Thursday, October 23, 2014

Aviator Pants

When the Aviator Pants Pattern by Winter Wear Designs was released a couple of months ago, I immediately noted it as a pattern I’d love to sew for my kids. The design is modern and cool, but also look comfortable.  And now the designer, Suzanne, has released a grown up version of the pattern and invited me along on the pattern tour.  Yay!

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I had big plans for these patterns.  The Aviators, both kid and women’s, are versatile and fun, casual and just a tiny bit funky.  I thought it would be great to make a few different versions, for myself and the kids, using the different options in the patterns, and different types of fabrics.  Show you all kinds of ways to use this pattern, for all kinds of clothing needs.  I have two to show you today.

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First, a super simple kids’ Aviator for my sporty 6 year old.  He loves football, it’s pretty much his life’s passion at the moment.  So I made a pair of aviators using his sweatshirt fleece in his favorite team colors.  I love the triangle detail in the pattern, especially for adding color.  I also used the pop of orange at the waistband, pockets, and cuffs.

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We went with a size bigger than he’s in right now, so he can get a lot of use out of these. The fit is great, just a tiny bit big, like I was hoping for.  And he loves them.  He begged to stay up the night I was working on them, so he could wear them to bed as soon as I finished.  Then he wore them to school the next day. 

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Now, the other pair.  Oh, friends.  This pair was not meant for my son.  They were supposed to be for me!  As soon as I saw the women’s Aviator pattern, I thought they would make great hiking pants.  I ordered some waterproof, lightweight sport fabric from Seattle Fabrics, and was so excited to make myself some outdoor pants.  Sportswear is so expensive, and it’s hard to find good hiking pants for less than $50.  The fabric arrived, it was fantastic and perfect.  Except it had no stretch.  Zero.  Zilch.  The pattern calls for stretch fabric, but says that even as little as 10% stretch works. But still, 10% is a lot more than 0%.   blergh.  So I sized up, and hoped for the best. 

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And was super stupid and didn’t measure anything. 

I just got to work, doing all flat-felled seams for durability, zippered-welt pockets, and really making sure these would be awesome hiking pants.  And then I couldn’t even get them over my hips.  At all.  Gah!  So, the 11 year old got a new pair of too-big hiking pants and I got a whole lot of humble pie.

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I need to order myself some more fabric, because I will make myself hiking Aviators.  Next time, though, I will measure out the pattern pieces against other woven pants I own, since knits are so much more fit-forgiving than wovens.  The other women’s Aviators that are popping up on the tour are all looking fantastic.  Since I have none of my own to show you, check out these:

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Karly’s cozy, long-leg Aviators at Paisley Roots, Kelly at Handmade Boy has two pair and super fun photos you have to check out, and Jessica’s hip and chic pair at Pattern Revolution.  So many ways to sew, style and wear this pattern!  You can check out all the stops on the tour

Pattern Revolution       10/20
Paisley Roots                10/21
Handmade Boy             10/22
Sew a Straight Line      10/23
Lady & the Gents         10/24
Shaffer Sisters              10/24
Additional Fun      10/25

And you can grab any Winter Wear Designspatterns, including the Aviators at a 15% off discount using the code AVIATORTOUR (excludes bundles) through 10/26/14.  Buy both the women’s and kids’ Aviators, and save 30%!!

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I was given the Aviator patterns to sew and tell you about.  I’ll be telling you more about them just as soon as I make a pair for myself I can actually get over my womanly hips!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Perfect Pattern Parcel: this one’s for the ladies

You need to go back up and re-read the title in your best Berry White voice.  Go on, I’ll wait.  

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Done?  good.  
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Now, let’s talk Perfect Pattern Parcel: Ladies Edition.  I swear these Parcels just keep getting better and better.  This collection includes:

Syrah Skirt by Selvage Designs
Bronte Top by Jennifer Lauren 
Julia Cardigan by Mouse House Creations
Hudson Pant by True Bias
Zsalya Top & Dress by Kate & Rose
Bonus Pattern:Odette Dress by BlueGingerDoll 

Every pattern looks so good, and they all work so well with each other. I only had the chance to sew up three to share with you all for now, but I think you can see from just these three pieces how fun this collection is.  I sewed the Hudson Pants, the Julia Cardigan and a Bronte Top.  I really enjoyed all three, so let’s discuss them a bit. 

