Same Block, Three Ways

same block three ways

Recently, I made 3 different blocks for a swap. Well, they look different, but really they are the same. They all use green and red fabrics from Kate Spain’s line “In From the Cold” for Moda Fabrics. And they all actually use the same block pattern… but by switching up the color placement, and the amounts of red and green in each block, I ended up with three completely different blocks!

same block, three colorways

This is a great exercise when playing with color. Different colors, in different places, make the same block… not so much the same.

 

Quilting Feathers Class with Sharon Schamber

Earlier this week I had the chance to take a class from Sharon Schamber, an amazing free-motion quilter. When I saw Quiltique advertise the free-motion feathers class, I immediately knew I wanted to sign up. One of my goals last year was to get comfortable with free-motion quilting. I never did it. I hoped that this class would give me the push I needed. In whatever form that might be. Inspiration, knowledge, tools… I was lacking in all these departments.

When I signed up for her class, I had no idea who Sharon was. Really. I do know that Quiltique always brings in amazing teachers, and I have never met a single guest teacher in their classroom who didn’t live up to the hype (and then some)! She is an Award Winning Quilter, nationally (probably Internationally) recognized for her work.

award winning quilter sharon schamber

It was an all-day class, and very little of it was actually spent behind the sewing machine. The first half was a lot of lecture. Sharon has a unique teaching style that I won’t spoil for you by trying to explain it. But I learned more in class than quilting (for example, apparently I have a “biker chick” aura… for those of you who have met me in person, feel free to debate or agree). We talked a lot about the role of quilting, the proportion of quilting, and how to make decisions about quilting a quilt. I could listen to her lecture for another day and still feel like I only learned a little of what she had to offer.

She didn’t share her quilts until the very, very end of class… and I’m glad. Had I seen all this beautiful quilting beforehand, I might not have been able to focus on the class!

feather

I know it is hard to tell scale in these photos, but just check out all the beautiful detail in this quilting!

The gold thread in this next photo is bobbin work. A whole different technique… but check out the fill in the white space behind the bobbin work. Ah-maze-ing.

bobbin work

I snapped a photo of the back of one of the quilts as it was being folded up. You can see fingers in the top right of the photo, which gives you an idea of the scale here. Some of this quilting is seriously tiny!

back of quilt

I was fascinated by this little study. Each of these 9 squares is just 2.5″ across! How many stitches can you fit in a 2.5″ square?

quilting study

This gives you a better picture of how small this really is.

small study

This next quilt is all made from hand-dyed cotton. All the texture the quilting adds makes it look like velvet!

quilting texture

The different colored threads here help the quilting really stand out on this quilt.

quilting detail

This is a shot as this quilt was being opened. There are 99 different stipples on this quilt. A stipple is small quilting usually done on sections of the quilt that are in the background.

different fills

Here is an amazing fill – that wavy-line quilting with the cross-lines between? Wow.

more fill

And this is probably my favorite shot. These little toadstools live right on the edge of the quilt. Like a little secret surprise. I wonder how many surprises live in the quilting on this quilt?

quilted toadstools

One last shot of her quilting… this beautiful feather!

large feather

As a beginner, I’m not anywhere near this skilled. Her quilts are something to aspire to. But, I did take the first steps! I had a chance to try three feathers in class… and here is the third one!

my feather

Yeah, I’m no Sharon Schamber… but for my third attempt at a free-motion feather, I have to say I’m pretty proud of myself! I will have to keep working on it, practicing the shape and getting better control of my stitching speed… but I now have the tools, knowledge, and definitely the inspiration to make it happen!

Roots and Wings Quilt using Art Gallery Fabrics

When the wonderful folks at Art Gallery Fabrics asked me if I’d like to play with some fat quarters of one of their new lines, I got giddy. Seriously, playing with fabric always makes me a little giddy, but playing with brand new fabric that magically arrives in my mailbox is cause for extra excitement.

