Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Epaulets Tutorial

I have a nephew turning 8 years old and for his Birthday Party he asked his mom if he could have a Fancy Dance where they play Tango music and dress up. He has a tux and he wanted Epaulets for the shoulders. (Don't worry I had NO IDEA what they were either) His mom called me up to see if I could figure out how to make some for him. Of course!!! That's what I love to do. So once I figured out what they were I got started. You will need one measurement that is the measurement from the seam on the neckline of the suit to the seam line on the shoulder of the suit. You will then add 1 1/4 inches to that number.

Draw a circle that is large enough to cover the shoulder. You want it sticking out about 1/2 inch on all sides. Then draw a rectangle coming out of the middle of it. This needs to be 1 1/2 inches wide. The length from the end of the circle to the end of the rectangle will be the measurement you took plus the 1 1/4 inches that you added to it. Cut six of these out of double sided interfacing. I used the thickest kind available.
Lay one of these on a piece of gold silk. Iron it on to the wrong side. Do this to two pieces.

Then cut the silk around the interfacing about 1/2 inch.

Iron the gold silk onto the back of the interfacing. Only press down the silk with the iron because the entire back will be sticky and you don't want to get the sticky on the iron. When you go around the circle start at the top and just pull it and press making pleats.

When you get to the corners clip the silk in. You do not want to cut all the way to the interfacing, but almost there.

Pull these tight and iron them down.

Clip off the excess material on the end of the rectangle.

Remember that you have done this to two of the six interfacing pieces now. You are now going to repeat this process two more times. This time stack two interfacing pieces together when you do it. You will have a total of four of these when you are finished. I then added a piece of gold ribbon. You want to sandwich the end in between one of the single layer pieces and one of the double layer pieces. Make sure the wrong sides are together. Tuck the end of the ribbon in between the two and then up the top and when you get to the end turn it under and then pin it down. You want it to end about 1/4 inch into the circle part. Do this with the other two pieces as well. You will have two of these.

Here is the underneath side.

Head over to your sewing machine and sew around the entire edge of the circle and rectangle. Then sew around the entire piece of ribbon.

Here is the back view. I sewed an extra line on the top of the rectangle just to secure the two pieces together and the tucked in end of the ribbon.

I then free handed my nephews initials. His first name on one and his last name on the other. Place a drop of fray check on the end of the letters.

I then put a drop of fabric glue on the end of the letters and covered it with glitter.

This adds to the three dimensional look.

You will need one yard of tassel fringe. Cut this in half. You will use one piece for each one. Tuck one end under about an inch and hot glue it onto the end. Hot glue it back onto itself and then hot glue the remainder around the outside edge. Fold over the edge and glue it back around. You will almost have enough to cover the entire outside twice.

You want to make sure you apply the hot glue on the sides and not overlapping on the top at all so you will not be able to see it. You could sew this fringe on, but I am not patient enough for that. I HATE hand sewing.

Remember to do this to both epaulets and flip them over upside down.

Take some ribbon and two safety pins to create the piece to attach them to the suit coat.

To do this Fold one end under of the ribbon and hot glue it to the end of the rectangle part. You want the raw edge of the ribbon facing the circle. Do this two both epaulets.

Slide a safety pin onto the ribbon. You want the side of the safety pin that does not open to be towards the epaulet and the open side up facing you when it is glued. So right now, you will be putting it on backwards. The opening will be underneath the ribbon.

Cover ribbon and pin with hot glue for about an inch.

Fold over and press down.

Slide on another safety pin. You want the opening part up (not shown in the picture, I messed mine up and had to fix it) and the part that doesn't open down.

Fold the end underneath and hot glue it down.

Slide the safety pin to the folded edge.

Put your hot glue gun in between the ribbon and the epaulet and hot glue the ribbon completely down. Use fray check to apply to any of the end of the ribbon that is sticking out.

And then for a little extra surprise for Levi I decided to include a name tag and cording like you see on all of the Old Army Officials Suits along with their Epaulets. To do this take gold cording and drape it from the right shoulder seam down across the chest to the right side about where your pocket is. Cut a piece that length. And then cut another piece 4-5 inches longer. Safety pin them together.

I covered the ends with fray check and then hot glued them together and to the safety pin to stabilize them. You will NOT open this safety pin.

Take the other two ends and slide onto a safety pin. You will need to open this pin so to slide it on you will need to open the safety pin slightly. Slide the tip of the safety pin through the cording and then off the open pointed end so it is attached from to the side of the safety pin that does not open.

Do this to both of the ends of the cords.

Close the safety pin. I then put fray check on the ends and used hot glue to hot glue the pieces of cording together. You do not want to glue this side to the safety pin because you will be opening this one.

When I hot glued it I rotated the safety pin down so the glue wouldn't accidentally hit it.

Keep the safety pin towards the side and flip it over so the part that does not open is on the table and the part that opens is facing up. I then attached a name plate (My SIL sent it to me to include she makes them here) with hot glue. I laid it with the name side down on the table put hot glue on the back of it and pressed the closed side of the safety pin onto the hot glue. You want the top of the letters to be the same as the top of the cords.

Here is a front view. There will be nothing sticking up from the top and the two cords will be coming out of the bottom. The shorter cord will be on the top or the right cord and the longer cord will be on the bottom or the left cord.

Now you can add them to the boy. To do this take the safety pins underneath the left Epaulet and put it through his shirt. The one on the rectangle put through right on the collar seam, and then the one by the circle place right on the shoulder seam. To place the right one on you will do the same thing for the first safety pin. The safety pin that you place on the shoulder seam you will put through the shirt and then grab the name tag cords. Slide the end circle of the safety pin through this pin before you close it. You want to use the circle end not the clasp end of the pin so it will hang correctly. Then take the end of the name tag that the name plate is on and pin it to the chest of the shirt. And there you have it!

A quick way to spruce up that suit for a Fancy Eight Year Old Dance!

Even if this Seven Year Old doesn't love them, I know my nephew will!

He was thankful however to finally be modeling something for a boy instead of a tutu for a girl!
I would LOVE to see if you make any! Please link in the comments or add it to my flickr group! Thanks!


  1. Very impressive! He looks so smart... my epaulet's will probably be made of paper, Tsk!

  2. Thanks for posting this! I really needed some guidance on making some epaulettes for a holiday party.


  4. How do you iron the silk onto the facing without the facing sticking to your ironing board?

  5. omg, great idea! i'll post a picture for sure.
    I've been customizing(tweaking) my clothes from when i was ,a teenager, have my own style (wich is something to be proud of), and just one of those would look great!
    you can expect a picture next weak or so, maybe i'll put some in there with my own creations ;)

  6. Nice! I'm going to make one for my cosplay outfit! :)

  7. You should make a video with it!

  8. Oh my gosh, this is a life saver! I'm trying to make epaulettes for a cosplay (Mastermind Kiyotaka Ishimaru from Danganronpa) and most other tutorials I found were either not giving enough information or just weren't clear enough with instructions, even maybe skipping a few, so this is absolutely amazing! Now I just need to learn how to make that outfit for cheap XD


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