Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Elsa's Snow Queen Dress - Frozen

A few months ago, my niece E asked me to make her Elsa's gown from Frozen for Halloween.  I agreed, because I wanted to give the dress a shot, and so I started looking for fabric.  I also was asked to make an Anna costume for my younger niece, K.  By the end of September, I was making two more Elsas and another Anna for some of my friends' kids!

I used the Simplicity pattern 1233 as a basis, but I made several modifications of my own.  I also had to make a larger size for my biggest Elsa, because the pattern I had only went up to an 8, and she was a 10.

For the bodice, I used the Turquoise Confetti Dot, the skirt was Turquoise Tissue Lame (only use this if you're a masochist!), and the yoke and sleeves were a light blue organza (all from JoAnn's).  For the cape, I originally purchased two yards of fabric off of eBay, but when I got an additional two orders, that fabric was sold out, so I ended up getting a different fabric.  They both are organza with silver snowflakes, and are super hard to work with, due to all of the glue holding the snowflakes on ...

I used the Simplicity pattern as a guide, but made a lot of adjustments.  First, I made the neckline a bit more heart-shaped, and the bottom of the bodice deeper.  I also cut a lot out of the skirt, as it was VERY full.  The cape needed no adjustment.

I cut out the bodice and attached the lining, which was just a turquoise lining fabric.  The bodice fabric was difficult to work with due to the glue (which is just annoying - make sure you clean off your needle frequently to prevent pulling, puckering, and thread breaking).  I then put the yoke together and serged the seams.  I then simply laid the bodice on top of the yoke and sewed it on.

See, originally, I was going to attach the cape using velcro.  I actually got as far as the first dress to do this (I was making them assembly-line style), but it turned out to not be as great as I thought it would be.  The idea was to make it detachable so that I could leave the back of the cape in one piece, and the girls wouldn't have to contort to get into it.

That didn't work so well, so I did end up ripping the yoke and sleeves out of the other two and then inserting the cape, prior to reattaching the yoke and sleeves.  I'll go into that a bit more later.

The skirt was a NIGHTMARE.  I used the tissue lame as a lining because I'd purchased the fabric before cutting the fullness down.  It shredded if you so much as looked at it.  Even when serged with a roll, it just shredded apart.  It also puckered and pulled like crazy, even with the thinnest needle I could find.  I ended up using a lot of seam stop glue.

I sewed the skirt to the bodice in the same way that I did the yoke.

I ended up with the following (see photo).  To neaten it all up, I then turned the yoke and top of the skirt over and sewed it to the bodice.  It's not the best technique, but it worked.

I inserted a zipper and then added trim, which I didn't get the name of, but purchased at JoAnn's.  I first turned the serged top of the yoke under and sewed it down, then hand-stitched the trim to it.  It was really easy to do the trim - it was very forgiving to the needle, and it went pretty quickly.

The very last thing to do was to attach the cape to the back.  I didn't want to go the velcro route again, so I attached two hooks and eyes, which are pretty hard to see.  I have one on each side of the zipper, and so the cape just hooks onto the back there and has a nice flow.

And here's the finished product!  This is the dress I made for my friend's daughter, and was the largest dress.  The bottom photo is the two larger dresses.  I'll have to get my niece's (the smallest, and with a different cape fabric) back after Halloween and attach the cape properly.  To get in and out of the dress is a bit of a trick, but I don't think anyone's had a problem yet.

Stay tuned - the next entry will be the Anna costume construction!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Wizard World Chicago Comic Con

You may recall that for last year's DragonCon, my husband Matt made Eomer's costume.

This year, we can't make it to DragonCon because we're going to the UK for two weeks at the end of September and have no extra time off.  We've been pretty bummed about missing our favorite con, especially after last year's epic Tolkien track programming, including Evening at Bree and 80's Dance Party.

While making his armor last year, Matt ran out of time to make the helmet.  In June, he started casually working on it, thinking he'd have it done in time for DragonCon 2015.

Then we found out that Karl Urban (the actor who portrayed Eomer, for you non-Ringers) was going to be a guest at DragonCon this year, and we went from being bummed to throwing things and cursing.

Before I go on, I should explain something about Matt.  We've now gone to almost a dozen cons together, and he has never shown any interest in meeting celebrities (although, he seems to run into them an awful lot in elevators).  He's barely interested in celebrity panels, and usually just tags along to keep me company.  But Karl Urban is a different story because of the costume.

And THEN, Karl Urban was announced as a guest at Wizard World Chicago Comic Con.  I immediately purchased tickets and a photo op for Saturday.  Matt immediately dropped everything and began working on his helmet during every spare moment - from the second we were done with dinner until past midnight.  It was worth it - check out these photos on his Tumblr! 

