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Halloween Costume Sewing Tip #10

2017 October 10

Halloween Sewing Tip #10:

Use all the fun and unique machine settings. Embroider, add text – be creative!

If you are anything like me, you default to what you know best. Using straight, common stitches and expanding to zig-zag when the need arises! With this last costume tip I want to encourage you to try out some of the fun stuff your machine can do.

Costumes allow you to be creative, even a little silly! Too much embellishment is never a problem. Use the opportunity to try out something new. Add a row of that decorative stitch you’ve been wanting to try or some Halloween text if your machine has a built in alphabet.

I recently found some glow in the dark embroidery thread at my local fabric store (on sale!) and thought it would make a fun Halloween themed project. The embroidery function on the Skyline S9 made quick work of the simple text I wanted. It has yet to turn it into the candy-basket I’m envisioning. But, how fun is it that it glows! And I’m pretty sure any child would be over-the-moon about glow in the dark on their costume. Plus, did you know, embroidery thread isn’t only for embroidering – you can use it for any decorative stitch as well!

Most of all, be sure to take lots of photos and have fun creating a costume you and your kids can treasure (and maybe enjoy laughing about!) for years to come. I hope you’ve found lots of inspiration in these Halloween Costume Tips. Thanks for coming along on the journey!

P.S. You can read more about machine embroidery in last fall’s series of posts.

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Disclaimer: I am a Canadian Janome Artisan. Janome provided artwork (with my photos) for this project and the Skyline S9 on-loan machine I am currently using. As with all the products I write about – I always tell you my own honest opinion.

Halloween Costume Sewing Tip #9

2017 October 9

Halloween Sewing Tip #9:

Embellish trims to make your costume unique!

So, you are following yesterday’s tip (Ribbons and sequins are your friends.) and can’t find the perfect one? How about making your own? Use a zigzag, decorative stitch or multiple lines of straight stitches to create unique ribbons to add to the costume. If it is very special – and destined for the dress-up box, you could even spend time hand-stitching with embroidery weight threads.

If you are inclined to make a lot of unique trim, I’d recommend investing in the Janome Ribbon Sewing Guide. (It really would have made making this embellished gathered skirt (tutorial!) a lot more fun.) The machine foot makes embellishing unique trim easy! Trying it out for the first time a few weeks ago, it was user-friendly and simple to install. It screws directly into the machine’s needle plate and holds the ribbon in place as you stitch.

I tried a few Halloween-friendly trim ideas using the decorative stitches on my Janome Skyline S9. Since these won’t be usable for our costumes this year (maybe next!) I think I might use them for a themed shirt, or as hair ribbons closer to the end of October. The “Boo Cat” ribbon NEEDS to be used, it’s so cute! Uses in the future? Maybe school-spirit themed ribbons with their school name on them? Or personalized BFF bracelets.  #bestmomever

Follow all 10 Janome Halloween Costume Tips with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Bloglovin’.

Disclaimer: I am a Canadian Janome Artisan. Janome provided artwork (with my photos) for this project and the Skyline S9 on-loan machine I am currently using. As with all the products I write about – I always tell you my own honest opinion.

Halloween Costume Sewing Tip #8

2017 October 8

Halloween Sewing Tip #8:

Ribbons and sequins are your friends!

Ok – you might not agree with me yet – but it’s true! Ribbons, sequins and trims are so fun. Use them with abandon in your costumes. They add the perfect touch, and – ribbon in the right places, allow you to match the look of a higher-end, more professional costume.

In relation to being more professional, I got to try out the coolest sewing machine foot for this post. Janome Canada lent me a Ribbon Sequin Foot and it is amazing! (And so much fun!) Clip the foot on and feed the ribbon through it and sew. The ribbon follows the direction of your seam and can be sewn on with a decorative stitch. It was so easy! I pointed the presser foot and let the Skyline S9 attach the ribbon.

