Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I Procrastinated Again

Instead of sewing an Elsa dress, I'm draping Fleur for you guys.

Look- one zillion darts!

Okay, maybe I exaggerated a bit.

But are you excited to learn about darts?

I am excited to be done with the costumes so I can write my darts tutorial!

Oh, wait. 

In order to be done with them, 
I probably have to start those costumes first, huh?

I knew there was a catch.

Monday, October 20, 2014

One Pound Twelve Ounces

That's how much this dress weighs. 

It's all that knit and upholstery fabric, see. I always forget how heavy knits are. 

So Jenna's dress is finished. I must hem the skirt and underskirt, but that's trivial and I can do it anytime between now and the 31st. 

I've really enjoyed all the hand-stitching on this dress. And I love how there is no trim, just colors, texture and that simple running stitch in gold pearl cotton. 

I'll deconstruct this dress for you later. In spite of all my grumbling, it was a fun and easy sew, with some things that I'd never done before, like the peekaboo sleeves to showcase the blue lining at the elbows, and the fitted scalloped peplum thingy at the waist. That said, I had to unpick some bits where, because of all the layers of lining, I'd gotten the construction sequence in the reverse order, resulting in exposed seam allowances appearing in wrong places when I turned various parts right side out. It was like biting into an apple and finding a worm (or parts thereof). I all but shrieked.  

There was suspiciously little procrastination on this dress once I'd actually started and I'm currently so uncharacteristically ahead of schedule that I told Jenna I might even make a fleece cloak to wear over her exposed shoulders when she goes out to snag candy. Although any amount of new and exciting procrastination can happen between now and Halloween night, so who knows if that will actually happen!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Plum and Gold

We may have a bodice.

Here's the funny thing: I'm working on Jenna's Narnian costume first because I thought it would be easier than that Elsa dress. Because, you know, Elsa has a cape attached - without velcro or snaps - to the back yoke that also has a back zipper right in the middle of everything. 


In what universe do reverse applique + scalloped peplum + full chemise-style under-lining translate to "easier than that Elsa dress"?

Sometimes my judgement is totally off. Thought I should share that with y'all, just in case you think my sewing decisions are always spot-on.

However, the first-muslin fit was absolutely perfect. 
Which I'd take over an "easy dress" any day.

Onward, then! We must not surrender. 
There are skirts and underskirts and sleeves and undersleeves to bring to life. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Also, This Is The Elsa Wand

. . .  that Kate made 80% by herself.

I did the following:

1. taped painter's tape in a spiral around the dowel

2. helped her fold and cut out the snowflake
3. stuck contact paper on the snowflake

And Kate did everything else.

It appears that even my kids are beating me at Halloween costume-making. 

Well, ladidah.

I'm off to eat chocolate now. And listen to audiobooks. 

P.S. If you want to make a dowel wand like this, try this tutorial (minus the glowing wand-head).

Monday, October 13, 2014

I Am Armed

I went shopping at the new SR Harris outlet this morning. It is a mini store. It feels a bit like the old Mill End Textiles. And there isn't anywhere enough apparel fabric and far too much quilting cotton. Which means quilting cotton fans will be happy but garment seamstresses won't. But they have a nice selection of modern homedec and upholstery fabric, and inexpensive superlong zippers, and some nice wool, all of which translate to robust sewing projects like bags, outdoor cushions, tailored skirts and coats. And the prices can't be beat. So while I will still need to make pilgrimages way out in the boondocks to the real SR Harris for specific projects, this new store is a nice, convenient, general-purpose stop for fabric emergencies. I am happy.

I think I might now have all the fabric I need for Kate's Elsa costume. Her conditions were very precise: nothing scratchy (so no tafetta, tulle, organza, etc.) and must be stretchy (hello knits!) and must twirl. In other words, they must be comfortable enough for going to bed in, which is the true test of a child-friendly costume, at least in our house. Four of the five sparkly fabrics below pass that test. The jury is still out on the fifth - that scaly fishnet wonder on the right-  which is quite prickly, but sequins are like that, so one can't complain. 

Jenna's fabrics are all good, though. None of them are poufy or glittery, because Narnian couture isn't either. Her Queen Susan costume is a deep grape-plum color (the photograph is redder than it actually is) which, it turned out, was very hard to find in solid form, so I had to resort to fleece. Which I have never liked as a costume or garment fabric - it's too bulky, period. But it will have to do.  

After coming home, all armed to the teeth with fabric, it occurred to me that I'd forgotten the zippers and trim. Bah. I have to go shopping again. Reeks of procrastination, no? Classic ikatbag Halloween tradition. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Costume Madness Has Begun

. . . sorta.

we made the wig part, anyway.

It took 15 minutes. I didn't even have to procrastinate. And then Kate glued on her own embellishments. 

If only my children would be happy wearing scratchy, itchy, unfitting and untwirly outfits, we'd buy them from the store right away and be done with it. But they've somehow discovered the existence of high-fashion knits, and now they will only wear costumes made from them (or lined with them). Alas. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Felt Food Accessories

This is a new post about old stuff.

You all have seen my donuts and frost-able cookies and piping bag before. So you might be thinking that I'm cheating by trying to pass off old projects or - worse - old photos, as new. 


I want to show you the baking sheet and serving box I made to go with a new set of confectionery. You know, in case you want something handmade to give the kids for Christmas and wished you had a way to make it all feel a little less a la carte and a little more playset.

Quick background: these felt treats are for a fundraiser in Singapore. So not for my own kids and not for my etsy shop (sorry). It is noteworthy that most of the time, I cut my donut and cookie frosting pieces out free-hand, rather than actually use my template. And these days, I use as much beads as I do embroidery floss for the sprinkles. 

But this post is not about the donuts.

It's about the donut tray. The plan was to mail everything to Singapore, so I wanted a collapsible design. 

Then I remembered that old heirloom embroidery pillowcase book bin I made for Emily in the summer. This works the same way - the base unzips

and the whole thing flattens

and folds into a half-width package.

The greyish-silver fabric is Therma-Flec, aka ironing board fabric. The base is just a double layer of fabric, no interfacing. The walls are double layers of the fabric with heavy-duty template plastic inside. Again, no interfacing (other than the plastic inserts). 

I used the same fabric to make a baking sheet. Really easy to make - just two rectangles of the fabric, with a third rectangle of sew-in interfacing between them, sewn like a placemat.

Here are the unfrosted cookies on the sheet,

and here they are again, frosted.

This is the full set - cookies, frosting, piping bag, the baking sheet (which folds or rolls up) and a drawstring pouch to hold everything.