October 20, 2009

A pretty blue fairy costume. Maybe.

We get this adorable catalog, chasing fireflies. They have clothes, also some really fun costumes.
E found a costume that she kept going back to saying, I want to be this blue fairy for Halloween.
It is really pretty. Sorry for the nasty picture, I can't find the costume on the site, I don't know why.
I was surprised by her decision only because she's been saying that she was going to be a mermaid since the day after last Halloween. But she stuck with it, so I went on a quest for powder blue sequined material. Couldn't find it. I called stores, I searched online. Then I did find it. For three times what I was willing to pay, and that was without shipping. So, one day we walked into Joann's, and I had her pick from the selection they had there. She choose Hot Pink. Not pink, Hot Pink. Then it was my job to find a pattern for the leotard. I went through my multitude of patterns(remember I've inherited from three other sewers, so I have a plethora) I found a vintage halter top bathing suit in a size 3, and a current dress- size 5, whose bodice was the same as the picture. I tried to talk her into the halter top, she wasn't feeling it, to my dismay. The next step was to combine the two patterns, which were different sizes, different eras, different styles. It was little consolation that they were both from Simplicity.

I wasn't sure how this was going to go, so instead of using pattern paper I used tissue paper, not bad, as a matter of fact. Then, I cut my fabric, reminding myself all the while that I had bought twice what I would need, should there be an oopsie-daisy. I sewed the two pieces together(sides, shoulders, crotch) then I held it up to the light.
Hhmm, I guess I need to go get some lining for this. But not today, to much to do, and I thought I'd give you a tutorial on combining patterns.

On to the tutorial!

This is how you combine two separate patterns. This one is fairly easy, as I'm more superimposing one top over another. Since they are different sizes, there's some guesswork, and that's the hard part.

Step 1 Line up the straight edge of the two patterns-this is the part that would be on the fold for the front piece or where the zipper opening will be on the back piece. If the back is not a half piece, fold it so that it is in half, and use the fold as your straight edge.
Step 2 Most patterns have the waistline marked. Find this small line on each piece.

Step 3 Line up the waistlines of the two pieces-the little lines may not be in the same place, do the best you can.

Step 4 Tape them together!

Step 5 This is where it can get tricky. Read-difficult. If one piece doesn't have the same shape as the other, which one do you follow? The one that is the shape you want. This is supposed to be a leotard, so I'm going to follow the bathing suit. Lay your patterns down on tissue paper or pattern paper, and pin down. You have a few options for transferring to the pattern paper, trace with a pen/pencil, use a roller marker, or just cut it without transferring it.
I used a pen and where there was tape in the way, a roller marker.
**How did I know where to mark since the bottom of the pattern is two sizes to small? Note the distance between the size you need and the size of the pattern. You can eyeball it while you're marking, or you can measure. Most patterns have 1/4" space between the next size up on the sides, 1/4" to 1/2" on sleeve curves, shoulders and necklines.
Step 6 Measure your new pattern. I forgot to do this and had to take most of my stitching out, since the pattern was several sizes to wide, but fine on the length. For accuracy, measure each piece at the waistline mark. I want a pattern that fits a 21 1/2" waist, so I want my pattern measurements to add up to 23". Remember the seam allowance, so if you cut your pattern to the exact measurements(in my case, 21&1/2"), it's going to be to small. This is a child's outfit, I'd like the option of letting out the seams to make it last a little longer, so I use a 5/8" seam allowance. Most times, 1/4" to 1/2" seam allowance is all you need.
Here's the math-(don't worry, if you can say 1 and 1/2 yards, you can do this!!!)
Front Measurement ____ X 2=a
(The front is cut on a fold, double the amount to get the full width)
Back Measurement_____X2=b
(again, this is half the width, so double it)
Now, a___+b___=total width of pattern.
Need an example? Here you go.
Front 6.5 X 2 =13
Back 7 X 2 =14
13 + 14 =27
Yeah, like I said, several sizes to wide. How to fix this? Simple.( I promise, it's simple!)
First, take the measurement for the size it's supposed to be, then the measurement for what it is, and subtract the smaller number from the larger-
27 - 23 = 4
If your pattern was to small, this is how much you need to add. If your pattern was to big, this is how much to need to subtract. If you need to add, you will be starting over, this time laying the too-small pattern on your paper and using that as a template to make the correct sized pattern. If your pattern is to big,you can follow the outline of the pattern, or cut off the straight edges. If you cut the straight edge, take into consideration any area that won't be trimmed by cutting the straight edge-necklines, arm holes, etc. These will need to be cut to to be a match with your new overall width. Also, make sure you remember that there are two pieces, don't just cut the whole amount from one piece-in this, it definitely takes two to tango. If you cut 4 inches off of the front, but not the back, the side seams will be out of place, same thing if you cut from the backa nd not the front.
Divide the difference by 2-
4 / 2 = 2
That number is how much you will be adding to or subtracting from each piece. As I said, the easy way to subract is to cut from the straight edge, sometimes you need to trim from around the entire pattern, just depending on how fitted the pattern is. Not to name names, but a Vogue pattern can't just be trimmed in one spot, and most times the bodice is in four thousand pieces anyways. I get a headache just thinking about it. In my case, I had the fabric cut, so I trimmed from the outside. I also knew that the neckline was to high for the look we wanted so I trimmed that as well. I've told you how, now, cut your fabric, and see how you've done!!
Happy Thoughts!

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