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.

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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

Shorts, Capris & Ankle-length Trousers

Burda 6-2011-110 backDD3 needed some new bottoms this past spring, so after looking through all the stretch denim available in Mom’s stash, she chose three fabrics, and three patterns.  Here’s the collection. Burda 6-2011-110 sideFirst up, another version of the shorts I’d made for her last summer.  It’s a shortened version of Burda 6/2011 #110.  It fit her well last year, and I didn’t want to re-think the fit on another pattern, so I re-measured to ensure it still fit, and started sewing.

Burda 6-2011-110 blue shortsThe next project was capris, and she wanted them to be skinny, but not too skinny.  So I opted for Burda 03/2014 #115. 115_0314_b_largeDD3 has a crotch depth of 11 inches – about one full inch longer than any standard block, and finding RTW trousers/jeans/shorts that fit her properly is a challenge.  She’s inherited the long back crotch measurement, too, but the extra crotch depth means bottoms are always low-riding on her.  As she prefers bottoms that sit at her natural waist, I altered the pattern using the slash-spread method to get the required depth.  Here’s the first pair at a true capri length.  The fabric for all these bottoms is from EmmaOneSock.  You can find it in other colours here.  This was a roll end, and I have enough fabric for shorts next year if she needs more.  This fabric worked extremely well for these capris, and the fit is perfect.  I don’t have any other photos of her wearing them at this point.Burda 03-2014-115 blueThe next pair was ankle length in a striped French stretch cotton blend, again from EmmaOneSock as a roll end. It’s lighter in weight and as a lot of stretch.  I used the same pattern, but they refuse to sit at her natural waist without a belt once they’ve been stretched out through wearing.  They’re her favourite pair, btw. (I’m too lazy to alter the waist yet again).  Burda 03-2014-115 detailsI used a BurdaStyle idea for binding the pocket edges in bias strips.  The denim (?) was lightweight enough to do it easily with a little help from my hammer for flattening the bulk.Burda 03-2014-115 striped frontYou can see in the pic above that the crotch depth appears to be too long, but the trousers are not actually sitting where she would like them to.  I really should take in the waist some more.  Here’s the back view.Burda 03-2014-115 striped backThe fit is pretty good through the back.  The fabric is really fun.  She wasn’t too sure of it to begin with, but every time she puts these on, she tells me she really likes them.

Fitting trousers/jeans/short is always so challenging.  The only trousers I’ve ever been able to fit without any wrinkles whatsoever are classic trousers, although these Burda patterns fit pretty darn well right off the tracing paper.  I’d love to try Jalie 2908 (stretch jeans pattern) for fit on her.  Next time.

The shorts factory is open

I’m avoiding my blue dress while I make up summer weather appropriate bottoms for DD3.  She needed shorts, and she wanted them in denim, which is so appropriate since I’ve had a few runs at making a jean-style bottom recently!  Burda 6-2011-110 shortI used leftover yardage from my first pair of Jalie jeans for the dark pair.  I didn’t distress them – just focused on fun topstitching.Burda 6-2011-110 dark shortI used the trouser pattern Burda 6/2011 #110 and shortened the pattern to a Burda 6-2011-110amid-thigh length (inseam is about 4 inches hemmed).  DD3 is quite conservative in her choice of style, and doesn’t like short shorts.  I chose this pattern because of the 5-pocket jean styling, and because it’s drafted for non-stretch fabrics.  Both my fabrics are stretch denim, but I wanted the extra wearability factor, which (I hope) will mean they will still fit her next year.  She’s only 11 years old, but she’s as tall as I am and wearing the same size as DD1, who turns 16 this month.  She’s going to be a taaaaaall girl.  (I’m jealous in a proud sort of way.)

Burda 6-2011-110 detailI put the coin pocket on the patterned denim, although you can’t see it at all and it’s too small to be functional for anything other than a coin.  DH thought I was out of my mind trying to match the motifs for the back pockets and suggested it would be better if I centred each one over a motif and just applied them whichever way.  Here’s the result:Burda 6-2011-110 patterns pocketI think that pattern is so busy no one would pay attention to these details while they’re being worn.  Lucky for me, because I’m not sure his idea worked to my satisfaction!  And just ‘cuz this is a sewing blog, here’s one of the two fly zips. Burda 6-2011-110 patterned denim shortsNext up on her summer wish list:  blue camo!

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.

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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.

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

pt cape

Summer Party Dresses

Well, here’s the girls’ party dresses – finally.  I did take pictures on the evening of the wedding, but they were horribly overexposed and goofy and not very good generally speaking.  DD2’s dress was fine, but DD3’s yellow dress reflected every single possible iota of light, and if there were any decently lighted shots, she was pulling silly faces – not very flattering!  So I had them do a re-take this past Sunday.B 02-2011-146 pink twirl

