As promised, here is part 2 of my Halloween alien costume! In part 1 I showed you how to make the alien headband and today I’ll show you how to make the two-piece. I didn’t use a pattern for the top or the skirt, but I did use The Pineneedle Collective’s crop top tutorial and her circle skirt tutorial for most of the steps. This project was definitely a work-it-out-as-you-go-along sort of project so I’ll describe what I did but I can’t promise that this is the best way to make a two-piece! If you want more detailed instructions about how to construct things or how to draw up a pattern piece that will fit you I highly recommend checking out the tutorials on The Pineneedle Collective’s blog. The fabric itself was actually a dream to sew with. I’ve had problems in the past with pleather getting caught in my sewing machine, but nothing like that happened with the PVC. It also doesn’t fray, so there’s no need to hem everything and the fact that the under-side is lined means it isn’t too sticky to wear!
You will need:
Three meters of PVC fabric. I actually cut the pattern pieces for the top twice (the first time didn’t work out the way I wanted!) and I will probably make the skirt shorter. If you want a mini skirt and you don’t think that you will make any mistakes then you could probably get away with two meters, but to be on the safe side I would recommend getting three!
Two green zips. To work out what length you need, think about how long you would like the back of your crop top to be.
Tissue paper or newspaper for the pattern pieces
A pencil, fabric scissors, thread, a measuring tape and a sewing machine.
For the top:I did the top first because it is much more complicated than the skirt. I drew up my pattern piece using The Pine Needle Collective’s instructions. Do you see how it is narrow at the bottom, and then wide at the underarm? This looked weird once I’d sewn it up, so I took it in so that the side of the top goes straight up from the waist to the underarm rather than angling to the right like in the photo. Once I’d sewn the top together I also realised that the top of the sleeves were too baggy, so I made the arm hole shorter than it is in the photo. Make sure that the length of the crop top is a couple of cm longer than your zip. Once you’ve measured yourself and drawn out a shape that you’re happy with, cut your pattern piece out of tissue paper.
Next, pin this pattern piece to your fabric and cut it out. Insert a couple of darts just under the underarm. Mine were 10cm long and 2cm wide. Trace around this piece of PVC and cut out a second pattern piece. It will be smaller than your first because you have added darts. Pin the second pattern piece to your fabric, cut it out and then cut this piece exactly in half down the middle. This is where the zip will go! Pin the front to the back two pieces, right sides together and sew together the sides and the straps.
To insert the zip, fold each side of the fabric under by about 1 cm, and pin your zip into the opening so that the fabric is as close as possible to teeth. Then sew the zip in place. To hem the bottom, fold the fabric at the bottom of the top under twice by about 1/2 cm and sew in place. This is actually the only place where I added a hem. I tried to hem the skirt but it was too difficult to do it neatly since it’s a circle and you can’t iron the PVC. Because the material doesn’t fray I decided it didn’t need a hem anywhere else!
For the sleeves, I began by tracing the shape of the arm hole from my first pattern piece. I then used an existing shirt with a sleeve that fits me well to see how wide I wanted the sleeve to be and I measured the distance from my underarm to my elbow to determine the length. Cut out four pieces from this pattern piece (for the second two, flip the pattern piece over!) For both sleeves you want to sew them right sides together on the two long sides. For the bell sleeve, I folded my fabric over twice and cut out the cone shape that’s in the picture above. The straight side of the cone is how long the bell of the sleeve will be. To work out where to cut the small curve I used this great app from By Hand London. Next, sew the bell onto each sleeve right sides together. Finally, sew the sleeves into each armhole right sides together.
For the skirt:Making the skirt was much simpler than making the top! You want to begin by cutting out the circle just like you did for the bell sleeves. Fold the fabric over twice. The long side of the cone is how long you want the skirt to be, and you can use the By Hand London app to determine where the small curve will be.
For the waistband I cut out a rectangle that was 10cm wide and the same length as my waist. I sewed the two long sides together (right sides together) and the turned the whole thing inside out so that the PVC was on the outside. I then pinned the top of the waistband to the top of the skirt so that the ends of the waistband met, rather than overlapping! I had made the waist of the circle too big, so I just bunched it up a little as I was pinning the waistband on. Next I measured how long the zip was and cut a slit from the back of the skirt of the same length, so that the slit met the gap in the waistband.
For the last step I inserted the zip into the skirt the same way that I did the last one! I folded each side of the gap under by 1 cm, pinned the zip in so that the fabric was as close to the teeth as possible and then sewed in the zip.
Whew, if you’ve stuck with me through this tutorial I’m impressed! I know that this tutorial isn’t particularly accessible for beginners but if you’ve done some sewing before then you’ll find this very straightforward to make once you’ve adjusted the pieces to fit you. If there’s anything that you find confusing, let me know and I can give a more detailed description