Home sewing DIY Titanic life jacket for fancy dress

DIY Titanic life jacket for fancy dress

by Clare Mansell
DIY Titanic life jacket for fancy dress

A few weeks ago my son came home from school with a request to dress up for a Titanic themed day at school. We quickly realised we had very little that was era appropriate for him to wear and it occured to me that the easiest thing to make would be a life jacket.

I did some googling and found this example of a bouyancy aid for the ship and I used this as my inspiration.

What follows is the instructions for a very loose replica. The instructions are detailed, but the process is very quick so do not be put off! Our version was very successful, so much so that he ended up being appointed as Captain of the ship on the day.

how to make a titanic life jacket for fancy dress. A quick and easy tutorial which uses scrap fabric and upcycled Amazon packaging


Any fabric you have spare. I used curtain lining
Cotton twill, shoelaces or ribbon
Packaging materials (or you can use wadding/pillows/blanket)
T-shirt transfer iron ons

Step 1

Take two measurements. The first from the child’s shoulder to waist (mine was 18 inches) and the second across the width of the front of the child. (mine was 13.5 inches) Add half an inch to both measurements.

Cut two long rectangles which are double the first measurement by the second measurement. I had a rectangle which was 37″ x 14″

Step 2

Find something circular in your house which is larger than your childs head, but smaller than the width of the rectangle. I used a bin.

Step 3.

Place this object in the center of the first rectangle and draw round it. Repeat with the second rectangle and then cut the circle out.

titanic lifejacket tutorial

Step 4

Place the two rectangles on top of each other (right sides of fabric facing) and pin around the circle to join the two layers together.

sewing instructions for titanic life jacket

Step 5

Cut two lengths of tape/ribbon (each approximately double the width of the rectangle) and pin them between the two layers about half way down one side of the rectangle with the tails of the tape facing inwards.  Sew round the edge of the circle leaving about a quarter inch seam and sew along both long sides of the rectangle securing the two pieces of tape as you go. Leave the ends open so you can stuff the life jacket with packing.

Step 6

Next you need to cut into the circle from one side so that you can turn the life jacket back in the right way. See the image below.

diy titanic life jacket

Step 7

Turn the whole jacket the right way out and then join the jacket at the shoulder using a zig zag stitch.

Step 8

Apply the transfer. I used these A5 iron on transfers. The instructions inside the pack give a web address where you can upload your image and get it printed reversed and the correct size for the sheets. The White Star Line logo has a creative commons licence and can be downloaded for free here.

Step 9

Fill each side of the jacket with packaging material or stuffing and sew up the two bottoms.

titanic day fancy dress

If you find this tutorial useful or have any additions or ideas please leave your suggestions in the comments below.

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