This is the costume I wore last weekend for a small “Middle earth” LARP (Tolkein’s “Lord of the rings”).
I played an Haradrim witch (Haradrims = Moors, substantially). I don’t remember reading descriptions of Haradrim women In Tolkien’s books… Only men. So I used the “color chart” for Haradrims (red, black, gold) and did want I felt like and what seemed consistent for the character.
In truth I’ve done little sewing for this one.
I’ve had the shirt for a long time and I bought the corset (because it is beauuuuuuutiful).
So I just made two elasticated waist skirts.
The underskirt is made of a red embroidered Indian fabric purchased from Nalli Silk Saree in Delhi. It has a slit on one side… Being able to run is essential when LARPing !
The overskirt is in black crepe. Once sewn, I gleefully torn it into strips by hand. I thought the torn effect was perfect for this character and it allowed a glimpse of the beautiful fabric of the underskirt when I moved ^ ^.
Oh I also whipped up a veil. I used what was left of the golden embroidered border of the Indian fabric to make a headband. I tied it around my head and then I pinned a rectangle of fabric until it looked ok and sewed it. I just added two small darts under the eyes to give more of a rectangular shape to the opening and to have a better field of vision.
Find the differences game : There is a difference between the 1st and 2nd pictures… Which one ? It’s not subtle !
Haradrim costume… something has been added !
The difference : yes it’s the ritual dagger at the hip (thank you Ben ^ ^) … Well let me reassure non-LARPers: this is not a real one, it’s foam / latex.
Here are a few Haute-Couture free sewing patterns I came across. They are all offered through SHOWstudio.
Some are really intricate (the John Galliano jacket comes to mind) and instructions are minimal (do not expect a step-by-step with illustrations although some have instructions and other illustrations) but these patterns are really one of a kind : the designs are truly unique !
As a seamstress just seeing the flat patterns of such garments is a truly wonderful opportunity and great inspiration. But here we can also download the pattern, print it and have a go at sewing great designers’ creations.
Oh and of course… They come in only one size, so many of us will have to adjust the patterns for their own size.
A clarification : the patterns in themselves are not “haute-couture” in the French meaning of the word, most are from ready-to-wear collections. But some of the designers (Galliano, McQueen) have done Haute-Couture collections for renowned “maisons de couture” (Givenchy, Christian Dior).
Here is a tutorial to sew mittens. This is a super easy sewing project and so simple that it can be fully done in less than 30 minutes.
The measurements given should suit most women’s hands. You’ll find in the tutorial how to adjust for narrower or wider hands .
Here’s what it looks like in fur (do not mind the nail polish, it was a test for a costume ^ ^):
Fabric: Boiled wool, fleece, faux fur (if the canvas is stretchable) … In short you need a stretch fabric that doesn’t fray.
You’ll need a 24 cm by 40 cm piece of fabric.
For this tutorial I chose fur.
Cut the 24 cm x 40 cm piece of fabric to get 4 rectangles of 12 cm x 20 cm.
The cut should be clean, especially since the short edges will be visible as is.
cut 4 rectangles of 12 cm x 20 cm
Seam allowances of 1.5 cm are included
1 – Place 2 rectangles right sides together and pin along one of the long edges.
2 rectangles endroit contre endroit – épingler sur un côté
2 – Draw 2 markings :
one 2.5 cm from the top
the other 7.5 cm from the top
The space between these two markings will not be closed : that’s where the thumb will go through.
3 – Sew with a seam allowance of 1.5 cm breaking stitching between the markings.
Reinforce stitching at markings.
Open the seam
Coudre selon les pointillés. NE PAS coudre entre les repères.
4 – Still right sides together, pin the remaining long sides together.
Stitch with a margin of 1.5 cm.
Open the seam.
Stitch the remaining side.
5 – Turn the mitten right side out and try it on. In 90% of cases it should fit without adjustments.
But just in case:
– It’s really too loose: redo the last seam with a larger allowance (eg 2 cm)
– It’s really too tight: redo the last seam with a smaller margin (eg 1 cm).
6 – Turn the mitten inside out and cut the four corners of the seam allowanceswithout cutting the seam!
Cut the corners
Turn the mitten right side out : it’s done !
7 – Repeat the steps with the other two rectangles.
And voilà : a pair of mittens!
[box type=”info”] Customise : You can decorate your mittens with buttons, embroidery, appliqués, ribbons or, why not, lace along the openings (top and / or bottom), … Depending on what you want to add (embroidery, appliqués for example), I suggest you do it before Step 4: Before closing the second side because it can be easier to work with the mitten completely flat.[/box]
Here are pics of my “grand Theogonist of Arianka” costume. It’s a character I played during my last Warhammer LARP. It’s an authority figure with precepts like : order, discipline and unity.
Those of you who know the Warhammer universe know that the Grand Theogonist represents the cult of Sigmar, but we were in a parallel universe where Arianka is the main Goddess in the Empire.
