Monday, January 17, 2011

Beatles Sgt. Pepper Costumes

While I'm not going into the costume-making business outside my own family, I'm happy to pass along any trial-and-error tips to the rest of the planet.

My Beatles-lovin' household decided almost a year out from Halloween 2010 that they wanted to be the Fab Four, specifically sporting the Sgt. Pepper uniforms.

Thus commenced not just sewing up some costumes, it involved much more than that:
  • Studying photos from all angles
  • Finding pattern(s) to as closely as possible duplicate the uniform look (while making sure aforementioned pattern(s) would be at my skill level
  • shopping for material, notions, and eleventy bazillion kinds of trim
  • shopping for specialty patches and/or ways to duplicate for authenticity
  • Cutting pattern pieces
  • Cutting material
  • Sewing costumes
  • Sewing on miles and miles of trim
First, I primarily used these two photos for recreating to the best of my ability the Sgt. Pepper costumes for my own Fab Four. Was I going to be able to duplicate them exactly? Hell no. But I could get pretty darn close.

I used a combination of McCall's Pattern 4745 (which is a Civil War officer uniform) and pirate costume Simplicity 3644. Not perfect, but close enough.

Aside from basic costume sewing here are some of the detailed modifications I made.
  • For the epaulettes on the shoulders, I used foam board to cut out the shapes, then hand sewed the material to fit around them and hand sewed on the trim on each one. Then using velcro that is how I secured each epaulette to the costume jackets.
  • On John's epaulettes there are daisies, so I got fake daisies in the floral craft department and hot glued them to each.
  • The O.P.P patch (which stands for Ontario Provincial Police) on the sleeve of Paul's costume I actually found a REAL patch online, so that patch was fabulous. The rest of the patches were made by scanning each image, reversing it, and using t-shirt iron on computer paper, transfering each image to material and sewing that on.
  • Medals were obtained at a local shop that makes medals and trophies - I bought samples that were blank or shapes that were close and turned them around.
  • The long "jewelry" item on Paul's jacket that starts about the waistline was done with wire and beading by the teenager assistant son.
  • The miniature canvas painting on George's jacket center chest was printed off then painted as a copy by my teenager.
  • Ringo and Pauls pants side trim, and John and George's pants side trim were the reverse of each other's main costume color. So, I just sewed those strips and sewed them onto the pants before constructing the pants.
  • My son's grandma had some John Lennon spectacles to complete that look
Each child has their own Beatle alter ego, so I started with the largest kid (the teenager) and constructed his first, then on down the line as I was cutting down the pattern pieces as I went. And this is the final result, the best and most time-consuming Halloween in the history of trick-or-treating.
I started out doing the uneven jacket bottom for George but then it looked terrible and I started swearing a lot (more) so I abandoned that in favor of a cleaner look. The trim for Paul's jacket bottom as well as all of the gold floral ribbon trim for Ringo was, in my humble opinion, SPOT ON. John's red trim was also a nice change of pace. Sewing the same thing does get pretty boring.

It should be noted I got some major mom points for this, also, the kids said a lot of people took pictures of them when they were out trick-or-treating.

Grand totals:
$291.42 for material, notions and trim.
Hours spent doing research, shopping and construction: 70 hours (give or take)
Best Halloween ever: PRICELESS


Andy said...

I know this is an ancient post but I LOVE this! I actually stumbled across this while searching Sgt. Pepper costume ideas but I'm going to attempt the same thing...with duct tape!

Gary Wineger said...

Hi Sunshine. Love your adventure and we are following in your footsteps. I tried to send you and email, but it bounced. Would love to know more about how you got images of the patches.

Amy A said...

Great effort - some excellent tips there too. Many thanks! Getting lined up for 50 years on 1st June 2017 . . .