Ghee Whiz

Here are the components:

Flag braid

A “gi”

Flag Fabric by the yard

and a drawing done by the father’s neighbor:

A friend of mine, a single dad of two boys, wanted to know if it was possible to make a custom martial arts outfit for one of them. He is so proud of their accomplishments.

Once I saw how thick the front bands were, I knew I could not duplicate one so I suggested that I get fabric and cover a brand new one. Should be simple, no?

Finding huge stars was a real challenge until I found flag fabric by the yard. Once I found the 1.5 inch wide braidΒ  for the pants I was so happy!




You can see the layers on the back which also wrap around to the front… To start, I pinned the fabric to the fronts to get an idea of what I was up against.

One issue, right away, was the red and white stripes. The red one had to start at the lower band at the hem. The same stripe had to remain at that level, parallel with the floor, all the way around so that is where I started and then smoothed the fabric on the way up to the shoulder. Pinning and pinning allowed me to get just the right angle on the angled front bands.

Once pinned, I had to hand baste all the edges of the red stripes to the under jacket and also between the stars. You can see that the front stars have been machine sewn every 2.5 inches and the remaining hand basting in white on the sleeve front.

After I realized that I could not sew down the length of the sleeve with a sewing machine, I had to open the underarm seam to attach the remaining back panels. The only problem is the seams were all triple stitched and flat felled.

The seam opened up flat and the left front half of the sleeve attached to the jacket.

The right sleeve attached and given diagonalΒ  and vertical stitching. The back panels will have to be pieced and overlapped.

Diagonal back seam top stitched and patched back sleeves ready to pin unto the back:

Once the sleeve cuff area was opened, I found an inside wrist binding that had to be re-attached after converting the under arm flat fold seam to just a regular pressed open and flat one. Once the flag fabric was attached, I could serge the edges.

Band stitched back into place. You can see that I double stitched all the edges down.

The inside under arm seams are pinned and ready to be hand attached to the jacket.

What about the pants? There is a triangular section at the crotch and it had to be filled in with 2 small flags overlapped and stitched down along the red lines. The side seams and hems were a real b*itch to sew as everything had to be scrunched up and sewn by machine through the waist opening. With the sleeves this was impossible so they were opened up flat.

You can see in this photo that the blue fabric is sitting under the red and white striped one one the back but will be cut away .

The finished project after over 12 hours of labor:

Here we have the boy with his belt ready for competition:

While the parents of the other students went wild over the custom gi, I told the dad that he can never reveal who made this happen. Maybe it would have been easier if it were an all over pattern like camouflage but working with stripes was surely the hardest part!

This week involves a nightmare of a request just before Thanksgiving on Thursday. As the saying goes… “A picture is worth a thousand words”….I’ll leave you with this:

Hoping all goes well for my US sewing sisters on Thursday…juicy turkey, moist dressing and well behaved relatives…one can only hope!

Thank you for dropping by!

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34 Responses to Ghee Whiz

  1. ParisGrrl says:

    Really? Because I bet those gis would go together faster after say the fiftieth one. Bwahahahaha

  2. mrsmole says:

    Oh Paris…there is money to be made making custom outfits for this sport!!!

  3. Chris T says:

    Wow, that was a job and a half, but so very well done.

  4. Laura says:

    Too bad we don’t have cameras on us when we respond to your posts. I got to the bottom and saw that dress. Immediately my hand covered my mouth. Not swearing, just saying OMG! But…..if anyone could make that dress happen – you will. Awesome work on the gi

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh that dress will be worn the day after Thanksgiving after I stuff myself with all the season foods! The young lady will saunter into the event and no one will know what this dress started out like, will they? The gi almost killed me and certainly broke off all my nails just grabbing and tugging at the flag fabric…but the dad and son are so happy!

  5. Donna says:

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving πŸ¦ƒπŸπŸ€—πŸ’•

  6. Patricia says:

    After seeing that dress, I am “Gobsmacked”!!! What on Earth are you going to do, and why did that client purchase a dress that small?

  7. mrsmole says:

    This is what happens when you let a piece of yarn make decisions…I’m making 25 inches of loops on each side and keeping my fingers crossed!

  8. That last picture just brought back memories of alteration requests that start with “Its just a little too small at the top of the zip”!!! Enjoy a well earned thanksgiving feast after the lovely job on the custom uniform!

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Chris…if we had a dollar for all the requests like that…we could retire early!

    • Cheryl says:

      HA HA πŸ™‚ I LOVE those phone calls. “Cheryl, it’s a BIT too small…not bad.” LIAR LIAR PANTS AFIRE πŸ˜‰ I make the appointment, already planning to add a corset back because it WILL be about 5-10 INCHES too small πŸ™‚ I love my customers πŸ™‚

  9. erniek3 says:

    If anyone else is considering this, please let me tell you that sewing a gi is dead simple, as long as you don’t use a duck or denim weight fabric. The fourfold neck/front binding is really simple on a machine with a heavyweight needle, because it’s flat and the last thing to sew . The gis from the studio are made of denim weight that is really unnecessarily stiff. I had karate kids and sewed several pink gis for pals -the instructor was livid until HIS firstborn was a girl πŸ˜‰
    Tha one looks great and brings back some sweet memories of babies stomping around on floor mats.
    The dress on the bottom – I’m very glad that’s not mine.