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Also, let’s discuss that I think my camera is dying .  Do they die?  Is it possible I’ve killed it? I cannot get it to focus any more.  Perhaps you’ve noticed?  I can’t figure out what’s up.  Manual, auto, kit lens, that other lens I own: doesn’t matter: no focus unless I’m right up against the subject.  It’s probably user-error, I’m so very inept at camera stuff.   But let’s just pretend the grain and blur is some sort of hip new photog filter and I’m just super cool.  Or something.

Back to the patterns.  
This is my second Julia Cardigan (see the first one HERE), this time in a French terry left over from my nephew’s robe, and I still think this pattern is pretty much the greatest. It’s a fast sew, a fun twist on a classic look, the pattern is drafted well, and it keeps me warm = greatest.  Almost as great as my modeling skills, as evidenced by these beauts:

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It’s like I’m channeling GOB and his chicken dance

I need to sew my kids more stuff so I can take grainy pictures of them instead.

For my Hudson Pants, I wanted to add some fun stretch leather.  I added a tuxedo stripe of it down the side seam of both legs, at the pockets, and at the cuffs.  The back of the leather (which is actually not leather, but “stretch faux leather” is a lot to type out) is a soft knit.  Matched up with the main fabric’s French terry, things feel as good as they look.  And I really like the look. 

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However, as stretchy as this stretch [faux] leather is, it’s not that stretchy.  And it probably wasn’t the best idea for the cuffs, though I really like it everywhere else.  My husband asked me if the pants were hard to take off my feet because he thought it looked like I had wrapped electrical tape around my ankles.  They are hard to take off, it’s true.  But once on, they’re totally comfortable.  Solution: I never take these pants off!

Electric tape. pfft.

Finally, I sewed up the Bronte Top.  And then took insanely grainy pictures of it.  Seriously! What is up?!?!

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Here, let’s look at some in-focus close-ups of the darling neckline details of this pattern.

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The Bronte Top is like a fancy-upped tee shirt.  Just as fast to sew, just as easy to style, just as comfortable to wear, but fancy!  What with its envelope shoulders and with or without buttons.  I chose with.

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I used a charcoal/white stripe knit from Nosh Organics, that sewed like buttah.  I am so very happy with how this top turned out.  I want to wear it everywhere and with everything.  I will say, however, that I feel like the fit is a bit too fitted (read: tight).  I went by my measurements, and looking at other Brontes others have sewn, it looks like it’s supposed to fit snug.  My next Bronte, I’m sizing up.  Also, I lengthened this Bronte by about 3 inches.  I wanted to make sure it would  cover everything even when paired with low-rise pants, like my new Hudsons.

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You can grab the Ladies’ Perfect Pattern Parcel by clicking this thing:


And just in case you didn’t know…
How Pattern Parcel Works:
Here at Perfect Pattern Parcel, we believe in supporting independent pattern designers. It’s our opinion that indie patterns are just, well, better than big box patterns, and we’re pretty sure our customers think so too. So, we allow customers to show their support in naming their own price for each Parcel. We also encourage customers to allocate part of their Parcel price to the charity in order to help classrooms in need. Pattern Parcel donates all profits after expenses from Parcel sales to the charity as well. Together we’ve raised over $12,000 for classrooms in need!

Bonus Pattern:
Choose a price of $32 or greater for Parcel #6 and you will automatically also be sent the Bonus Pattern! That’s only $5 a pattern. The Bonus Pattern for this Parcel is the Odette Dress by Bluegingerdoll. Vintage inspired silhouette is had two flattering necklines and a gorgeous skirt. The Odette Dress pattern goes from a size 4 through a 24!



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Costume Tutorials!

My goal was to have all four of my kids’ Halloween costumes done two weeks ago.  We are less than two weeks away from Halloween night now, and I still have two costumes left.  Blah.  So much for goals.  In case you’re still working on ideas and need some inspiration and help along the way, here are 17 free costume tutorials and patterns


Now, get makin’, and I guess I will, too.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Whatcha wearing under there?

Underwear!  Ivy’s done with diapers, which means I am done with diapers: wahoooo!  To celebrate, I pulled out my knit scrap bins and made her seven sets of undies, complete with matching camisoles.  One for every day of the week!

