aim for roomy 9-12 month clothes. Having tried out some of the finished items, I think they will fit her just fine. I've left in plenty of elastic in case last minute adjustments are needed.

Here's how I made them, so you could copy some of the ideas if you wanted to. Overall, the only cost was the socks, I made everything else out of bits I already had. However, if you wanted to reproduce the leatherette waistcoat in a similar material, and you didn't have anything you could use, then that might be a small cost.

First I made the T-shirt. This was actually an old nautical toddler-sized T shirt which my children's large Paddington Bear wore for a while. You can read below how I adapted it to pirate use.

The T-shirt before I started

I didn't think the Yachting logos on the front were quite right,  so I turned the T shirt back to front. (The back will be hidden by the waistcoat.) This would of course have meant the higher back neckline would be too high at the front, so I chopped it down lower than the old front (now the back).

The T-shirt turned back to front and neckline dropped

 I unpicked the ribbing first, and stretched it a bit to re-attach it to the new lower neckline. But the curve was now just a little too big for it to fit. Luckily I had some red bias tape in exactly the same colour, so I added on one inch at the shoulder end, figuring that it would hardly show under the waistcoat.

The little black marks added to the image show the start and end of the extra bit of bias tape - it's not that noticeable, is it?

And with the waistcoat on, I'd defy you to tell where the join is!

I decided not to paint the skull and crossbones directly on the fabric of the T-shirt, as I didn't know whether it would run - plus, the T-shirt might also work for other purposes without it on permanently. So I made the skull and cross bones by drawing on a piece of paper and transferring to a piece of white cotton material.If you are not sure about freehand drawing, print something off the internet - there are thousands of images available.

Once the design was sketched onto on the cotton material. If I'd had the right kind of 'write on material' pens, I would have inked in in. As I didn't, I just got on and embroidered it with chain stitch and satin stitch. Looks OK. It will be tacked it on to the the new front of the T shirt. But if you have fabric pens it would be a lot easier to draw it on the material.

The pattern for the waistcoat was drawn by tracing a sleeved T shirt to get the arm hole and back neckline, then I just drew a curve to make a bolero style of waistcoat. As I'd cut along the line of the pattern round this curve, I've had to stick it together again for the picture.

I already had the black leatherette leftover from a previous use for pirate boots for an adult fancy dress costume. The T-shirt hasn't yet got its embellishment of skull and crossbones at this stage.

Here's a tip: sewing leatherette isn't easy, as you can't iron it to get it flat. So I over-sewed the seams using a simple zig-zag on my machine, and it seems to flatten them nicely.

I found the striped socks at Mamas and Papas as a set of 3. The others had fishes and other designs on them as well, but fortunately this pair was plain stripes. 

We also already had some spotted handkerchiefs (red, navy, or black) we were given for some reason on a cruise ship. Perhaps that was also a pirate dress-up! This seemed like a better idea than a tricorn hat for Baby I - it may be slightly easier to keep her from pulling a bandana off. (Well, you can always hope!)

The favoured choice is for the black or red, as more 'pirate-y'.

Here are some of the accessories. The only one I don't yet have a picture of is the sash - red satin. Hopefully we'll have it on a picture of Baby I wearing the outfit in August, which I'll add to the blog then.

And finally the trousers. I found my other half had relegated a perfectly nice dark striped shirt to the bin, as 'the collar has gone'. This was swiftly rescued (it hadn't reached the recycling) and dismantled. The arms made the legs of the trousers.

Note that I've yet again used the 'Baby pants mystery pattern' I've blogged about elsewhere, that I haven't yet been able to acknowledge. Even though it's a small size (either 0-3 or 3-6 months) It's been quite easier to increase in size, and it's my favourite infant trousers pattern. I made them a bit wider than usual, and put elastic in round the bottoms, which should be mid-calf length by August.

The shirt sleeves weren't going to be quite long enough to make the full length of the trousers, so I made a double layer waistband with the stripes going the opposite way, cut from one of the shirt fronts. We actually like the effect of this, so I shall pretend it's what I was intending all along.

And finally, Baby I wearing her pirate costume. 

Except she wouldn't wear the headscarf! And here is she is standing up - except like any baby who has newly found her feet, she wouldn't keep still for a second. So she's a bit blurry.

Well, there is one concession she would make to wearing that headscarf - a hot day in the garden. But without the rest of the outfit. So you just have to imagine the whole outfit together.


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