Arg, Mateys, 'tis time again for the pirate costumes...
Not because Captain Jack is back on the big screen, but because, in our 6 -year rotation of summer themes in the children's ministry, Pirates of Paradise Island has come back around. And, as it so happened, this year we did a Family Crusade instead of kids camp.
So, that meant we were pirating from ages 0 to whatever. (We have to beat the villain to the treasure...which turns out to the Bible....)
Twelve years ago, just before I started the blog, we did the Pirates theme and did a family crusade with it. My older kids were helping the then-youth-pastors with the Red Team efforts, so we all joined up. The Artist actually wanted me to make a shirt for him; I found a DEAL on rayon/acetate at the dollar table at Wal-Mart (pause for sad reflection as that source is no more) and I made a shirt for him and also one for myself (still my favorite pattern review).
It just so happened that My Sweet Babboo and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary right in the middle of it and we got a family photo:
Well, in the intevening years I made a shirt from the same pattern for My Sweet Babboo, as the Royal Rangers did a pirate theme for Pow Wow about three years later. So when we were coming up on this event, I realized that everyone in the family had a pirate shirt...except the two kids who work in our children's ministry every week. I looked through my fabric stash, but didn't have a piece suitable for pirate shirts. I had used the piece I'd intended for shirts for them for a charitable cause and never managed to replace it.
But, I had to run some errands on Friday and made my way to the opposite corner of town to the only fabric store left in The Rocket City...Jo Ann's. I'd only been in there about 4 times since it opened several years ago and wasn't hopeful. But...they had a rayon/linen blend in creme that was right at the top of my price range (sale price at that) and there was exactly what I needed for two shirts...5 yards...on the bolt. So I brought it home and ran it through the washer and dryer.
Whilst it was preshrinking, I poked through my collection of patterns. Keep in mind, this was Friday afternoon and the event started Sunday evening. I didn't have much time and I really didn't want to do twenty eyelets in a hurry. So I pulled out an as-yet untried pattern, Butterick 5008, which is apparently out of print.
No Eyelets....very basic. I picked view D, with the front seam and flounce, for The Flute Player and view C, minus the sleeve ruffles, for The Actor. I figured I could trace the pattern in less time than it would take to hammer on 20 eyelets anyway.
I read the reviews on PatternReview and decided to use buttons on the cuffs instead of the ties and just cut the ties for the neck. I *thought* I was cutting the ties twice the length stated on the pattern, intending to cut the number of tubes to turn in half. I also altered the collar pattern for a one-piece collar, ala Nancy Zieman and Louise Cutting.
Got up Saturday morning but got a slow start and really didn't get to sewing until around noon. But I figured it should only take about 6 hours to make the two shirts, so I wasn't worried. I could do it around the laundry....
I started by making the fiddly bits first... the ruffles, the collar and band assembly, the sleeves and cuffs, and the ties. I used my rolled edge foot..the skinny one...for the ruffles. It wasn't hard but it was tedious slow work. Not as slow as any other method of edge finish, though, I'm sure! I fused the interfacing on the collars, bands and cuffs, and ran the ties through the serger.
And hit problems. The tie pieces were only an inch wide, and I thought I'd be slick and run long serger chain,. then fold the strip around it and sew the edge so I could use the long chain to turn it.
Well, the strips were cut on the straight of grain and with a 1/4" serger seam, I COULD NOT get the first strip turned. Finally broke the chain trying. I decided that 1) the strip is too narrow to use a 1/4" seam 2) the straight of grain had no give in it and 3) it was too short for me to cut it in half. I don't know if I misremembered the measurement when I cut it or if the measurement was just skimpy to begin with.
So I went upstairs and cut 1 1/4" bias strips out of the remnant of the fabric. I couldn't cut these long enough to split them, because I only had a wee bit of fabric left, so I had to cut 8 ties. I sewed them on my conventional machine with about a 3/16 seam allowance...and fought to get them turned. I finally went to my ancient beauty supplies and pulled out a roller clip...essentially a giant bobby pin...cut a slit in the end of the tie and managed to get them all turned with the bobby pin.
But I lost something like TWO HOURS messing with those stupid ties. And I had to keep stopping for a bit to switch laundry out and fold stuff. By the time I got the ties on the bands, it was time for a dinner break. The Actor and the Artist were both involved in the big Opening Sword Fight and were at rehearsal all day Saturday; The Artist came by the house to work a bit on his costume. He wanted a peg leg for at least part of the week and needed a crutch, so he came by to make use of the woodworking tools in the garage. The Actor had to stay behind to do some janitorial work, so he didn't come home until later in the evening.
I went back to the machines, making the cuffs and sleeves and attaching the flounces to the front of The Flute Player's shirt.
The Artist got his crutch assembled and put a layer of stain on it...then came into the house and pulled up the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie on the chromecast.
Arg, matey, it was hard to sew and listen to th' movie in the next room. It'd been a few years since I last watched it. I confess to making much less progress than I might've otherwise.
When The Actor got home, he told me he was using a shirt from the church costume wardrobe so he didn't need one for the next day.
I ditched his and began to work solely on the flounced shirt. I finally got all the pieces ready and began assembly.
I was putting the collar on at, oh, eleven thirty? Somehow I got confused and ended up putting the collar on with the wrong side out. I didn't notice it until I'd trimmed the seam. I used the one-piece collar...that meant the collar back had a seam on it. Disgust...but, you know, it's in the back. No one will know that it's not supposed to have a seam. Costuming, not couture. I kept going.
Finally finished it at one AM. She was still up and good-naturedly put it on for a photo. She was very pleased. Oh, btw...I shortened it 4" before I cut it out. It's a long shirt.
I was running registration for the event...which is rather complicated, as we had to track points the kids earned all week for some big prizes at the end. The Flute Player was helping with some of the registration tasks, as well as some of the technicalities of the production, so we were both in costume. My Sweet Babboo just dressed to add to the ambiance.
The Princess was the only one in the family who didn't make it to the event. She wanted to bring her nephew but couldn't get it to work.
But we did get another family photo...this one will make the Christmas letter!
(If you're curious, here's the picture of The Artist with his 'Peg Leg'...lol)