I figured I’d start my nerdy blog off with a tutorial for something that I came up with recently. I am a very affordable cosplayer. It’s hard for me to spend oodles of money on a cosplay because, well, I don’t have oodles of money to spend on a cosplay. I’ve earned the nickname “MacGyver” from some friends because of how I cosplay. If you read enough of my tutorials, you’ll understand why.
SO! Classic Harley Quinn collar, like the one below!
Supplies you will need:
- 1 pillow case
- 6 white pom-poms
- 3 white or clear buttons
- white thread
- colored chalk
- a sewing machine/hand-sewing needles
- an iron/ironing board
- a washer and dryer
I already had everything on this list except for the pom-poms, which cost me $0.99 for a package of three, so I spent a total of $1.98 on this project.
Start out by ironing your pillowcase to get rid of all the fold lines. Measure the circumference of your neck by wrapping your measuring tape around the base of your neck, sitting on your shoulders. Mine measured 15 inches. I didn’t want to have to deal with all the math of figuring out what I should cut (because who really wants to deal with math?) so I just took the measuring tape and stood it up on its side on the pillowcase, and made little marks with the chalk around the whole thing. Then I took the measuring tape away and connected the marks so that it turned into a smooth circle (because the measuring tape didn’t want to stay that way.) MAKE SURE you find the exact center of your pillowcase to draw this circle on. You want it exactly even when you fold the pillowcase over in the next step.
This is the pillow case I was using. It was a standard sized one, measuring at 20×26 inches. It was 100% cotton.
Fold it in half so that both the open and the sewn-closed ends meet (mine had a zipper at the open part). You should see half of your chalk circle at the top, where you have folded the fabric. I used pen because 1) I didn’t have any colored chalk and I was too lazy to go get some, 2) I’m an idiot, and 3) I like to make my life more difficult. I would NOT recommend using ball point pen.
Take your measuring tape and divide the diameter of your neck hole into thirds. Do this by measuring from one point where the chalk meets the fold to the other point where the chalk meets the fold. Mark the three spots. These are where the long parts of your collar are going to be placed, so make sure they are even. Depending on how long you want your collar, your measurements will be different. I will use my measurements for this tutorial.
I found that the longest the pillowcase would allow my… erm… tassles (what do you call the long clown-y parts of the collar? I’m gonna call them tassles, I guess) to be was 10 inches, so that’s what I went with. Going from the mark directly center of the collar, I measured out 10 inches and put a mark. I did this for the other two marks I made at the neck opening so that each tassle would be 10 inches from the neck opening. Going in between the tassle measurements, I put two more marks 2 inches from the neck opening. This is how thin the collar will be at its thinnest point.
NOTE: If you plan on overlapping one side of the collar for the buttons to work, make sure you measure ONE of your tassles a little bit longer than the others. I measured mine half an inch longer so that I had a half of an inch, total, of overlap-room for the buttons and everything would still look even.
Here’s where you get to take more artistic license. I decided on the pattern in the picture above, but depending on how you want your collar to look, you can decide exactly how you want to draw it. No matter what way you do it, make sure that everything measures evenly otherwise it won’t fall right once it sits on your shoulders. For either side of the pattern, just extend the collar upwards, keeping it at two inches away from the neck opening. This is so you have enough room for your shoulders.
Pin your pattern into place and cut it out! As you can see, it’s not a perfect science, but with some trimming, it works. On one of the folded shoulder pieces, cut. This is so you can actually try it on once you un-pin everything.
Open up your pattern! You will have two layers of this attached together because your pillowcase is two layers (otherwise it would be more like a sheet). Keep this double-layer; it makes everything more durable and it sits better. At this point, do any trimming that you think needs done and try it on. If the neck hole is too small, trim it little by little until it fits you properly.
Sew that bad boy! I sewed the entire thing, keeping really close to the edge, and then went back over it, edging it with a zig-zag stitch. If you have a serger, now would be the time to use it. But for those of you who don’t, learn how to serge an edge using a zig-zag stitch here.
This is what it should look like when you’re done! Make sure to sew/serge all edges, including the ones that will be hidden under the buttons. You’ll notice that the collar has some fraying and extra little threads. Cut those off. Depending on what kind of fabric you used for this project, your collar may fray a lot or not at all.
Step five (optional):
Throw it in the washer and dryer! I mostly did this because I had used pen on mine and I wanted to try and wash it out (IT DIDN’T WORK, DON’T USE PEN). But this is also a good idea to do at this stage because if your fabric is gonna fray, it’s gonna fray in the wash. So get it all taken care of now. If you need to go back over it with your serging/sewing machine, then do it.
Iron! Keep your iron’s steam ON while you iron your collar to get out any wrinkles and smooth down the edges.
Buttons! On one side of the portion that you cut, make three even marks that are the same distance apart from each other and from all edges. This is where you will sew your three buttons. Hand-sew them to the fabric, making sure they all face the same way (I put the glossy sides of the buttons face-down because I didn’t want attention drawn to them).
On the other side, very carefully cut three small holes evenly across the width, staying close to the edge. To get a better idea of where you need to cut the holes, overlap the fabric on top of the buttons and find where the buttons will lay. Make marks there and then cut the smallest slits possible where you put the marks. Shove the buttons through the holes. If the holes are too big, the buttons will pop out, so make sure they are small enough.
Really bad picture, sorry! Basically, I just wanted to reinforce my button holes, so I serged the edges of the buttons so they wouldn’t come unraveled and fall apart on me.
You’ll notice that the buttons closer to your neck hole will be using less fabric than the ones closer to the edge of your collar. This is because you are not sewing straight across a horizontal line. You are sewing on a circle. So, just like the inside track in a NASCAR race will be minutely shorter than the outside track, so will the inside button be to the outside button.
Taking your pom-poms that you probably bought from the craft store, pull each of them out and fluff them up because they come squished together.
Find the direct center of each of your tassles and sew the pom-poms on by hand. All you really have to do is shove the needle and thread through the center of the pom-pom, pull it tight, and shove it back through the center of the pom-pom, pulling tightly again. It only takes a couple of times for them to be secured onto your collar.
Once attached to the very edges of your tassles, lock your stitches and trim off any excess thread or fuzzies on the pom-poms.
And there you go!
Congrats! You’ve finished your Harley Quinn collar for under $10! Now go be an awesome Harley! 🙂
Want more Harley Quinn tutorials? Check out how to make Harley’s hammer for under $20, here.
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