AGF has several new lines coming out, but I love the new “Legacy” line by Angela Walters. First, because I love Angela Walters’s work. She is an amazing long arm quilter, and I’m always in awe of her incredible work with the negative space that modern quilters love to leave in quilts. But also I loved the colors and designs in this fabric. Many modern fabrics have very bright colors. I love bright colors. I really do. But sometimes fabric that feels a little more neutral fits the bill. This fabric reminds me of blue jeans and work shirts. There isn’t a single plaid or rivet, but it has that homey, comfortable look to it. Like Saturdays. If you don’t understand what I mean, check out the fabric in person, I think it’ll start to make sense.

Front room Roots and Wings quilt

I took my AGF fat quarters to my local quilt shop to find a good solid to go with them. I ended up with this great burlap-brown color. Brown isn’t a very modern color, but burlap is very “in” with crafters, and since I’m kind-of a crossover crafter/quilter, this seemed like a fun choice.

Getting to play with fabrics also meant pulling out techniques that I have been wanting to play with. I have had my EZ Dresden ruler for some time, and haven’t had an excuse to play with it. I used it to make a modern, slightly wonky twist on Dresden blocks to use in this quilt, which I call “Roots and Wings.”

Roots and Wings Quilt with Legacy fabric by Art Gallery

I love the name of this line, “Legacy”, which Angela so named because of her Grandfather. As I was working on this quilt, I thought a lot about my boys. My oldest just started Kindergarten, and on a recent Facebook post about my son growing up, a friend reminded me that as a mom, it is my job to give my son roots and wings. I hope you can see the roots and wings in this quilt.

This quilt is fully double-sided, I pieced Legacy into the back as well. I was careful with the placement of the piecing, and let my long-armer know my intent… so the quilting on the curves of the front shows up in these giant stacked-coin pieces on the back.

back of roots and wings quilt

I did the piecing on this quilt, but I handed it over to my friend and long-arm quilter Nichol of A Desert Quilter to do the quilting for me. We decided on the pebbles for the negative space, and I think she did an amazing job. Here is a closer look at some of her quilting.

quilting pebbles

It should have taken her practically forever to do all this quilting – the finished size of the quilt is nearly 60″ x 70″. But, she got it all done for me in less than a week!

I have been wanting to re-cover the throw pillows in my front room almost since the first day we got them. They came with the couch and although they were fine, they weren’t my style. I would have loved to re-cover them with wild quilting patterns, but my husband is more a fan of builder’s beige. Since I had so much brown in the quilt, I knew I’d be able to get away with making pillow covers that went along with this quilt. Nichol did the quilting on these pillow covers as well!

Legacy fabric pillows

I’m loving the style it brings to my front room! This is the first room that guests see when they walk into my home, and it has always bugged me that I don’t have much handmade in there. That problem has been more than solved with this new quilt and pillows! There is now plenty of handmade… but not at all in a kitschy way. I love me some kitsch… but probably not for my formal living room.

Roots and Wings on the Couch

If you want to know how to make this quilt (which, by the way does NOT require any curved piecing), here is how you can make your own Roots and Wings quilt:

Selection of Fat Quarters from Legacy by Angela Walters for Art Gallery Fabrics
3 yards background fabric (also used for binding)
Additional fabric for backing

Start by making quarter dresdens. I used the Easy Dresden Ruler to cut wedges out of 8″ wide strips of fabric, then shuffled up the wedges and stitched them into 16 sets of 5.

I then squared up the edges of each, making one side even, and when evening up the second side I cut away at the hole traditionally left for the center circle of the Dresden plate. On half, I cut the right side off, and on the other half I cut the left side.

trim off excess dresden

Using the basting stitch on my machine (making the stitch length as long as possible), I stitched about 1/8″ from the curved edge, leaving long thread tails.

I then pulled one thread a little, making the edge start to gather so that it curved up. I spread the slight gather evenly across the whole curve.

curve the edge of the dresden

I then gently folded in the curved edge about 1/4″. Try to be accurate, but if it isn’t perfect don’t sweat it.

fold down edge of curve

I pressed this edge down, and had the perfect edge to top stitch down onto my block.

pressed down dresden edge

I cut 16 squares from my background fabric, each 9″ square. I pinned a chopped quarter dresden onto each. One side is longer than the other. That gives the final quilt blocks a little more of a wonky look.

one quarter of the dresden

I top stitched the edge of the dresden down, right on the edge of the curve. At this point you can cut away the excess background fabric behind the dresden, but I left mine on.