As a base, I used my white medieval style dress to which I added large sleeves, a corset, a train and a headband / tiara… All of this, brace yourself,… In a golden color !
White dress : the base of the costume for the Grand Theogonist (the large sleeves are removable)
I used McCall’s 4491’s large lower sleeve pattern. I elasticized the upper edge to be able to change them quickly. To get clean edges, I did a rolled hem with my the serger.
The fabric is a stretch golden knit
Corset with train
No, I did not make the corset! No time! And I don’t know how to make one to begin with, do learning as the same time would have taken me even more of a time I did not have!
But a golden corset is tough to find. That’s why I bought a white corset that I simply painted with a gold acrylic paint purchased in an art store (regular paint, not fabric paint). Because this corset will always be dry cleaned, the acrylic paint shouldn’t be an issue. I painted two layers.
The end result isn’t too bad.
I thought, for a moment, about adding embellishments to the corset but I finally opted for simplicity (as I do most of the time in my sewing projects), especially since the character is pretty uptight : frills aren’t her thing.
For the train : I made it directly on the dress form. I just hung the golden fabric at the upper edge of the corset back, where I hand-stitched it, and then cut the train until it looked like what I wanted. I used the same stretch fabric as the sleeves and didn’t hem it (the fabric doesn’t fray).
The headband / tiara
I used a faux leather as the base (but it can’t be seen in the end result anymore) in which I cut the shape of the headband.
I then stitched lengths of golden ribbons over it.
Finally I glued the symbol of Arianka. The symbol was cut out of faux leather and painted gold (with fingers oO). At the center of the symbol a big strass is superglued.
To form the headband and for it to fit snugly around the head, I sewed the two ends to a piece of wide elastic (2.5-3cm), also painted gold. The elastic being hidden under the hair once the headband is in place.
Add to that a two-handed sword (thanks Jean !) and I was the leaving image of authority… What do you mean it’s all because of the sword ?
It was about time I sewed this Shepherd Vest ! I feel like every mom who sews has made it at least once for her little ones. Well in France anyway, where it’s a pretty popular sewing project for children… Petite Chérie is growing fast, so it had to be now or never …
But the real defining moment was when Petite Chérie saw this beautiful red fur. I told her that I was going to make myself a vest for a LARP costume. She then rubbed the red fur against her cheek (This fur is sooooo soft!) And looked at me with pleading eyes “I would like one too.” Haggard eyes of the mother wondering if she has enough fabric to make two vests, quick maths, sigh of relief, joyful scream of Petite Chérie.
This shepherd vest was sewn from a C’est dimanchefree pattern. “C’est dimanche” is a small French pattern company.
If you want to use the pattern and need help with the French instructions you can use the French-English sewing dictionary and I’ll be happy to help too, just ask !
The pattern is for a Shepherd vest in faux fur or wool, fully lined (the vest can be completely reversible by the way), and it closes at the front with a little tie.
To use the pattern you need to enlarge it (200%), check the size of the square drawn on the pattern. Seam allowance is included (0,75cm = 0,29 inches).
The sizes available are : 3/4 years, 5/6 years et 8 years.
This is a fast sewing project, I finished it entirely in less than an hour (cut not included).
front pattern pieces (it’s the same piece, I traced it twice to cut on a single layer of fur)
A 100% synthetic high quality, red fur. It’s extremely soft and was purchased from l’Etoffe des héros. The fur as a raised “ripple” pattern.
If you need guidance on how to sew fake fur, you can see this article, brilliantly called: Sewing faux-fur !
Fausse-fourrure rouge à relief vaguelettes
For the lining: a soft cotton hand printed and bought in India.
Petit Chérie chose the fabric for the lining from a pre-selection I made… Because I’m willing to give her space for creativity but still : these are MY fabrics… I can be bad like that ^ ^
For the tie she picked a silver ribbon.
Lining : Indian “hand block printed” cotton
Petite Chérie is eight years old and is in between sizes 8 and 10 years in ready to wear. I quickly pinned the half paper patterns together and put it on her to check the size … A bit too tight. So I added 1 cm on all borders, thinking that it would be enough to give it a little more ease …
Now that the vest is finished, the cruel truth has revealed itself : it is enough ease for like 3 months! I feel this jacket will be offered to a friend’s daughter before spring because it won’t fit Petite Chérie anymore. Ah, the ephemerality of children’s clothing, it’s sad when they were sewn with love.
Petite Chérie was not in the mood to pose for photos the day I took them… But I still managed to get some with the phone the next day.
She loves the jacket so much that she even wore it on a sunny 26 °c (79°F) day … Note the sweatshirt around the waist but the fur vest over the tank top … No comment!
Improvised pics oO
My own vest in the same red fur is almost done, I just need to put in the hooks and eyes and hem it, but it will be for next week because I’m LARPing this weekend.
Following the article on sewing faux fur on this blog, here is a little selection of free sewing patterns, specifically designed for fur.
