Thursday, October 29, 2015

Frozen Halloween: A Dress Fit For a Queen

The fun of costume creating took up my entire month of October (okay, and about half of September too). And the hardest costume I did was my own. As I explained in my previous post, my son had decided our Halloween costumes and he chose Elsa from Frozen for me. I was honored to be dubbed the queen in his life but there was no way in heck I was going to wear a very sheer ice queen costume in what usually proves to be a miserable and cold Halloween in our neck of the woods. And thank goodness for that line of thinking because they are forecasting a very windy and rainy Halloween here. So naturally, I opted for the coronation dress and the luxuriously warm looking cape!

My costume began with a very simple find, a thrifted turtleneck that I found for just one dollar!

I placed it on my dress form with the turtle neck folded over and drew a V in chalk where I believed the slit on the neck should sit. I stitched along this line, clipped, and turned the turtle neck the wrong way, which would now be the right way.

I moved on to stitching applique details on by hand while watching television in the evenings over the course of a week. In the meantime, I was spending my sewing machine time working on the bodice. 

I took apart a thrifted dress that had a bodice that was the exact shape I wanted. Have no fear, it was a dress that was badly damaged and had been stripped of re-usable parts. It also helps that I got it for less than a dollar! I unpicked all the seams, labeling my pieces as I went, and then laid it out to trace a pattern on freezer paper. I extended certain areas to create the point in the front of Elsa's dress.

I took some muslin fabric and created a quick sample of the bodice that I had created. As I suspected, this first attempt turned out much shorter than the look I was hoping to achieve.

I took all my pattern pieces and extended them as I thought might be necessary and repeated the process of cutting and constructing out of muslin. This time it turned out just as I had hoped it would.

I created the skirt from scratch just using my waist measurements while attempting to follow the seams of the bodice. It turned out nearly perfect using the muslin.

It was now time to be brave and cut into my fabric. Once again, I was stuck using the horrendous costume satin. This time I attempted to ease some issues by lining all of it with interfacing (thank goodness I had found an entire bolt at the thrift store earlier in the summer for $1.50). It definitely helped but the fabric still snagged like crazy. I will never again purchase that stuff. I started with the skirt since that was the easiest bit of all.

I then began working on the bodice. I tested after finishing the outer bit before adding the lining. Luckily it all was going together nicely.

I appliqued the bodice then added the lining. I did the front and the back and added a pretty gold trim that I had found at Joann's. It was one of those affordable spools that had 3 yards for $2.50.

I then hemmed and began appliqueing the skirt. I will note, while I did not use a pattern to create the dress, I did use Simplicity 1210 for the applique pattern. But I did change the colors to better match the film version. At this point I had also finally finished the applique on the turtleneck.

I also used the Simplicity pattern for the overlay on the cape but I did not use it for the cape itself. I wanted a fuller, longer cape that also more accurately matched the film. So once the overlay was put together I draped the cape to create the look I was hoping for. 

Once the cape was sewn up, I sat down and began sketching an applique design for the bottom of the cape to match the cape in the movie. 

This bit was actually cut out of the leftover felt from my daughter's cape, which is wonderful because all of our costumes seem to have coordinating colors! 

The cape is very heavy thanks to it's length and was pulling on my neck a lot. So I installed snaps on the cape and the shoulders of my turtleneck so that the weight would be better distributed. It helps a lot! I also installed snaps in the bodice to keep it held up to the turtleneck when holding my baby girl. 

I think the costume turned out pretty well. Not too shabby for it only being my second garment constructed for myself. It was a wonderful challenge and I learned so much in the process. 

Of course, I had to have the iconic Elsa hair, so I also dabbled in some wig styling this week. That was a new experience and while it is not exactly as I had hoped I think it is still very obvious as to whose hair it is supposed to be. I just have to add the crown!

Off to put the finishing touches on the Kristoff costume! Until next time . . . happy sewing and have a safe and happy Halloween!

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Very Frozen Halloween: A Warmer Anna Costume

It is finally my favorite time of the year. I love the changing colors, cooler weather and delicious flavors of fall. But most importantly, I love Halloween! I love dressing up (yes, I know I am a full grown adult, but there is a kid in all of us), and I love, love, LOVE making costumes! Now that my son is old enough to communicate costume ideas, Halloween has become my ultimate challenge. 

Like most young girls, my daughter has come down with Frozen fever (only 2 years after most other young girls). Her brother has found a fondness for Olaf in her endless insistence on watching Frozen 3 times a week. So when I asked what they would like to be in mid-August he proudly proclaimed that he wanted to be Olaf and that his sister should be Anna. Challenge accepted. 

The big plus to being 2 years behind on the Frozen train is that so much movie memorabilia can be bought at a discounted price, and an Olaf costume was no exception. I found my son a nice quality costume for much cheaper than I could have crafted it for. However, Anna costumes were a little trickier. The prices were right but they were paper thin. Tissue paper sleeves just wouldn't cut it for a Midwestern October so I began plotting a costume that would not only keep my daughter warm but also be more authentic to the movie.

I began with some costume suede and a wonderful pattern from the Cottage Mama! I have her book of patterns and absolutely love it. But this pattern is a freebie that you obtain from following her blog. I highly recommend her blog, her book and her patterns to any mom that is looking to sew for a young daughter(s). These patterns are how I found a love of sewing garments. I will admit, I altered the bodice of the pattern to be shaped more like Anna's.

I also tried my hand at some free motion machine embroidery. It was a challenge and I definitely need more practice but it was also fun!

I used a cheap costume satin for the skirt. I should note . . . I would never, ever again waste my money on costume satin. This stuff was horrendous to work with. It snagged like crazy and never really seemed to be on grain. I should have thrifted a little harder for a better fabric at the same price. But I went with it. I altered the pattern here again creating a shorter over-skirt and a warmer layer as an under-skirt. Then I gathered as normal and connected to the bodice. 

I scalloped the top layer and then sewed it to the bottom layer. Once this was done I began free motion machine embroidering all along the scallops. 

The turtle neck was created using a wonderful free pattern from Kuka and Bubu! I have to admit, I had never done anything with sleeves for my daughter but the pattern was a breeze. I used a fleece lined sweatshirt material for warmth and added some ribbon embellishment to mimic Anna's undershirt. 

Finally I drafted a cape based off of the cape found in the Simplicity S0733 pattern. My daughter is only wearing 18 month clothes so I had to alter down from their size 3. 

Instead of using the applique pattern I decided to use ric rac around the cape (for time and sanity's sake).

I think it turned out quite well and will keep my daughter very warm. But my son didn't just want the two of them to dress up. He wanted this to be a family affair so I also had to create a Kristoff and Elsa costume! Stay tuned for more . . .

Until next time . . . happy sewing!