Put the squares together into sets of 4.

modern modified dresden plate block

Then sew these blocks into a row to make the roots and wings design.

blocks pieced together

I then added yardage to each side to finish the top. I cut the backing fabric into the length I needed, then cut off the selvedge. I cut 9″ of the fabric off, down the length of the fabric, to divide it into two unequal pieces. The 9″ piece went on one side, the larger piece on the other.

finished roots and wings quilt top

I then pieced together my backing and gave everything to Nichol to quilt. After she got it back to me I bound it with the same fabric I used for the background. I think this gives it a nice, clean edge.

The pillows were made from the leftover fabric. I made several different scrappy pillows, keeping them fun. I even made one with the scraps from cutting the dresdens down! I took all of those pieces and pieced them into a long row…

extra dresden piecesI trimmed up the sides and pieced these little pieces into a pillow!

Couch with Roots and Wings pillows and quilt

Here’s one more shot with my little helper. With his big brother in school, he’s not quite sure what to do with himself, so he “helps” me with my projects. You might have noticed him in one of the other photos… and if you scroll up, you’ll see his hand on the left side of the couch in the 5th photo from the top. So cute!

roots and wings with baby b

More Riley Blake Fabric Fest

I had a total blast at Fabric Fest this past week, and wanted to share with you more of the fun goings-on. I really can’t express what an amazing job the folks from Riley Blake did on this event. Seriously. Putting on a conference is no joke, and these gals (and guys) knocked it out of the park on their very first try. I’m hoping they’ll do it again next year, and if they do I have no clue how they’re going to top this event!

Earlier I shared with you some pictures from my first night… there was some meet-and-greet with the other attendees, lots of ogling over quilts, and a little buying of fabric, too! (ok… maybe a LOT of buying of fabric! HA!)

jack quote

This quote is one from the Thursday keynote, and I loved it. I loved that I spent the week surrounded by dingledodies.

My first class, Tuesday morning, was with Amy Smart from Diary of a Quilter. Her class was part lecture, part hands-on about modern quilting. I’m a fan, and love absorbing the modern vibe whenever and wherever I can.

What is modern quilting

I took this picture so that I could put most of these books on my Christmas List! HA!

modern quilting books

In the hands-on portion of the class I whipped up a scrappy, quilt-as-you-go, free-pieced mini quilt.

modern free pieced mat

I kinda love how it turned out. I won’t even share with you all the ways it isn’t perfect, or all the things that look awesomely intentional, but are total happy accidents.

The Tuesday keynote was with Eleanor Burns. This lady is tons of fun.

Eleanor Keynote

Seriously, this picture of her is like the definition of all my favorite people: creative, and just a little crazy. But totally the good kind of crazy.

eleanor laughing

My Tuesday afternoon class was with Eleanor as well. If you haven’t read about my connection with Eleanor, you have to go read the whole story in the post where I talk about teaching at fabric fest.

eleanor teaching

I didn’t finish my quilt, but got very, very far in putting it all together…

eleanor and me

On Thursday, I had lectures. The morning lecture was with Nancy Zieman who came to us via live satellite feed. Isn’t technology awesome?

Nancy Zieman Lecture

My afternoon class was with the twin quilting phenoms from Logan, UT. Kim from Kimberbell Designs and Kris from My Girlfriend’s Quilt Shoppe. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of that class, where they talked about all kinds of fun ways to transform precuts into quilts!

I do have a couple pictures of what meals looked like. In case you have ever wondered, this is what 300 hungry quilters look like:

fabric fest meal

And this is what all their bags look like… machines and rulers and more!

sewing machines all lined up

Thursday there was a dual keynote, Jenni from Missouri Quilt Co gave an awesome impromptu talk about how her choices as a quilter have changed her life. I really love hearing quilters who really get it. She understands quilting, other quilters, and what it is really all about.

Jenny from missouri quilt co

I was able to snag a quick photo with her after the conference.

jenny and me

And since I started this post with a quote, I’ll end it with another great one that helps describe this whole experience:

Brian Andrews Quote

 

Riley Blake Fabric Fest!

