Making Furiosa’s Shirt
At first, I thought making Furiosa’s shirt was going to be REALLY EASY.
That was my first mistake.. followed by many more mistakes.
I am not a skilled seamstress (still working on it though!). I tried to make the shirt from scratch, and clearly I wasn’t ready for that kind of seamstress-magic. A few months later and a whole lot of procrastination and denial about needing to re-make that shirt, I had an A-HA moment! I finally figured out after staring at my last store-bought white shirt three days before Wizard World Portland that it was actually crazy easy to do and that I was just making it super ridiculously difficult on myself.
I have to say this: you don’t have to create every single piece of fabric on your body from a bolt of fabric for your cosplay to look and feel accurate, ever. There’s no cosplay rule book that says you can’t or shouldn’t alter something that already exists to fit your needs. That being said, if that’s what you like to do, then by all means go ahead! I’ll be on the other side of that spectrum, happily cutting away at some pre-made shirt in order to save some of my precious time for things like drinking more coffee to get all the things done.
OK! Enough talk talk, you’re on a deadline. So here we go. I’m going to show you how I made this shirt. Let me preface this with the obvious: there’s always more than one way to do anything, but this was my method:
MATERIALS YOU WILL NEED:
- One long sleeve cotton white t-shirt. Off white or white.
- 3 or 4 bags of black tea bags
- Sewing Machine
- White thread
- Paper tape – painter’s thin width tape works well
- Fabric pins
- Iron and ironing board
- Heat n’ Bond Iron-On Adhesive Ultrahold
STEP 1: DYE YOUR FABRIC
Dye your shirt before doing anything else. I used several bags of tea using this handy tutorial:
- In a large pot, bring several quarts of water to a boil.
- Turn off heat.
- Add 3 or more teabags to the water and steep for 30 minutes. The more tea, the darker the dye tint.
- Remove tea bags from water.
- Using tongs (not your fingers because the water is extremely hot), add t-shirt to water and submerge completely.
- Using the tongs, make sure no air bubbles are trapped in the fabric.
- I soaked my shirt for about 45 minutes. You can soak the fabric for as long as needed for the desired tint.
- When you are happy with the overall color of the shirt, pour out the water and wring out the excess water from the shirt. Be careful if the shirt is still hot.
- Put the shirt back in the pot and fill with cold water. This will set the color.
- Let shirt soak in the cold water for about 30 minutes.
- Wring out excess water and either air dry, or use a dryer (set on low) to dry the shirt.
- You are done!
STEP 2: CHOP CHOP
Start with the shirt right-side out (not inside out). Cut the arms off of the shirt. The right sleeve of her shirt is much shorter than the left. Save the sleeve fabric.
TURN THE SHIRT INSIDE OUT.
STEP 4: TURN IT UP
Turn up the cuff on the longer sleeve about 2″. Pin in place.
Sew a 1/2” seam allowance around the sleeve.
Carefully cut along the allowance to expose the fabric edges
Turn the shirt right-side out and revel in your work. Tip: the seam doesn’t have to be really neat. It’s the wasteland-look afterall!
Cut off the collar
Using a pen, draw a guideline to clean up the collar shape to make more of a “scoop” appearance. Trim along line with scissors.
Using your pen as a guide as a visual placemarker, place the pen lengthwise on the shirt roughly dividing the sleeve in half.
Place thin paper tape along this line as a marker
Fold the shirt along the tape line and pin in place. The shirt should be right-side out (not inside out).
Carefully sew along the tape line.
With both seams sewn, remove the paper tape. be careful not to break the stitching if the tape has been sewn.
With a small pair of scissors or very carefully with very sharp fabric scissors, cut the fabric along the seam allowance, being careful not to cut the threads.
Repeat on both sides of the shirt.
Your shirt should resemble this:
Using the longer sleeve fabric scrap that you cut off in the first few steps, cut along the seam line.
Trim the sleeve into a rectangle. This should be roughly the size of the area you want to have the folds on the front part of the shirt. Ladies, don’t make this part too thick. Read on to see why.
Cut a large piece of heat bond roughly the same shape as the fabric.
Using the iron, bond to the fabric using the instructions from the packaging. (Ladies, remember what I mentioned in Step 17? This will make the fabric stiff and less stretchy, so if you need the shirt to really stretch over your chest area, make the width smaller or the shirt will bunch up under the corset/belt area.)
Allow to completely cool. Peel off the paper from the adhesive.
With the shirt Right-side out, stretch the shirt over the ironing board as shown here:
Roll the shirt bottom up to an inch below the bottom of the scooped neck.
Carefully slide the scrap fabric with the adhesive side facing UP underneath the shirt front, as shown. Make sure the adhesive side is flat.
Carefully coax the shirt fabric into folds on top of the adhesive. Be sure to leave enough fabric at the bottom of the shirt to allow it to be tucked into a corset or black fabric tube, whatever you are planning on using.
This is roughly what the folds should look like. Messy but not overly folded over each other.
Using the directions from the heat bond, iron the folds flat. I pressed the iron for a slightly longer amount of time to ensure the heat would travel into all of the folds.
You may need to adjust the shirt position to iron all the way across the front of the shirt to make sure the entire piece of adhesive is glued into the shirt.
Once cooled, turn the shirt inside out and press along the adhesive side one more time to ensure it has bonded. Allow to completely cool.
Voila! You are done! So Shiny and Chrome!
Optional: You can repeat these steps for the back of the shirt, but I decided to leave the back of my shirt alone.
CARING FOR YOUR NEW AWESOME FURIOSA SHIRT:
Hand wash or wash on gentle cycle on COLD. Allow to air dry!
I used cocoa powder on the day I was wearing this. It’s a great way to smell good and creates a great stain on the shirt. you can also apply cocoa powder to your skin and pants for that “wasteland” look.
If you’ve gotten this far, I thank you for your determination and attention!
Have fun with this and send me pictures of your Furiosa!!
Head Nerd at Downen Creative Studios and Mad Max superfan