Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Post

I am so proud of myself. I  sewed an ensemble, a complete outfit.  It included a statement jacket with trim details like this Givenchy jacket currently available at Pert-A-Porter,  a top with

the gathers and  ruffles that are so on trend, and a pair of loose fitting cropped pants.  Unfortunate it is not for me, but for a client that want to look like this for an event.

Yes, my client wanted a Captain Morgan costume.  Captain Morgan being a brand of rum that features a rather dandified “pirate” on the label. But I did find similar coats on historic figures of the early 18th century
Wardrobe of Peter I Russia
Admiral Edward Russell (1652–1727),
I used Simplicity pattern  4923 , a still available, still very popular pattern for costumes and historical garments.

The jacket is knee length with gores inserted at side and center back.  The sleeves are shaped, and have gigantic cuffs.

Captain Morgan Jacket

Captain Morgan Jacket side

Captain Morgan Jacket trim detail
The fabric I used was poly cotton (JoAnn’s).  The  pattern called for 6 yards of 45" wide fabric. I used  5 yards with the only compromise being that  pocket flap and cuff linings were cut  on the lengthwise grain.  The trim is gold, medium weight linen/rayon strips with finished width = 1”.   For trim used on front button area, the fabric was cut on straight of grain.  The trim for all edges where there was curvature,  hem, neckline and hat brim, was bias cut.  I used the bias maker for the straight grain strips too, in order to speed up turning under the  seam allowances. Needless to say, my 1 inch bias maker and edge stitch foot got a workout on this project. 22 large buttons were needed for the version of the  coat I made. Big buttons are expensive and any store in my area only has a couple cards of the same style. My solution: I found a large bag of cheap white plastic buttons. There were 25 buttons of the same size, but not the same face design. Disregarding that, I strung them all on a  piece of cotton twine between two deck chairs,  spray painted them all gold, let them dry and sewed them on. 

Spray Painted Buttons

The shirt was very loose fitting with gathers everywhere, neck edge,  and on the sleeves at both shoulder and cuffs.  The fabric for shirt was a 100% cotton twin size sheet.  I purchase white cotton sheets, when they are on sale,  for muslin, costumes and curtain linings.   My client could not tie the collar closed on his 16” neck so he wore the shirt open. However the front slit is 14” deep which revealed a bit too much hairy man chest, so I tacked the slit closed for bottom 6”. The client could still pull shirt on over his head.

Shirt Simplicity 4923

The pants or breeches are calf length with authentic bagginess in the front and back crotch area, and buttons on lower side seams.  The front closure is a flap that buttons to front waist band.  Fabric used was a navy medium weight rayon/linen.

Captain Morgan also has a hat. Not a plain black pirate  No, his is red with gold trim. A bit to matchy, matchy for my taste, but my client wanted it.  Researching "make your own  pirate hat" on the internet, I found  the easiest ones  started with  a woman's brimmed  hat. You cover them with felt or leather look material, and turn up and tacking the brim to the crown in three equal sections.  I found the hat below in the sale bin at JoAnn's.

I attempted to spray paint the hat red, starting with the upper brim and crown. It looked like a spray-painted straw hat. Time was running out, so in the end we settled for a black brim with gold trim.

Captain Morgan Pirate Hat

Boot covers were planned, but  there was no time for them either so Captain Morgan wore tall leather work boots. My client was very happy. He got lots of compliments and requests for photo's.

Captain Morgan and swashbuckling sidekick


  1. that is fantastic, what a lot of work and it looks perfect

  2. Argh, what a talented wench you are, Audrey! Fine sewing and a dandy suit. Hope your Halloween was as much fun as his.

  3. I know that pattern well... we use it in our costume shop. I've made the pants frequently, shirt occasionally, vest once, and I've not used the coat. Your pirate looks very dashing!

  4. LOL too much "hairy man chest". It looks like an awesome costume and a TON of work. You did a great job!

  5. Wow fantastic job, the coat especially is fabulous, I hope your client wears it to every single fancy dress party in his future!
    That Givenchy jacket is rather lovely too.

  6. Your Captain Morgan looks amazing! What an awful lot of work for a costume.

  7. I am super impressed. What a lot of detail for a Halloween costume. Your kid's costumes as kids must have been epic!

  8. Wow! The outfit is fantastic. I love how you told the story from the initial idea through to the final reveal - so well written & sewn!