I turned 30 years old on August 28th and celebrated the only way I know how: with superhero costumes and a bonfire. (And, let’s be real here, cake and beer.) I’ve been on an epic Marvel Cinematic Universe binge lately and the two movies most likely to be in my PS3 are Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: Winter Soldier.
Captain America is my superhero idol. I initially thought he was going to just be the uber-patriot; a red, white, and blue ‘Murrica stereotype; a good soldier, always following orders. To my absolute delight, and thanks in large part to the performance of Chris Evans, he wound up being an admirable and selfless man with an unshakable belief in freedom and the inherent decency of mankind. I want to believe in those things, too, and I rely on Captain America to remind me that I can. That being said, my choice of costume for my birthday was clear but I wanted to give it a girly twist. I’m a nerd but, dammit, I’m a nerd who loves dresses with twirly skirts.
I dug through the pattern books at JoAnn and found McCall’s M6824–the way the pieces fit together was perfect for what I wanted to do. I wanted this dress to look polished, like it was always meant to be a Captain America dress. This one had seams that ran down the bodice to the pleats in the skirt. I knew that I could use those to add the abdominal red and white stripes. It also called for a knit fabric, so it would have the right kind of heft and substance (and it would be comfortable). Side note: the white was thinner than the red or navy so I wound up doubling it in the bodice.
I’m not a tailor so I wasn’t sure how the pieces would all fit together to create the shaping. That was something I had to see first-hand. So I cut everything out of the navy and stitched together all front pieces and the two halves of the back. Then I laid the pieces out and traced the shape that I wanted the stripes to create: I wanted them to come up a little at the center bust and then slope down, going around the back at about a 4″ height. Then the terrifying part happened. I cut a half inch in from my lines, carefully labeling the location of each piece and the color it should be cut from. I used those pieces as pattern pieces, adding 1″ to the top and bottom of each after seam ripping them from each other. Then I reassembled the stripes and sewed the abdominal section back in place on the bodice. Success!
A zipper, neck and armhole casings, a pieced star (it honestly would have bothered me if I couldn’t mimic the nautical star on Cap’s uniform), and a little tulle on the hem of the skirt wrapped this baby up. When I slipped it on and it fit perfectly, I almost cheered out loud (you know I was whooping in my head). When the big day came, I rocked it with white leggings, faux combat boots, and a bright red lip. It was a damn good birthday.