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One Technique – A Kajillion Costumes – No Pattern Needed – video

One Technique One Kajillion Costumes - No Pattern Needed - video
Way back this summer when I taught Harry Potter Camp I promised you I’d make a video showing how to make these easy Harry Potter cloaks – without a pattern. I didn’t forget! And for those who joined us after this summer – I had 20 kids in the class (ages 7-12) and they all made these cloaks in less than an hour.

The great thing about this technique is that you can use it for all kinds of costumes – knights, thieves, princesses, wizards, jesters, and so much more!

Here’s the video – but be sure to scroll down for more photos of samples and links to other techniques you’ll be able to use in your costuming.

See how easy that is?

I breezed right through a couple of techniques because I already have separate videos for them, with the demos designed to be easy to see. I especially recommend the one on using elastic with a casing. If you’re wondering what the heck I was doing with the clipping into the armpits, take a look at this video. With a lot of costumes I skip the whole hemming and finishing thing, but if you want to hem yours, here’s a video that will help. And applique with fusible adhesive is great for Halloween costumes. If you’re new to sewing (and this site) be sure to check out all the links to how-to videos gathered together on the Sewing Lessons page. And if you’re sewing with kids – here’s a post with some specific tips for them.

And now here’s a look at some costumes I made with this technique.

I used it to make this princess gown for Jo.

This took me exactly one hour to make – and I sewed it three times in that hour. Jo has gotten pretty opinionated about the fit of her clothing and I took this in a few times to be more fitted in the top, but keep the drapey arms and the width of the skirt. I just kept sewing the body narrower and narrower until she was happy with it.

This is made of stretch panne velvet – really easy to sew and comfy to wear. And since it’s a knit, the edges won’t fray even though I didn’t finish any of them. I used a stretch needle in my regular machine with a regular straight stitch. Easy peasy. No serger needed.

I used some of the scraps to make a matching dress for one of Jo’s dolls.

The belt is made of binder rings (available at any office supply store) all linked together.

I wanted to show you something less flowy too – something a boy could wear. I talked about the possibility of a Robin Hood/Peter Pan tunic in the video and then decided to make one up for real.

I used regular embroidery thread to lace up the slit at the neck.

Finally, I wanted to show you a patchwork girl. Jo just read A Little Princess and wanted Princess Ivy to have a rag dress too. I didn’t sew the patches together – this is some old cheater cloth from my stash. I cut the sleeves and hem all raggedy and used some beading hemp for a rope belt. I turned this dress around so the neck slit is in the back. I just added a little hook and eye to hold it closed.

So there you go! Lots of costume possibilities!

Happy sewing!

Applique Wendi (with fabulous hat)



  1. I do adore the costumes for humans and dolls. You are one schmart cookie!

  2. The cool thing about this technique is that you can use it to fit anyone of any size and shape – from dolls to kids to grown-ups.

  3. Thanks for theheads-up! I just went over and linked up.

  4. Wendi –

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I have a very imaginative daughter and I have a feeling that this is going to come in very handy! 🙂 I am inspired to try one soon!

  5. LOVE it. Thank you so much! I’ll certainly use this technique and post my results.

    I get to dye fabric too… heh heh heh. and hair.

  6. I was familiar with the technique…the Society for Creative Anachronism does a lot of the garb this way, but I was always a little intimidated to just ‘wing it’. Your video shows how truly easy this is and answered some questions I had about ease so thank you for taking the time to make and post the video. My wallet is thanking you too…Have you seen the price for a costume that won’t fall apart halfway through the Halloween Party? This year our family is doing a Star Wars theme so Yoda, Darth Maul, and Generic Jedi(me, if there is time) get robes from clearance bed sheets, and Padme needs a shirt and overtunic. So again, thank you.

  7. I’m glad it was helpful! It really is astounding what a wide range of costumes it works for!

  8. I came across your tutorial just in time–I had already planned to do something like this for my kids’ witch and wizard costumes, but now it will take so much less time to figure out the details! I’ve got the fabric and can start today!

  9. Anonymous SAYS...

    Oh boy, you’re my new best friend!! I was just freaking out because I have one night to make my son’s Harry Potter costume and had no idea what I was going to do. You to the rescue!! Thanks for the awesome tutorial… and I had no idea there were Harry Potter camps-my son would love that!

  10. Anonymous SAYS...

    This is wonderful! Thank you so much for posting.

  11. Anonymous SAYS...

    We found your link on Pintrest. We have 4 girls here that collect AG dolls and we’re excited to get started.

  12. SamG SAYS...

    What a great and simple tutorial Wendi! I’m a little afraid of my sewing machine still and have only done simple curtains, but I think even I could to this. My boys will be very happy, I can see a wizard and Peter Pan outfit for halloween!!!!
    Thanks Sam xx

    • wendigratz SAYS...


  13. Beth SAYS...

    This tutorial is going to be so handy! I can now make a Halloween costume for my kids and doll clothes, oh boy, so many possibilities! thank you Wendy! I’ve learned so much from you!!!

    • wendigratz SAYS...

      Happy to help! 🙂

  14. Andrea Walker SAYS...

    Thank you for this! These are an inspiration for last minute costumes and play clothes. Or any time! I love that you have include the boy pattern also. I can’t wait to start sewing one of these! Or two or three. I have 3 grand kids.