Monday, May 30, 2016

Sewing Rey's Pants

    Aka: turning dress pants into harem-esque capris!

    The journey to completing M's pants for her Rey cosplay has been an...interesting one.  A bit longer and more complicated than any of us hoped.  But they are done now, so that's what matters!  

    I mentioned in my last costume update that I had found what I hoped was the perfect pair of pants for M at Goodwill.  We really liked the color and the how the fabric draped; they seemed to match the pants from the movie well. 

    But, once I got the pants to her and she was able to try them on, it turned out they were too small, even though they were the size she normally wears!  Women's clothing...ugh.  They wouldn't even go all the way over her hips, so we weren't sure that there was anything that could be done about it.  So we started looking for other options, but I was too sick to get out and do any physical shopping (oh btw, have I mentioned I'm pregnant? ha), and it's so hard to tell what you're getting color- and fabric-wise online.  My mom ordered another pair off of eBay, but they ended up being way too gray and not at all the right fabric.  

    So, recently I was finally well enough to be able to make it back over to their house and actually see these pants in person.  My mom and I had hatched a possible plan to open up the side seams far enough for her to actually get the pants on, and then fill in the gaps with the excess fabric that we were already going to be cutting off of the legs.  Thankfully, that worked (that is, after my pregnant brain decided to use a completely wrong measurement the first time and make them way huge on her), and the pants now actually fit her.

    But anyway, assuming that you actually buy the correct size pants for your cosplay, what you'll really need to know how to do is to make them fitted at the knee like Rey's are.

    Most capris that you find are going to be fitted through the leg, unlike Rey's.  So the easiest thing to do is to find a pair of long dress pants that are loose fitting, or possibly a pair of gauchos.  Try the pants on, mark a spot just under the knee where you want them to end, allowing some extra room for seam allowances, etc., then cut both legs off at this mark.  

    Next you'll need to create a cuff for the ends of the pants.  Measure around the largest part of your calf, even if that's not where the pants will actually end.  You want to make sure the cuff can slide all the way up to where it belongs!  Use some of the fabric that you cut off to make the cuff.  In my case, the original bottom of the pants had a very wide hem, just the right width for my cuff and already nicely finished off for me.  If you don't have this luxury, then I suggest 2-3 inches wide, and you'll need to hem one side.  You can choose either to cut one long strip, the length of your calf measurement (plus seam allowances), and sew the ends together (right sides together) to create a loop, or cut 2 pieces of equal length and sew those ends together (right sides together).  I did the latter.

     Hope you're still with me so far!  I pretty much make this stuff up as I go, so I'm certainly not an expert at explaining it all.  

    Okay, your next step is to gather the end of the pants.  Run a double gathering stitch (long stitch length) along the edge, then pull the threads until the pants are gathered enough to just fit inside the cuff.  You'll need to do this one side of the pants at a time, since the existing side seams won't gather. 

    Getting it to the right size will take a little bit of trial and error; just place the cuff around the gathers and readjust as needed.  It's easiest to gather a little too much to start with and then pull it back out a little once you're holding the cuff on.

    Next, once you've tied off your gathering stitches, turn the cuff inside out and pin it over the end of the pants.  When you sew this, make sure that you leave enough seam allowance to cover up all of your gathering stitches.

    Turn right side out, repeat on other leg, and ta da!  You're done! 

    Didn't get a picture of the finished product on M, but there will be plenty to come.  At this point I'm trying to decide whether there's some kind of tie on Rey's pants, around the cuff.  Anybody have any input on that one?  I have plenty of fabric still left over, so I can easily add one at the last minute if I decide I want to.

    Another quick update on how everything else is coming:  Now that we have the pants done, M's costume is basically finished other than acquiring the fabric to wrap around her arms.  
    D's Vanellope costume still needs stripes painted on the leggings and stitches added to the hoodie pocket, and we need to make candy clips for her hair.  She does have her hoodie strings dyed pink, and she actually ended up getting a different pair of white leggings and dying them the correct color to better match her hoodie.
    DH finally found a hat for his "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" cosplay!  However, it needs some work before it's ready to go.  Also, we bought some fabric for his poncho, but it still needs to be made and the design painted on.  Those are his two main pieces that needed work.
    Sugarplum's Samantha dress is nearly finished.  All the sewing is done (and was that a task! I hate patterns so much!), all that's left is to finish tacking down the ribbon belt and to find a gold piece to be the "buckle" at the center of the belt.  I also bought her some black stockings this weekend.
    This week I'm excited to finally get back to work on my Abby Sciuto costume!  All of the pieces did come in, and they all look great.  Today I gave my wig a slight haircut, and over the next couple of days I hope to work on de-shining the wig and styling it.  That will probably be my next post, so keep an eye out!

Check out my Etsy shop! I sell hand painted wooden signs with a variety of themes including geek, Disney, and Christian, and I also make custom orders!