I hate Elsa

Yup.  You read that correctly.  I hate Elsa.  I hate her because she’s got a dress that is impossible to replicate without doing a full toile with numerous fittings and fussy floaty fabrics that would make the dress an investment, not something to make for your 15-year-old DD2 to wear to school and one party.

McCalls 7000 train

Ugh.  I was truly looking forward to this project.  I love the colours of the dress and the sparkly sequins and snowflakes.  The fabric alone had me excited to pull this one together.  But I well and truly hate this dress.  I hate this dress so much I’m probably going to pull it apart and remake the stupid thing because I’m so disappointed in it.  I don’t think DD2 will wear it again, but at least mom will be happier with it!

twirling

I find DD2 is very difficult to fit.  She’s petite, and getting the proportion correct/flattering is always a challenge.  So, needless to say, she always shows up my limits as a dressmaker in the fitting department.  And that frustrates me.  But frustration is good, right?  It means one is pushing through to the next level of mastery.  I measured twice, and cut once, and this is what it fit like at the end of the day. *headdesk*

McCalls 7000 bodice

In my defence,  I couldn’t find any fine stretch mesh or tulle for the upper bodice and sleeves, which would have been ideal.  I plan to go hunting for that and remake this thing ‘properly’.  So, for lack of any better option, I used the snowflake nylon organza-type fabric for the sleeves and upper bodice.  The sleeves I cut on the bias so they would easily follow DD2’s movements.  The bodice is not as fitted as I would like it to be.  I cut it straight out of the envelope, since the bust measurements matched DD2’s measurements, but the shaping is all wrong for her.  I debated altering it, but decided against it because a) I wanted enough ease to keep it comfortable during the day; and b) it was always in the back of my mind that it was going to be remade properly with a stretch upper bodice/sleeves once Halloween was done.  As it is, the organza pulled away from the top of the bodice and some of the neck binding by the end of the school day (which included bowling, btw).

McCalls 7000 back details

Why I didn’t think of cutting the upper bodice on the bias is beyond me.  Oh.  Wait.  I did think of cutting the upper bodice on the bias but was afraid it wouldn’t lie flat and would grow out of shape.  So I cut it on the straight grain.  See?  Bad, bad, ugly bodice.

McCalls 7000 Elsa

The sequins were from hell.  They won’t stay in place, so it looks like sequins are missing in places, and they had to be trimmed from the seam allowances, which I expected, but also contributed to my decision to not alter it until I get the stretch mesh/tulle.  *sigh*  I decided to underline the sequin jersey with polyester lining for this version.  The bodice is also lined.  I bound the neckline and cuffs with skirt fabric (satin-backed polyester crepe), and the armscye seams with lining.

McCalls 7000

The best part is the attached cape.  The nylon is sheer, lightweight and very floaty.  It’s quite lovely when DD2 is walking.

McCalls 7000 attached train

There’s a CB zip (I put it in by hand to accommodate the sequins) to the top of the lower bodice.  The upper back bodice has a button and thread loop.  The attached cape is split to just below the bottom of the zip. See?  It’s the best part of this project.

it IS kinda pretty

This version is a wadder for me, but once I get my hands on some stretch tulle, and do a good job on this, I’ll publish an “Elsa Improved” post for your entertainment.

Advertisements

Rosie the Riveter

Burda 05-2010-119 jumpsuit

I’ve made another jumpsuit, albeit for DD3, this time ’round.

She wanted to be Rosie the Riveter for Hallowe’en, and I offered to make her a denim jumpsuit if she agreed to it becoming part of her wearable wardrobe.https://i1.wp.com/assets.burdastyle.com/patterns/technical_drawings/000/000/448/May_119_tech_drawing_large.jpg  She gave it a few days’ thought, and said yes.  Yay!  After scouring Burda’s website, she loved the May 2010 jumpsuit best, so I found the magazine and purchased it via eBay from Germany last week.  In a perfectly-timed coincidence, Fabricland emailed me a coupon for 50% off any single cut of fabric, and I used it for 4 metres of stretch cotton denim, purchased last Friday.  The Burda magazine arrived on Tuesday, and I’ve been sewing ever since.  Today she wore it to school.

