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Joseph…dreamcoat help needed

nmog | Posted in General Discussion on

My church will be performing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and I’m making the colourful coat. I have this pattern picked out
http://www.sewingpatterns.com/simplicity-patterns.html (Simplicity 4213)and I was going to sew together 4 inch squares and then cut the pattern out of the quilted fabric. However, the director would prefer assymetrical shapes. Given that I’ll be making 2 (actually one and a half) of these coats for the show – one for Joseph to wear and the other to be a prop – is there a simple way to do this? I can’t quite get my head around all the raw edges, and I haven’t ever crazy quilted before. Any advice is appreciated!
Thank you (again)


  1. ctirish | | #1

    Wow, How asymmetrical does he want it? This is the hardest part, trying to agree on what he wants and what makes sense with time and fabric constraints and how many times the cot is going to be worn.  

     - If he just wants it on an angle than I would sew the four inch squares together and then turn it 45 degrees.

    - If he wants all different sizes of rectangles and triangles on the coat, then you are going to need to do a design like a quilt.  That is a lot more time and fabric.

    Once he tells you what he wants try to look at it in terms of stripes or weaving.  Are there ways to accomplish the look without spending many hours sewing this together.  I know this is a labor of love, but reality needs to be part of the plan too.

    I have done some crazy projects in my life and if you can look outside the box, it won't be too hard.  One year I was making 45 Irish flags for a parade and I ended up sewing these long strips of the three colors and then cutting them and hemming from there. It was a lot easier than cutting them individually and sewing them.  One year we did an American Flag and used white fabric as the base and then sewed the red striped on to the white fabric, rather than trying to piece it together.  The catch there being it works if you are only going to see one side of the flag.  If we needed to see from both side I would have done the same thing except after it was sewn I would have trimmed off the excess white fabric to make the stripes.

    Good luck, jane


    1. nmog | | #9

      Yes, I was wondering about lining the coat , too. I'm not sure about how hot the lighting will be, so I may have some visible serged edges on the inside. Your idea of strips makes lots of sense. Thanks for the help!

  2. gowngirl | | #2

    Hummmm, my church did this play about 10? years ago. I wasn't involved in the costumes (I think many were rented) but we did our costumes in modern-day clothing. It was so VERY VERY cute- the brothers all wore white overalls with their name on the bib and they carried around ladders and hammers and stuff while they sang. Potiphar's wife was old and wrinkled, and she wore a big pink boa and sat at a vanity putting on a load of make up. You can tell they played up the comedy big time!

    Anyway, I've done a bit of costuming, worked for community and university theaters, and if it were me, I would pick something like an over coat, such as in Simplicity 4795, to cut down on the amount of piecing to be done.  In theater, quick and dirty is the norm.  Remember that on stage, small details will not show up, in fact, it could all blend together depending on the colors you choose. I would put together long strips of fabrics in different widths. You can piece some strips to give it that random look by putting  2, but no more than 3 fabrics into one strip. Once all your strips are arranged in an order that you like them, sew them together and then cut your pattern out with it. I think strips would be in keeping with the time period, but if you want really random and you don't care how it hangs or if there are a few pooches here and there, just randomly serge medium sized fabric scraps together in whatever order until you have enough fabric to fit your pattern. This is probably the look your director is after.

    If fabric waste is an issue, then you can cut your pattern into strips or sections instead (then you don't waste as much fabric), adding grain lines before you cut, and tape seam allowances to the cut edges. Don't forget to number them so you don't forget the order that they go back together.  


    Good luck and happy piecing! I'm sure your show will be a great success :-)


    1. nmog | | #10

      Your pattern idea is really good. When I talked to the director they said (in reference to the vest pattern that I picked) 'Just make the over the head one'. Hmmm. You're right as well, I'll be a pro-piecer when this is all done! Thanks for the help.

  3. ella | | #3

    May I suggest cutting out the pattern pieces in what here in UK would be calico( I think that's muslin in USA), then gluing on the appropriate shapes/sizes/colours of 'patches'. Then use your choice of stitch to really secure them. Make up the garment, then you could add any bits of braid, ribbon etc. Or - if you're making an actual coat, rather than a tunic- you could use any fabric of appropriate colour/weight/pattern, and do the gluing onto the wrong side. Then when Joseph whirls around and the coat flies open, there would be an extra effect. Do enjoy the project, and, if poss. please post pics. of the finished garment. Best wishes  ella

    1. nmog | | #11

      Glue! YAY! I hadn't though of that! The play will be a quick run, so glue might be my new best friend. Thank you.

  4. rodezzy | | #4

    Try the process of half square triangles which can be positioned and sewn together quickly.  The site will show how to make the half square triangles, you use whatever color fabrics you want.  Not the ones in the site, you choose the fabrics.  But this is fast and efficient.


    This site below will give you four ways to do half-square triangles and grid paper if you choose to do them faster and in certain sizes from 1 inch to 4 inch finished squares. 


    And finally you would do as suggested in the other threads, sew the finished squares together into a piece of fabric large enough to cut your coat pattern pieces from, then put the coat together.


    Edited 3/12/2008 11:02 am ET by rodezzy

    Edited 3/12/2008 11:07 am ET by rodezzy

    Edited 3/12/2008 11:09 am ET by rodezzy

  5. woodruff | | #5

    Here are some pictures of variations on the dreamcoat concept:http://www.broadwaycostumes.com/shows/joseph-and-the-amazing-technicolor-dreamcoat.htmand another, slightly different, one:

    Edited 3/12/2008 1:11 pm by woodruff

    1. nmog | | #7

      Wow!! I can't even imagine that amount of work, but the costumes are absolutely beautiful!

  6. Teaf5 | | #6

    There are a lot of books and websites on Crazy Quilts, which is the look your director may be going for. And if he wants it to look tattered, the process is even easier, because you don't have to worry about the sequence of pieces in order to have each edge be finished.In your searches of quilting books and sites, look for "sew and flip quilts" and "quick crazy quilt tips." Crazy quilting isn't pieced as much as patched; you don't have to plan it or line up seams at all. Any scraps with straight sides (in any shape-triangles, squares, polygons) will work, and a random scrap basket is a great place to start. I've made all-finished edges for crazy quilt garments by: 1) cutting out each garment section out of a nice base fabric, 2) starting in the middle somewhere, 3) stitch down the first patch. 4) lay the subsequent patches over the first, stitch, then flip and iron. If you end up with a single edge that can't be hemmed, you can machine stitch over it in a contrasting color. If your base fabric is beautiful and wildly patterned, you can leave sections unpatched to have a unifying color theme for the whole garment. Try it out on a 12" square; it's fun, and you can use it as a pillow cover (or the collar of the coat!)

    1. nmog | | #8

      Raw edges would definitely help here. I'm hoping that I can convince them that is the way to go! Thank you.

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