I made DD2’s dress of the most glorious fuchsia Swiss cotton.  It’s just divine to look at and handle and the colour, I think, is spectacular. The sash is a lavender duppion.  DD2 loves intense colours.  sashbow.jpgI used Burda 02-2011-146 for both dresses.  The pattern calls for about 5 yards of fabric per dress to make the big super-twirly skirt.  Unfortunately, there was only about 2 yards of the cotton, so just made it up and cut as many panels of the gored skirt as I could to get as much fullness as I could.  And to do that, I had to put a seam down the CF of the skirt.  DD3’s yellow seersucker was cheaper and there was a full bolt of it, so I was able to get a bigger skirt, although I didn’t do the full 6 half-circles the pattern called for. B 02-2011-146 steppingI originally cut the bodices for both girls a full size 152 because they are very close in size.  Sewing for DD2 is a bit of a challenge because she’s very petite and it’s difficult to get the right proportions in a garment for her.  The size 152 fit her perfectly, although I could have made a 1/2 short waist adjustment.  But otherwise this dress is perfect.  The skirt is 27 inches long, not the 36 inches Burda wanted for the full-length look.  I wanted a wearable dress, not a special occasion dress. B 02-2011-146

See how perfect this bodice fits?  I was initially a little concerned about the front gaping, as the neckline is cut on the bias.  But I interfaced the lining and it worked beautifully.  She’s got just enough up top to fill it out a little, and I think it’s the best dress neckline I’ve seen on her.

Burda 02-2011-146 front She loves her Lelli Kelly’s.

DD2's lelli kelly Another shot of the bodice.  Needless to say, she really likes this dress.DD 2For DD3’s version, I cut the neckline on the straight grain, and boy, did it gape.  She sat beside me during the wedding ceremony, and I took one glance sideways and wished I’d tacked the CF.   As it was, I had to re-cut the bodice after the first fitting because the seersucker didn’t look so great with the neckline cut on the bias, and the bodice was HUGE on DD3.  I’ve slip-stitched the overlap in place for these photos.  I should have done a petite adjustment on her dress, although I did cut it down to a size 140 for the final version, but I didn’t, and it’s not horribly noticeable except when she wears the dark satin ribbon in these pics.  For the party I’d made a light blue duppion sash similar to DD2’s that was a lovely compliment to the pale yellow.  This is my first Burda Style kids pattern, and I’m really impressed with how the patterns fit through the shoulders.

sarah bella party dressesThis is a better picture of the yellow seersucker.  It’s a very pale lemon colour that looks ivory.  Needless to say it was really difficult to photograph decently.  She’s moving a snail in our garden below.moving a snailYou can see the fullness of the skirt in this picture.  And I left out three of the semi-circles called for by the pattern!twirlings

I fully lined both dresses.  This isn’t called for by Burda – they only suggest lining the bodice – but dresses wear better fully lined, even if they are for children, and I was a bit concerned about coverage for the yellow dress.  sistersThe only other fussy little thing I did was add sash holders to keep them in place.  I used self-fabric for the Swiss cotton and narrow satin ribbon for the yellow. And thanks to everyone who weighed in on the purple maxi dress.  I’ve had to put it away for a couple of weeks because I’m doing some significant sewing on request.  I’m hoping to post on those projects, but the purple dress will have to wait for a while.  Who knows?  With the hot steamy summer we’ve been having I may even get to wear it through a hot September!

Red Silk Party Dress

As mentioned in my last post, I was commissioned with a party dress for Niece #2.  Something dry-cleanable only.  I wanted to make it out of silk taffeta or a tightly woven duppion, but couldn’t find the right colour of red for the right price in the right quality.  And then one sunny day, browsing through my local thrift store, I stumbled across a custom made garment in the right red silk duppion.  It seems to be a plus-sized garment, so there was no question that I would be able to cut the flared skirt for this dress.  The garment was remarkably well made.  Here’s a shot of the interior underlining.  You can see a full shot of the original dress here.red interior

I salvaged every scrap of silk and the lining from the original garment.  N2 wanted a halter style dress, so I thought I’d start with Vogue 7503, which is OOP and I’ve had in my stash for ages and never used.  The front of the dress is Vogue 7503.  The back of a smocked sundress is from Australian Smocking & Embroidery No. 75.  I took the measurements of the back elasticized band of the sundress and the measurements of the skirt as my pattern.  Once I had cut the rectangle of fabric for the back waistband, I thought I may as well use all the width and flare in the original skirt, and so stitched the back and side back pieces together and gathered them into the waistband.  Then I turned down the facing, stitched three channels for the elastic and attached it to the side fronts.  IMG_3593For the halter ties, I chose the tie pattern from another Australian Smocking & Embroidery No. 61 sundress called Frangipani.  They’re about 2 inches wide at the top and are shaped like elongated leaves.  You can see another picture of them here on a sundress I made for Niece #1.

IMG_3595  Here’s the rather plain, princess a-line front.IMG_3601 And the more interesting back.

IMG_3602As dear N2 wanted the skirt poufy and big and party-ish as well as mid-calf to ankle length, I thought I’d add some sparkle to an otherwise plain dress.  I attached about 12 inched of red sparkle tulle to the bottom 8 inches of the lining.  It looks uneven in the photo above, but that’s due to it’s not hanging straight on the hanger.  If I manage to get any good pictures at the party this weekend, I’ll post them for you to see.IMG_3591 Oh, and as a lark… yeeeeeeears ago… a good friend suggested it was rather not in the best interest of my abilities (!?) to send all my smocking, embroidery and little dress coats out into the world without any credit, so he designed a label for the garments I make for children.  Three buttons for my three girls.  Cute, eh?IMG_3606Well, this dress is a good example of how I mix and match patterns to get what I’m wanting.  Do you do this pattern slash, burn and mix & match thingy, too?