The pattern is pretty straight forward, but, because the magazine is in German and Google translate is horrible for sewing terms, I didn’t follow the directions.  And I made some changes:  I put a proper placket and cuff onto the long sleeves; left off the epaulets; and omitted the elasticized hems on the trousers.

Burda 05-2010-119 front

My DD3 loves blue, and wanted blue buttons and blue top stitching.  The shirt pockets are faux, although I made fully functioning buttonholes because I don’t like the look of buttons sewn over faux buttonholes.  I think it looks unfinished.

Burda 05-2010-119 jump!

The trouser portion of the jumpsuit runs large.. surprisingly.  I cut DD3’s recommended size, and then narrowed each side seam of the trousers 3 cm to get a good fit.  No other changes were made to the pattern.   In retrospect, I’d lengthen the back crotch length, but she hasn’t changed out of it since coming home from school, so it must be comfortable.

Oh, and, because it’s a jumpsuit, here’s another jump!

denim jumpsuit

Galactic Princess Costume: the Amidala-wannabe dress

Burda 1-2013-142Pretty, isn’t it?  This was a hoot to sew up.  I love sewing frosting and working with taffeta and chiffon and all things unnecessary to basic wardrobe survival. The pattern for the overdress is Burda 1/2013 #142.142_0113_b_amidala_dress_largeI used a poly black/white shot chiffon, black/white shot poly taffeta that reads like liquid silver and a poly silver shantung for the bodice lining and belt. I chose to add piping to the neck and arm edges because I just think it looks better than a simple turned edge.  You can see the poly shantung bodice lining below.Burda 1-2013-142 shoulder detailThe “epaulets” are remnant bits from DD1’s fish-scale skirt hand-stitched over the shoulder seams.  I must say, I like the sparkly bits.  And doesn’t that taffeta look amazing?  I changed the back to a corset lace-up style so that it can be worn without alteration if people grow.  The loops are self-fabric bias loops, and there’s a 4-inch wide modesty panel lying underneath, so lots of grow room in this garment.Burda 1-2013-142 laced backThe modesty panel is stitched directly to the underskirt along the bottom of the placket opening.  Burda had the skirt and lining cut as large rectangles.  I chose to shape them into very wide gores, with pleats to eliminate some bulk at the waist.  The pleats are then gathered into the waist.  I also cut the chiffon a slight bit shorter than the taffeta underskirt to prevent tripping and tearing of the fabric.  I think taffeta will wear harder than the chiffon through school halls and classrooms.  Here’s the back view with the belt.Burda 1-2013-142 backWhat fun, eh? The belt is a 12 x 32 inch long rectangle of poly shantung stitched into a tube and turned right side out and pressed. I used remnants from DD1’s fish-scale skirt, cut into strips and stitched down through all thicknesses. Very slowly stitched, I may add. Then I added the same silver trim from the blouse sleeves down the centre of the belt and finished it off with a heavy-duty velcro closure.Burda 1-2013-142 beltHere’s a pic of the blouse front with the self-fabric ties.  Perhaps they’re a bit long, but I prefer them to another texture (like cording). Burda 1-2013-142 frontIt keeps the focus on that belt.  Love the belt.  galactic princess costumeDD3 has already worn the ensemble around the house several times, and at one point walked into the kitchen without the blouse and a little black sweater over the dress.  “Look, mom!  It’s going to be perfect for Christmas Eve!”  It’s a good thing, since she’s outgrown Blue Christmas.

Galactic Princess Costume: the blouse

DD3 wanted to really dress up for October 31st this year, which isn’t a big holiday in this house, but what do you say to school peer pressure?  Especially if sewing something fun like a costume is involved, right?  After much research through Mommy’s Pattern Stash, she chose an ensemble from Burda’s January 2013 carnival collection.   It’s actually a set of patterns to mimic clothing from Star Wars, but there’s no mention of Star Wars, probably for copyright reasons.  I frankenpatterned the little white Leia costume in the bottom right corner of the photo for DD2 last year.

