Ooo! Look who came to visit!

cinderella's dress

Cinderella came by to see the girls in her new dress.  I must say they were all stricken speechless!  A little neighbour boy saw Cinderella drive up in her van and get out and went running into his house yelling, “It’s Cinderella!  It’s Cinderella!”

DD3 (on the left) happens to know that Cinderella is actually a friend’s mom, and DD1 (on the right) just knows, thank you very much, that there is no real Cinderella in the world, not even at Disneyworld.  So much for teenage wisdom.

However, DD2, my little Sarah who has Down syndrome, was wide-eyed with stunned disbelief when I told her Cinderella was going to come buy to visit.  After a few minutes of silence, she said, “Is she going to read books with me, mommy?”  Unfortunately Cinderella couldn’t stay very long as she was on her way back to the castle for dinner, but I’m sure she’ll be glad to come back another time.

I must say even DH was a little tongue-tied, and Cinderella had to do most of the talking!  If you’d like to see Cinderella or have her meet a little princess in your life, you can find her at

And, since this is a sewing blog, after all, I just thought I’d let you all know that the dress is very comfortable to wear.  Yay!

Cinderella’s Dress is Done!

I’m sorry I’ve been such a bad blogger recently…. I’ve just felt so grey lately because everything in Toronto these days is just grey, greyer and greyest.  Today it rained, so the sky was grey, the pavement was grey, the grass was grey and the air was grey…. you get the picture!  It gets under one’s skin and seeps into one’s psyche in March.

But onto more cheerful things!   Cinderella’s new dress is complete.  I had a tremendous amount of fun putting this together.  I boned the front and piped the bodice.cindy bodice front

Here’s a picture of the bow and peplum from the back.  I did a CB lapped zipper, and was at a bit of a loss about how to attach the bow as it’s quite a substantial piece of ornamentation.  I decided to attach the ends of the bow separately from the bow itself.  So I stitched the bow ends to either side of the CB zipper at the bottom of the bodice back.cindy peplum bow shot

Then I stitched the left side of the bow to the bodice itself in two places to hold it into place, and used 1cm snap fasteners to attach the bow on the right side.  They should hold it in place and be immune to spontaneous unsnapping!cindy bow fasteners

I added two things to the sleeves:  a bottom narrow band and puffs at the cap to maintain the sleeve height.  The band has a small 7 cm length of elastic at the front.  I left the casing/binding smooth under the arm.  I also substantially increased the height and width of the sleeve because I thought the sleeves were too plain.  You can see how I slashed and spread the pattern here to get the extra volume.

cindy sleeve detail

I changed the peplums, too.  They just didn’t add anything interesting to the dress the way they were originally intended, so I added pleats at the back to pull the fullness into a pretty sweep like a true peplum.

cindy peplum pleats

This probably would have been unnecessary if I’d had a full gathered skirt à la Simplicity 2813 with all the skirt gathers to support the peplum, but a 7-gore skirt is more flattering across the hips!

cindy full front 2

There’s a lot of fabric at the hem – about 5 metres – so it’s a great twirling dress.  I’ve just got to bind the armscye with the polycotton underlining to keep the stiff organza sleeve seam allowances from being irritable and add strap keepers to the bodice to finish the “finishing”. This was a lot of work, but a lot of fun!

Cinderella’s Dress Part IV

Below is the basted bodice and skirt with the peplums sewn and pin-basted to the bottom edge of the bodice.  There is no crinoline on Judy, so the skirt hangs straight to the floor.


I really wanted very big sleeves for this dress.  I did a lot of research via videos posted on YouTube and noticed that Cinderella’s dress sleeves look a little bit Star Trek-ish with a seam through the crown to keep it standing up, I guess.
cindy's sleeves

I didn’t like this look (neither did Cinderella!!) and opted for more of the top of a leg-o’-mutton look.  I did this by cutting a muslin copy of the Simplicity 2813 sleeve.  Then I marked the centre of the sleeve, and the rest of it into 1″ segments – about 5.

cinderella sleeve

Then I slashed along the lines and laid the sleeve out the entire width of the organza, evenly spacing the strips to get an elongated shape to the sleeve cap.

cinderella sleeve spread

Like my clapper and sleeve press?  I think I need to invest in some pattern weights.

Cinderella’s Dress Part III

Simplicity 2813 was the pattern that I originally sewed up and used as my first fitting with Cinderella.


I personally wasn’t crazy about the bodice as it’s got two front and two back darts, a centre front seam and a centre back seam with a zipper opening.  I just wanted something with a bit more room for fitting, like a well-designed bodice with princess seams.  Also, during the first fitting, Cinderella mentioned that she really didn’t like all the gathering and extra fabric in the skirt across the front of her abdomen.  It just added a little too much pouf. I liked that the skirt was very full and swung nicely over and about her crinoline, but I did understand the extra fabric issue.  Food for the dressmaker’s thoughts.

Hey! And a great opportunity to piece together some patterns from my stash that could possibly work.  So I’m working with Vogue 1672 for the bodice with some changes.  I re-drew the neckline into a high scoop, redrafted the back so the neckline is at the base of the neck, and am going to put in a centre back zipper.  I’m also using the bow pattern (not the train). The side back panel will be in a stretch poly fabric for ease of movement and some give as Cinderella likes to play games, read stories and generally play with her little party guests.  A stiff proper gown is out of place.

v1672 top

I’m using the skirt pattern from Vogue 2928 without the train since it tapers into 9 meters (!) of width from the waistline.  This will give the swishy skirt without the bulk at the bottom of the bodice.  I will not be doing the underlining with netting or building in attached petticoats, but I will put in 5” horsehair braid around the bottom to keep maintain the skirt’s shape at the hemline.

v2928 skirt

Cinderella’s Dress Part II

It’s been a while since the initial muslin fitting with Cinderella, but I thought I’d share the progress of it.

We initially thought it would be nice to have a brocade bodice, a very lightweight skirt made of lining with an organza overlay with the peplum and sleeves of the same organza.

cinderella's organza

It’s a white crystal organza with sprays of miniature metallic spangles and studs (?) to catch the light and make it all sparkly.  It’s really pretty.  But it looked like a bad fabric choice with the brocade bodice… like a really trampy costume with texture overkill.


What to do?  Most of Cinderella’s visiting is done during the summer here, and it gets really hot in a crinoline and a big dress, so she wanted something cool.  What about making the bodice a solid taffeta or something similar?  Well, that would work, but the waistline creases after sitting down and playing with all her little guests, and that just doesn’t look nice, if you know what I mean.

I do know what she means.  I also know that keeping a bodice point inflexible enough to not wrinkle while sitting and bending requires about 3 extra layers of fabric to accommodate all the underlining and stays, and that would be like wearing a fur coat in the middle of summer.  Don’t think so.


A brocade bodice would not show creasing through the waistline so much.  The brocade, which is lightweight, shot with silver and a poly-rayon mix, isn’t a typical brocade.  It’s got a lot of flexibility and soft drape and is not heavy, so after some thought she agreed to do the entire dress of the brocade with the accents in the sparkle organza.

It’s going to be so pretty!

Cinderella’s Dress Part I: Muslin

So I’m making Cinderella a new dress because she’s worn out her old one.  I did a lot of research on her dress, including watching many, many videos on YouTube and copying an endless number of stills to get the details just right.  But this is a costume, so should I make it a true two-piece theatre-style costume, or should I just make it Disney-store style with stretch?

I don’t know.  The fitting is happening today, and Cinderella will decide what works best for her.  But for now, here’s the muslin of her skirt with the peplum and the bow.

cindy muslin