Dec 28, 2015

2015 Costume Review & 2016 Costume Plans

2015 went by so fast, but it was also my most productive costume year! With the New Year just a few days away it's time to do my costume recap for 2015 and plans for 2016

I started the year with the goal of doing the Historical Sew Monthly, and I failed miserably at that. But that's okay, I still did a couple of the challenges and ended up with a chemissette and bustle pillow!

I did finish my 1870's undergarments, with a total of 1 bustle [petticoat], 2 additional petticoats, a corset, drawers, chemise, and now boots!

I also started out my year by working my Christine Daae wig (which I finally finished in November). HUGE learning curve there. I learned how to weft and ventilate, and I'm now much, much faster at both of those because of that project.

I finally made my Mara Jade costume that I had been wanting to make for years! It's one of my favorite costumes!

I made a new 1940's blouse, affectionately called the Sunshine Blouse.

I designed and made my graduation dress. In the process I also learned how to make romantic tutu's. :D

Even though I haven't posted much about it (or really gotten any pictures) I've made a lot of progress on my 1871 day dress. It's one of those projects that keeps getting pushed back due to not having any where to wear it. Other costumes have higher priority, so it just keeps getting stuffed into the UFO pile. But I'm pleased to say that I'm getting close to finishing it! YAY! I would get pictures but the bodice doesn't fit on my sewing form so I'm just gonna wait until it's finished.

Again, not much of anything in the way of updates, but I've been knitting a sontag. I haven't really done much knitting this year, so it's taking longer than it probably should to get done.

For the Disney party we had in October I made Alice from Alice in Wonderland. Such a fun costume to both make and wear!

Then for Hallween I made Elphaba's defying gravity dress, which was another one that I had on my list to make this year!

I started working on Rey from The Force Awakens and even bought the fabric. I had planned on making it for the premier but I was having fabric dyeing problems so I've decided to save that one for next year.

I never posted about it, but I had my first commission this year! I made a cloak for my boss for Halloween. She loved it and it was so fun to make! Now I really want to make a cloak for myself.

I also helped my brother with his Halloween costume. He went as Snape and I made the cloak for him. Unfortunately I don't think we ever got any photo's of him in it.

For the Force Awakens premier I gave my old Jedi costume to my brother and finally added a bunch of snaps. I had wanted to keep it for myself, but it was too small when I tired it on and it fit him perfectly!

From the top left to right. My graduation dress, the Sunshine Blouse, Alice in Wonderland, the cloak, Mara Jade, cartridge pleats on my 1871 dress, Elphaba, Fabric for Rey.

On to my plans for 2016!

I already have several costumes I know I have to do next year. Most of which I already have patterns and/or fabric for, and other's are one's I've been meaning to to for forever and just haven't gotten around to yet.

First off is my sister's Elsa costume. I'll be starting that first thing after the new year.

Next is Rey. I've already purchased fabrics but I just need to make some pattern adjustments since seeing new details in the film. I'm planning on wearing it for May the 4th

1940's Sailor Dress. I purchased Wearing History's 1940's Sailor Play Suite pattern and the fabric for this this summer but never got around to making it.

1940's Suit ensemble. Because I'm working on recreating a 1949 Pan Am stewardess uniform for the Historic Flight Foundation and I've never made anything like this, I'll be making a sort of mock up for a 1940's suit jacket so I can learn the tailoring techniques used in something like this.

1949 Pan Am Stewardess Reproduction.

Finish the 1871 day dress.

Make a new corset. I learned a lot on my first attempts and I purchased Truly Victorian 110 a while ago. I just need to make a mock up and fork out the money for good fabric.

Christine Daae's Wishing Dress. I started researching this dress in summer of 2014 and I am ready to make this! It's not as high of a priory just because I don't actually have anywhere to wear this, but I'm really excited and want to start it soon.

I would really like to make Belle's blue dress from Once Upon a Time. I've wanted to make this for a long time. :) Maybe for Halloween.


