Monday, September 26, 2011

"Truly Outrageous" Jem Costume Tutorial...

I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but the cartoon "Jem" comes on the network The Hub now. I am acutely aware of this fact because even though we are not really TV watchers, we somehow manage to catch practically every episode of "Jem." Wonders never cease.

You're welcome.

The show originally aired between 1985-1988. Sadie has accidentally become a Jem fan, so she asked me if she could be Jem for Halloween this year. Since this puts me in super flashback mode, how could I say no?? I've scoured the web, and there's no such thing as a DIY Jem costume tutorial for kids (only for adults re-living their childhoods), so here's a quick tutorial on a VERY easy and kid-centric Jem costume...

You'll need:
2 yards of flashy pink fabric for the dress
6 inches of another flashy coordinating fabric (for the sash)
1 yard of another flashy coordinating fabric (for bottom part of the sash)
-- channel the 80's when looking for these fabrics...makes it even more fun --
1 old shirt that you don't mind cutting for this project

Step 1: Measuring the Dress Material
Wrap the flashy dress fabric around your child's waist 1.5 times and then cut at that point.

Step 2: Dress Shaping Part I
Fold the fabric lengthwise in half and stitch wrong side out along the long raw edges (the two edges you just folded together - you want them sewn shut. After sewing the long ends together, flip the fabric right side out. You should now have a long flashy tube of fabric.

Step 3: Dress Shaping Part II
Fold the tube in half width-wise - if your kid is about the same size as my kid (i.e., kid-sized), then this should turn out to be square-ish. Sew along the open ends (width-wise) should be sewing through four layers of fabric for this step. Flip the square right side out (so that the ugly part of the seam you just sewed is on the inside).
Cute baby girl cameo!

Step 4: Making the Top of the Dress
I took the easy route on this (a.k.a., I forgot to buy a zipper or velcro, so I had to figure out an alternative real quick). I used one of Sadie's old shirts (this one:)
I cut across the shirt (pretty high up - right under the sleeves).
Sadie took that photo because she's the coolest kid ever. This piece, in combination with the skirt tube thing you just made will form the dress.

Step 5: Gather the Waist
You'll need to gather the waist of the "skirt" part (from steps 1-3) so that the circumference of the skirt is equal to the circumference of the shirt. Don't go TOO tight with this because you want it to still fit over your child's head. To gather the waist, make a LONG stitch (use your longest stitch function) all the way around the perimeter of your skirt. You'll want to make sure to stitch on the side with the seam - that way the "pretty" side will be the bottom hem of the dress. Once you've made the long stitch, pull (very gently) one piece of the thread on the ends. You should be able to push the material (very gently) all the way around the thread so that it starts bunching up. If the thread rips, you'll have to start this step all over again. So if I haven't made it clear, be VERY gentle when pulling your gather.
The gathered side will be the "top" of the skirt portion of the dress. It will be mostly hidden by the next step.

Step 6: Attaching the "Top" and the "Skirt" Together to Make the Dress
After you've made sure that the skirt goes over your child's head (with their arms raised, it should go over their head and they should be able to step out of it) AND that it is relatively the same size as the cut part of the shirt, you'll want to stitch those two together.
After you've stitched them together, they'll look like this:
Woohoo - shaping up!

Step 7: Making the V-Neck
I wanted the costume to have the Jem v-neck, but I couldn't stand the thoughts of putting Sadie in that cut, so I improvised! Cut two strips of leftover flashy dress fabric - 10" x 12." Fold them lengthwise so that they are12" long by 5" wide. Sew up the open length. Flip right side out.
You should have two of these.

Step 8: Attaching the V-Neck
Sew these 12" x 5" fabric tubes to your dress in the shape of a v-neck.


Step 9: Attaching the Flashy Sash
I took the 6" flashy sash material made it into a circle exactly the size of the dress waist, then I sewed it all the way around the dress waist. It covered up the ugly ends of the v-neck tubes, and it's sparkly and pink...what's not to love?

Step 10: Attaching the Bottom Part of the Flashy Sash
I took the other coordinating sash material and made the scarf-like portion of the sash. You can just tie this on, but I sewed it to the dress because that will make it less to keep up with come trick-or-treat time.
The bottom part of the sash is the purple sparkly tulle in the photo above.

Add a pink wig, pink shoes, pink tights, pink microphone, pink face paint, and pink bracelets, pink star earrings, and you have yourself a hot mess fabulous 80's pop princess.
PS - we covered Sadie's existing microphone with pink fabric - of course she didn't protest...when something you own goes from black to pink, clearly you celebrate.

I definitely took some liberties with the costume to make it more kid-friendly, but Sadie is ecstatic - she is a vision in pink.

I just *just* became highly concerned that she might be mistaken for Lady Gaga, so sometime this week, I'm making her a nametag that says "Jem" on it (thanks for the idea Lacy!) worries, mama's got this under control. I'm also going to give her wig a hair cut so that it's a little choppier (like Jem's), but otherwise, she's truly outrageous!



  1. wow that's truly outrageous truly truly outrageous.
    glitter and magic, fashion and fame JEM..

    ok the sad is that's from memory (i didn't check the synergytubes)

    love the costume. i must ask what is your machine
    the foot and feeddog layout looks somewhat familiar

  2. too funny! and you are SO talented, even when you make "truly outrageous" things! xo

  3. Clarence, I know the machine is a Singer, but I can't remember the model number...I'll look at it when I get home, though!! :)

  4. Thanks for the tutorial, Kendra! We linked you some love on our website, here:

  5. I am so glad I found this post!! My daughter has checked out all three seasons of Jem from our library and watched it and she is dying to be Jem for Halloween this year. Last year she was in love with She-Ra and I made a pretty rockin costume for her so I can't wait to tackle the Jem costume this year!! :)

  6. Hi Jo - so glad Sadie isn't the only Jem lover out there! Good luck making your costume!

  7. My little niece is going to be Jem this halloween and we are super excited to make the costume! Thanks for the helpful tutorial!


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