Completed: a set of fabric crowns

One of my nieces turned 4 years old so we needed to come up with a gift to celebrate. She likes to dress up and is very much into princesses so I thought it might be fun to make her a fabric crown. I was also in a sewing funk and thought a relatively simple project would be a great way to get out of it.

There are already plenty of tutorials and patterns out there for fabric crowns and yet I decided to make up my own. One reason was that I didn’t have a printer at hand when I wanted to make the crown so I couldn’t print a template. The main reason, however, is that I’ve realized that the designing of these kinds of items and figuring out the best way to construct them is one of the things I like best about sewing. It may take longer to make something but it is a lot more fun when you figure everything out by yourself. At least for me it is. I also understand that some people prefer to know where they’re going when they’re sewing and use a fool-proof pattern.

I did scroll through a list of Google images of fabric crowns to decide on a style before I started drawing the pattern. I liked the pointy ones where the spikes become lower from front to side so that’s what I went for. After drawing I wrapped the template around my daughter’s head to determine how far the sides of the crown should extend to allow for some room for the elastic I put in the back.

Because I used my daughter as a living dress form to determine the size she quickly realised I was making a crown and immediately decided that she wanted one as well so I ended up making two. She also specifically asked for a green one.

For each crown I cut two pieces of Decovil light slightly larger than the crown template. This is a fantastic fusible interfacing; it is firm, yet flexible and ideal for a project like this. These pieces were fused to the front and back pieces of fabric for the crown that were also cut slightly larger than the template. On the right side of the front piece I traced around the template so I knew where to put the decorations. I used a set of iron on glitter stars that were sold as elbow/knee patches. You can’t go wrong with stars and glitter on a crown. Each crown was also decorated with some sequins that I sewed on by hand. For my niece I only picked a couple of colours but my daughter wanted all the colours.

The front and back pieces were then layered on top of each other wrong sides together and I put some fusible stuff in between that had come with some IKEA curtains to make a fusible hem (I obviously used a sewing machine to hem those curtains…). During pressing I protected the sequins with a pressing cloth. Fusing the two layers ensured that they stuck together when I cut out the final crown shape. It was also very helpful for keeping everything in place when I used a zig zag stitch to finish the edge of the crown.

Deciding on what to use as a closure probably took the longest. Since I didn’t have the intended recipient on hand for try-ons I wanted it to be somewhat adjustable. I considered snaps and Velcro but both those options will probably require help from an adult to adjust and as a parent I really like it when my children can play with their toys without adult assistance. I am also not so sure that Velcro is so desirable to use close to hair as it may get tangled in the male part. So, in the end I decided that the fabric part of the crown would not go all the way around the head but at the back a piece of soft and stretchy elastic would supply some adjustability. That probably makes my crowns a sort of crown-tiara mashup. For the elastic closure I cut some fabric that was the same width as the back of the crown. Sewed the elastic to one side, folded it and attached it to the crown with some vertical stitch lines and some more zig zagging around the edges to get a neat finish.

My daughter is very happy with her new green crown!

Waistbands should keep your (sweat)pants up

A while ago I bought 4 pairs of sweatpants for my daughter. Even though they were bought in the same shop at the same time and 3 were the same model, 2 fit just fine and the other 2 simply slid down her legs and ended up at her ankles when she was wearing them. Not ideal…

To solve this problem I wanted to make the waistbands narrower. One possibility is to take out the elastic and replace it with a piece that is the correct length. However, the elastic was attached to the rest of the pants at the same time as the waistband. This is nice because it prevents the elastic from twisting inside the waistband, but has the disadvantage that I’d have to unpick the whole overlocked waistband seam to get the elastic out and then reattach the whole thing with new elastic. Especially the unpicking part of that activity is not very high on my list of fun stuff to do.

200224_1

Waistbands that were made narrower by adding an extra piece of elastic to the back.

So, I figured out another method to make the waistband narrower by adding a tunnel at the back of the trousers and threading an extra piece of elastic through that tunnel. This cinches in the back of the pants. They now stay up, so problem solved.

200224_3

Tunnel construction.

The new piece of elastic has to be narrower than the original waistband. My elastic was 2 cm wide and I cut the (woven) fabric for the tunnel 4 cm wide and slightly longer than half the circumference of the waistband. A narrow edge of each side of the tunnel was pressed to the inside. The finished tunnel needs to be wide enough to easily thread the elastic through. I first attached the long sides of the tunnel to the inside of the back waistband by stitching closely to the edge. I used a regular straight stitch and thread that matched the colour of the pants since the stitching is visible on the outside of the waistband. Then the elastic was threaded through the tunnel and secured at one of the short edges. The elastic was then pulled as tight as I needed it to fit comfortably around my daughter’s waist instead of sliding down. The other short edge was secured and the excess of elastic was cut off.

200224_2

Yay, the waistband now stays around her waist where it is supposed to be!

This was a pretty quick fix for this problem and the print fabrics add some fun to the waistband so I think I’ll use this technique again when faced with more too wide waistbands.