Happy Friday! Some of you may remember earlier this year I posted this Cowgirl project on Instagram. Well I finally got around to blogging about it over at TheFabricMarket.com. I got absolutely everything I needed from their local store, F&M Fabrics, as they have the best prices overall, but especially for costuming. Click here (or the picture below) to read the post over on their blog and get all the details.
Additionally, I have some big news! I am now carrying Art Gallery Fabrics in my Etsy Shop, including two prints from the new Bound line by April Rhodes! As always, my shop has free shipping with a $40 purchase with coupon code “ship40.” I hope you’ll come check it out and spread the word!
A few month’s back I was asked to make two dresses for a local high school opera production. When I got the text of the pattern I’d be using to make the dresses, I was immediately ecstatic. Simplicity 1715 is an Edwardian style dress that reminded me of Downton Abbey. My husband and I had just caught up with the series and I couldn’t wait to re-create one of Lady Mary’s styles.
The fabric had already been purchased for the blue Lady Mary dress, but a second dress required black and red satin so I headed to F&M Fabrics (TheFabricMarket.com) for those supplies and they had everything I needed.
This dress pattern was…interesting, to say the least. I am not a true costumer, per se, and this pattern was written specifically for costume. The construction methods seemed very unorthodox for someone whose training is in clothing construction and bridal.
The base of the outfit is this corset. It is unlined, but made with boning applied to the seam allowances. The top edge is finished with bias tape and the bottom with piping. The pattern called for every closure to be hook and eye but since this was not to be used for many girls, just the one I was sewing for, I decided on zippers.
After the corset was made, you start to construct the outer garments. Here is a close up of the bodice overlay. It was intended to be loose & drapey with gathers on either side front and a crossover V in the back.
The skirt and skirt overlay are then constructed as individual pieces and then the finished satin skirt, with waistband and everything, is placed on top of the corset piece and just stitched on! They could have easily made it a dress, in my opinion, but instead it was this strange two piece thing sewn together. I also replaced the hook and eye closure with a zipper again, then attached the skirt overlay. The belt was constructed separately and placed at the waistline where the skirt was sewn to the corset.
The end result was beautiful – it was just such a strange construction process. Here are a few action shots from dress rehearsal and the stage.
The second outfit used the same corset from the Simplicity pattern with added trim at the top and a tulle ruffle at the bottom. The skirt was made using a handwritten tutorial and photos and included 3 layers of circle skirts, a built in petticoat and elastic waistband.
It was fun to delve into some more elaborate patterns again. I truly enjoyed learning about costuming techniques throughout the process and it’s such a joy to see the dresses in action. This is the same customer I was altering dresses for last week for her next level in Jr. Miss. This beautiful young lady is going places!
My five year old son is just precious. He is just old enough to realize what my sewing means to him and in his eyes, nothing is beyond my ability. Aside from his persistent, “are you done yet?” inquiries, he also frequently visits my sewing space to tell me what a great job I’m doing , how awesome it looks, or just to hang with me and see how it’s all done.
One day in my blog reading, I stumbled upon a Delia Creates post on some ninjago costumes she made (which he saw) and for the last few weeks he’s been begging me to make a green ninja costume for him. So earlier this week we went to the warehouse fabric store, grabbed some green and black knit and used a combination of patterns to make this:
2 1/8 yd green knit (60″ wide)
1/4 yd black knit (60″ wide)
1/8-1/4 (or scrap) of a stiff silver fabric (vinyl or what I used was waterproof bag material) for “armor”
After taking my son’s measurements, I pulled out the pattern pieces for the karati gi (McCalls 6184) only to realize I had used the pattern previously for his Luke Skywalker Costume. The size cut was a 4 and even though he is 5, his measurements were right on target for size 4. I must have made some alterations in his Luke Skywalker costume to make it shorter, etc. because that was a year ago. But I was glad to realize I had made it before because his Luke costume was pretty wide for the size and this time I used a knit so I decided to thin it out a bit by taking an inch out of the width both on front and back
Also, I noticed that the ninjago gi has a lapel of sorts so when I was cutting the pieces out, I cut along the curve of an imaginary crew-neckline and then straight down to meet the pattern. Also, note that taking an inch out made the shoulder seam a little wonky, so when cutting, just cut straight across. There are more formal ways to add to a pattern and true up lines, but hey! It’s a costume, right?!?