The Galactic Princess costume consists of this Fairy Tale Blouse (Burda 1/2013 #118) with an overdress (post on overdress to follow later).    118a_0113_b_peasant_shirt_largeThe blouse is very straight forward to sew; it’s only three pieces.  And due to it’s loose fit, no fitting required.  How lovely is that!Burda 1-2013-118cI made a few changes to the instructions.  First, I made the ties from a long strip of bias fabric instead of purchased cord.  It doesn’t look like much in these pictures, but in the context of the costume, I thought the self-fabric tie would be a better choice than yet another texture thrown into the mix.

Second, I did not leave the edges raw.  I hauled out my overlocker (serger) and did a rolled hem on the neckline, sleeves and bottom edge.  And I used French seams for the construction.sleeve trimAnd third, I decided the looooooong trails of trim tied loosely around some nebulous wrist area of the arm as per Burda was ridiculous for an 11-year-old, especially since she will be wearing this to school and she’ll need to be working, not untangling herself from yards of trim trailing from her sleeves.  So I stitched the trim down on each edge, which left me a channel about 5/8″ wide.  sleeve trim facingI backed it with bias taffeta strips (no edge finishing required) and ran an elastic through the casing.  Et voilà!  Nicely gathered sleeves that won’t drag through school work.Burda 1-2013-118c sleeve

Frankenpattern: Princess Leia Costume

Leia costume with beltMy DD2 wanted to dress as Princess Leia this past October (yes, it’s taken me this long to blog about this) and since Carnivale is just around the corner, I thought I’d share my version of this famous outfit. 

My starting point was Burda 1/2013 #148, but I made a lot of changes. My fabric choice wasn’t jersey, like the original Leia costume, but white polycotton broadcloth because it was cheap.  Obviously it doesn’t have the drape of the jersey, and it’s a bit transparent, so I doubled it for the body of the dress.

First, I added width and length to fit DD2 with enough extra ease to fit over her clothes. I actually think I used Burda 4/2011 #135, a traced pattern from this tunic for the front and back because it would be faster than grading up the Leia costume, and added enough length to achieve a slight blousing effect over the belt.  I left a hemline slit at the side seams from the knees down to facilitate easy walking.Burda 1-2013-148 hemline slitI used the sleeve pattern from Burda’s Leia pattern.  It’s a nice shape.Burda 1-2013-148 Leia sleeveAnd for the collar I traced off the collar pattern from Vogue 8846 but only attached it from the back sleeve seam  of one sleeve across the front of the dress to the back seam of the other sleeve.Leia stand-up collarThe back of the collar was left unattached at the back with a velcro closing.Burda 1-2013-148 velcroI cut an over-sized hood, using Vogue 7110, and attached it to the back between the sleeves, turned down the seam allowances to make a casing and ran elastic through it all to facilitate easy dressing. This is the centre back of the dress with the hood up.Burda 1-2013-148 hood attachment The belt was a new adventure into leather land, having never sewn or cut leather in my life.  My husband had brought home a large upholstery-quality piece of black cowhide from a business colleague of his, and I thought it would be perfect…. Burda 1-2013-148 beltSo I used the Burda Leia pattern, spray painted it silver and added a little centre spot of copper paint.  Not very accurate from a costume point of view, but it did the job.  It fastens with velcro in the back.Leia leather belt velcro My favourite part is the hood.  BTW, frankenpatterning is great fun for someone draft-challenged (or draft lazy) like me.  Just pull all the pieces you’d like from 100 different patterns and see them work.Leia costume

Impromptu: Portuguese Traditional Dress

IMG_5354DD3 mentioned last week that today was to be Spirit Day at school, and the required dress was her national heritage costume. She reminded me Tuesday evening, and again yesterday morning.

Profound moment of intense silence.  DD3 waits and looks expectantly at the resident miracle-worker a.k.a. MOMMY.  That would be me, still silent while frantically thinking at the speed of light.  “National heritage costume”, I say.  Oh, boy.  Oh boy, ohboy.