This means CURVES! Imagine multiple rows of curvy ribbon sewn to the bottom of a fancy ball gown or down the back of a dinosaur costume. I wanted to test this out, so I fused a half-circle to a scrap of fabric and stitched around the edge with ribbon. Then I outlined it with a second piece of ribbon, just for fun, LOL. The sequins in the photo would have gone on next, but I managed to purchase one that wouldn’t lie flat, and was fastened with elastic. Apparently I have a thing or two to learn about sequins. LOL. #newbie

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Disclaimer: I am a Canadian Janome Artisan. Janome provided artwork (with my photos) for this project and the Skyline S9 on-loan machine I am currently using. As with all the products I write about – I always tell you my own honest opinion. 

Halloween Costume Sewing Tip #7

2017 October 7

Halloween Sewing Tip #7:

Knits make ideal costumes. They are quick to sew and the variety of finishes and prints allows you (and your costume) to be more creative!

Knits (most stretchy fabrics) are great base fabrics for any costume. Plus they are fast to sew! Knits don’t fray so you can leave all of your seams unfinished – and even un-hemmed. (gasp! LOL)

The stretch also means you don’t need closures or a perfect fit. The costume will stretch over your child’s body when they put it on. I used a length of thrifted jersey to create my daughter’s simple Star-famous princess costume a few years ago.

Here are a few basic tips you need to follow when sewing with knit fabrics:

  1. Cut your pattern pieces with the stretch going around the body – not vertically up and down.
  2. Use a ballpoint needle. Regular sharp needles will create holes in your seams.
  3. Use a stretch stitch. The seams need to stretch with the wearer. Many sewing machines have a dedicated stretch stitch, or you can also use a zig-zag stitch.
  4. Don’t stretch your fabric as you sew. Allow the fabric to feed naturally through the machine as you sew.
  5. Use a Walking Foot or Dual Feed Foot to help layered fabrics feed through your machine in unison.
Ready for more? Find more in depth tips you can use: 12 Tips for Sewing Knits!

 

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Disclaimer: I am a Canadian Janome Artisan. Janome provided artwork (with my photos) for this project and the Skyline S9 on-loan machine I am currently using. As with all the products I write about – I always tell you my own honest opinion. 

Halloween Costume Sewing Tip #6

2017 October 6

Halloween Sewing Tip #6:

Specialty fabrics like vinyl can help make your costume extra-special. Don’t be afraid to use them when you sew!

Check out the start of the gumball machine costume pictured above. Clear plastic for the glass, vinyl for the money slot – they all add to the reality of the costume. Specialty fabrics can seem intimidating, but with a few easy-to-follow rules and tips you can conquer them!

  • Use a leather/denim needle: Vinyl and thicker fabrics require a larger needle size to sew properly. Get one at your local shop.
  • Use a Teflon or Ultra Glide Foot: This will allow the stickier fabric to slide through the machine more easily. (The snap on Janome Ultra Glide foot is pictured in the photo above.)
  • Press carefully: Vinyl and clear plastic, even real leather, can be pressed carefully with a press cloth! But, too much heat can melt these specialty fabrics. Check the manufacturer’s instructions and use a press cloth to avoid direct contact with your iron’s sole plate. When in doubt, start with a low heat and work your way up.
  • Don’t use pins: Needles and pins will leave permanent holes in vinyl or plastic. Instead use clips, clothespins or paperclips to hold your fabrics in place before sewing.
Find more tips for sewing vinyl and thicker fabrics: You can read these tips for sewing thicker fabrics and use these leather/vegan leather tips on your vinyl projects as well.

 

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Disclaimer: I am a Canadian Janome Artisan. Janome provided artwork (with my photos) for this project and the Skyline S9 on-loan machine I am currently using. As with all the products I write about – I always tell you my own honest opinion. 

Halloween Costume Sewing Tip #5

2017 October 5

Halloween Sewing Tip #5:

Fleece makes a great (easy to sew) costume. It stretches, so fitting is easier and more forgiving. Plus, you don’t need to finish the raw edges because it will not fray!

Fleece also creates body, since it is fluffy and, depending on it’s thickness, can hold a sturdier shape well. It also provides warmth for a small trick-or-treater in a cold climate!

