Thursday, September 24, 2015

How to Adapt a Regular Sewing Pattern into a Costume

Our busiest season is upon us—Halloween!  This is one of our favorite times of year, because we really get to help our customers get creative with their costuming and decorating.  We've been busy stocking our shelves with fun novelty fabrics, colorful felt, sewing-alternative glues, sparkly trims, and of course, costume patterns!  This year, we have great new patterns for superheros, Cinderella, Ninja Turtles, Minions, and more.


While the major pattern companies make a ton of costume patterns, there's no way they could make a pattern for every single costume.  So what if you can't find a costume pattern to fit your idea?  And what if you don't want to spend the money on a pattern you'll only use once?  Why limit yourself?

There's absolutely no reason you can't use a regular pattern to make a costume!  You may already have a suitable pattern, or you can buy a pattern that you can actually use again.  Many sewists get intimidated by the idea of using a pattern for a purpose other than its intended, but it's not that scary, we promise!

Check Out That Line Drawing

Sewing patterns will include a line drawing, showing the style lines and basics of construction from the front and back.  These are also called "flats."  This image will be the starting point when picking a pattern.  It's easy to get distracted by pictures of the completed garment, which can hinder our ability to re-imagine the pattern done in a different way.  But the line drawing gives us a blank slate on which to add our creativity!

Basic = Better

A lot of moms have made their little girls' costumes from the Fairy Tale Dress pattern by Oliver + S.  It's a beautiful pattern with a classic silhouette, making it super easy to customize.  And, since it's a great basic dress pattern on its own, you can use it again!

Just choosing the right fabrics alone can make this dress a perfect costume!  Blogger Dasha made this adorable Dorothy outfit for her daughter using a blue gingham.


You can customize this pattern even more with a few simple alterations.  Queen of the Flies shows us how by just changing up the skirt and cutting the hem as shown, this makes a perfect Tinkerbell!


This dress pattern is super popular for costume making, and we definitely recommend checking out Oliver + S's flickr and Pinterest to see more!

Bodysuit Customizing

Coveralls and bodysuits make good starting points, since you can easily add design elements.  Again, thinking of the pattern as a blank slate helps.  We found pictures of an awesome Boba Fett costume using Kwik Sew 3389, which is an coveralls pattern.  The costume creator added his own armor and a number of pockets to make this Star Wars costume great!


Here's a perfect example of how a simple pattern can become something fantastic:  this perfect Storm costume from Kwik Sew 3052.  By eliminating the sleeves, appliqueing the gold parts, and adding a cape, this costume is spot on.

 

Cut and Paste to Perfection

You may already have a pattern that could work for your costume idea, and you might not even realize!  Sometimes all you need to do is add or subtract a few details.  Blogger Deb used a number of Oliver + S patterns on her daughter's pirate costume, but she got really inventive with the pirate vest.  Rather than buy a vest pattern or go to all the trouble of drafting her own, she used the basic shape of the Sleepover Pajama top, which was such a smart choice!

Deb also used the Class Picnic top pattern and the Badminton skirt pattern.

Sometimes you have to "Frankenstein" your pattern a bit and combine some elements.  Sewist Shelley made quite the show stopper for her boy—this amazing Evel Knievel outfit!  Using The Nature Walk Pullover and Knit Pants pattern from Oliver + S, Shelley combined the top and bottom to make a jumpsuit.  By making the collar larger and adding the front zipper, this jumpsuit got some 70's flair.  So cute!!


Hopefully this helps you start your costume making process!  Whether you're making your child a quick costume they'll only wear once or you're making an intricate piece you plan to use for multiple cosplay events, there are patterns out there for you—and they aren't necessarily costume ones!

What are you planning on making this Halloween season?

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