Nick Offerman American Flag Shirt Tutorial

Hello all!  It’s been a while since I’ve made a tutorial or really written anything. Turns out life is busy and I say yes to too many things. However one of those things I said yes to turned out pretty awesome and I wanted to share it with you all.

A close friend had asked me over a year ago to make him this shirt:

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Image result for nick offerman american flag shirt

I told him that it was possible to make and thought about how to make it, but was consumed with other projects. Time got away from us and almost a year passed before I looked at it again.

My reservations were that I don’t really make much men’s wear. I’ve made my brother an 19th century suit and a few odd men’s items, but that’s not really my thing. I enjoy making frilly gowns and feathery costumes, but a shirt?

Well it pleasantly surprised me.

I started with this Simplicity pattern and started modifying it to mimic this shirt. A few changes I made were to line the sleeves, neck and tabs with a paisley fabric like in the picture above and the personal changes I made were to make french seams instead of leaving a raw edge everywhere (seriously french seams are amazing– they don’t add a lot of labor and make it look so much better).

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an example of the finished french seam– this is the interior of the sleeve/shoulder

I ordered the red striped fabric from Etsy and it’s a duck fabric so it’s slightly heavy, but will be a nice weight for fall/winter wearing. The blue paisley I just got at Hancocks (before it went out of business *sob*) and that’s just a regular blue denim. I couldn’t find a denim with the right size stars so I bought a oil based fabric paint pen and a stencil. This however allowed me to place the stars in exactly the spot I wanted them in without having to think too much while cutting out and sewing. I put 2 layers of paint on them and heat set them. They might could have used 4 or 5 coats to get them as white, but they were still soft with 2 coats and I liked the faded look.

Here are a few photos of the process:

As you can see the red stripes are a little larger and farther apart than the original, but this was the closest I could find. The paisley is also a little more blue than the original, but it was what was available. If you live in a larger city than I do or have a better local fabric store (which I don’t really have one at all now– thanks Hancock’s) you might can find a better fabric, but this is what I had. I top stitched as much as I could — all shoulder seams, around the cuffs, etc, and I finished it with brass snaps. I’ve never really worked with snaps before and these turned out well, but I had to have my husband squeeze them together completely. I guess I should hit up the gym a little more.

Overall it was a pretty simple construction although the fabric was pretty expensive. Total cost for this shirt (fabric and snaps only) was around $70 so if you have to pay for labor on top of that this all of a sudden becomes a very expensive, yet very patriotic shirt.

However my friend loves it and I fully expect him to get every penny’s worth out of it!

 

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If that’s not a happy face I don’t know what is!

A few pattern notes:

This pattern was well put together and easy to follow. However as I stated above I added the french seams because raw edges drive me crazy. You could also use a serger, but although I have a nice serger I don’t like to finish clothes that will be worn often with a serger.

So take your time, finish those edges– believe me it’s worth it.

What happens when I decide to make a Pilgrim costume for my child? Well. . .

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Hester Prynne

Hester Prynne

I embroider a red A to her chest and take photos of her with her baby doll. Because that’s normal. Hopefully when she get to high school and reads The Scarlet Letter she will find this amusing and not reason for therapy.

On a sewing note I used Simplicity 3725 and it was super easy and went together well. You know, just in case you need an Hester Prynne costume a pilgrim costume for your kid.

Pink Ariel Dress Tutorial

I had already planned on making my daughter a Cinderella gown for her 4th birthday and to take to Disneyland this Christmas, but then a friend of mine asked if I could make Ariel the Little Mermaid’s pink gown for her daughter for a Christmas present.  Evidently the pink one isn’t as readily available and Etsy has them for the low low price of $300.  So after some Googling I decided that I could alter my Cinderella pattern to be able to make both dresses at once.  And then of course decided that I couldn’t make just one pink satin dress and then, in my daughter’s eyes, get rid of it.   So here’s how I did it.  I tried to break it down  as simple as possible, but if you don’t understand something, just ask!

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I used Simplicity Pattern 2817  and then just made adjustments to make it look like the Ariel dress. A 3 year old doesn’t need so much cleavage (or really any), but I do think that puffed sleeves and skirt volume is a must.  I used a costume pink satin and then used a stiffer white special occasion fabric to add body.  I added a crinoline to my daughter’s, but the one I sold didn’t have one so I wanted it to have enough shape to not look limp while she was playing in it.  I didn’t want to add tulle because although tulle is cute, it’s itchy and bunches.

I made the top just as it instructed, but I would recommend cutting the front piece on the fold of the fabric. I don’t understand why they want you to sew that together.  I did it with this dress, but not when I made the Cinderella one.Just keep in mind that you need to shift the pattern off the fold the length of the seam allowance or it will make the front bigger than the stated size.  Unless that’s what you’re going for. I also added interfacing down the back because I didn’t put in buttons, but eyelets and lace. Here’s photos of progress so far:

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I lined it in the stiffer white.  Lining is a lot cheaper, but like I said I wanted this to hold up and the pink satin wasn’t real sturdy. Also I top stitch everything that could ever possibly need it.  I think it looks neater and helps hold everything together.