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And friends, let me tell you, there are few things I have encountered in this life cuter than a two-year old in skivvies.

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The patterns are both from the 6/2013 issue of Ottobre, #32: Peppi  and #33 Annica .  The undies pattern starts at size 92cm, so I graded that pattern down a little bit for my daughter, who wears an 86.  The cami pattern starts at 86, so I was able to stick to the pattern completely for the tops.
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I’m very happy with the fit of both top and bottom.  Originally, I thought the legs were a bit too big, but I adjusted how tight I was attaching the binding, and that solved any gape issue.  Now they are perfect. 

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I only planned on making the bottoms.  But then the cami pattern was just so cute, I had to make one.  After making one, I was so in love, I decided every pair needed a matching top.  With winter fast approaching, they’ll add an extra layer of adorable warmth.  And in the summer, she can wear them as PJ tops.  Currently, she’s just lounging around in the sets because they’re just too cute to cover.

Most of the scraps I used to make these, I have been hanging onto since making diapers for my boys, up to eight years ago.  I know, I have a problem.  It’s just so hard to toss cute knits, even little pieces.  And now my hoarding has paid off, so I guess I’m not going to reform that habit any time soon :)

And now for Undies on Parade!

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I had so little of this cute mermaid knit leftover, that I used the View A of the cami pattern, rather than the View B the others come from.  I pieced the front with a panel of the print.  I’m not happy with the neck on this one.  The pattern calls for lace-edged elastic around the neck of this view.  But I didn’t have any and instead tried a decorative stitch.  It didn’t turn out.  I may go back and pick out the stitches.  Or I may not.  This is actually Ivy’s favorite set.  So I guess the ugly neck isn’t bothering her. 

Back to the parade…

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days of the week ottobre undewear 6 2013 sew a straight line 

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Top Pattern: Ottobre 6/2013 #32 Peppi Camisole
Bottom Pattern:  Ottobre 6/2013 #33 Annica Panties
Various knit fabrics

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rainbow Dash costume

Ivy decided she needed to be Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony back in the summer when the boys first started discussing costumes.  I didn’t even realize she remembered what Halloween was, or what a costume was, but she jumped right into the conversation and announced her pony plans.  Ever since, whenever I would go down to sew, she’d ask if I was making her Rainbow Dash costume.  It took a couple of months to finally get to it, but it’s done.  And it’s adorable.

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I used the tutorial from Sugar Tart Craft’s Pony Sew Along as inspiration, and her patterns for the ears and wings, specifically. The fabric is cuddle fleece from Jo-Ann stores.  I love the texture of cuddle fleece, hate to sew with it.  So very, very messy and all but impossible to find and remove errant stitching.  It’s also more bulky than regular fleece,  so Ivy’s Rainbow Dash ears aren’t as perfect as those at Sugar Tart Crafts.  Still cute, though.  And I sewed them directly to the hood, rather than make them removable clips.  I also lined the hood, using a My Little Pony knit remnant I had.

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For the jacket, I used an Ottobre pattern from 1/2006 issue, number 8.  The pattern worked great, but it’s a bit small.  If I had looked at the sample pictures in the magazine first, I would have known the hoodie was short, and would have lengthened it a bit.  But I didn’t look, and I didn’t lengthen.  I added front pockets, because it seemed the right thing to do.  And then they ended up just a tiny bit off and drive me crazy.  But I’m not about to go pick the stitching out of that ^#*@* cuddle fleece, so they’re just going to have to be uneven.  I chose the Otto pattern because liked the ribbed hem and cuffs on the pattern.  And I really liked that the hood was three pieces, with a wide center piece.  Because of the design of the hood, I was able to do two lines of “hair” down the seam lines on either side of the center piece, making the mane nice and thick. 

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I also pieced the center pattern piece in rainbow colors, though it’s hard to see in the pictures since it follows the same pattern as the fleece strips of the mane.  The pattern for the wings from Sugar Tart Crafts was perfect, though I chose to sew the wings directly to the jacket.  I also skipped the batting recommended, and tacked the wings down at the shoulders instead, so they don’t flap too much.  The wings are Ivy’s favorite part.  She refused to even try on the jacket until I had attached wings.  And when I finally got the wings on and showed her, she gasped and jumped up and down.  Yay wings!

