Good morning! Today I wanted to share with you a project from the show I costume designed this past February. Before having kids I was a full-time freelance costume designer for theater. I absolutely love costume designing! I studied theater arts in undergrad before going to graduate school where I focused solely on costume design and construction. I am not working on many shows right now while my kids are little, but I was happy to design a show this past winter. One of the characters in that show lived in Costa Rica and we wanted one of his shirts to look as though he may have purchased it locally.
I looked into purchasing something from a central american artisan but wasn’t able to find the right shirt online. It is also tricky with returns, shipping, and a theater budget. I did, however, find some beautiful leather accessories made locally through a site called Novica which was exciting! I also found some really fun bracelets from Pura Vida Bracelets which were made by artisans in Costa Rica. When I didn’t find the shirt I was looking for, I switched gears and found a wonderful linen top from Island Importers but wanted to add something that would give it a handmade look. I decided I wanted to embroider or cross-stitch a design onto the collar of the shirt I had. When starting this project, I had a hard time finding tutorials or information on how to easily do this so I thought I would share my process!
After lots of Google searching, I came across a product called waste canvas. I have cross-stitched in the past, but I have always used aida cloth and created pieces meant to be framed. I had never heard of waste canvas until finding it online. Waste canvas allows you to add a grid to a piece of fabric that doesn’t have one. I cut strips of the waste canvas and basted them to the collar areas I planned to cross-stitch.
I found a cross-stitch pattern from the Etsy shop BlackPhoebeDesigns and modified it slightly to fit the collar area of my shirt. After cross-stitching the entire pattern, it was time to remove the waste canvas threads. The instructions said to wet the canvas and the threads will dissolve or can be easily pulled out. I am not sure why, but this didn’t work for me! It was easier for me to pull each thread out dry but this did take me way longer than I had anticipated!! I had been working on this project in the evenings after my kids went to sleep and was still working on it the night before dress rehearsal. I definitely didn’t expect removing the waste canvas threads to take me a couple hours! But luckily I was in the middle of a new series on Netflix and just powered through into the wee hours of the morning. I will have to do another project using waste canvas in the future to see if it really is tricky to remove it or if I was just too tired I was being a goober! Once the threads were removed, I added a toggle to help keep the shirt closed up a bit more and the costume was finished!
I love how this shirt turned out. The character wore this shirt in the last scene of the play and it fit beautifully into the sunset Costa Rican scene. Below I have a few process shots. Since I was always working on this at night, the photos aren’t wonderful – but they still show the process!
Next week I’ll be back with a DIY tutorial for a project I just completed for my son’s book nook! Things are slowly coming together for this area of his room and I am so excited! Have a wonderful week!
This post includes affiliate links under the “Shop the supplies I used”. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I have no affiliation with Black Pheobe Designs, Pura Vida Bracelets, or Novica. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.