Friday, 20 April 2012

Tutorial: Child's knight costume cowl

I made this as part of my son's St George's day Knight outfit the rest of the items are also available as tutorials.

He was determined he wasn't wearing a helmet, so I decided to make him a 'chain mail' cowl. Originally I considered knitting one but we were on a tight deadline and quite frankly I can't knit anything that isn't rectangular, so instead I cobbled together this which is simply made from 2 grey flannels. To give you an idea of size, my son is 3, although you can make alterations to fit a larger child. 

What you'll need:
2 x Grey flannels
Sewing thread & needle
Hemming web
Iron on Velcro (2 inches)

1. Cut off all tags and labels. My flannels were 30cmx30cm and cost £1 each from tesco.

2. Put both right sides together and chalk on your "hood" shape. The easiest way to do with is to use the outline of an existing hood - this way you will also get a good fit. You'll see I've extended the hood outline to the corner of the flannel, this will form the back of the cowl and give the hood a flared out look.

3. Now to form the hemming. You can either: sew directly on the chalked line, cutting the excess leaving a 1.5cm hem and then use hemming web to seal the hemming down, or if using a sewing machine, leave room to double over the hem sew this first before joining the two fabrics together. I decided to cut the hemline out and then sew. KEEP THE EXCESS CUT OFF FOR LATER.

4. My sewing machine is currently broken, so I ended up hand sewing the hood outline. This worked out well as when I reached the top existing hemline of the flannel I was able to blanket stitch the two edges directly together, which gave the front a nice smooth line with no overlap (see above, inside left, outside on the right).

5. Turn inside out and check stitching. Now turn back and start using the hemming web to seal down the internal hem on both sides. This should stop the towelling from fraying. That's the main hood done, just the front fastening to go.

6. Remember that excess 'cut off' we kept from earlier? We're going to use this to form a 'chin strap' close at the front, to keep the cowl on when it's wearer is chasing dragons :) Because my flannels had this ribbing detail I simply cut this out from both pieces to form my straps (if your flannels are plain, you can always cut and fold some of the toweling for this). Blanket stitch the edges to prevent fraying. Now cut male and female Velcro to fit the strap, leaving a gap the width of your hemming web.

7. Cut two pieces of hemming web to the width of your strap (outlined above in red).  Having worked out where the chin will go, mark this on the inside of the cowl on both sides (I was lucky his chin was where the ribbing detail was). Sandwich the web inbetween the 'strap' and the chalk 'chin' mark, keep to the width of the web to allow room for your velcro. Firstly take the 'scratchy' side of the Velcro, this needs to be facing outwards (so little faces don't get scratched) iron it into position as per Velcro instructions, now take the 'loop' side of the velcro and apply this to the inside of the opposite strap. If unsure, try the fastening out a few times before permanently applying.

And there you go, all done! Time to check it fits! You can add some elastic around the neckline or instead of vecro straps make a drawstring close.

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