It is here! Riley Blake Fabric Fest!! Four days of hanging out with other quilters, sewing, teaching, learning… and shopping! Oh… the fabric!

I don’t have much time, but thought I’d share with you a few of my impressions from the first day… no classes, just registration, shopping, and chatting with other quilters…

 

This is what it looked like when the doors opened onto Fabric Fest. All the ladies looking forward to the fabric awesomeness behind the doors…

walking into fabric fest

Riley Blake and Quiltique did a great job of setting up all the displays and the fabric…

quilts at fabric fest

I love all the seasonal fabrics – Halloween, Christmas… yay!

Halloween Riley Blake Fabrics

I’ve got a quilt at the quilter right now that I made with Dresdens… I love this colorful version (and I can’t wait to share mine with you next week!)

dresden bursts

Pinwheels go very modern, and very colorful in this quilt.

colorful pinwheels

I always have hexies on the brain lately, and I love what adding a chevron print did for these hexagons!

chevron hexagons

More coming soon… I promise!

New Laser-Cut Fusible Applique Wall Hanging Tutorial

Applique Wall Hanging

I’m sure you’re wondering what a Laser Cut Fusible Applique is! A Laser Cut machine is like a printer, but instead of printing, it uses a laser to cut shapes out of different objects, including fabric. It is doing amazing things in the fabric world – including allowing us to laser cut intricate applique shapes with the fusible already adhered to the back! Nancy Zieman has created a whole line of these appliques with fun words on them. When she approached me to share them with you, I jumped up and down and said YES! There are quite a few Laser Cut Appliques to choose from, I chose the “Fabric Stitch Sew Create” with the buttons. The “Sew” with the tomato pincushion outline was a really close second, though!

The applique looks like this in the package. They are made of black fabric, and the back has the fusible attached, and a paper backing.

 

Before removing the paper backing, I unfolded the applique and gave it a light press to get out the creases. This helps it lie flat when I place it later.

Then I started auditioning different fabrics from my stash. I ended up choosing these fun prints and solid from Art Gallery Fabrics.

Auditioning fabrics for the wall hanging

To make your own laser cut fusible applique wall hanging, you’ll need:
Laser Cut Fusible Applique from Nancy Zieman
Scissors
3 Fat Quarters for the front
Rotary Cutter, Ruler, and Mat
1/2 yard fabric for the back
505 or your favorite basting spray
#5 Pearl Cotton in coordinating colors (or Embroidery Floss)
Needle

Before taking off the paper backing and fusing the applique, I cut the support pieces from the applique. Look carefully! There are three. Once you fuse the applique down it will be permanent, so you want to make sure you cut them all out.

Cut out support pieces

I carefully removed the backing paper and fused the applique to my solid background fabric. The applique is fairly detailed, so as I auditioned fabrics, I found that it looked best on a solid color or a small print.

After fusing the applique to my fat quarter, I trimmed it down. Trimming my fabric after pressing down the applique helped me get the perfect positioning, and I didn’t have to worry about the applique shifting as I secured it.

Trim down fabric

I added a 4 ” strip of my large print to the top and a 6″ strip to the bottom of my wall hanging.

add borders

I prefer to spray baste (rather than pin baste), especially on small projects like this one, so I used my basting spray to put together my quilt sandwich – backing fabric on the bottom, right side down, then batting, then the applique top. I trimmed it down, leaving a few inches on all sides, and added some quilting.

spray baste

I wanted to add a little more fun, so I ironed on a few of the applique button shapes that came with the applique, and quilted around them. I picked out Pearl Cotton that coordinated with my print, and added stitching to the buttons.

number 5 pearl cotton

The thread was tied off on the back of the wall hanging. I tried tying it on the front, but it looked to messy for me, tying it on the back looked cleaner

stitch through button holes

All that was left was to bind the quilted wall hanging, and I was all done! I used 2″ binding that I applied by machine, but you can bind your wall hanging in whatever way you’re most comfortable.

These laser cut appliques are so simple to use, and since I put mine on a wall hanging that isn’t going to get washed or see much wear, I didn’t have to worry about stitching it down. The applique will stay permanently after fusing it with the heat from my iron!