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You can see, below the dimensional wings, where I stitched the wing pattern directly onto the jacket back, thinking that would be fun.  Then decided it looked dumb, but gave up on picking out the stitching after about 20 seconds.  Stinkin’ cuddle fleece.

For the pants, I just traced a pair of PJ pants Ivy has.  I made them way too long.  And then I hemmed them and ended up making them too short.  Whatever.  They work.

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My very favorite part is the cutie mark on the leg.  I traced out Rainbow Dash’s cutie mark onto a rectangle of white felt, then set my sewing machine to a satin stitch and got to work.  It went surprisingly fast and I was thrilled with the results. After getting the design all stitched in, I just cut the excess felt off and stitched it onto the pant leg.  My eight year old told me it “looks like you bought it at the store or something.  Like, the Cutie Mark Store.”  Not bad for a regular ol’ sewing machine, huh?!

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Now I just have to keep Ivy from trying to trick-or-treat at the neighbors for the next couple of weeks, because she is ready to go!

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Headless Horse[less]Man Costume

Oh, October! Apples, changing leaves, crisp-cool mornings, children requesting insanely specific Halloween costumes.  My eight—year old wanted a headless horseman costume.  And not only did he expect me to figure out how to make him headless, but he also had very exacting details for how the costume itself needed to look.   We did some sketching and a bit of googling, and by golly, we ended up with a pretty rad headless horseman!

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And a pretty happy eight-year old. 

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Like I said, he had very specific ideas on how this costume needed to look.  Of course, it needed to be headless, and he wanted armor.  Armor?  This one tripped me up for a bit.  I kept envisioning the headless horseman ala Disney in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow cartoon:  all black clothing, cape, pumpkin head.  Easy peasy.  But no.  Nothing is as easy as it seems with this child of mine.  So armor.  Ugh.  But after spending some time on Google, we found this image

via THIS link and Seth was, like, “THAT ONE!” And I was, like, “Ohhhhhh.  Now I get it.”  So that’s what we went with.  Very highwayman, and very cool.  This kid always has the best vision for his costumes.  So we came up with a tunic, tall riding boots, arm cuffs/riding gloves, and of course he needed a cape that would billow out behind him as he chases people.

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The back of the costume, under the cape, is fully detailed, too.  The tunic has a back split, so if this horseman ever finds a horse, in addition to a head, he’s ready to ride.  And the boots lace up the back.

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It turns out, the costume also works as a Roman soldier or gladiator.  Just throw off the pumpkin and grab a sword.  Ave Caesar, morituri te salutant!

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But the pumpkin just looks so cool and Halloween-y!

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Oh! And also, it glows.

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I know.  Super awesome amazing cool.
Also super awesome amazing cool: I’ve got the full tutorial to make your own, including the pattern pieces for the tunic, arm cuffs, and boots.  Everything you need to make your own headless horseman, except the horse.

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I’ve labeled this costume as a size 7/8 child.  But it’s a pretty roomy fit, so that’s just an approximate size.

You’ll need:

Carvable fake pumpkin or light up pumpkin
Glow stick bracelets
1.5 yards faux leather/main fabric (I used a very thin faux leather from Jo-Ann.  It’s about the same as a bottomweight fabric and very easy to sew and work with)
.5 yards lining
1 yard heavyweight interfacing
Leather lacings
1 yard faux leather/fabric for cape
2 sets metal snaps
4 inches Velcro
Black shirt
Black pants (I made a pair of Parsley Pants since we didn’t have any black pants, but I did have black fabric on hand)
Black gloves (Jo-Ann has black knit gloves in their $1 bins)
the pattern (hosted on Craftsy, affiliate link)

Pumpkin Head
* I used an electrical jack-o-lantern that we already owned, to save some money.  Our plan is to glue the bottom back on the jack-o-lantern when we’re done with it as a head, so we can continue to use it as decoration.  I checked around at craft stores, like J0-Ann, and they sell large carvable fake pumpkins that would fit over a child’s (or even adult’s) head.  You would need to carve the face yourself.*

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1.  Carve face into pumpkin (if you aren’t using one that already has a face)
2.  Cut bottom out of pumpkin, large enough to fit head through. 
3. Check to see that head fits, and that the child can see through the carving. 
4. Bend your glow bracelets into shape.
5.  Tape bracelets around eye openings of pumpkin. I used duct tape because that’s what we had on hand.  It worked well to keep the bracelets in place, and then removed easily after a few hours so we could put new bracelets in (we did some testing).  On Halloween, my son has requested that we use more bracelets, around all the openings, so he *really* glows!