That’s a problem.  Which heritage shall we dress DD3 in for Heritage Clothing Day?  I am 5th generation Canadian, and my DH insists that he is Canadian first, regardless of his heritage.  Needless to say, we have a large pool of choices from which to pull the costume:  DH’s family immigrated from Portugal in the early 1960’s; my maternal grandmother’s family is Swiss German (immigrated late 19th century); and maternal grandfather’s family hails from England, with an honorary Scottish tartan apparently bestowed whilst helping some clan or other win their respective war.  On the paternal side:  Scottish, arrived this side of the Atlantic in 1895, to be precise.  I don’t have a kilt.  I don’t have typically Swiss clothing lying around, and nothing traditionally “English” with said family tartan and crest attached anywhere.  Therefore the only possibility is perhaps to make up something on one day’s notice for DD’s special day, since, of course, I didn’t do any thinking, planning or sewing for this most special of required dress!

Heck, why not?  I need yet another break distraction from the SWAP program, and costumes – like ball skirts – are just so much darn fun!  I love sewing completely unnecessary articles of clothing!  Seriously.  I’m not being facetious or sarcastic.  My yearly Christmas ball skirt is what keeps me going.  >_<

First thought – go with Burda’s traditional costumes, since it’s pretty close to the Swiss German thing going on.  But guess what?  The very particular issue of Burda (September 2011) that is chalk full of traditional dress in all sizes, is not anywhere that I can find in the sewing mess.  Botheration.  I refuse to pay to download – do I really want to tape all those damn pieces of paper together and have to pay for something I know is in this house somewhere?

B 9-2011

Second thought – Google Portuguese national dress and see what we can come up with.  Quite a lot, apparently.  Some very expensive on Etsy.  I want this, BTW.  It would be perfect for the family Christmas Eve!  fancy portuguese dress

Some quite simple to pull together from random articles of clothing in various daughters’ closets.  Simply because it’s black and white, and surely we can find gold jewellery in the dress up box.

gold portuguese clothingBut nothing will do for mommy, of course, who, after doing a couple hours’ research realizes that Portuguese traditional dress is very particular to regions.  Hmmm….. DH’s family is from the Azores, so northern Portugal is out.  Minho region is out.  Lisbon area is out.  Let’s Google Azorean traditional dress.azorean black capes

Voila!  I even found Christmas ornaments with traditional Portuguese dress.  Who knew?  Etsy is completely amazing!  And this particular little Christmas ornament was so darned cute, I actually ordered one. portuguese ornamentBut never mind that.  Back to the costume.   I need a black cape, which, apparently was typical of Azorean dress.  I randomly wonder if my MIL knows this.  DH says DD3 will look like the grim reaper in her black cape when I show him my inspiration photo (see Christmas ornament above).  He’s incorrigible sometimes, so I give him a look that Medusa would be proud of and go on my merry costuming way.

v 7110

I have Vogue 7110 in my stash, albeit in XL (for a very tall King David royal robe several years ago), but I can grade it down to, say… oh, I don’t know… a child’s size 134?  Sure! That’s what rulers and pens are for, right?  RIGHT!  Oh, and I need 4 m of black something.  But I don’t want to use any black something from my stash because I want the cape to be wearable in Canadian winter weather.  Actually, the truth is I just don’t want to use any of my lovely stretch black stash wool for a costume.  So off I drive like a crazy woman to the store and discover a wool/poly blend whose price has been slashed to affordability.  Perfect!  I can even wash it, thanks to the polyester, which I do as soon as I get home.

The cape goes together quickly.  It calls for velvet or lightweight wools.  Well, my wool is melton-weight and warm, but I decided to do the double hood anyways.  I trimmed the seam allowance from the self-lining and attach grosgrain ribbon in place of the supposed-to-be-turned-under seam allowance, which will cut down on the bulk.  And obviously save my machine, fingers and sanity.

hood lining

It’s very full.  My eldest “has plans” for it, she said as she tried it on.  Well, it’s warm enough to wear instead of a coat, that’s for sure.

IMG_5350

I used grosgrain for the single loop button closure.

cape front

And just for the fun of it (please excuse the mess – it’s garbage day today!) this is a shot of DD3 waiting for the bus with her backpack on underneath the cape.  It was my morning laugh.  Still chuckling as I look at this silly photo!

IMG_5356

Referring to the ornament (my inspiration), I see that 2 scarves are required.  I know there’s at least half a dozen scarves in the dress-up box that can be used for the shawl and the headscarf.