I’m just one of the bloggers sharing fun projects made with these appliques – check out Nancy Zieman’s Blog all week for more fun ideas!

 

Should I Press My Quilt Seams Open or to One Side?

Should I press my seams open or to one side

 

The quilting question “Should I press my quilt seams open or to one side?” comes up very often in my quilting classes. When my students ask me, I think they’re looking for a single, definitive answer. A quilting rule that they can follow or flaunt. The problem is that I believe in very few quilting rules.

I believe that when quilting, you should press your seams. But how you press your quilt seams depends on a variety of factors. You should take these factors into account when you decide if you’re going to press your seams open, or to one side.

press seam open

How are you going to quilt your finished quilt?
If you plan on doing a “stitch in the ditch” on your quilt blocks, your decision has been made – you must press your seams to the side. The quilting technique “stitch in the ditch” is so named because of where the stitching falls. Pressing the quilt seams to the side created a slight raise on one side of the seam – which results in a slight ditch on the other. This is easy enough for a newbie quilter to find and aim at when quilting.
If you try to “Stitch in the Ditch” on a quilt where the quilt seams have been pressed open, you will be quilting along the seam line right between the pieces of the quilt top, and instead of securing the backing, batting, and top, you’ll be securing the backing and batting while tacking the top in place.
If you plan to do an all-over or a stitching pattern that does not closely follow the piecing of the blocks, you can press your seams however you like.

 

How flat do you want your finished quilt top to be?
Pressing quilt seams open results in flatter piecing. This is because instead of pressing all the bulk of the seam to one side, the bulk is divided in half and spread equally over two sides. Your finished quilt blocks are much flatter than a block with the seams pressed to the side. Once your quilt top is quilted together with the batting and backing, much of the flatness created by pressing seams open is lost into the batting, and a quilt with the seams pressed to the side is no more lumpy than one with the seams pressed open.

press seam to the side

What piecing techniques are you using?
Depending on the techniques you are using when piecing your top, you may prefer one pressing method over another. If you are piecing many small pieces together, you may want to press the quilt seams open to reduce the bulk at the individual seams. However, if you are doing intricate piecing where you want to match your seams, pressing the quilt seams to the side may actually help you. If you press one seam up and one seam down before laying two pieces with their right sides together, the ditches of the two seams will “lock” together, helping line up the piecing, and resulting in more crisp lines and points.

 

How do you press best?
What is most important in pressing is that you do it, and do it as well as possible. I have seen new quilters who did not press properly, and lost as much as 1/2″ of fabric in each seam because of poor pressing. So, if there is one way that you prefer pressing because it makes you happier, go ahead and use that method. Because staying happy while you quilt is what it is all about anyway, right?

New Simplicity Kids Backpack Pattern by The Sewing Loft

Tree backpack by The Sewing Loft and Simplicity

When my friend Heather from The Sewing Loft told me that Simplicity was printing her pattern and that it would be for sale at major retailers, I might’ve done a little happy dance! If you haven’t checked out Heather’s site, and seen her great designs, you really must. She does so many fun projects that I really wish we didn’t live on opposite sides of the country, because I want to do a sew-in weekend with Heather!

Later, Heather told me that she’d be able to share one of these cute patterns with me, and when it arrived in the mail… well… there was a second happy dance! Such a cute pattern, with so many fun variations, and inside I found all the great step-by-step instructions that Simplicity is known for.

New pattern by the Sewing Loft

Here on the blog, I primarily do quilting-type projects when I sew, but my sewing background includes more than just quilting. I have done a fair amount of garment sewing, and the feel of a tissue paper pattern always brings back memories of making my prom dress. My mom and I made more than one of my dresses for Jr. High and High School dances, and I’ve made plenty of other garments, but for some reason, the crinkle of a tissue pattern makes me think of senior year.

I decided to make the cute tree design (bottom left on the pattern cover). I pulled out tree fabrics and got to work. This is a great pattern for a new sewist. I’ve taught beginning sewing classes and, with some supervision, a child as young as 12 should be able to tackle this pattern. It isn’t difficult, but has a great variety of basic techniques, like threading in the cords, creating the casing, applique, and cutting and marking a pattern.

applique on tree

I had fun with the applique on this project… especially after I replaced my needle. I find that when my sewing machine is giving me a hard time, replacing the needle goes a long way towards making us both happy.

