Saturday, October 23, 2010

From Pants to St. Francis Tunic

Over the years I have made many of my kids Halloween/All Saint's Day costumes. First, there was the infant of Prague costume for when our kids are infants.

Then came St. Anne.

Next Our Lady of Lourdes.

Last year after we moved I didn't have it in me to pull off elaborate (this is a relative term) costumes for my kids. Fortunately my daughter wanted to be a guardian angel ($10.00 at Walmart- yes please), but my one year old son didn't have an opinion. I wasn't going to put a costume on him, "We just moved in (is 3 month ago "just"?), it's been too crazy, he'll understand when he's older". On about October 29th, I started feeling guilty. I ran to Walmart and bought some green cloth napkins from the clearance aisle and gold ribbion and here's the result...

He was an ordinary time priest.

This year I wasn't feeling particularly creative again, but fortunately my girl wanted to be a guardian angel again... good thing I bought last years $10.00 costume a little big. My son, now 2, still didn't have an opinion, so he was just going to be a cloth napkin priest again... until my husband brought me a pair of worn out brown pants that he declared destitute.

Notice the lovely ink marks (he's a writer, he can't help it) and the worn pockets

After a long string of children's books about pioneer women who saved all their scraps of fabric for quilting I began feeling uneasy about just throwing them in the trash. The pants sat on my dresser for a while until I had the crazy idea of turning them into a St. Francis of Assis tunic.

It doesn't have a hood, but I was working with a pair of pants. It also could be a great Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha or St. Padre Pio base. My plan is to go buy some rope to put around the waist and call it good.

Below is the best I can do to explain what I did, for anyone else who is having "quilt story guilt".

Here they are, the pants that I will magically turn into a tunic.

First cut the pants on the inside inseam to open them all the way up. Cut away the waist band, zipper and pockets, keeping as much of the fabric as possible. What you see above: The seat of the pants are in the middle and the holes on each side are where the pockets where. The waist band would have been all along the top. The middle is lower because I had to remove the back pockets. The pumpkin is to add a splash of festiveness.

Cut off the bottom portion of the pants (from what would be about just below the knee down) for the sleeves. This really depends on how tall your child is and how long the sleeves need to be.

Take out the hems to make the sleeves longer, if needed. Each leg will be one sleeve.

Fold over the excess fabric in the seat area to form a straight line. It's the extra at the top of the pants near the middle "V" where the neck will go.

Cut off the extra fabric.

Sew together the two sides of the fabric, essentially joining the legs. You will not need a glue stick (near the sewing box) for this project, my daughter must have put that there.

Fold the other half of the legs in to create a vest, then remove the excess fabric like you did on the other side. Sew the two side of the fabric together , like you did on the other side. 

Sew the tops of the vest together for where the vest will rest on the shoulders. This would have been the top of the pants where the waist was cut up earlier. 
Measure the pant legs to make sure they will fit into the former pockets, now arm holes. You may need to cut the arm holes a little bigger. Cut the sleeves to a proper width so they will fit into the arm holes and sew them into a tube.

Sew the sleeves into the arm holes.

Turn everything inside out and you have a tunic! I didn't hem the bottom or the neck because I feel like the more worn looking it is, the more St. Francis like it will be... and to do that would be more work.


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