‘Cosplay Batman’s Female Version of the Penguin Costume’ DIY? Yes, this is backstage at the Aveda Catwalk for Water Cincinnati event. Ashley looked stunning in her umbrella skirt. To her right are Sydney and my daughter, Tiffany, who both put this entire costume together, (with a little help from yours truly.) Emily, my son’s fiance, won the “best makeup” award along with her partner David from the salon, also. There’s a lot of creative talent at Mi Salon Spa. The photo above was shot by Idajean Moore. She and her husband Mike are co-owners of Mi Salon Spa.
Making A DIY Umbrella Skirt – Not Your Ordinary Challenge
The first step is removing the stretchers and the handle. Yes, take a perfectly good umbrella and cut the handle out of it! Open the umbrella completely and place upside down on your work surface.
Using wire cutters, cut the stretchers, (the metal parts that stretch the umbrella open), close to the runner, (the part you push up the tube to open the umbrella), which will release the tension. The umbrella will begin to collapse at this point.
Cut the other end of the stretchers where they attach to the ribs. By doing this, you should be removing each of the stretchers. To release those, the first cut was close to the ribs. Then, a second cut was made as close as possible to the part holding the stretcher on the rib.
With the wire cutters, cut the ribs close to the tube at the top. Cutting close to the tube, try to cut a uniform circle around the canopy at the top of the umbrella, which will release the tube and handle. You should end up with a collapsed umbrella that looks like the picture below. I wasn’t sure how much of the ribs I needed to use, so I left them long at first.
Pull the canopy up taut along each metal rib and secure with needle and thread just above where the stretcher was cut. (This helps hold the lower part of the umbrella open.)
After all the ribs have been stitched to the canopy, set the umbrella aside and begin the waistband.
I had a scrap of black satin left over from another sewing project and that is what I chose to use for this waistband.
Wanting the waistband to be two inches wide, I added 5/8″ at the top and 5/8″ at the bottom for seam allowance. The piece of fabric was laid out and cut straight along the bottom cleaning up the edge. Then, with chalk, a 5 – 1/2″ line was marked along the folded fabric and then following the line cut with scissors.
Using the waist measurement I had taken earlier, 32 – 1/4″, I added 2-1/2″ to create a tab in the back, and 5/8″ seam allowance for each end of the waistband. The resulting 5 – 1/2″ wide piece of fabric was cut to a 36″ length.
Mark the middle front on the Pellon interfacing. Remember to deduct the 2″ tab. Just fold the entire length in half minus the tab measure. You will need this when you pin to the umbrella.
Fold the waistband in half lengthwise. Mark one end for a tab, which will lap under in the back.
Trim the interfacing along the tab edges to decrease bulk and get a sharper edge when turned right side out.
Turn right sides out and iron the waistband flat. Take care to turn out the corners neatly. Turn under one long edge 5/8″ and press with an iron.
Open up one seam at the top of the umbrella canopy, by removing the stitches down to the top of one of the metal ribs where it was stitched to the canopy. (I opened up the seam right above the velcro tab that holds the umbrella tight when not in use. Then, it would be in the back, too.) That seam will be in the back. I didn’t add a zipper. The back was covered by the black trash bag train.
At this point, I just guessed about where the waistband would fit, chose an arbitrary measurement, and marked the top of the umbrella with straight pins all the way around. Right sides together, the ends were pinned lining up to the openings and the center, which was marked earlier and that marking was centered on the middle rib. Then, the waistband was pinned to the umbrella, right sides together.
The waistband was a little too long. I moved the pins down another inch. Perfect. This time, more pins were used and every seam was opened up down to the top edge of the waistband.
Measure from where the umbrella was cut at the top, making sure the line is pretty straight and equidistant from the top. Line up the ends of the waistband, leaving the tab extending from one edge of the back. (I made this one left over right.) Line up the mark for the middle front and position it at the rib opposite the one lined up for the back opening.
As you can see in the picture above, the seams were opened a little at the top to allow the waistband to be pinned and lay flat. Leaving the top intact made it easier to be sure it was being pinned uniformly. (As you can tell, I was cautious not to cut something off before I knew it was not needed!)
First, baste the waistband onto the umbrella, making any adjustments if necessary. Then, stitch the seam.
At this point, I decided to cut the ribs to fit right up against the bottom edge of the waistband. Stretch one of the ribs out straight and up to the bottom edge of the waistband, cut the rib off. Measure the length of that rib. Then, measuring the same length from the bottom end of the rib, cut all of the ribs the same length. (Be sure to measure from the bottom! When the ribs were cut detaching the canopy from the tube of the umbrella, they were probably not all the same length!)
Wrap the ends of the ribs with black electrical tape. After I cut the ribs, I noticed there were little metal shavings that were irritating my fingertips. Not wanting Ashley to experience this annoyance as she was putting the skirt on, and, or wearing it, I put the black electrical tape to good use.
After cutting the ribs and taping them, the folded edge of the waistband was pinned in place and hand sewn. Then, the ends of the ribs were tacked securely to the canopy seam at the top of the skirt.
Two pieces of Velcro hook and loop were cut slightly smaller than the 2″ width of the waistband. The hook sides were sewn to the end of the tab, which would be facing away from the wearer and the loop side was sewn onto the end of the waistband, which would be facing toward the person wearing it.
The rib on the back seam was wrapped with the pressed edge of that seam and overhand stitched to the canopy fabric, securing the rib.
At this point, the umbrella skirt should look like this! Note that the Velcro loop is on the back side of the skirt.
Now, to create the look of an opened umbrella, we need that 20″ hula hoop purchased from The Dollar Tree that was painted black in “Looking for a ‘Cosplay Batman’s Female Version of the Penguin Costume’ DIY? part- 1!“
With needle and thread, attach the hula hoop to each of the ribs on the skirt where it will best open and stretch the ‘umbrella’ out to appear ‘open’.
Tiffany and Sydney made this train for the costume from trash bags! Don’t the trash bag roses look neat? They used a variety of black bags in different shades of black. In the end, it was bustled at the top and attached to the waistband of the umbrella skirt in the back.
Thanks to Idajean for sharing her photos! This picture shows off the ‘Pow’, which Tiffany made from felt and attached to the other umbrella she ordered from Amazon.
As you may be able to tell, I was flying by the seat of my pants on this one, but in addition to all the extra work done by the girls, it turned out beautiful, don’t you think? Hope this inspires you, too!
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