Now we come to the part where I changed things.  I wanted puffed slashed sleeves so I used the sleeve pattern for the Snow White dress instead of the Cinderella sleeves.  That means a different sleeve and it also had an armband at the bottom of the puff.  Now I cut out 2 pink and 2 white.  You don’t really have to cut the white into the sleeve shape, I just found that easier to keep track of everything.  So what you do is you then cut all the sleeves into strips and sew the white strips in.  That makes sense right?  Well here are some visual explanations:

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I stack them all up and then cut them together so both sides match.  The thing to make sure is that it starts and ends in pink and that you keep the pink strips in order.  You will use ALL pink strips, but not all the white ones.  This method kinda wastes fabric, so if you have a better idea– DO IT!  OK once they are sewn together they will look kinda messy, but don’t worry, we’ll fix that.

The next step is to sew the pink sections together at the top and bottom leaving the space in the middle open.  Now it should look more like the original sleeve, but it will have white sections like Ariel.  Turn the sleeve over and trim and clean up the white.  Right here is when a serger comes in handy.  It cleaned up the area and cut off the white at the same time.  Here’s what you should have now:

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DO NOT ATTACH THE SLEEVES YET! Ariel has long sleeves so after I sewed the arm banding on the bottom of the sleeve I added a long pointed sleeve.  You can make this pattern but making the top as wide as the arm banding, from the middle of the banding measure down how ever long you need the sleeve to be plus 1/2 inch, then 1/2 inch below the bottom draw a line as wide as you need the wrist to be (make sure it will be loose enough), connect the ends of the wrist line to the ends of the armband lines.  Once again that’s really confusing so here’s a picture:

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I then finished the pointed end of the sleeve then attached it to the same seam where the sleeve and armband meet.

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OK then just attach the sleeves as the regular pattern calls for it just make sure that you have the armband facing the right direction.  Believe me (not that I would make that mistake– *cough cough*).  Now you have this!

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Yay!  It’s starting to look like more than a mess of fabric!

So I’m sure you see the skirt next to her on the dress form.  The pattern has 2 parts for the skirt, a side and back piece and a front piece.  For this dress I cut all pieces out in the white and cut out another set of side/back pieces in the pink to make an overskirt.  I sewed the pieces of the white together like the pattern asked, then sewed the two pink ones together, then attached the pink and white at the top of the skirt leaving an inch free at the edge of the pink that meets the center front piece (that way I could finish the edge down the front easily.  I had this:

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looks fantastic right?  OK not so much, but trust me on this.  I trimmed up the front of the pink so that it had a more sloping gradual opening then I attached the skirt to the top.  The white front piece I gathered between the darts on the top  and then distributed and gathered the pink the rest of the way around.  Ta da!  You’re almost done!

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I have serged all my edges which makes the hemming a lot easier.  I made the pink skirt shorter than the white to reflect the Ariel dress a little more.  After I was all done hemming I added the eyelets and just used pink ribbon.  I like to mark all the eyelets on one side and then do the other.  I find that makes them look much more even then trying to do both sides at one time.  Here’s the back:

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This dress is the one I sold and she is a couple sizes bigger than my daughter, so that’s why I left the ribbon long and the dress is a bit big.  I also had issues getting my little girl to stand still.  I’ll try posting some more detailed shots when she wears this in Disney.  Surely she’ll get tired and sit still at some point right??

Here’s some more photos and if you want to know how I made my super easy, non itchy crinoline keep reading.

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OK for the crinoline I bought an old square dance crinoline on eBay and cut it to be 4 inches wider than what she needed it to be, serged the back together leaving the cotton portion open for easy on and off, ran some twill tape through the old elastic casing and voila!

It’s soft and washable.  I can use it with any of her gowns.  Cause, yes she has gowns.  Speaking of which pictures of her Cinderella gown will be up soon.

Robin Hood and Maid Marian: A Journey from Sherwood Forest to Hollywood

So I have shown you how big of a nerd I am when it comes to cosplay and that I’ve dragged my family into it too (more than once).  Therefore it shouldn’t be surprising to you to know that I’m quick to throw together a costume for my kids with the slightest provocation.  A few weeks ago my son had me come running into the living room expecting a broken bone, swarming bees, or at least a large spider.  When I got there it turns out he was just screaming because he was so excited about The Hub’s new Halloween contest and we had to enter.  Not only did we have to enter, but we needed to win because he wants that $25,000 for a new Bruder truck (evidently an expensive Bruder).

