Guest Post: Quick & Dirty Rocky Wraps by RM

I came up with this solution for Rocky wraps that look good, are fairly easy and quick to put on and take off, and don’t immediately start unraveling as soon as they’re on. Believe it or not, I used 3-4 yards of white polyester interlock fabric left over from my Princess Leia costume. It’s a lightweight, drapey, slightly stretchy knit that stretches in both directions (not super-stretchy Lycra or the stiff double-knit polyester they used to make leisure suits from in the 1970s). I had no trouble sewing it on a normal sewing machine with a standard needle. The raw edge can run a bit, but it doesn’t fray like a woven fabric. I bought this in Asia, but I think the US equivalent would be “Jetset” from Jo-ann Fabrics or “polyester interlock” from the now-closed Hancock Fabrics.

For the leg wraps, you’ll also need about 2 yards of snap tape and about 2 yards of thin white cord.

Leg Wraps:

I made these first. I marked out a long trapezoid of fabric. Based on my Rocky’s leg measurements (hip to ankle, thigh circumference, knee circumference, ankle circumference with costume boots on), my pattern ended up being about 28 inches across at the top, 12 inches across at the bottom, and 36 inches long. (These fit two of our former Rocky actors but were too small for our current Rocky. For that actor, I made an extension panel with snap tape on both outer edges. If your actor’s legs are a lot thinner than the finished leg wraps, you could probably fold the wrap in half, right sides together, and sew a temporary machine basting stitch to make it tighter.)

After cutting out the trapezoid, I cut long strips of the same fabric about 2.5 to 3 inches wide. At first, I just laid them on top of the leg pattern horizontally, but that didn’t look “bandage-y” enough, so then I twisted each strip once or twice as I laid them on and pinned them in place. That created a better bandage-looking shadow.

I left about an inch of no strips on the right side seam allowance area because that was where the underlap of the snap tape was going to go and I didn’t want it to be too bulky.

After I was done pinning all the strips, I machine-sewed about an inch of horizontal straight stitching on each strip about every 6 to 8 inches. After that, I did a wide zig-zag stitch all the way around the whole trapezoid, securing the ends of the strips to the leg base.

Then it was time for the snap tape. I learned about this trick from breakaway pants (dancers grasp their pants at their waist and pull, and the snaps down the sides quickly unsnap. Genius, right?). Another awesome thing about snap tape is that the snap parts are already set at equally spaced intervals, so not only do you not need to sew each one on individually, you also only need to spend minimal effort matching the two sides up.

 I used white snap tape with plastic white snaps. If possible, I’d avoid silver metal snaps, as they are shiny and more noticeable to the audience.

Turn your leg piece over to the wrong side. Flip over about an inch of the right lengthwise edge, and lay the female-side snap tape on top of it. Pin it and stitch it in place. I did a zig-zag stitch between each snap as well as a straight stitch down both edges (you’ll need to use a zipper foot for this part).

Now, turn your leg piece over right side up. Lay your male-side snap tape on the edge (no folding under this time). Stitch it down in the same way. Congratulations, you’ve just done the left-side leg wrap!

Here are close-ups of the legs unsnapped and snapped.

Repeat the same steps for the right side leg wrap, but in mirror image (so, reverse the left and right instructions). Make sure you don’t make two lefts!

To make sure the leg stays up while Rocky is getting born, I sewed a 22-inch cord next to the inside of the female-snap side (the overlap, not the underlap). This cord goes up through the side of Rocky’s underwear and helps it stay in place until Columbia and Magenta pull to unsnap the leg wraps. It’s pretty easy to (gently) yank the cord down to get the leg wrap off in time.

You will have to re-snap all the snaps every time you put them on, but the good news is that if you if don’t put your shoes on first, you can snap all the snaps while it’s not on your leg and then pull it on like a leg warmer.

Arm Wraps:

Well, now that you’ve done the leg wraps, these should be a breeze. It’s basically the same concept without the snap tape. The two long sides will be sewn together to create a tube, and you’ll just pull them on and off like a glove. For the arm wraps, the left and right are the same, so you’ll just make two identical wraps.

This time based on Rocky’s upper bicep circumference, elbow circumference, wrist circumference, and shoulder to wrist length measurements, my arm trapezoid pattern was 15 inches across at the top, 9 inches across at the bottom, and 24 inches long. Doing the strips is exactly the same except make sure they go all the way across the whole base piece.

Once you’ve got them all sewn down, fold your arm piece right sides together and stitch it together just like a normal sleeve. Turn it inside out and you’re done! Here are some photos of our Rocky wraps in action. Note the shadow of the side “seam” overlap in the tank photo.