Tips for sewing with Fleece: (Along with these you can read 12 tips for sewing knits.)

  • Use a ballpoint needle: Fleece is a knit fabric and regular needles will cut small holes wherever there is a seam. Ballpoint needles are easily found online or at your local fabric store. Also, a good rule is to change your needles after every 8 hours of sewing to keep them fresh and avoid skipped stitches.
  • Use a stretch stitch or a zigzag stitch: This is a good rule for any knit fabric. It allows the sewn seam to stretch while it is being worn.
Last year I used fleece for my daughter’s princess costume (pictured above) and there are more details and tricks for how I simplified the sewing process of her costume to make it as fast as possible in that post as well.

Follow all 10 Janome Halloween Costume Tips with InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and Bloglovin’.

Disclaimer: I am a Canadian Janome Artisan. Janome provided artwork (with my photos) for this project and the Skyline S9 on-loan machine I am currently using. As with all the products I write about – I always tell you my own honest opinion. 

Halloween Costume Sewing Tip #4

2017 October 4

Halloween Sewing Tip #4:

Choose inexpensive fabrics! A one-night costume doesn’t have to be fancy. Felt or broadcloth are great cheaper options, watch for sales at your local fabric stores or online!

I generally choose broadcloth (on sale) for most of my handmade costumes. It comes in lots of solid colours, is lightweight and translates well into the “clothing-type” costumes my daughters usually choose. (Princess, Princess, Princess… LOL) This year, however, my youngest wants to be a chocolate chip cookie – so I bought 4 1/2 meters of felt on sale last weekend. I’m excited to play with a new type of material I haven’t tried yet!

Sewing Tip: When sewing felt (and other fluffy Halloween fabrics like faux fur) a lot of fluff can accumulate in your bobbin case. Make sure to clean it out regularly to get the best performance from your sewing machine. Collecting fluff can put a lot of wear and tear on the mechanics over time.

Follow all 10 Janome Halloween Costume Tips with InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and Bloglovin’.

Disclaimer: I am a Canadian Janome Artisan. Janome provided artwork (with my photos) for this project and the Skyline S9 on-loan machine I am currently using. As with all the products I write about – I always tell you my own honest opinion. 

Halloween Costume Sewing Tip #3

2017 October 3

Halloween Sewing Tip #3:

Size up your pattern pieces! Sew the costume one or two sizes larger than your fast-growing child so it can spend lots of time in the dress-up box. (Maybe it could even be re-used or re-purposed next year!)

While you take the time to sew an awesome costume, make sure to start and end each seam with a locking or reverse stitch. This will hold the stitching tight and allow your costume to make it through the whole day at school and a busy night!

The Skyline S9 I have on loan from Janome Canada has a specific stitch that includes locking or reversing. The lock-a-matic (U2) and locking (U3) stitches will automatically reverse or create a locking stitch at each end of your seams. Check your sewing machine to see if you have a setting like this as well!

My oldest’s princess costume (from her first year of kindergarten in 2012!) is a good example of up-sizing. It is still upstairs in our dress-up box today and is “the favorite” dress to pull out when playing. It still fits my youngest and gets worn all the time.

(Of course, if you are in Canada or another cold-weather Halloween country, you know sizing up is important so you can fit the child’s snowsuit underneath! LOL)

Follow all 10 Janome Halloween Costume Tips with InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and Bloglovin’.

Disclaimer: I am a Canadian Janome Artisan. Janome provided artwork (with my photos) for this project and the Skyline S9 on-loan machine I am currently using. As with all the products I write about – I always tell you my own honest opinion. 

Halloween Costume Sewing Tip #2

2017 October 2

Halloween Sewing Tip #2:

Get your kids involved in sewing and designing the costume. If they do not usually sew, teach them with simple straight lines. They will be so proud of the finished project!

Kids love to help and the fact that you want their opinion on the final product will make them so pleased. Even more if you let them actually sew it too! You will be the best #supermom (grandma, dad…) ever!

