Saturday, 29 September 2012

Halloween crafting 101: a dragon’s tail.

We can’t offer you tips on how to train your dragon, but we can show you how to make one. Scare up a treat this Halloween with this dragon’s tail tutorial from Running with Scissors.

You’ll need:
50 to 70 cm of main fabric – you can use pretty much any fabric that's not stretchy
25 cm fabric for spikes
15 cm velcro
Polyfil batting (small bag)

Fabric cuts:
tail: (cut 2): 5cm x 28cm 
waist straps: (cut 4): 31cm x 8cm
circle: 18cm in diameter *Try cutting an 18cm square, fold it in fourths, then cut the curve from fold to fold

spikes (cut 2): 56cm x 9cm

Trim the tail strips. Lay your two tail strips face down.  On one end you'll measure 4.5" (11.5 cm) from each side. The 2" (5 cm) left in the middle will be the tip of the tail. On the other end, you'll measure 4" (10.2 cm) along the sides as a marker. Connect these two markings to create a diagonal for the cone shape of the tail.  Cut off the triangular sides and throw them away.
Make the spike strip. NOTE: To make the spikes easier, you could cut 1 strip out of felt or fleece and just cut out a spike strip leaving the raw edges that won't fray, rather than sewing your spikes with 2 strips of fabric. Take your two spike strips and lay them right sides together. Draw a row of triangles along the strip for the tail spikes. Begin at one end and work your way to the other, making the spikes shorter and narrower. I left about 1/2" (1.3 cm) between each spike. Sew along your spike line. When you get to the corners it helps to pivot by dropping your needle down into the fabric, lift your presser foot, move the fabric, then start sewing again.  
Once your spikes are sewn, trim along your sewn line with a 1/4" (0.65 cm) seam allowance along the whole strip.
Next, you'll need to trim the seam allowances to make it easier to turn the spikes right side out. On the top of the spikes, you'll trim off the point, being careful not to snip through your seam. In between each spike, you'll snip diagonally into each corner, once again don't snip through your sewing. 
Then you can turn the whole strip of spikes right side out, using a pen lid, knitting needle, etc. to push the tips of the points out.  Iron your spike strip nice and flat.
Sew tail body. First we'll sew the spikes to one piece of the tail.  Pin the largest spike to the tall side of your tail piece, lining up the raw edges. Sew the spike strip to the tail piece with 1/4" (0.65 cm) seam allowance.  This is just basting, or tacking the pieces together.
Next, put your second tail piece so right sides are together, with the spike strip in the middle of the sandwich. You'll sew down the spike strip again, this time with 1/2" (1.3 cm) seam allowance, making sure you sew past the troughs so there is a space between each spike when you turn it right side out. Also, sew a slight curve as you go around the tip of the tail. When you sew around to the other side, you'll need to stop your seam to leave a hole for turning the tail right side out later.  I leave about 4 to 5" (10 to 12.8 cm) unsewn underneath the spikes. This way, it's on the bottom of the tail.
Sew waist straps. Take your 4 strips for the waist straps and put 2 right sides together.  This will give you two sets. You'll sew down a long side, across the short, and up the other long side on each set.  Use 1/2" (1.3 cm) seam allowance. Then you'll need to snip off the corners, being careful not to cut through your seam.
Next you'll turn each strap right side out, pushing out the corners with a pen lid or knitting needle. I like to top-stitch the edges to make the straps lay nice and flat. For this tail I used a zig-zag stitch with contrasting thread, but you could always just sew a straight stitch.
The last step to make your waist strap is to sew your velcro pieces to each end. Center the velcro in the center of your strap and 1/2" (1.3cm) from the very end.
Complete Tail Construction. To close the large end of the tail, first mark the quarters by lining up the top (spike) seam with the bottom seam and pinning the folds on the sides.
Next you'll pin your waist straps inside the tail. Pin the straps to the quarter side marks. The important thing to remember is the velcro has to be pinned opposite so the straps will match up around the waist.  So put one waist strap with velcro down on the right side of the tail, then pin the other waist strap with the velcro facing up into the cavity of the tail.
Sew the straps to the sides of the tail 1/4" (0.65cm) from edge. 
To finish off the tail, you'll pin your circle fabric (with the right side facing into the tail) around the large tail opening. I folded my circle in quarters so that I have a crease vertically and across to use as a guide to pin to the two seams (top and bottom) then line up with the waist straps on the sides. Next you sew around your circle with 1/2" (1.3 cm) seam allowance.
Stuff and Finish. At this point your dino tail is sewn and you can turn it right side out through the hole you left on the bottom seam.  Your velcro waist straps should be oriented to match and stick together, and your spikes should stand up out of the top seam. Next you'll stuff your tail with Poly-fil batting. The density of your stuffing does determine how the tail will look. I stuffed this yellow tail tighter than the blue or green tails, and I noticed it stood almost straight out from the boy's back, where leaving the stuffing a little looser makes a more droopy tail.  Whichever you prefer. Once your tail is stuffed to your liking, pin the hole closed underneath. I chose to just machine sew the seam shut, but it would probably look best to hand-sew the seam closed to allow it to lay flat. You're finished!

Looking for fabric for this project or the next? Give us a call on our Golden Number 0861 322 839 | 0861 FAB TEX and we’ll help you find what you need. 

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