NOTE: Scroll down to see something of a tutorial for fellow fans.
Confession time: I am one hell
of a Gleek!
My favorite character on the show - hands down - is Kurt, but I opted for the Cheerios uniform since it's probably the most iconic costume on the show thus far. I ended up making the Season 2 uniform - basically because it was easier and I was low on time.
Overall I'm pleased with how it turned out. If I could change one thing, though, I'd use a different fabric. I opted for a heavy knit polyester that in practice just wasn't quite as light and stretchy as would have been ideal.
I love the skirt, but am not thrilled with the top. The material doesn't have enough give, for one thing. More importantly, though, the stitching on the sleeves and sides are a hot mess because I literally started sewing together pieces of the top/putting in the zipper/fitting it an hour before I had to head out. I actually put it on and realized I needed to shorten it, and had to fold the bottom under and do a loose top stitch because I didn't have time to remove the zipper. Going to have to fix that at some point!
I made the skirt without a pattern by studying promo pics from the show. I made sixteen pleats, sewed them together with a slight overlap, and stitched about 8" down. The stripes are twill hem tape I stitched on, and the pleats are double sided. Finished off with a zipper and waistband.
The top was much trickier. I slightly edited a Simplicity pattern for a cheerleader costume. Again, the black and white stripes are twill hem tape and the red is iron-on hem tape (not something I recommend; settled for it because of color but it's much too stiff).
I found the closest font I could online and typed up/edited the WMHS logo on photoshop to get the curve right. I traced it onto iron-on interfacing and then cut out the red letters. The interfacing helped prevent fraying, but I zigzag stitched the edges just to be sure. Then I used iron-on interfacing to attach the letters to white fabric, trimmed, and stitched. I repeated the process with black which I attached directly to the shirt.
My helper throughout the process!
Hoping to get another chance to wear this at ComiCon next summer!
If anyone else decides to make this costume someday, I'm glad to give tips!
I started with this pattern for the top (pattern C on the cover): http://www.simplicity.com/p-1977-costumes.aspx
BUT, to be honest, I had to alter it a bit. It tends to be too boxy and too long. It might be easier for you to find a cheap blouse of similar shape (and with darts) that fits you, take it apart, and use it as a pattern.
If you do decide to go with the Simplicty pattern, ignore the zipper in the back. The zipper is going to go on the side. Instead, combine the two overlapping back pattern pieces to create one pattern piece. Make sure you remove the seam-age the pattern originally allowed for.
Cut the front and back patterns horizontally as appropriate to match where the red and white fabrics meet, keeping in mind you will need .5 inches of seams on each when you attach them. Cut out the fabrics as appropriate, assemble the red and white pieces together for the front (and sew the darts) and the back, and iron the seams and darts flat. Set aside the back piece.
For the black triangle on the front, I used double-sided iron-on interfacing cut to match the triangle and attached it to the white fabric. The twill hem tape (below) will conceal the edges.
At this point, you should hem the collar (making sure the front and back pieces will match up). To finish the collar on the front, make the stripe trim. I used twill hem tape stitched together to make a tricolored ribbon.
Make more of the tricolored ribbon of hem tape. Use it to conceal the seam where white fabric meets red on the back and front.
You will also topstitch some of this ribbon to the front piece along the top of the black triangle. You'll want to sew two pieces of the tricolored ribbon together to create the angle you need. Use a single piece of red hem tape topstitched across the top and bottom to cover the bottom of the triangle.
For the letters, I found the closest font I could online by searching for varsity letter fonts. I typed up WMHS in Photoshop and used the curve edit, then printed in the appropriate size. I traced it onto double sided iron-on interfacing. I ironed one side of the interfacing to red fabric, then cut out the letters. Then I used the interfacing to attach the letters to white fabric and trimmed to match the photos. The interfacing helped prevent fraying, but I zigzag stitched the edges with red thread just to be sure. I cut out interfacing to match the current letters, ironed to the back of each, and then used that to attach them to a piece of black fabric. Again, I zigzag stitched (this time with white thread). The black fabric should be a single piece, not separate letters. I repeated the process with black which I ironed and stitched directly to the shirt.
Once the front and back are finalized, assemble (including hemming sleeves), hem the bottom, and install the zipper. If you take your time with the initial muslin trial pattern, this part will go smoothly. I did not, and definitely regretted it. Lol.
The skirt is the simpler piece to make.
You may want to start with it.
I made sixteen pleats; to figure out how wide to make the pleats, you should take your waist and hip measurements and divide each number by sixteen. Don't forget to take seam-age into account, too! First for the overlap, and secondly for the seams.
For example, if the waist measurement is 32 inches and the hips are 40 and you want the pleats to overlap .5inches (which is probably good to plan for since you may discover you need to use less pleat overlap or more inches when fitting), your /finished/ pleat should be 2.5 inches at the top and 3 inches at the hip mark (where the stitching stops, about 8 inches down for me). BUT the red and white pieces you cut out should allow for a .5inch seam all the way around, and thus should be 3.5 by 4. The length you can determine by measuring from about your belly button to wherever you want the skirt to end; don't forget to add the .5 inch on bottom for seams.
Once you have your 16 red and 16 white fabric pieces cut out, assemble and attach the twill hem tape stripes to the red fabric like you did for the top. Stitch the red and white pieces together, good sides facing in, with a seam of .5 inches. Leave the top un-sewn.
Turn the pleats inside out and iron as flat as you can, focusing on the seams and aiming for crisp corners.
Once all of the pleats are assembled, loosely baste them together with an overlap of about .25 - .5 inches (depending on which you planned for), stitching down as appropriate (long enough to just cover your butt). Don't finish the circle. Wrap it around you and check if the skirt is going to fit, or if the overlap needs to be lessened or increased.
Once you've got this finalized, machine stitch along the outer edge of the overlapping (top) pleat. I found it easiest to do this if I did some hand-stitching instead of using pins to hold everything together. Again, don't finish the circle.
Install the zipper between the last two pleats; make sure the actual zipper starts about 1" down. Make sure you remember to still overlap (attach one side of the zipper to the underside of overlapping pleat "A", and the other side of the zipper to the top of bottom pleat "B").
Finish with a 1" waistband (raw top of the skirt tucked in, band topstitched closed), with hook and eye closure as its fastening.
⁃ I used a heavy knit polyester. It worked fine for the skirt, but didn't have a lot of give for the top. A medium weight knit with a little bit of stretch/give would probably work better.
⁃ American Apparel has bright red underwear that I recommend wearing under the skirt (unless you want to make/find bloomers).
⁃ You can use iron-on hem tape for the ribbons, which will save you time, but it is not going to curve as nicely and will feel bulkier.