A great tool to use is the Speed Control slider available on many sewing machines. Slide the control so the machine operates as slowly as possible.  This will allow them to concentrate on the seam, not on how fast the machine is moving!

You can also get your child interested in sewing by teaching them how to gather fabric to make a ruffle or gathered skirt. (I know my girls love them some good ruffles!) This new skill might be enough to get them excited. Here are some tips:

  • Use a strong thread, like a button weight.
  • Set the machine to the longest stitch length.
  • Start the seam with a locking stitch or a back stitch.
  • Sew the length of the seam and leave a long thread tail without locking or back stitching.
  • Pull the thread tail to gather the fabric.

Another idea is to sew the base project and get them to add details with fabric paints and markers. My daughter painted the complex embroidery on the front of her costume last year, and was so pleased with the results. Kids can also add ribbons and embellishments with glue. They’ll love being part of the plan!

Follow all 10 Janome Halloween Costume Tips with InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and Bloglovin’.

Disclaimer: I am a Canadian Janome Artisan. Janome provided artwork (with my photos) for this project and the Skyline S9 on-loan machine I am currently using. As with all the products I write about – I always tell you my own honest opinion. 

Free Cape Pattern (sizes 18m – Adult)

2017 October 1

Are you ready for Halloween? It’s October and I’m excited to be posting a series of 10 Halloween Costume Sewing Tips, sponsored by Janome Canada. To start the series with a “Boo!” (hee hee) I’m relaunching my popular Super Hero Cape pattern – updated with new photos and 2 new larger sizes!

The smile on your child’s face when they see their handmade costume is the best! Be your kid’s Halloween costume hero and sew it yourself! Find the first Janome Halloween Costume Tip in the instructions below and follow along on InstagramFacebookTwitter and Pinterest so you don’t miss the others. You can also find great sewing information, contests and free patterns on the Janome Life blog.

When I made the first Super Hero Capes for Christmas (2011!), they were a huge hit. My girls flew all over the house solving mysteries and doing super hero business. Usually they were saving someone, sometimes a prince in distress. (You go girl!) Sometimes they’d stop to save kittens from trees, or rescue babies from mean monsters and other things of that sort. Since then they’ve grown up a little, but the capes are still in good use during their creative plays and shows.

Many of you have asked for a cape in larger sizes and I’m excited to be able to upgrade the free pattern and tutorial below! The old post was looking pretty dated with tiny, dark photos – I hope you like the new version!

Free Cape Pattern and Tutorial

As usual, please feel free to use my patterns/tutorials for your personal projects and gifts and for charitable fundraising events. Please do not sell anything made with this pattern without a license. Thank you! (P.S. Buy a Seller’s License or a tidy printable PDF version of this Cape Pattern in the shop.)

Materials:

  • 1 yard (child sizes) OR 1 1/2 yards (adult size) fabric for the cape outer
  • 1 yard (child sizes) OR 1 1/2 yards (adult size) fabric for the cape lining
  • optional: felt for the hero applique
  • optional: fusible web (or a glue stick!) to attach the applique
  • matching thread
  • hook and loop tape (1″ piece each)
  • sewing gear – scissors/sewing machine/pins/ruler/iron etc.

DOWNLOAD THE FREE CAPE PATTERN PIECES ~ Click Here

Before you begin:

  • Print the pattern piece pdf on letter size (8.5″ x 11″) or A4 paper. Important: Do not select “fit to page” when printing, make sure you print at the original size. Once you have printed the pages, measure the 1″ test square to ensure the pattern is correct.
    • Want to save paper?
      • Size 3m-3 – Print only pages 1-7
      • Size 4-8 – Print only pages 1-7
      • Size 9-12 – Print only pages 1-9
      • Adult size – Print all 11 pages
  • Cut on each page’s outer gray lines and tape them together, matching the letters in the gray half-circles.
  • Cut the pattern pieces out (with paper scissors!) along the line that corresponds to the size you would like to make.

