Friday, October 24, 2014

I Declare That This Counts As A Triumph in Simple Engineering

There - see, it can be done- an attached back cape over a back invisible zipper, without velcro or snaps.

A plea to the Disney costume designers: you know your amazing princess frock that's a triumph of animation? Well, guess what? Millions of seamstress mothers from all corners of the galaxy will be forced to replicate that outfit for their small daughters for Halloween. And while Elsa might have magicked her dress out of thin air with wishful thinking and glitter dust, we lowly human peasants are obliged to use real fabric, prickly trims, zippers and, you know, our actual brains. So might I plead on behalf of beleaguered craftyparents everywhere: would you guys consider, for your next princess movie, having your intrepid heroine don. . . I dunno, a plain Target Tshirt sewn onto a gathered skirt made with calico cotton? And feel free to add freezer-paper stenciled hearts on the front if it really needs to be ballroom-ready fancy. 

[Kneads temples wearily.]

Anyway, here's where I am after two days:

I'd say it's 85% finished. It needs a hem job and some painted snowflakes on the sleeves and cape. And maybe something right in the center of that sweetheart bustier overlay. But otherwise, I don't need to fiddle with it any further.

And I can move on to Emily's Before-After lab coat. We're planning to make it reversible - one side pristine white and the other side covered in deadly radioactive sludge waste splotches.


  1. Well, I still don't know how you did that. I think you performed magic instead of engineering! Kate is going to be soooo bee-u-ti-fulllll!!! And Emily's coat sounds like fun to create! Ha!

  2. That is indeed a triumph of garment engineering. I have a question though, and please don't consider me too stupid, because I haven't seen the movie: why not put the invisible zipper at the side of the bodice, under the cape, and just make the neckline wide enough to pull over the head easily?

    1. Charity: thats actually a very good suggestion, and one of the options I considered (along with splitting the cape into two and sewing the zipper along its mid-seam along with the bodice). And I would have tried it if the shoulders weren't so fitted AND the upper bodice fabric weren't such a fragile chiffon with practically no give. I didn't want that fabric to rip when K pulled it over her heard from the side seam - it's easier for little kids to dress themselves by stepping into a dress. It's funny when sewing for kids how many odd factors one had to consider that have nothing to do with actual sewing or fit! I would never have thought this way before I had kids!

    2. Ah, that makes sense. Kids are funny people, that's for sure!

  3. Beautiful and clever as usual! Funny about your request for simple heroine clothing...the Elsa dress I made for my daughter's birthday did consist of a plain white long sleeve Target T-shirt underneath a tube bodice sewn from sparkly snowflake material, with a simple gathered skirt, and cape : )

  4. I am having my coffee, reading your blog and avoiding going back into my sewing room to finish my "Elsa"!! Thank you for sending my exact thoughts to the Disney folks!! A prom gown would be easier.
    But in reality when my Elsa tried on her gown yesterday for the final final fitting she was lovely and her eyes sparkled like the princess she is!! Good luck with the last bits. It has been a journey I hopefully won't repeat this next year ....

  5. You are SO CLEVER! Does all the fullness in the Cape (at center back) get folded to the inside once the dress is zipped?
    I totally appreciate your

  6. Love your rant about Disney....but we must consider that many princesses have never shopped at Target let alone wore a t-shirt cut in half and added to a quilting cotton skirt...but love the elsa dress,,,,,thank goodness my granddaughter is still liking zombies from Scooby doo......

  7. I admire you for following the pattern. I looked at it and made the design decision to make the cape as a separate piece.

  8. Brilliant! Love your french seams in the sheer top, too.

  9. If I had such a beautiful dress I would probably want to wear it on daily basis. It looks really gorgeous.

    On the other side, considering that I am the costume-maker here, I thank God for my lack of daughters and the consequent lack of need for princess dresses.

    Anyway, sometimes even boys can present challenges... And thinking about this... would you ever consider, by any chance, the possibility to share, sooner or later, a tutorial for an Harlock cape? Please? ;)


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