The instructions are mainly in French, some in French and German (Burda). But only beginners might need instructions because most of this projects are quite simple to sew. Anyway you’ll find a French-English sewing dictionary on this blog and I’m always happy to help with a translation if needed be.
free fur pattern for kids
Free sewing pattern from “C’est Dimanche” (= “It’s sunday”). I’m sewing this one this week for my DD.
This pattern is offered in sizes 3/4 years, 5/6 years et 8 years.
With winter coming, this is the perfect opportunity to sew vests, scarves, coats or small fur accessories. So here is a guide of things to know, do and not to do when you sew faux fur.
I myself am sewing faux fur vests this week !
The steps are similar to sew real fur. But personally I chose to only use the fake kind.
Laying out the pattern
First, we must determine the nap/hair direction and mark it with an arrow on the wrong side of the fur.
Fur is always cut in a single layer. That means that for laying out and tracing the pattern :
1- fur should be spread flat in a single layer, wrong side (“skin” side) toward you, hair side toward the table.
2- The pattern pieces will all be laid out in the same direction: the direction of the hair.
3- The pattern pieces, that should have been cut on the fold, should be traced twice and taped together. To then be laid out and cut as a single piece. This applies mostly to backs, collars,…
Pattern pieces drawn twice and taped to be cut on a single layer of fabric instead of “on the fold”.
4- For pieces that need to be cut twice (but not on the fold), it will also be easier to trace them twice in order to properly lay out, at the same time, all the pieces on the single layer of the fur.
NB : When you need to cut two identical pieces on a single layer of fabric remember to lay out one as a mirror image of the other. Or you’ll end up with two left fronts instead of a left and a right.
To cut on a single layer : identical pattern pieces need to be laid out as a mirror image
Tracing the pattern
Draw the edges of the pattern pieces with chalk or marker on the back of the fur before cutting.
Don’t forget to also trace the markings on the back of the fur.
To keep the pattern pieces secured to the fur I personally, as I do for other fabrics, prefer to use pattern weights (any fairly heavy object can be used: small dumbbells, cast iron trivets,. ..). I only use pins if it seems essential.
You should only cut the woven support fabric (in case of faux fur) or the skin (in the case of real fur), hair must remain intact.
If you cut with scissors, like you do with any fabric, the hair will inevitably be cut too. This is even more important when the hairs are long.
So at the cutting step proceed by cutting carefully along the tracings. It is recommended to use an extracto knife or a razor blade to cut the woven fabric without cutting the hair, with small strokes and gently pulling away the edges as you do so. Watch out for your fingers and your table !
You can try to cut with the tip of the scissors, sliding along the canvas. This is longer and more tedious than using an extracto knife.
Once you’re done cutting, take your pieces over the trash or sink, shake and remove the lint that may have accumulated along the cut edges … You’ll still need to get the broom out, but there will be less to pick up.
Cutting the fur with an extracto knife to leave the hair intact. Pic from the Burda video (see below)
Which needle, foot, stitch, thread?
90-100 universal needle with a regular presser foot and polyester thread.
I use a long straight stitch. But a zigzag stitch sometimes works better with long hair. Do not hesitate to test on your scraps !
Joining the pieces
Lay the pieces right side together, pin perpendicularly to the seam allowance, pushing the hair inwards and not toward the seam allowance as you sew. Not with your fingers ! Use a small wooden stick or a knitting needle, for example.
Before taking the fur to the sewing machine, you can also baste the pieces together by hand especially if the fur is thick, it will facilitate the work : the pieces will not move while sewing. This is a step that I do not overlook when the edges to join are long.
Sew in the direction of the nap (so usually downwards) to prevent the hair from moving around.
Sew pushing the hair inward – Pic from the Burda video (see below)
Once the seam sewed
1- From the right side : gently pull out the hair caught in the stitches of the seam with a needle or a seam ripper.
2- From the wrong side : cut/shave the hair of the seam allowance to avoid having too much bulk at the seam. Some shave the hair of the seam allowances before joining the pieces, personally I prefer to do it after. I might have to let out a seam a bit if the garment is too tight and in this case, “unhairy” patches would become visible.
3- Open the seam. As always pay attention to the temperature of your steaming iron so that it doesn’t melt the hair (if faux fur) and experiment on scrap before. Instead of using an iron to open the seam, you can also press with your fingers and a small wooden stick.
4 – For straight hairs (long or short) comb along the seam. For any other kind arrange the hairs with fingers.
5- Once the project is done : cleaning your sewing machine (bobbin compartment,…) is essential, lint, hair and particles will be trapped there.
Here’s a video from Burda on sewing fur. It’s in German, which I do not understand a word of, but the images perfectly illustrate several points explained above.
Sewing faux fur takes longer, requires more steps and precautions that other fabrics. But you’ll be rewarded with a cozy garment or accessory for winter.
You will find, in the following article, free patterns designed specifically for fur: Free Patterns for fur