Occasionally, being able to sew is a very useful skill.
I love all the free sewing tutorials that are all over the internet. People are so generous with their instructions and pictures and I have benefited many times.
So last week when I was looking for a tutorial for a basic Mary & Joseph nativity costume, I was surprised to find that there wasn't much available. The only thing I found were some very basic instructions on blurtit.com. The woman that posted those proved to be my lifesaver, though, as I was trying to put something together to help out a friend desperate for a costume for our church christmas program the next night.
Her instructions said this:
This is the method I used:
2- 2/3 yards (8 feet) x 2 ½ feet (30) inches for gown. Cut a 8 inch circle in center.
22 inches x 22 inches square for sleeve. Fold in half.
Cut a slit down front and bind edges. Hem around neck
In hoping to give back a little to all who have shared a tutorial with me, I wanted to expand those basic instructions with some pictures, and perhaps someone else will be able to make a very simple tunic-style gown that is useful for many costumes.
Woman size: uses about 3 yards of fabric (I used 45" wide muslin)
Man size: uses about 4 yds fabric
1) For a woman's size tunic, cut fabric 28" x 3 yards (108") For a man's size tunic cut fabric 30" x 3 yds. 14 inches (122") Fold in half and cut out a half circle on the fold for the neck hole. 6" diameter circle for a woman 7" diameter circle for a man
2) Cut a 3-4" slit starting at the center of the circle you just cut
3) Hem the slit
4) With the remaining scraps of fabric, first cut two pieces for sleeves.
16" x 22" for women,
22" x 22" for men.
Set these two sleeve pieces aside.
5) With what is left, cut bias strips 3" wide and stitch together to make a bias strip about 30-35" long. Press this bias strip in half and then each half to the inside to make bias tape, pressing one raw end also to the inside.
6) Sew the bias tape around the neck, starting with the finished end of the bias tape.When you get to the other side of the neck you will need to trim the excess tape and turn under the end before you finish sewing.
7) Fold the two sleeves in half. For the woman sleeve, fold along the 16" side. Pin the center of the sleeve to the gown length center. Serge (or sew and then zigzag) around this sleeve seam.
8) Match and pin the insides of the sleeve right at the armpit, then serge (or sew and then zigzag) along the inside of the sleeve continuing all the way down to the bottom of the tunic.
9) Press all seams, then hem sleeves and bottom to desired length.
It is a very, very basic gown/tunic, but I was able to quickly sew four of them--two for my friends who played Mary and Joseph and two for me and Jeff. I also made a couple of vests for the men to wear over their tunics using the same basic pattern, by cutting and hemming the neck slit all the way down the bottom of the tunic, and leaving off the sleeves.
At one point in the evening, Jeff had to remove his brown vest and be the Angel Gabriel for someone who didn't show up.
I hope this tutorial is helpful--If you use it and find it confusing, please comment with any questions or suggestions and I'll try to help.