Sewist’s Name: Tate Elliott from Cary, North Carolina
Type of Project: Garments
Featured Date: 02-23-23
Hi, I’m Tate Elliot. I live in Cary, NC (just outside of Raleigh) and I’m sixty-nine years old. Both my wife and I sew. I’ve been sewing since I made myself a Sherlock Holmes hat in high school. The Nancy’s Notions newsletter email last week caught my eye. The subject line compared sewing to magic. It made me laugh out loud because I AM a magician. I should mention that I no longer perform magic shows, although magic is still a hobby. I’ve sewn magic vests for myself and a few friends for years. Most recently, I’ve sewn a Santa suit for myself.
I sew some apparel, some quilts, and almost anything that will fit under my sewing foot. I’ve sewn puppets, a Hello Kitty car seat cover for my wife, rope baskets, and other craft items.
I suppose I’m most proud of my Santa suit. Almost everything you see in the photo, I either made or modified: hat, coat, pants (of course), also the gloves, belt, and I sewed the fur onto the boots.
My machine is a 1961 Singer 500 Slant-O-Matic, the greatest sewing machine ever built – it says so on the cover of the manual!
I also sewed a reproduction of a shirt that Jack Benny wore once on his TV show. I follow the Jack Benny Fan Club on Facebook and this shirt gets posted from time to time. The fans call it the “Wonder Bread” shirt because of the large dots, plus it’s hard to tell what the actual colors are. I made a reproduction using – of course – the Wonder Bread colors. I created a graphic, copying the front of the shirt the best I could, and had it custom-printed at Spoonflower. I even found an out-of-print pattern for a shirt with kimono, or dolman, sleeves, the same as the original shirt.
Thanks for letting me Sew & Tell.
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I have a life sized stuffed Santa that needs to be remade. Just curious, what material did he use to make the Santa Claus’s suit.
I made my suit out of velvet. However, for a stuffed Santa you could use velveteen or corduroy.
Tate makes me sound like a piker. I have often thought about making my own Santa costume, seeing as to how I played the role for 16 years. I also started sewing in high school, unless you count hemming cutoff shorts, which I started doing around age 11. some of me projects include flower girl dresses, leisure suits, fancy dresses, adult bibs, COVID masks, fancy hot pads, and special use bags. My preferred sewing machines are Pfaff with IKT technology.
Jim, I made my suit because I wanted features that I couldn’t find on mass produced suits. For example, most suits come with band collars that I thought were too tight, plus I wanted a large collar such as in the photo. I think I used a Butterick pattern. If you’ve made leisure suits, then a Santa suit shouldn’t be difficult. Oh, one thing though. The pattern has you use 3 or 4 inch wide fur off a spool so you don’t have to worry about unfinished edges. I thought this was too narrow (and expensive). I used fake fur yardage, which meant I had to be creative to enclose all the fur seams.