Here is the finished backpack – I know my boys will love using it!

finished backpack

Once I finished, I carefully folded back up all the pattern pieces and tucked them back into the pattern envelope – there are many other backpack patterns and instructions in this pattern, and I’m looking forward to trying the others… I have some nieces that might like a set of cupcake packs!

tuck pattern pieces back in

This pattern is on sale now at JoAnns Fabric and Crafts Stores, Hobby Lobby, Hancock Fabrics, and Walmart. You can find it as Simplicity #1602. I’m sure you’ll have as much fun making it as I did!

Hexagon Fabric Bracelet

Do you have some favorite pieces of fabric you’d like to turn into wearable accessories? Or maybe you love hexagons and want to show it in your wardrobe. Maybe you want to try out some of this hexagon madness without committing to a big project. These hexagon fabric bracelets are perfect for you! They make a great gift for a fabric-loving friend, or to mail in a swap package with a fellow quilter. Simple to make with just hand stitching, you’ll get addicted to these fun hexie bracelets!

Fabric bracelet stitched out of hexagons

Supplies:
1″ Hexagon Template
Pellon 71F
Pencil
Scissors
Fabric (I used 4 Charm Squares for each bracelet)
Needle and thread

Start by tracing your 1″ hexagon onto the Pellon. You’ll need 12 hexagons for each bracelet. For reference, a 1″ hexagon has sides that are 1″ across.

trace hexies onto pellon

Cut out all your hexagons.

hexies all cut out

Fuse the hexagons to your fabric, and trim the fabric. You’ll want to give yourself a generous 1/4″ of fabric all the way around each hexagon.

Fold over one edge of the fabric and tack down with a few stitches.

stitch down corner

Fold down each side, and put two stitches in each corner to hold down the sides.

stitch down hexie corners

Add a few extra stitches on the final corner to secure, and cut the thread. Repeat for all 12 hexagons.

finished hexie

Put two hexagons right sides together, and stitch along one edge. You can whip stitch them together, or you can use a ladder stitch to secure the edges. Repeat with all the hexagons to make 6 pairs.

The ladder stitch, I found, is less visible than whip stitching the pieces together. Start by making a stitch on one edge. Where the needle comes up, start a stitch on the opposite side. Keep making stitches on alternating sides all the way across. Your stitches will look like a series of straight lines up and down across the edge of the hexagons.

stitch together pieces

When you unfold the hexagons, and make them flat, you’ll see the stitches. Pull on your thread to tighten the pieces together, then secure with a few stitches.

stitched together hexies

Once you have your 6 pairs, use the same stitch to stitch them together.

stitch into a chain

You’ll want 6 hexagons down the middle, with the extra hexagon for each hanging off of either side.

chain of hexies

Fold over the matching pairs, one at a time, and stitch down around each edge. making a sandwich with the right sides out. This hides all the backs of your hexagons, and leaves just the pretty side.

stitch together front and back pieces

Repeat this with each hexagon, all the way around. When you get to the end, match up the two ends and stitch them together. Line the two pieces up, and stitch the two inside edges together first.

stitch into a bracelet loop

Then go back across, stitching together the two outside edges. Secure the thread with several stitches, and adjust the hexagons to form the shape of your hexagon bangle bracelet.

Hexagon Fabric Bracelet Tutorial

They’re pretty addictive… you’ll find yourself making a whole armful!

Hexaon fabric bracelets tutorial

How to Make a Wizard Costume

Wizard Costume

Ever have those days where you find out that you need to send your child to school in a Wizard Costume on Friday… and it is already Wednesday evening? I had one of those days last week. Being a mom who knows her way around a sewing machine, I decided we would make a Wizard Costume. Not just any wizard costume… we would make the most awesome Wizard Costume ever. According to my son, we achieved this goal. Make sure you check out how to make a Wizard Wand and how to make a Wizard Hat as well.

supplies for wizard costumeThursday, after a morning play date at the pool, we headed off to JoAnns to get our supplies. We got everything we needed to make a Wizard Robe (supplies listed are for a 4-year-old child), as well as the Wizard Wand and Wizard Hat.
For the Wizard Robe we used:
4 yards blue satin (some used on the hat, too)
1 yard green satin (some used on the hat, too)
2 spools copper ribbon (also used on the wand and hat – I would get 3 if I were to make this again)
Coordinating thread

You’ll also want a sewing machine, Iron, and pins.

