Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Santa's Sleeves

I'm starting on Santa's sleeves. This is because I've been sick and they are small and doable compared with the acres of heavy velvet in the body for which I don't have the energy. Also, sleeves are a great place to sample finishes.
They are the red velvet, lined with the brocade and edged with the fur. The fur trim is 15cm folded in half, and sandwiched between the outer and inner with the down stroke on the outside.
I really love the view into the sleeve - very opulent.

It also means Santa can get away with wearing a t-shirt underneath, as his bare arms won't be too obvious in all of that. I actually reduced the depth of the sleeve end so I could get both sleeves out of the width of the fabric, and I'm glad I did.
But on the outside, the look is too plain, too department store Santa. So, I decided to do some machine embroidery.
Just holly, using a metallic thread. I don't usually do fine detail like this as it doesn't 'read' on stage, but this is not for stage - little kids may sit on Santa's knee and they will get a very up close experience. I want them to discover the little details, if they are that way inclined. I love the idea of some little child being so impressed by what they see, they vow to become a costumier. I remember that moment myself, at an exhibition of the costumes from The Six Wives of Henry the 8th back in 1979..
Still too plain, so I added a trim...

But it was still too plain, so I added beads...
They are just little seed beads in groups of three - they how up better in the flesh, as it were. I used shiny rayon thread to sew them on, it is SO nice to hand sew with almost as nice as silk! However, I still felt is was all too twee and lacked depth, so...
...I took it off and added half of my all time favourite gold lace. The whole width was too lacey looking - I just want it to look trimmy. That's a real word you know, stupid spellcheck...
The first trim goes back on over the raw edge of the cut lace, and we're nearly there. I'm hand sewing it all using the same metallic thread as the machine embroidery. Also surprisingly nice to sew with. Because of the very heavy seam allowance inside - two layers of fur, one of velvet and one of brocade, it's easy to hand sew knowing there's no way the stitching will show through the other side!
I've only done about 8 inches so far. But the time is far more consumed by the planning and sampling. Now I know what I'm up to, I can get them done in a few hours.
Next up, hood action!


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Beajay! It's all done but the beading to - I got up early this morning and did it. Doubling the top metallic thread was the trick, less going over and over the embroidery and the thread broke less often too :)

  2. Wow! This Santa is so lucky to have you as his tailor! :) Can't wait to see the whole costume!

  3. Gracious, Mrs. C.,
    Santa will have the finest robe every made in the 21st century. The lavish detail, the sparkle, the color! Methinks you are having a good time.

    Funny about Santa needing bare arms underneath. It's not 29 degrees Fahrenheit there in summertime NZ, is it?

    Very best,

    1. More like 23 Celcius! Not usually 29 Celcius though. I would love just once to experience a winter Christmas. It would feel so much more - together, somehow. Real snow instead of spray on stuff! heheh