Cut your fabric:

  • Pre-wash your fabric before cutting to ensure it will not shrink in later washes.
  • If you need a longer cape – here is a tutorial on how to lengthen the pattern pieces.
  • Cut one cape shape per fabric colour using the pattern piece. * Be sure to place the pattern piece on the fabric fold before you cut it out!
Let’s Sew:
I recommend that you read through all instructions before sewing, so you don’t miss something important!

Step 1: Cut out the applique that will be on the back of the cape. Be creative! I used stars, hearts and letters to make each cape unique. Each logo was sized between 6″-9″ tall, depending on the size of the cape.

 

Halloween Sewing Tip #1:

If you are making a long-term project, make sure your layers have fusible web on the back. If you are sewing a one-night Halloween project, use a less-expensive approach! A regular school glue stick will adhere an applique while you sew around the edges.

Center the applique on the outer cape fabric piece approximately 3″-7″ down from the neck opening.

  • Fusible web: Iron on the applique following the instructions on your fusible web. Use a press cloth if necessary so you do not melt the felt.
  • Glue Stick: Attach the applique in place using the school glue stick, press with an iron on low heat from the back of the cape to set the glue if necessary.

Top-stitch the applique as you wish to tidy up the edges and make sure it stays on. I used the Blanket Stitch and Satin Stitch Foot F included with my on-loan Janome Skyline S9 to make the one of the appliques extra-nice!

Step 2: Lay the two cape pieces right sides together matching all of the edges. Pin. Mark a 6″ opening on the cape’s bottom edge by putting 2 pins in the same spot on each side. Leave this opening when you sew, it is where you will turn the cape right side out.

Stitch around the cape with a 1/4″ seam allowance, starting at one double-pin. Pivot around the corner on the neck opening. Finish at the other double-pin with a back-stitch.

Step 3: Clip the corners and trim around the curved edges of your neck opening to allow the cape to turn more easily. I use my pinking shears to trim tight curves.

Step 4: Press the seam allowance up on the bottom opening before turning the cape right side out. This creates an easy finished edge once the cape is turned.

Step 5: Turn the cape right side out and top-stitch. Push out your corners and edges neatly, press the cape flat and top-stitch 1/8″ or so away from the edge all the way around the edge of the cape. You can pin the opening shut before stitching or just wing it, the top-stitching will close the opening.

Step 6: Cut a 1″ piece each of hook and loop tape.

Use a zig-zag or straight stitch to sew the hook side of the tape onto the outer piece and the loop side of the tape onto the lining. This way the rough hooks are facing away from the neck when the cape is worn.  Note: I like to cut off the corners of the tape when sewing for kids so they don’t get “stuck” with the pointy edges by accident. (* Don’t accidentally sew both hook and loop to the outer side of the cape, it won’t be able to close properly. Not sure why, but I have managed to do this more times than I would like to admit!)

Step 7: Sew a label or hero-worthy piece of ribbon onto the side of the cape.

Congratulations, give your cape a good press and you’re done!

I’d love to see your project! Please share your cape on InstagramFacebookTwitter and Pinterest using the  hashtags #alongforthreadride and #threadridinghood. Thank you!

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You can purchase a full Super Hero Cape PDF Pattern for any donation! 

The 16 page instant PDF download of this tutorial includes these extras:

  • The full tutorial and pattern pieces, in a tidy and easily printed form.
  • Cutting layout diagram and glossary of terms.
  • Granny’s Sewing Basket – highlights Notes and Tips to make sewing this cape easier. (Meet Granny here.)
  • Extra tips not included in this free tutorial.
  • Check boxes, for those of you who love to get a sense of accomplishment when checking off each step!

Aside from these great features, you can choose to purchase the PDF to support this blog and help Thread Riding Hood continue in its goal to create more free content. Thank you for your support!

SUPER HERO CAPE PRINTABLE PDF PATTERN: available for any donation! Add to Cart 

View Cart

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Would you like to sew and sell the Super Hero Cape Pattern?

Please purchase a Seller’s License in my shop and receive an instant pdf download!

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P.S. Here’s the original Super Hero Cape Photo from 2013. My daughter still comments on how cool it was to look like she was really flying! #photoshopforthewin

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