I started by laying out the blue satin, along with a long-sleeved shirt that is a little big for my son.You can’t tell here, but the left side of the fabric is the fold, and there is a double layer of the fabric, so there are actually 4 layers of fabric right there, and I’m going to cut through all of them on the fold.

I was lucky that the width of fabric was enough for the top and sleeves. Otherwise, I’d have to cut different pieces for the sleeves and set them into the arm holes. Which would be a lot more work.

measure for costume size

I had my son lay next to the fabric so that I could determine the height.Yes, his pants are on backwards… that happens sometimes when he dresses himself…

You can see I marked it with a fabric pencil here. Then I cut.
I added a little bit of flare from the waist down to the bottom to try to give the robe a little extra fullness.

cut satin for wizard costume

I also added some extra fabric at the bottom of the sleeves. Having the bottom end in a point like this makes the sleeves have a nice big point at the bottom, which is one of the things I love about this costume. I also cut a little ways away from the shirt because I needed extra seam allowance for the french seams. More on that in a little bit.

The rest of these instructions are going to be picture-less, because it is pretty basic sewing. It takes a while, but it is pretty basic. I’ll warn you, the neckline bit is a little complicated… there might be a better way to do that part.

I separated the two layers, and then cut a V shape into the fold of the piece that was going to be the front, to give a more open neckline. Then I cut all the way up the fold on this piece, because the robe was going to be open.

I pinned the pieces wrong-sides together (WRONG sides, not right sides, because I’m doing french seams here). I stitched the shoulder/sleeve tops, and the sleeve bottom/armpit/side seams all with a scant 1/4″ seam. I then flipped it wrong-side-out, clipped the seams at the armpit, and repeated all those seams with a generous 1/4″ seam. This keeps all the raw edges tucked inside so there is no fraying while the costume is worn. In hindsight, it would have been a good idea to do the shoulder/sleeve top seams, add the green to the end of the sleeves, and then do the sleeve bottom/armpit/side seams.

Next was adding the green satin to the collar. I put a piece of paper under the neckline and traced the curve from the back center of the neck, all the way down the V neckline in the front. I added a 2.5″ border to the outside, and a .25″ border on the inside and cut it out. This was my template for creating the green satin for the neckline.

I folded the green satin in half, and pinned on my template, with the bottom of the V touching the fold. I cut out the template, but at the bottom of the V cut all the way down the fold the height of the straight slit in the front of the robe.

Putting this neckline piece right-sides-together, I stitched that inner 1/4″ seam, and then turned right side out. I created a second neckline piece for the other side, and pinned them both to the robe, then pressed the raw edges under, folded it over the raw edge of the blue satin so that the blue satin raw edge sat right inside the green, touching the fold. I stitched it all down, then pinned the copper ribbon on top, and stitched that down as well. There might be an easier way to do this part, but I wanted a smooth neckline and it was already 11pm the night before he was supposed to wear the costume!

I cut 5″ strips out of the green satin, folded them in half, and pressed. I then opened up those seams, folded in the sides, so the raw edges touched that middle fold line, and pressed. Then folded it back in half and pressed yet again. This made all the trim for the bottom and the sleeves. I folded this over the sleeve and bottom edges just like before, with the raw edge of the blue inside the fold of the green. This time, when I got to an end, I trimmed off the green with about 1/2″ extra, then folded the extra under and stitched in place.

After sewing on the trim, I pinned the copper ribbon in place and stitched it down. You’ll notice that there is no copper ribbon along the bottom of the Wizard Robe. I ran out and had to choose between having it on the sleeves or on the bottom edge. The sleeves won.

That was it! It took several hours to stitch it all together, but my son was THRILLED when he woke up the next morning and saw his costume!

If you want to make a wizard costume, make sure you check out how to make a Wizard Wand and how to make a Wizard Hat as well!

wizard hat and wand