The stores are filled with costumes, usually repetitive and sometimes boring. All of them eye catching and elaborate at first glance but up close they are lacking. The materials are cheap and uncomfortable, the dimensions are weird making them never quite look right, however my biggest issue is the price tag. Those suckers aren’t cheap! If it’s for a kid then chances are they will only get worn a handful of times at best. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have that option especially when you need something in a pinch. If that’s the case though I usually start with looking for something second hand. I’ve found costumes on our local used.ca site, Facebook market place and even hand me downs from friends which have been useful. I also utilize thrift stores and children’s consignment shops. Using these you might actually end up with a nicer costume for a better price!
For today’s project I am going to start in my own closet, and do a little up-cycling.
Going this route means I’m saving money but taking a little extra time. I’m putting together an idea for a Halloween themed photo shoot with my son. This isn’t going to be his Halloween costume so I want to keep it as cheap as possible.
For this photo shoot the only thing I need is a lab coat, which is relatively easy to find, but why spend the money if you don’t need to. In the back of my closet I had an old lab coat, it’s a little stained and doesn’t actually fit me anymore. What I’m going to do is rework this medium men’s lab coat to fit my 2-year-old.
The first thing I did was lay out the coat on the ground with the buttons done up all nice and flat. Then, marking from the center of the garment, I marked the width I wanted the shoulders to be with an added two inches on each for seam allowance and the curve for the arm pit to be added later. I left some wiggle room as I’m not the type of person who often gets it right on the first shot so, by leaving myself room for error, I can eliminate a lot of spoiled projects.
I marked the desired length, keeping the button placement in mind to make sure the last button fell at a good spot, then I added an inch for the hem. The cut line here goes straight through the pocket which will be removed and remade anyway so I just cut straight through and removed the rest of it with a seam ripper. I made a new pocket using left over sleeve material, utilizing the finished cuff to save time.
For the sleeves I used an existing jacket to get the basic shape. I made myself a template copying the curve of the armpit and then traced it onto the body of the lab coat. I also traced the basic shape of the full sleeve to get a good length and taper, making sure to add room for a cuff and seam allowance.
After marking where the sleeves and the coat body would join, I sewed up each piece separately. I like to hem the sleeves at this point so its easier to manage. I sewed up the side seam leaving 4 inches at the bottom of the coat to create side slits, matching the original design. Then the sleeves were attatched to the body and each of the seams finished with a zig zag stitch in place of a serger. Then I placed my chest pocket and sewed it down with a double seam. Details like the slits and the chest pocket are not entirely necessary but I think they help make the end product look more authentic.
I salvaged the button at the very bottom to move to the top of the garment to close up the neck a little more. This is so much easier than having to construct a new neck line and ensures a seamless fit. I marked the location for the new top button using the same distance as the pre-existing ones. Then created a button hole and sewed on the button.
From big, to little. This method could be adapted to most tops without a lining although it can get more complicated.