After reading all the rules I realized that of course none of the costumes that I made for Dragon*Con qualified and I would need to make something new.  After much deliberation I decided on doing Robin Hood and Maid Marian.  Not the Disney version so much as the Errol Flynn.

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While I was making it I had to continually show Langley pictures of this Robin Hood to let him know that it was OK that he wasn’t wearing green from head to foot (once again he stressed me the importance of winning).  What do you think?

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Doesn’t he look like a stunning Robin Hood?  The boots and bow are from Amazon, the white undershirt and pants from Target, but the arm guards, vest, green undershirt, hat and quiver I made.  It is very loosely based on Simplicity pattern 5520, but I made many many changes and additions to it.  The hat I made just messing around and the quiver is a wine gift box covered in fake leather.  I was really happy with the results.

Now on to Gillian’s.  Her Maid Marian is 100% Simplicity pattern 5520.  Well by 100% I mean 95%– I added a gold circlet crown, made the arm bands wider and made it a little more fitted (but it is somewhat adjustable so it will fit her as she grows).  She picked out the fabric so it’s a little gaudier than I was looking for, but she loves it.  And by she loves it I mean that she would wear it every second of every day if I let her.  Which It wouldn’t surprise me if we made a few Target runs in it.  Whatever.  I spent that much time making it, I should let her get as much wear out of it as possible.

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I don’t have to WIN to make Langley happy, I just need to get to Hollywood.  That means I just have to be better than everyone else in Tennessee.  I don’t know that mine is better than everyone’s over all, but I really really hope that no one else in the Volunteer State put this much time or effort into their costumes.  The Hub’s website lets you view the other entrant’s costumes and I would say that perhaps only 15 or so are this fabulous, so here’s hoping that all of those people are good Midwestern folk.  Or perhaps Yankees.  Either is fine with me.  I have my fingers crossed and have a feeling that if we don’t make it to the semi-finals that I might be buying a broken hearted boy that new Bruder truck he’s been wanting.

Our submission

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Shirley Temple Inspirations

I’ve always loved Shirley Temple. Like as long as I can remember I have thought she was the most amazing person ever and I don’t know that my has opinion has changed at all over the years. I still cry every single time her mom dies (yes it happens every movie) and smile when she sings and dances. My Shirley Temple obsession + giving birth to a blonde little girl+ my love for costumes inevitably led to this photo shoot:

Inspiration:
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Homage:

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Inspiration:
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Homage:

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Inspiration:
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Homage:

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All my homage photos were taken by Malland Photography who I am heartbroken is moving to Louisiana, but am so happy she squeezed this shoot in before her relocation.  I am a little jealous that my baby got to pretend to be Shirley Temple for a few hours.

Become A Star For A Day

DragonCon is over.  Another year of costuming, staying up too late, getting up too early, exposing my son to something that is somehow both awesome and inappropriate at the same time, and what is most amazing: feeling like a star.

I had someone ask me why do this.  Not just why I go (even though I think that they had doubts about that as well), but why I spent so much time and money on making costumes for this event.  At the time I didn’t really know the answer.  After seeing the amazing creations last year I thought that I had the ability  to create something amazing so I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.  That may have been my reason for starting, but I know my reason (and I think other’s reason) to continue.  It was amazing to have people stop me in the halls and ask for my photo.  It’s what I would imagine being famous feels like, except at the end of the day I got to shower and turn into myself again.

OK so Steampunk Supernatural went over well.  I had more people “get” it than I thought I would (I think a whopping 10 people that didn’t have to ask who we were– which was about 8 more than I expected) and had a lot of compliments just on the general awesomeness of it.  I got recognized by someone who reads my Tumblr which made my day and then I also got to do a CNN photo shoot about rule 63.

However, it wasn’t until I was dressed as Snow White that I began to feel the awesomeness.  No explanation was needed here.  In a sea of Ariels, Auroras, Tinkerbells and Cinderellas it was easy to stand out of the crowd.  It took me twice as long to get anywhere, I got called the wrong princess’ name numerous times, but I loved every second.  While on the Walk of Fame I even had “Once Upon a Time” star Raphael Sbarge ask ME for a picture!  Yeah that was pretty awesome.

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When I walked by small children I could hear there excited whispers and I watched them gather the courage to talk to me.  It truly was magical.  To them I was  Snow White just like for my son every Spider-Man or Captain America we passed was, in his eyes, THE superhero.   It’s an amazing feeling and I can see why people go to numerous cons a year and spend thousands on costumes.  Do I think it’s as competitive as “Hero’s of Cosplay” portrays it– no, not for the average congoer, but it’s crazy the things people can construct. create and imagine that makes cosplay special.

So if you still don’t understand why I recommend you hit up the nearest con (a larger one to guarantee that you’ll get to see some awesome costumes) and do some people watching.  Maybe you’ll get it then.

Check out some of the highlights of my weekend: