Karlene's Workshop

My sewing, refashioning and upcycling projects revealed
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Super Hero costumes for the boys

  • 11/01/2010 1:01 pm

I made my boys some fun costumes for Christmas.

The black cape is made from a couple of panels taken from an old circular skirt, already hemmed so it was very quick.

I cut an extra strip strip to make the tie.

For super heroes I made an orange cape and mask. The fabric is from a thrifted bed valance. I unpicked the ruffled side bits and was left with a rectangle shape with a hem on one edge (yay!) so all I had to do for the cape was hem the sides, gather the neck and add a ribbon tie.


The mask was a little trickier :-) I acquired some foam shapes (can’t remember where from) that looked like a mask shape, so I trimmed one little, added some holes for eyes and covered it with some of the orange fabric. All hand stitched, very couture!

For fabric for the wizard cape and hat I used a large thrifted sheet. I folded the sheet in half, then folded on the diagonal, to help me measure out a 1/2 circular shape.

I then cut off the pointy end to make the neck about 50cm in total – folded up it was about 11cm across the curve.

Having the sides of the sheet gave me two nicely hemmed edges, (double yay!) so all I needed to do was hem the bottom, then add the ribbon tie to the top.


For the hat I used some cardboard to make a hat base, and cut out the same shape in the fabric and some thin batting, with a bit extra around the sides to overlap.

I then appliqued some star shapes on the hat fabric before covering the cardboard, and to the top and bottom of the cape. For more detail on how I did the applique, I have written a tutorial here.


They had lots of fun dressing up with their friends.

This was so funny. Jordan is trying to have his moment, but Ewan steals the scene showing off his new watch, he is very proud of it!

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Beaded fairy princess tiara

  • 02/01/2010 4:13 pm

Here it is at long last, the fairy princess tiara I made for my niece Rylee. This is the very last item to be made for the whole fairy princess costume saga. I couldn’t believe how long it took me to finish this one, it’s been a work in progress for quite a while.

I started off with headband with holes, for the base. It was originally attached to an angel halo that had holes in the headband for the springs holding the halo up, now sadly destroyed for my art, Ah ha ha ha ha…
I got some wire that was thick and sturdy, but light, and threaded it through the head band holes, bending it into a tiara shape.

I recycled some glass beads from a broken necklace to thread onto some fine beading wire and wind around the thicker wire.

The beads are a burgundy/pink colour on one side and green on the other. I used the same colours in the coordinating ruffle wrap that will be part of Rylee’s costume. (I can use their names now, as it is after Christmas, and they have all received their gifts!)
I have also used some old pearl beads of random size and colour, kept by my Nana in her bits and pieces collection, and a few green and dark pink faceted beads on the peaks.

Lastly I covered the band with a bit of wadding and some fabric left over from the wrap and skirt to hide all the wire ends.

Here I am wearing it, as I haven’t got a photo of it on Rylee just yet. She did like it though, the first thing she said when she opened the gift was, “look, I got a crown!”.

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Mermaid Costume

  • 29/04/2009 10:39 am

I have been trying without much success to find a picture of my mermaid costume that I made and wore to a nautical  themed party in 2000.  Out of frustration I dug it out and bravely tried it on – I have had two children since then, and gained a few kilos before that after all – and was pleasantly surprised to find that it actually still fits ok. Well, just.

Anyway, here is the result of our photoshoot.

Mermaid costume, front

Back, take 2

The design was inspired by Ariel, from one of my favorite Disney movies, The Little Mermaid.

I used a flesh toned body suit as the base, with sequined knit fabric for the tail. I put a split in the back so I could move (very important at a party) and made a “fin” frill for the bottom to hide my feet.

The shells were a little more challenging. I drew a rough pattern of a clam shell, but with the finger bits spread out so they could be shaped.  I cut out four shells in a white sparkly/pearly Lycra fabric (scrap from another project) and two from thin purple card to go in between  for body and to give a slightly purple tinge. Obviously I wasn’t thinking about cleaning it at the time!

The pieces then got zigzagged together around the edges and  shaped and stitched onto me.

This was the really tricky part. I had the body suit on, standing in front of the mirror and tried to pin the shells on but this proved to be far too dangerous, so instead I got some thread and a needle and hand basted each of the clam fingers to the suit, all nicely overlapped and in the correct position. Then it was just a matter of stitching it all around.

Shell detail

For those who are wondering, yes it was a great party!

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