    • mrsmole says:

      Since none of my kids did martial arts, I had no idea how thick that front band was! Lordie, I was thinking that is must be sewn on a machine for shoe repair! The rest of the gi was so thick as well with multiple layering on the front and back with no side seams…all curved flat felled suckers. The knees on the pants were like knee pads for gardening! After shoving those pants under the presser foot and hoping I could get the braid straight, I started work on the jacket. Learned my lesson to say NO next time…ha ha!

      • Cheryl Designs says:

        I have a customer and his son that wear gi’s πŸ™‚ YEP, PITA 😦 Fabric is SO THICK and hard to handle 😦 I have usually needed to hem for them. I have also moved the ties and raised slits in the tops 😦 Like I said-PITA 😦 He explained the numerous stitching lines to me. They like the SNAP. THAT ‘SNAP’ SOUND. I LOVE this family but they have been WARNED…. DO NOT refer anyone to me to alter these πŸ™‚ I shall stick to SATIN and CHIFFON πŸ™‚ EASY to work with πŸ˜‰ That outfit IS BEAUTIFUL Mrs.Mole πŸ™‚ OUTSTANDING job πŸ™‚

  10. Tia Dia says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Mrs Mole! That gi is a work if art. I agree there must be a big market for custom ones.

    And that dress?? I just don’t understand people. It’s TOO SMALL. BUY A BIGGER SIZE. Of course you should charge a premium.

    Sheesh, already…..

    • mrsmole says:

      Have you ever had a client just whine until you broke down and just tacked that darn project? There was a lot of pressure to attack this dress and with only a week to spare, I had to make corset loops and just get one with it. 23 loops down each side all hand made…there is money to be made in rush jobs!

  11. Lisa Laree says:

    What a fabulous gi! LOL…I have done alterations for friends…and the only payment I requested was that they never tell ANYONE who altered their dress. ‘Sewing fairies came to the closet at night! Honest!’ πŸ™‚ Happy Thanksgiving to you!

    • mrsmole says:

      Good for you, Lisa…once your name gets out there…the flood of weird requests will start! When I sew for neighbors, I get paid in Diet Pepsi or Dr Pepper. Hope yoiu don’t have to do the whole turkey dinner and guests bring pies!

  12. Anne Frances says:

    That Gi is WOW! just WOW! I hope that lad won all his competitions.

    • mrsmole says:

      The boy has been winning gold in state competitions and his dad just wants to let him know how proud he is with this outfit. When he sent me the boy’s photo posing in the gi, I told him that I expected that the boy would be smiling but he explained that they kids get into a mental state and don’t smile when they are preparing to do battle.

  13. Fabrickated says:

    What a challenging project Mrs Mole (well both the projects, actually). The judo uniform is so charming and what a clever idea to use braid (not sure why it was needed on the crotch, but there you go). And I love Ernie K’s pink outfit idea. I’d like one of them… Happy Thanksgiving.

    • mrsmole says:

      The flag crotch feature must be when the boy is upside down on the mat and legs are flying everywhere? In thrift/resale shops here they usually have a wall of used outfits to choose from when kids grow out of them…maybe a recycled one would be fun to use as a base for more creative things? Hope all is going well with you, Kate. I miss your blog.

  14. Mary says:

    You are an awesome woman!

    • mrsmole says:

      Funny, the impression I give is, “You are too compliant” and you need to “say NO” more often. But challenges are hard to pass up when you have a blog! Thank you, Mary!

  15. Jen in Oz says:

    I was under the impression that gis had to be white. Apparently the rules are different where I live…

  16. Nancy Figur says:

    Oh my Goodness. Showing us the picture of that dress was like turning off a movie right at the suspenseful part. Can’t wait to see what you did. I have made Karate outfits before but not out of heavy weight fabric. I used mine for theater productions. Ms. Saigon was one but I was able to use cotton and/or taffeta type fabrics. I have many times sworn people to secrecy when doing a project like that.
    I can’t wait to see your results. Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating this week.

    • mrsmole says:

      Sorry for tormenting you, Nancy…ha ha. I guess that is what it is like for Mr Mole too when he walks through my sewing room and gasps at what is hanging in waiting for the next step.What is that famous phrase…”All will be revealed”?

  17. JustGail says:

    I’d be hoping the Olympics team doesn’t see this gi, they might be asking for a whole set for the team. While the actual sewing a gi from scratch might not be difficult, I know my machines would not handle the bulky bits well. Maybe the vintage Singer 15-91 could, for a short time.

    That last photo… I have to wonder how it is that unless a huge wedge is added to the sides, the front can look anywhere near decent. This must be getting near, or is?, the record for amount needing a miracle makeover?

  18. mrsmole says:

    This corset back will be the longest one I have ever made with 23 loops on each side and yards of grosgrain ribbon as the base and the lacings. As I near the end, I am pleased with the results…just a little longer to wait!

  19. Pingback: Vision of a Winter Snow Princess | fit for a queen

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