The Making of a Salt-N-Pepa Costume

Salt-N-Pepa Costume Construction

Adri: So, my mom, Andrea, decided that she was going to make a Salt-N-Pepa Costume to go to The Talk's Halloween special this year. 

Adri & Andrea: We originally tried to find an oversized white or yellow sweat-jacket that could be altered to look like Salt-N-Pepa's jacket, which would include adding the appropriate patches and color blocking. Sounds easy, right?? Well, we went to every store, but were unable to find what we were looking for. So, we went back to the drawing board and decided to make this outfit from scratch.Today, we are going to talk about how we made it.

The Planning Stage

Adri: I usually design my own patterns. Since we were making my mom's costume, she decided that we would plan, modify patterns, shop for needed supplies, and make patches almost simultaneously and not in any particular order.

Pattern Selection

Adri & Andrea:We modified every pattern we used for the outfit. We already had patterns we could use for the hat (McCall's 4002) and jacket (McCall's 3012). Actually, we were shocked that we already had patterns we could use at home. At first we were going to make the bodysuit from scratch, but we eventually found pattern 7269 by McCall's that would be perfect for the Pepa Costume.

Fabric Selection

Adri & Andrea: Shopping for fabrics was absolutely horrible. At the point that we started this project, we only had a week to complete it. There were all kinds of fabric sales going on, and everyone seemed to be in the store buying fabric in bulk. Since the weather had been so hot, we originally wanted to use satin or flannel, but we couldn't find the right colors. We did find fabric online, but there wasn't enough time to have the fabric shipped. So we went with our only option, yellow fleece.

Next we had to decide what type of fabric we would use for the hat, letters, patches, arms, and the yoke. During a trip to Joann Fabrics and Craft Stores, we selected a Kente Cloth Print and The Witching Hour Blue Textured Costume Knit for the hat. We wanted the arms to have a leather look similar to a Letterman's Jacket, so we used white and red textured costume knit as well as black fleece to assemble the arms. The white textured knit was also used for the yoke of the jacket. After several trips to
the store we found everything we needed including: pefomance nylon/spandex in red for the body suit; green textured costume knit and black felt for the Salt-N-Pepa Patch on the jacket's back; and felt for the letters (black, white, red & green). We also selected The Witching Hour Red and Green Textured Knit for the construction of the drama masks. We purchased all of our supplies from Joann, except for the red felt squares we got for this exact project last year before I (Andrea) changed my mind and decided to make a Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation Costume instead.

Modifying Patterns

Adri & Andrea: We guesstimated how much we needed to take off for the color blocking, hat band, arm patch, back patch, and drama mask.

For the front, back & yoke: To find the length of the front and back yoke, I helped hold the pattern pieces up to my mom. We decided on a length that looked right and marked the armscye, center front, and center back. We took that measurement and drew a straight line to create the yoke. We added another line 1/2 inch below the first, so we could overlap the fabrics and create a seam allowance. Then we drew a line at 3 inches and 3 1/2 inches from the bottom so we'd have a 1/2 inch seam allowance and a 1 1/2 inch elastic casing.

For the color blocking the sleeves: Then my mom traced the sleeve on paper and broke it down into 5 different sections (Two for the black under sleeve, one for the lower black section, one for the white portion at the top of the arm, and another for the red cuff). We noted which color would be used for each section on the pattern pieces. ** Please note: We added a 1/2 inch seam allowance to all of the modified pieces.**

For the back patch:We folded down a rectangle piece of paper and
measured it in relation to the back pattern. We then made 1 inch markings around the entire rectangle and sketched an S/P --which We tried to keep to 1 1/2 inches in width. I then sketched the ALT and EPA. I barely measured this, but they were about 2 X 1 1/2-2 inches.

For the patches on the front of the jacket: We did the same for Let There Be Music and Idol Maker --which was slightly bigger. The Let There be Music letters were created with black and white felt. And the Idol Maker letters were created with green and red felt. We added a contrasting color to the letters by cutting white letters and red letters respectively that were slightly bigger than the original letters we cut before sewing them onto the jacket front.

For the arm patches: Instead of drawing the S and P out, my mom found them online and adjusted them to the size that we needed, 75% of the original size for both letters. It's from a site called Pattern Universe. (S and P can be found here and here respectively). These letters were cut out using the red and white felt and were sewn onto a red textured knit patch prior to being attached to the sleeves.

Putting the Jacket Together

Adri & Andrea: First we stitched the modified pieces together, and added a top stitch to make it look more refined. Then we referred to a picture of Salt-N-Pepa's Jacket as we added the patches and letters to the jacket in a similar fashion. The back patch had to be redone because too much excess ease was bunching in the S/P. **Andrea: In other words, I tried to take too many shortcuts.**

Adri & Andrea: To fix that, not only did we decide on a zigzag stitch, but also sewed it down on a rectangular piece of felt. Before, we tried to sew it all down at once on the black piece of felt. I think this is the best time to say that working with the textured costume knit was horrible. Pins barely wanted to go in. It was because of this we decided to imitate the black lines by sewing it onto felt. This made it easier to sew the patches onto the fleece. The same was done for the drama mask. Afterwards, we followed the pattern's directions closely.

Making the Hat

Adri: While my mom was finishing the jacket I cut out the hat. Instead of cutting it on the fold, I traced the band piece to make it full length and took of 1 1/2 inches for the bottom part of the band. I was trying to be as accurate at possible, but I cut the Kente cloth print at night when I was tired. The next morning I woke up and compared it to the reference image. The print was wrong, and I cut too many crowns from this fabric. Subsequently, I didn't have enough for another full length band, so I cut as much as I could. And then another piece to match it. I sewed that together (indicated by the white lines in the image above) then trimmed off the excess. I also went wrong when it came to turning the right side out. I made the hole way to small and ended up ripping some of it. I fixed that when I hand stitched the hole close.

Making the Bodysuit

Adri: This was the easiest and last thing to do. By the time I put the first stitch in, it was past 12 A.M and the day of the show. It took about 2-3 hours in total. from cutting out the pattern to the final hem. The only modification was hemming the armscye and using a 15 inch zipper rather than a 22 inch. That worked just fine by the way. Otherwise, I followed the instructions word for word.

And that’s it! It wasn't easy, but it was fun. Thanks for reading and Happy Halloween!

What were you for Halloween?

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