IMG_5335

I just need a dress.  Should I raid the Liberty stash?  For a costume…… uhhh…. NO.  (See how selfish I am with my precious stash fabrics? It’s shameful, really, especially when there is a lot more Liberty to be had for the paying out there in the big wide fabric world.) Although I do have some French cotton twill that wasn’t quite what I was expecting.  I could use that.  Or some gifted sari fabric, which would work quite well.  But no, of course I find other treasures in the right pennies range while shopping for the black required something, and come home with enough to make a very full skirt and a peasant top (Burda 05-2011-136).

IMG_5363

Perfect, but boring.  So into the Liberty stash we dive after all, because I know there’s fat quarters of some blue stuff in there somewhere (purchased to accompany said French cotton twill for a me-made version of a Robert Graham style shirt for DH’s birthday….. three years ago… and never made up for a variety of reasons, mostly, though, because the French cotton twill was so ridiculous).  And, of course, there’s the perfect little ditsy flowers of a print to make the stripes look just right.

shirt trimmings

And for the fun of it, I added little triangles to the hem side vents.  Well, actually, if Claudine hadn’t talked about hers here and here, I would honestly have never though to add this little detail.  But I liked hers, so I thought I’d try it on this.  And of course, did mine backwards!

shirt hem

For the skirt I cut two lengths of a wider striped fabric, pleated the front into a flat waistband that has raw-edged applique in the same Liberty print, and pleated the back into an elasticized waistband for easy dressing and possibly future wearing by other sized people.

pt waistband

DD3 has a petticoat, which I suggested wearing underneath for the additional fullness it would provide and the warmth of the top.  You can see more pictures of the petticoat here.

IMG_5340

And off to school she goes for the day!  That was a fun diversion, and now, back to serious sewing. *wink*

pt cape

Empire Dress

I can’t believe my last post was two weeks ago!  My time is definitely not my own some months, never mind that I’ve been in technology Neverland for a while. So now to do catch-up posts.hannah historica costume

In my last post I talked about my DD1’s Historica project for school and the costume we slapped together for her friend.  But DD1 wanted to model an empire gown from the Napoleonic era.  The range of the project was enormous – Canadian women’s fashion from the 18th century to the present.  They did a large backdrop highlighting a few eras, a couple of Barbie models, and the girls themselves each modelling an outfit from other eras.

For DD1, I chose Butterick 6630 for the starting point for this costume.  It had all the different pieces that I needed without actually having to think about this too much.  Again, I was rather pressed for time, so I wanted something that would do all the “thinking” for me and be easy to put together.

DD1 wanted an everyday sort of look – nothing special.  I didn’t want to go to any huge expense, so I bought old sheets at my local thrift shop:  one ivory one – since clothing was preferably light-coloured – with embroidery and lace along one edge, which I used for the hem; and a green gingham one. empire skirt hem

The Butterick pattern is very shaped – something that is not accurate from an historical point of view – especially the skirt.  I just cut straight rectangles for the skirt pieces instead of using the pattern pieces.  The result was a little more fabric to gather into the bodice, but I thought it looked better without the extreme shaping of the side seams. Because the fabric was light in colour, I lined the skirt. The bodice is both lined and interfaced. I sewed in an extra layer of broadcloth for the interfacing. IMG_0141The back is laced. I was going to hand-embroider the eyelets, but ran out of time. Instead of cording, I made one very long bias tube. DD1 added the brown ribbon for a more “authentic” look.  The sleeves consist of two layers:  a sleeve stay and the very “puffed” sleeve proper.  There are two huge pleats in the sleeve stay, which made it easier to set and and fit.  The dress is slightly bigger than it ought to be on my daughter, but she’ll be wearing it again in May for the city-wide Historica Fair.IMG_0137

I chose to make a short jacket instead of the long formal one in the pattern.  I piped all the edges on the bias, and cut the bottom of the sleeves on the bias as well.  The entire bodice of the jacket is interfaced and lined, but, again, I simply used another layer of polycotton broadcloth.B6630 jacket backIt has the same two-piece sleeves as the dress and a hook-and-eye closure, which I obviously didn’t bother measuring properly!IMG_0148 And, for the fun of it, here’s the Barbie’s: one in a hoop skirt, the other in a hobble skirt. B6630 jacket front barbie hobble skirt