Friday, May 18, 2012

How to be a cowboy. A tutorial. With drawings.

Remember when I mentioned that bug's preschool has a lot of "days" - as in special events that he has to dress up for?  I made him the yellow sweatshirt upcycle for yellow day:

and the little man argyle sweater vest for pink day:

Weeks ago, bug had "Wild West" day at school.  My reaction when I got the notice on MONDAY for WEDNESDAY: "What the what??"  
Uh.  I don't really have any wild west attire just hanging around.  I DID have a red cowboy hat.  That was about it.

What to do?  Why, create a very:

Yep.  Follow my lead and you're guaranteed a rootin' tootin' cowboy in 30 minutes - or less.  Probably less.  Now, I'll admit right now that I didn't take pictures of the process, because I was in kind of a hurry the night before.  BUT that means you get to see my awesome computer drawings.  Yippee!

First off, the list of must haves.
For the vest:
Either A) scrap fake leather or B) brown felt - the thick kind, from the bolt
Either A) leather fringe (trim) or B) Long, thin felt strips cut into fringe
Yellow or gold felt cut into a star shape with little circles on each point (for the badge)
Sewing machine/thread
For the rest:
cowboy hat (can get a cheapo one in the walmart toy department)
plaid shirt (bonus points if it matches the hat)
dark jeans
handkerchief (bonus point if it matches the shirt)
boots if some sort (we'll discuss this later)

Before we officially start, I just want to make a mention about fabrics.  Of course, "leather" or some kind of fake variant will make you feel more cowboy-y.  Everything for this little vest I had on hand already - pieces I inherited when my grandma passed away.  If you aren't lucky enough to have had a grandma who saved her scraps and collected things like old pleather upholstery scraps from the 70's, then here are some tips:
Check the thrift store.  I've scored weird stuff like this on more than one occasion.
Ask around.  Maybe someone reupholstered their own chairs recently or something.
Look for completely different pieces in the color and texture you want - like an old coat or purse.  Do you know how many fake, brown, distressed, leathery looking coats there are at my local thrift store?  Neither do I.  But it's a lot.
Check the leather-working section at your local craft store.  I know hobby lobby has quite the selection, but it can get pricey.
If all else fails, just use felt.  The stuff from the bolt is nice and thick and won't stretch out all funny AND it won't fray - so no need to finish edges, and that's just what we're looking for.  EASY.

Ok.  So get out your scrap faux leather and cut two rectangles.  They should measure the distance from shoulder to shoulder in width and shoulder to waist in length.  (I would have made mine slightly wider if I'd had more scrap pleather.)
Now, fold each piece in half - shoulder to shoulder.

On the upper corner - opposite the folded edge - cut a little quarter circle out for the arms.  I didn't measure or anything, but you can use a shirt that fits your cowboy as a guide for how wide to make the cut.
Now, cut your front piece right up the middle.  Leave the back piece alone.

Here is when you attach your fringe.  If you don't have fringe, or can't get it cheap enough, just make your own with felt strips.  You will only need your two front pieces for this step.  I overlapped two pieces of fringe on the upper chest area.  You can sort of see in the diagram where the colors combine is how far they overlapped.  The photo below helps a bit too.  On the bottom edge I sewed one piece.  I only attached fringe to the front, but if you have a lot of fringe to go around you can... well, go around.  At least on the bottom edge.

Now you'll sew on your sheriff's badge.  The star you cut should have little circles on each point.  I used felt because it doesn't fray.  Just lay it on and sew around with a straight stitch.  I didn't even pin it.  (Like my hand-drawn fringe?)

Now you'll attach the front pieces to the back piece.  Sew along the dashed white line.  Obviously you'll line the pieces up at the shoulders and sides so that it's perfectly even, but for the sake of the drawing I wanted to show front and back. 
 On the side seams, you may want to top stitch as well.  I thought it helped the vest to keep it's shape a little better.

Well, that's finished!  
Fold your handkerchief in half diagonally.  Tie it around your neck with the point down in the front. 
Now, Just dress in your best plaid shirt and wrangler's, plop your 10 gallon on your head, 

And grab your boots!  (A note about boots: I was going to make little leather coverlet thingies for his shoes to look like cowboy boots, but in the end I didn't have enough leather.  Instead, I just used a simple pair of soft, suede, brown winter boots that were K's at one point.  What?  Yeah, ok, they're girl's boots.  So??  No one can tell.  My motto?  (Anyone want to say it with me?)  Use what you've got!)

And there you have it.  A very easy way to create a cowboy in just one night!

I wasn't planning on doing this tutorial, rather just showing what I'd made.  Then I realized there may be some other mom's out there who had a Wild West day SPRUNG on them at the last second.  Or maybe your son or daughter decided they wanted to go trick-or-treating after all.  So, if that's ever the case for you, now you know what to do - no sweat!

Here's a little snapshot of the other munchkins too... K wore a red hanky and a similar red cowboy hat and the same simple brown suede boots.  And mini got into the spirit with a plaid ruffled top and jean skirt.  Not that she goes to their school.  She just likes to "dress up" too.

Now, get along little doggies!

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!


kara said...

Did you get your phone fixed? My hubby (he owns a cell store) said to press the power button and the circle button in the front at the same time for about 10 seconds and phone should turn on and be just fine. Hope it works!

PC said...

This is so cute and the kids are precious!

Anonymous said...

Great outfit!

Amanda said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I'm going to make a cowboy vest for my little 2-year old guy to go along with the wooden stick horse I'm making him for Christmas! I'll be making it out of felt, so we'll see how it goes! Thanks for the help!!

Amanda said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I'm going to try to make the vest for my little 2-year old guy, to go with the wooden stick horse I'm making him for Christmas. I'll be using felt. We'll see how it goes! Thanks for the help!!

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