We knew we didn't want to be at the con all day because we wouldn't have a hotel room to decompress in, and both of our costumes are quite hot.  We arrived around 11:30, and before we'd even had a chance to register, we were bombarded with photo requests.  That's how it went for the rest of the day, mostly accompanied by shouts of, "Horse Lord!"  He was even approached by a few women who were fangirling over his gorgeous face.  Costume.  Whatever.

Even the guys from Tandy Leather thought he did a fantastic job!

Our photo op was scheduled for 3:15, and we could queue up at 2:45.  Several people waiting in line came over to get photos with Matt (they weren't too interested in me, and one girl even asked me to take the photo!)  I've never done a photo op before, so I don't know if they're always so rushed, but we were essentially herded like cattle through the photo op area, spending less than 20 seconds with Karl.  However, as we entered, Karl said, "awesome costume!"  As we left, he told Matt that the costume was phenomenal.

We also both went a bit nuts today after hearing from a friend that he'd mentioned Matt's costume to her during her autograph signing (not knowing that she knew us).  It seems that he really was impressed!  Does it get any better than that?

Our photo was snapped by so many people, like this one (courtesy of Max/Gandalf on Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/max-tim-tom/14827718039/).  Let us know if you see any floating around out there in the Interwebs, as we have very few photos of us together.

We had a great time, and left around 4:30.  We're both still completely exhausted - my whole body hurts from wearing ballet slippers for seven hours, and Matt's totally worn out from wearing that helmet (which is quite heavy!) and not being able to sit down.

Even though we can't go to DragonCon, we had a blast Ringing it up at Wizard World!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Well, I'm Still Boycotting Hobby Lobby

I'm still pretty upset over the SCOTUS ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby.  I'm not going to get all political here - the main thing is that I'm still boycotting Hobby Lobby, and this time, it's a total boycott.

I've been boycotting them for the past year, although I've had to go no more than a dozen times to get things there that I can't get anywhere else.  I absolutely hate when that happens, but I always use a 40% off coupon (not that it makes THAT much difference, as I'm still giving them my money).  However, it's a far cry from the kind of money I used to spend there.  Between fabric, thread, jewelry materials, and candy-making supplies, I used to probably spend about $1000 per year at Hobby Lobby.  Since deciding to boycott them, I've spent less than $100.

Now, they're not going to get even that.

Michael's has coupons.  So does Joann Fabrics.  In fact, I rarely purchase anything at full-price.

Are other stores further away?  Yep.  Will it cost more to order the hard-to-find things I need online instead of at Hobby Lobby?  Yep.  But I'm so infuriated by this entire situation that I'm just totally done with them.

I suggest that you are, too.

If you're still not convinced, here's a great article that debunks the most common arguments as to why Hobby Lobby isn't as evil as they seem.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Crafter's Apron

I've added two new items to my Etsy store - Buttons and Shears crafter's aprons.  It's available with or without a ruffle.  Both styles have a deep pocket on the front left and a pocket for shears on the right hip.

Buttons and Shears with Ruffles

Buttons and Shears

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Casual Costumer on Etsy!

I've opened a new shop on Etsy where I'll be selling various items, but mostly a variety of aprons.  Right now I've opened with matching mother/daughter apron sets, but will be adding more items over the next few weeks.  Check it out! 

Here are some of the items currently on sale:

Apples and Pears

Tiny Flowers

Spring Flowers

Spring Has Sprung


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Projects for Nieces and Nephew

As I mentioned before, I'm taking a break from costuming.  There are a lot of other projects that I'm working on, though, and I've been at the sewing machine for a good portion of 2014!  Below are the projects that I made for my nieces and nephew.

Dresses for A and E:

I made these dresses using Butterick 4718.  The green one is a size 6, the pink is a size 5.  I used cotton fabric from JoAnn's.  I made the shoulder straps per the pattern on the green dress, but then altered them slightly on the pink dress to be straight.

Dress for K:

This is a dress that I made for K, who is 18 months old.  I used McCall's 6541.  I think I put the button holes a bit too high.  Also, I have so much trouble making button holes!  I can do it perfectly four or five times on test fabric, and then when I do it on the actual fabric, it goes crooked, or the foot stops moving.  It's so aggravating.

Another Dress for A:

What can I say - I spoil her!  She loves my dresses, though, and because her mother always shows gratitude, I like making things for her.   This one was made with McCall's 6061.  The yellow trim goes all the way around the dress.

Apron for P:

Last, but not least, I had to make something for P since I'd made dresses for his two sisters.  I decided to make him a Bears apron so that he could help his dad grill this summer.  The pattern is my own, based off of several adult patterns.  I put a double pocket on the front, since kids LOVE to carry things around in pockets!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Doctor Who Fan Orchestra #8: 50th Anniversary Suite

I participated in the Doctor Who Fan Orchestra's 8th collaboration, the 50th Anniversary Suite!  Check it out here - I'm the Clara playing the viola!  But the most exciting thing is that Ben Foster, the Doctor Who orchestrator, appears in the video!