I knew that making a 4 would fit his body measurements but I knew they’d be too short so I cut the pattern for sleeves and pants on the line that says “lengthen or shorten here” and spread about 1 1/2″ to add some length.
I cut the belt from the black knit, but did not use the neck piece from the pattern since I had altered the neckline for the lapel and would be adding a black band on the front edges. To do that I just measured the length of the front edge and rotary-cut a strip about 3 inches wide. I folded the strip right-sides-together (RST) and sewed one short edge. Then turned it inside out and placed the sewn edge at the top of the shirt and attached one long edge with a 1/4″ seam. I pressed a 1/4″ seam in the other long edge, folded the strip to the inside and topstiched it in place. I also measured the neckline and cut a similar strip to add in green along the neck edge (no, my seams are not finished on that part – this was actually the last piece I made of the three and the boy was getting anxious!)
The mask is in two pieces – a mouth and nose cover, held on by elastic behind the ears. Since the knit I was using wasn’t very stable, the mouth piece started to stretch out in the few minutes T was wearing/playing with it so I later added some elastic to the edges to help it keep it’s shape.
Then the hood goes on over that
The pants made up like your typical elastic waist/pajama pants so I’ll move on to the “armor”. I looked high and low for silver vinyl at the fabric store with two kids who were getting a little weary so when I found this bag material that was silver and stiff, I just grabbed it and ran to the cut table. I wasn’t sure how it’d do in the wash so I took my cue from Delia Creates and attached some velcro to make it detachable. To make the shoulder armor, I found this printable box template and used the top two-thirds of it (minus the bag handle) as my pattern.
I cut the two bottom pieces a little longer and added velcro before sewing both “boxes” together.
The “armor piece on the hood I just cut freehand and zigzag stitched in place.
So there you have it! I was rewarded with, “Mom, I love how you can make me all these cool things” and that’s good in my book. We will be living with a green ninja for the next two weeks straight, I’m sure, so if you see us around town, say hi!
Generously enough, the little man has passed on his head cold to me. And boy, is it fun! (not) After taking the day off from all things sewing (except for a few rows of knitting) on Saturday, my type-A personality forced me into the sewing room Sunday afternoon to finish the buttons/buttonholes on lil T’s Woody costume. Then I put it all together to snap a few pre-wearing photos.
I couldn’t be more excited! On the boots front, we tried to get him to try them on, but he acted as though we were attempting to murder him. So, as I’ve heard from other moms to do, I just set them out near his room for him to “discover” on his own. Everything’s always better we think it’s our own idea, right? So last night he found his Woody hat and then determined that (of course) he had to have some boots! He went and grabbed them and asked us to help him put them on and then walked around the house with them on for quite a while. Here are some pictures I snapped on my iPhone (hence, they’re a little fuzzy):
He even greeted me with them on when I came out of the bathroom from my shower this morning. haha. So I’m hoping that means he’ll be okay with wearing them on the 31st. Thanks to Mary for lending us your well-loved boots.
After I finished his costume, I got a wild hair to clean up my sewing room and inventory my projects (which I should not have done while sick – I’m paying for it today!). I even created these cute little project sheets with this thought in mind…A list is not “editable” enough for me. If you mark on it or try to rearrange items on your list, it gets ugly and you have to write a new one (ok, maybe it’s just me). With the sheets, I can take them down, rearrange them, get rid of a project or two along the way or *gasp* add to the list while still keeping it pretty. So – I filled out these forms for each project, punched a hole in the top, placed them in an order somewhat relating to how I’d like to finish them and ran a book ring through them. I hung it on the pole that comes up from my industrial sewing machine table and then had another thought. “Gosh, I could not buy anything for a year!” Stay with me here, I know this is drastic but I’ve seen many Self Stitch September participants carry on after the month ended with the same thought. So here’s what I’d like to do:
Buy no more sewing projects until I finish what I have.
