Monday, September 5, 2016

DIY Civil War Shoulder Boards!

Last week, I showed you my latest custom order- a Civil War Union Regimental Jacket! This week, I'm going to show you how I did the "shoulder boards" for the costume. 

Before I begin, however, I must note that I did not use any period-accurate construction techniques, nor did I use period-accurate materials. This tutorial is best for costumers and people who aren't as finicky about their historical accuracy. I'd recommend it to intermediate to advanced sewists. 

Materials Needed: 

-Gold metallic fabric, 1/8 yard*
-Gold metallic galloon, 2 yards*
-Gold thread to match 
-Heavy duty scissors 
-Thread clippers 

*Honestly, if you can't get a hold of fancy materials, use what you've got. It's a costume. Really. I even contemplated using felt for the base before my mother whipped out this fabulous scrap of metallic fabric. 

Metallic fabric is very thick. It will kill your nice fabric shears and your beautiful machine if you're not careful. In order to prevent such sewing room catastrophes as these, use junky scissors and put a size 12 or 14 needle in your machine. When stitching, sew slow to avoid snarls. 


I cut two pieces of the gold metallic fabric with my heavy-duty shears (seriously, they're marked "METALLIC" just for this purpose), approximately 2 1/2" by 5 1/2". Before I cut into my beautiful fabric, I cut a piece of scrap fabric and laid it over the shoulder of my already finished jacket to get a good idea of what size to make. 

I then ironed a 1/4" hem around the border of the piece in such a way that the raw edges were folded over the right side of the fabric. You'll find out why in a couple of seconds. 

Then, I zig-zagged that baby down. 

And trimmed those shaggy threads down so they wouldn't get in my way. 

Then, I pinned two pieces of galloon down to make the captain's insignia. Note: Depending on the rank your costume is made for, you may or may not have to follow this step. Adjust accordingly. Google searches for different shoulder board ranks helps a great deal

Sew those babies down. 

Here comes the tricky part- sewing the galloon around the edges. It takes a lot of patience and good deal of pinning, but it's worth it. If you can't get "mitered" corners on the trim, a simple fold-over will do. Whatever works best for you! 
 (You'll notice that the zig-zagged raw edges are concealed very neatly by the edge galloon.) 

Stitch that trim on and voila! You've got a shoulder board. Repeat again for the other side and you have it! 

I hope this tutorial was helpful! 

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