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Now you have a glowing pumpkin head!!
My younger son is wearing it here, and his head and shoulders are so small that the pumpkin fits him differently than the son I made this for.  His eyes don’t line up properly with any openings.  This is why Step 3 is so important!


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1.  Layer the upper tunic pieces like this: front main fabric facing up, interfacing, lining fabric facing down.  Pin well.  Baste all around the raw edges.
2.  Trace out the upper tunic designs in chalk
3.  Quilt/stitch your design.  Wipe the chalk off.
4.  Take back upper tunic and sew it to the front upper tunic at the shoulders, right sides facing.
5.  Open the tunic up, press the shoulder seam toward the back and top stitch.
6.  Make bias tape out of the .5 yard of main fabric, about 1 inch wide.
7.  Bind neckline, and both sides completely.  The only unbound area on the tunic (front and back) will be the lower edges of the front and back. 

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So no you should have this.  Let’s attach the…. well, I’m calling it a skirt, but my son balked at that, so on the pattern it’s called the lower tunic.  But it’s pretty much a skirt.  Anyway, let’s attach it to the upper tunic, whatever you want to call it.

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Open the lower tunic fabric up completely, find center back of the lower tunic and center back of the upper tunic.  Pin those together right sides facing.  Pin the lower tunic to the upper tunic all the way around.  The center front of the lower tunic will overlap at the center front of the upper tunic.

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Sew all the way around, right sides together.  As you get to the sides, overlap the front and back upper tunics so that the lower tunic (skirt) catches both.

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And you’ll have this.  You can leave the lower tunic as is, or hem it all the way around. 


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1.  Fold toward the wrong side, and stitch the top curve of both boot pieces. 
2.  Attach 1-inch strip of interfacing the length of both long sides of each boot piece, on the wrong side.
3.  Lay the boot pieces onto the black pants, and mark where the top of the boot curve will hit on each pant leg’s thigh.  Sew, or otherwise attach, the loopy side of 2-inch strip of Velcro to the pants.  Be careful to only sew through the front leg of the pants.  Attach the hook side of the 2-inch strip of Velcro to the top curve of the boots, just below turned-under stitching. 
4.  Use leather lacing to lace the boots up the back.  You can make button holes to make this easier, or just use an upholstery needle.  The heavy interfacing will keep holes from getting bigger.

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Arm Cuffs

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*note: I didn’t think to use lining on these until after I’d made them.  So my pictures don’t include the lining.  Sorry.*
1. Attach the interfacing to the lining fabric.
2. Trim the top and bottom of the interfacing/lining about 1/4inch
3.  Place the main fabric and the interfacing/lining together, matching all edges except top and bottom (which won’t match because the interfacing is shorter), wrong sides together.
4. Fold the main fabric over towards the interfacing/lining at the top and bottom, and stitch in place
5. Fold cuff in half, right sides together, along the length.  Pin.  Sew the long edge
5. Turn right side out

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1. Measure your child from shoulder to ankle. 
2. Cut the cape fabric to that length.
3.  Fold the cape fabric in half along the length
4. Lay the tunic on the folded cape fabric with the center of the tunic lined up with the fold of the cape fabric
5.  With the fabric still folded, cut the top of the cape fabric two inches wider than the half-tunic, and angle it down to the bottom of the cape fabric.
6. Cut a curve at the bottom of the cape at a desired arc (nothing too specific, just whatever looks good to you)
7.  Hem all edges

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Install snaps at the front shoulders of the tunic, and either top corner of the cape. 

Finish the costume with a black shirt, black gloves, and some fun PhotoShopping! 
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“In the dark shadow of the grove, on the margin of the brook, he beheld something huge, misshapen and towering.  It stirred not, but seemed gathered up in the gloom, like some gigantic monster ready to spring upon the traveler.”
-Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

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Happy Halloween!!

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