Reward said non-purchasing of sewing projects with small, achievable knitting projects so long as I finish as I go and do not stash up on yarn. See, people I know who go on successful diets give themselves “no-rules weekends” or treats for successes so I feel this might be the key to keep me on the wagon, so to say.
We’ll see how it goes. I’m not going to forecast this going perfectly, but my main goal is to destash, finally finish some projects I’ve intended to do for a long time, and clear out some space for that inspiration I’m looking for (see my home page for explanation). See you soon!
Well, the sewing-T’s-costume-on-my-lunch plan is working. I just have the sleeves to add and I’m done! Finito! And early, I might add.
Thanks to my friend at Rebecca’s Rags for submitting this idea after I posted the project sans sleeves on Facebook: “you could leave it sleeveless and he could be ‘Bakersfield Woody’;)” LOL. I think I’ll move toward finishing it, thankyouverymuch! HA! I have a flash in my mind about seeking out some kind of tutorial to help me make cowboy boot-looking shoe covers because I’m not sure the size 12 boots we’re borrowing will work (but haven’t tried them yet!) and I dont’ really want to buy any, but we’ll see. Step #1 would be to try on the boots! (duh!)
I’m making great progress on my scarf:
You may have heard, I restarted it one last time (yes that makes 5!). Even then, it took me a few rows to ge the slipped selvage just right but I’m going to live with the first few rows of imperfection! lol. I love being able to work on it a little here and a little there and I love that there’s no deadline, though I have picked out my next project.
2 years ago I posted here about a crocheted cat I made for my sister when I was about 8 or 9. I decided that since I’ve taken to yarn again, that I needed to make her a sequel to the cat. We both love owls, and in fact I made her an owl christmas ornament last year (Pattern Here). So I set out to find an owl pattern on ravelry. The first one I found was Asma Owl. He’s perfect & I love him, but come to find out, he’s knit on double-pointed needles in the round. Seeing as how I just started figuring this knitting thing out, I decided that might be biting off more than I could chew so I set out to look for another owl. 🙂 Tooley Owl was my next find and the one my sister chose. Maybe after a year of knitting, I will try my hand at Asma Owl for next Christmas, but for now, Tooley is knit on straight needles and the pattern is written for beginners so that’s the one for the present!
Thanks to all my friends who came to sewing day this last Saturday! We had some old friends come and some new friends (one of which really impressed me – Hailey aged 12!). If you can believe it, we didn’t take a single picture! FOR SHAME! Though none of us really finished, everyone made really good progress on their projects.
Malissa started her first-ever knit garment
Hailey worked on a super cute elastic waist skirt
Melissa got all the prep work done and some stitching on her first sewing project (the A-plus A-line skirt from burdastyle.com)
Diane finished some snuggle baby blankets
Emily used my serger to finally hem up her curtain sheers and also got some fusing done on a quilt she’s working on.
Leta Mae came to work on a shirt she’s made several times
I worked on my little guy’s costume (Woody from Toy Story) and ended up finishing his vest (Orlando from Burdastyle) and bandana:
Thanks to my good friend Mary for recommending I line the vest in black so that later he can dress up as Han Solo!! This afternoon I got started on Woody’s shirt (Kwik Sew 3146):
I think I will take this to work on during my lunch hour tomorrow. I’m really happy at what I’ve finished on it so far, but the sooner I get this done, the quicker I can get back to Lady Grey! haha What about you? Are you making costumes this year? Have you done so in the past? What was the best one you’ve made or worn handmade? Can’t wait to hear your answers!