Thursday, March 26, 2015

Making a Linda Danvers Supergirl costume - the black hems

As I said in an earlier post, I was under the impression that the black hems on this costume were called piping:
First lesson: they aren't.  As far as I know they are just called hems.

So, how did I do it?  The material was about one and a half metres in length, and about 30 cm in width, I think.  I bought whatever the minimum was.  As it has lycra in it it quite curly and efforts to iron it weren't successful.

We measured the circumference of one of the arms of the t-shirt and then cut the black material to the same length.  If you can, cut a longer length (by 5 or 6 centimetres) than what you think you need.

We laid the material out on the table and somehow managed to fold over the straightest edge by half a centimetre, then folded it over again.  We pinned it and sewed it, a la this:
So long as you sew close to the edge of your folded over bit (and not next to the hem_ you will catch both folded over layers when you sew.

When you're sewing it (and I'm assuming you are using a sewing machine) use black thread on both the bobbin and the needle and be as steady as you can.  If you go fast then slow it mucks up the tension and the needle kind of jumps around the fabric and can make it bunch up.  Not good.  It also pays to keep the edge of the folded bit as straight as you can - my machine has little lines on the silver bit you place the fabric on, which helps.  I imagine most machines have this.

Next, we measured how deep we wanted the black bit to be.  My t-shirt had capped sleeves which I thought would be really difficult to sew as there isn't much space on the bit under the armpit.  My friend pointed out we could use the black material to lengthen the arms.  A-ha!  This is why I needed help,,,

We decided 4cm would be a good length for the black hems.  We measured 4 cm from the bottom of our sewn hem (above picture), folded the material over and then pinned it to the outside of the t-shirt, so that the hemmed bit we'd done above had the folded over bit on the inside.  From the bottom of the hem to where we'd pinned it was 4 cms.  Like this:
The next bit is tricky to explain.  We'd pinned the black material on the tee so that the pins were on the inside of the black material.  We then flipped the material up so the bit that would be visible was inside out and we sewed on the inside of the material, against the t-shirt hem line.  When you've gone all the way around you flip the black material back over so that the edges meet, and you sew them together so that the meeting material is on the inside.  Then you turn the t-shirt (or just the sleeve) inside out and chop off the excess material.

If you're like me that last part will only make sense when you begin to do it.

One sleeve worked fine like this, but I ran out of my pre-hemmed material on the other one.  I was by myself by this point and couldn't quite manage to hem a new length of material by myself again, so I opted to sew on what my friend has helped me do, then sew in a patch.  The patch ended up being quite messy, partly because I hadn't put the first one quite straight.
I had trouble using the machine to sew the edges of each part together so ended up hand sewing them together.  If you look closely it's a mess, but as the patch is only under the armpit it's not really noticeable.  You cna also see where I failed to sew against the hemline... don't do that.

Lessons learned here are that tension matters even more when you are sewing one type of fabric onto another.

Next we did the hem on the bottom of the t-shirt.  We weren't interested in lengthening this so we measured 9 cm height of material and pinned it so that 4 cm were visible on the outside of the t-shirt, and about 1cm was folded over, so you didn't have a raw edge on display.  Et voila: 

 Then we pinned it and sewed it, trying to make sure we got the hem on the outside, and the black material on the other side.  It's fine to have a raw edge on the inside as no one will see that.  We hadn't cut the material quite the right length for his, so like the sleeves, there's a patch.  I managed to do this a lot more neatly than the sleeve, thankfully.

One thing you do want to be careful of us not bunching up the top you are sewing onto, because if you have to unpick it it is likely that you will leave little holes like this:

I think they'll close up in time but it's better to not do them in the first place.

The finished product:

It looked neater on.

Next post - making the S shield.  Twice.

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