Accio Gillyweed, It's CraftingCon!

I’m the very first ever competitor in the brand new CraftingCon! I volunteered and was thrilled to receive my owl informing me I would compete with the theme of my choice, Harry Potter. I'm as excited and nervous as a Seeker facing her first Quidditch match.

Harry Potter-Inspired Marauders Map Beach Robe for CraftingCon | The Inspired Wren

You must see more! Head here to see the (winning!) post originally published at CraftingCon on Mae & K to view my full entry. See all the pictures taken by Great Lake on the grounds of Hogwarts, and read as I let my geek flag fly—or should I say, levitate—for all things Potter. Keep reading here as I go all Hermione into the details of creating a Triwizardly look.


CraftingCon: a monthly sewing competition with a different theme every month. Four competitors each month will each sew up one look. The looks should be inspired by the theme, but practical enough that they can be worn to the grocery store – in other words, no costumes.
My solution: a reversible Beach Robe fit for an animagus, Triwizard-ish Swimwear, and an extendable Beaded Bag for shell collecting (or gillyweed storage). Not quite grocery store appropriate, but perfect for the beach.

Harry Potter-Inspired Beach Wear for CraftingCon | The Inspired Wren

The rest of this post contains the technical details how to transfigure fabric and ink into this ensemble for your favorite little witch or wizard. Don't forget to grab a handful of Floo Powder and transport over to CraftingCon on Mae & K to read more about the spell J.K. Rowling cast on me.


The showpiece of the collection is the robe. I used my ink-jet printer to create panels of muslin: each panel 8.5" x 30", printed with 8" x 26" images of the Marauders Map [image source].

Harry Potter-Inspired Marauders Map Beach Robe for CraftingCon | The Inspired Wren

Quick Tutorial for Printing on Fabric:
  • Iron the fabric onto freezer paper; for exact edges, after ironing, trim the paper and fabric together to the desired size; fold the paper over the bottom/feed-edge of the fabric by approximately 1" and iron flat to help feed the paper into the printer. The paper will easily peel right off after printing.
Tutorial: Printing fabric with an ink-jet printer | The Inspired Wren
  • Set your paper size manually to the width and length your printer will tolerate and you desire (on my system: Printer Properties > Advanced > Paper Qualities & Options > User Defined [size]). My current printer is limited to 8.5" wide, and up to 44" long. But! Remember to leave yourself seam-allowance for piecing the fabric together.
Tutorial: Printing fabric with an ink-jet printer | The Inspired Wren
  • Be sure to do a test piece and then wash it as you would the final garment/project. My trusty-Epson ink on muslin held up well in the washing machine and dryer. Seriously. That doesn't mean your combination of ink and fabric will do the same, so please do your own test.
Tutorial: Printing fabric with an ink-jet printer | The Inspired Wren

I attempted to print on gauze instead of muslin and my printer banged and shimmied like the Lovegood's printing press ...not in a good way. After I panicked, I cleared the paper and fabric jam, then I went back to the smooth, lightweight muslin. Those panels were then pieced together and cut into the Beach Robe pattern by Dana of Made. I cut a size 3T-4T, with 2 inches added to the bottom hem, and 1 inch to the sleeve hems. Then I cut a second one from un-printed gauze and bound the blank and map versions together. In addition to making the robe reversible, I also added ears to a fleece hood; four belt loops, each tacked on in the center of the loop so the belt can adjust up and down to sit at her waist as The Peanut grows; and a loop & button closure at the neckline – thanks to previous experience with this robe I knew we needed it, plus the wooden button with metallic gold ink adds a certain magical charm.

Harry Potter-Inspired Marauders Map Beach Robe for CraftingCon | The Inspired Wren


I've never made a swimsuit before so I relied on a pattern I've already made with success; the Fall Basic Raglan Tee Shirt from Ottober Design, Issue 4/2013. I re-drafted the size 98, replacing the side seams with two side panels. This meant constructing the raglan with set-in sleeves. I surprised myself by getting it done on the very first attempt, even while working with performance/swim knits. Go me! Then I added a wide neckband, incanting "Let it fit, let it fit, let it fit over her head" as I sewed it in place. And it did! I was working some magic at the sewing machine that day. I also shortened the hem by a bit and the sleeves by a lot. I toyed with many options for adding words to the swim top: hand stitching, paying someone for machine embroidery, buying iron-on vinyl. I couldn't make the hand stitching and machine stitching with gold thread work in such a small size, and because it's for a competition I didn't want to farm it out. In the end I found my solution with a paint pen on a piece of non-stretch men's swim trunks. At least I got to stitch it in place on the shortened sleeve with the metallic thread. It's subtle, and it's my favorite part of the entire ensemble.

Harry Potter-Inspired Swim Wear for CraftingCon | The Inspired Wren

The swim bottoms were not so charmed. I worked from size 5T Euro Swim Trunks by Jessica Kelly of Running with Scissors. Through no fault of the pattern (I was rushing at this point), I kept making mistakes; the lining got twisted and the first waist band was too small. I cut the lining out of the suit and cut off the waistband to add a new one. The only other alteration I made to the pattern was to add ruching with elastic at the thigh on each side; it serves to tighten up the leg (I probably could have made a 4T) and adds a feminine touch for my little Muggle-born witch.

Harry Potter-Inspired Swim Wear for CraftingCon | The Inspired Wren


This bag is a simple market bag made tricky with a double drawstring handle woven through at the mid-point. I started with Crochet Market Bag by Tiffany Roan but when I realized it would be too large for The Peanut, I reworked it smaller [only 4 rows of the foundation circle followed by 10 rows of the body stitch, and 3 rows of the top stitch before stitching a 3 row handle]. Open the bag and fold the top half into the bottom half below the drawstrings, then pull the wooden beads to cinch the small version closed. I strung some beads onto the bottom of the bag and stitched up a curly, green gillyweed brooch to Potter-ize it.

Harry Potter-Inspired Extendable Beaded Crochet Bag for CraftingCon | The Inspired Wren


This was a fun, inspiring project for me. Combining two passions (sewing and Potter) to find a creative solution was energizing. This is my dream gig. 

YOU REALLY SHOULD GO TO CRAFTINGCON TO SEE MORE! I feel very strongly about that.

There are some of you out there who may not get it, the Harry Potter fandom. You may try to understand it in people who grew up with it, but you look at me and wonder. I was in my mid-20s when the first book was published. I didn’t read it until I after the first movie was released, three years later. I’m an adult and have been for Harry’s entire life. And now all of the books have been written. There will never be another audio recording by Jim Dale. The movie series had its grand finale and the cast has moved on. 

It’s over, you think. So you turn to me and ask, “After all this time?” 


Harry Potter-Inspired Marauders Map Beach Robe for CraftingCon | The Inspired Wren

Ren Murphy writes for The Inspired Wren
You should really see all that goes into each project!
See outtakes from this photo shoot and follow along daily as The Peanut dresses in handmade clothes for #madeforkidsmonth. Updates on Instagram (and Flickr) of works-in-progress will give you that behind the scenes view you’re looking for, and sneak peeks of First Tuesday Tutorials, too.

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