How to Make Crepe Paper Costumes

There are two ways of making crepe paper costumes; the dress made over a cloth foundation, to which the paper is sewed or pasted, and the “slip-over” model that is made apron style and worn over the regular frock. Complete instructions for making “slip-over costumes” can be found by clicking here.

A muslin slip that fits the person and slips over the head or buttons in the back is the most satisfactory to use. Sometimes a slip that fastens in front can be buttoned up and then the back cut open. When this is done, turn the paper well over the edges and paste down neatly. Instead of using the hooks or buttons, sew narrow ribbons on both sides and tie. Sometimes  snap fasteners, that can be purchased on tape,can be used to good advantage.When costumes are to be made of fringe it is desirable to have the slip the same color as the fringe. A white slip can be easily colored with soap dye.

Slips do not often have sleeves or are they required. If sleeves are needed they may be cut from muslin or net and sewed in the slip before or after being covered with crepe paper. When sewing in crepe paper sleeves always reinforce with a double fold of crepe paper around the armhole. Regular dress patterns may be used for cutting waists and sleeves but they are not often required.

Crepe paper may be sewed on the sewing machine or by hand. When sewing by hand, use silkateen or other soft finish thread and have the stitches quite long and not very near the edge. The sewing machine can be used to good advan­tage for sewing two widths of crepe paper together, gathering ruffles, stitching up seams and sewing on bands. It is not always necessary to gather the paper with needle and thread, especially when making hats; the paper can be gathered up in the fingers and a wire twisted around to hold the paper in place.

Always make the skirt first; as the paper is only 20 inches wide, and to hang well the paper must be used with the grain of the crepe running up and down, often two widths may be sewed or pasted together. When joining two widths, lap one flat over the other about half an inch and stitch on the sewing machine or paste. If possible make the piecing come on the lower part of the skirt.

Instead of fastening two widths together, two or more ruffles are often used. Sew the Slip for Crepe Paper Costumelower one in place first (illustra­tion No.1). The others should be sewed on so that the lower edge will be at least 3 inches below the gathers of the lower ruffle. The bottom ruffle should extend at least 3 inches be­ low the bottom of the slip.

In most cases, the waist should be slightly full and sewed to the foundation at the waist line and around the neck. Measure a full width strip of crepe paper about thes houlders loosely. Add from 10 to 20 inches for fullness. Start at the back at the waistline and gather in the fullness, fastening with pins so that any necessary alterations may be made easily. Draw up the material and pin in place around the neck and armholes. Cut the paper off, turn in if necessary and sew in place. For a neat finish at neck and armholes, allow the paper to extend about an inch beyond the foundation, slash about one inch apart, then turn the edge over and paste on the wrong side of the foundation.

It will not be necessary to turn in raw edges and no hems need be made, but often the edges are turned up, creased sharply and fluted.

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