This year my 10-year-old and 11-year-old kids are both dressing up as knights. I sewed their knight costumes to create their exact specifications. Don’t sew? Scroll down to the end of the post for instructions on how to make a no-sew DIY knight costume alternative. You might also enjoy this tutorial on how to make a king costume.
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Easy-Sew Knight Costume Tutorial
These costumes were super easy to make! I used existing shirts that I knew fit the kids to create my pattern. This style of pattern-making works best for things like Halloween costumes, where the fit doesn’t need to be perfect.
It’s a super simple technique. Place the shirt on top, and cut around it, making sure to leave room for a seam allowance and hemming (if required). I actually opted out of hemming these costumes. We sewed them out of a heavy knit that looks fine un-hemmed and won’t unravel (since it’s a knit).
These costumes barely have any sleeves, so I folded in the t-shirt sleeves and improvised an alternate cut.
Giving the costumes super short sleeves was another shortcut I took, since it meant I didn’t need to worry about shoulder caps.
With the basic knight tunic shape cut out, I set it aside to work on the applique. It’s much easier to add an applique to a costume before the costume pieces are stitched together!
Adding an Applique
These particular knight characters are figments of my children’s imagination – evolutions of imaginary friends they have shared since they were tiny.
Since they are made-up characters, my children sketched out the entire costume from start to finish. My 11-year-old son drew the dragon applique outline, which I traced and cut out.
Pin your applique to the fabric and start stitching. I usually stitch about 1/8″ away from the edge of the applique. It’s important to be patient with yourself so that seams end up where you want them. If you have a sewing machine with adjustable speed, this is a great time to slow down the speed!
If you have a walking foot, that can be helpful in sewing appliques, but it certainly isn’t necessary. I used my sewing machine’s main foot to apply this applique.
How Do You Turn Corners On a Sewing Machine?
You have to turn a lot of corners for this one little applique, so I made a photo tutorial on how to do this since it’s a common question from people who haven’t sewn much.
- By default, your sewing machine stops stitching with the needle up. To turn corners, you want it to stop with the needle down. You’ll do this by turning the wheel on the side of the machine towards you until the needle is down.
- Once the needle is down, lift the sewing machine foot.
- Rotate the fabric around so that it is now facing in the direction you want to stitch.
- Lower the sewing machine foot and begin sewing again.
If you look closely, you’ll see that I got sloppy and crossed seams on the lower dragon’s tail. You CAN take out stitches and start over. I didn’t, because 1) it’s a Halloween costume and 2) this provides an easy way for my similarly sized kids to easily tell their costumes apart.
Sewing Your Knight Tunic
Now that you’ve applied your applique, you can stitch together the seams of your knight costume tunic!
I LOVE Clover Wonder clips for keeping seams straight. I feel like they work better than pins when it comes to keeping edgest in place, and you don’t have to worry about pricked fingers (very important if you are Sleeping Beauty, of course).
Once you’ve pinned all your edges, stitch them using a zig zag stitch. This is very important since knit fabric pulls in different directions while it’s being worn. The zig zag stitch offers enough give that your seams shouldn’t rip out.
Stitching a Knight Cape
My kids wanted their knight costumes to have capes that could be buttoned on and off. Apparently, this was very important for their imagined knights, since they wear their capes sometimes and not others. It’s something to do with training regimens; I didn’t catch all the details.
I used two 1/2 yard lengths of quilting cotton to sew their two-sided capes, cutting two capes out of each 1/2 yard length.
The neck opening is much deeper here, because the cape buttons up on their shoulders.
Turning once again to my trusty Clover Wonder clips, I stitched all the way around, leaving an opening at the bottom. Then I trimmed the seams and turned the capes right side out and top stiched all the way around, stitching shut the opening at the same time.
I then sewed buttonholes in each of the cape arms that drape across the kids’ shoulders, and added a button to the same spot on their shirts.
The result is a fun removable cape that is plenty short to run and twist and sit but can still be taken off if the kids get tired of wearing it with their knight costumes. You can see where the capes are buttoned on – just barely onto the front of the shirt – in the photo below.
The photos didn’t capture this very well, but it’s also double sided, with two different shades of green that they picked out.
The best part of making Halloween costumes is seeing my children’s joy in watching something they created only in their mind come to life in 3D.
No Sew Knight Costume Tutorial
You can make a very similar costume to this one using a plain t-shirt you already own!
Follow the wonder fuse instructions to fuse the applique onto your t-shirt. A simple DIY costume done in minutes!
Use my no-sew instructions in my superhero cape tutorial to add on a cape.
Please share photos if you use this tutorial to make knight costumes for your kids!
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