I was on Pinterest the other day when I found this gorgeous dress. I don't know if I'll be able to make it next year, but I'm putting it on my list anyways.
via The Metropolitan Museum of Art

I have a really fun project that I want to do in the Spring or Summer, which is to fix up my best costumes and get new photo's of them. My sister (who is an amazing photographer) will be taking the photo's, and my friend Bethany (who is an amazing make-up artist) is going to help me with my makeup. I'm working on creating a portfolio website for my costumes and want to get good photo's of my best work. :)

So with all of that I'm going to have a crazy year! It'll be fun though. I just hope I can find more events to wear these costumes to. Here's to 2016!

Dec 20, 2015

Elsa Coronation Costume Analysis

My sister has been begging me to make her Elsa's coronation dress from Frozen pretty much since it first came out, so for her birthday I told her I would make it for her.

This post is going to be the analysis about the costume. I've been doing some research, looking for tutorials and while lot's of people have made this costume there aren't any tutorials or walkthrough's for replica's (there are several non-replica tutorials for little kids, but none for more accurate and complete costumes), so I'm going to do my best to document everything.

Due to budget restrictions, I'm not able to make the cape for her (yet at least) so I will be focusing on the actual dress and some of the accessories.

I'm planning on starting with Simplicity pattern 1210, which I bought a while back. While it has the right shape in the bodice and skirt, it's going to need to be fitted. I can tell that much just from the pictures and from my experience with Simplicity patterns.

The "dress" is made up of 3 pieces - the skirt, the bodice, and the black undershirt. Each of which are separate pieces. In addition, I'll probably need to add a petticoat.




The Bodice - The bodice is made up of 4 panels. Due to this being animated and not real, they failed to add any sort of closure to this costume. I'm undecided on weather I should make the back pannel into 2 pieces and split up the design on the back, or if doing a side zipper would be best.

The bodice will need to be fully boned. It has gold bias tape around the top and bottom edges, and decorative designs on the front and back. Because I don't have an embroidery maching (and I really don't want to hand embroider all this) I'm planning on cutting out the pattern peices from another material and top stitching it on the bodice.

Under Shirt - The black undershirt is fairly simple, with long sleeves pointed at the ends going over the top of the hands (I've been trying to figure out what this is called for forever, so if anyone knows please let me know!). It has a stand up collar, which will probably require a little bit of light boning. Then there's a design around the neckline which I will probably end up embroidering.

I'm still undecided, but I'm thinking about making the shirt sewn to the skirt, making it one piece. That way the shirt won't ride up while wearing it.

Skirt - The skirt is a basic floor length paneled skirt, but there's more embroidery around the entire bottom of the skirt. I'm unsure of how I want to tackle this, but I will probably end up painting that pattern on.

Fabrics - I'm undecided on what fabrics will be best for this costume. One thing I always disliked about this costume was that it was a coronation gown, in the middle of summer, and yet because of the fabric it looks like a winter dress (and not a very fancy one). I've seen people make this dress from satin and I think it looks gorgeous! But I'm going to leave the decision up to my sister. For the black shirt, I

I'll be starting this costume after the new year, so that's all for now!

Dec 4, 2015

The Making of Alice | The Dress

Whew, it's been a while since I said I was making this post. I haven't been working on costumes during the last month because of NaNoWriMo, and I finally decided to edit the photo's for this costume!



This post is about how I made the dress, and I'll do another post on the apron soon. I drafted the pattern for the dress myself. I originally wanted to do princess seams on the front and back, but I was having trouble draping it so I went with darts instead.

For the basis of the pattern I used a drafting tutorial for making a basic bodice block and then made a few modifications for it to fit my costume. For the sleeves I just drafted up a quick pattern. Nothing too complicated since they're gathered, measurements don't need to be precise for puffed sleeves (which is why they're my favorite kind of sleeves to sew! lol)

The fabric I used was a blue broadcloth that I bought at Jo-Ann's. I purchased 6 yards but I only used about 4 yards. I'm hoping that I'll be able to make Belle's blue dress with the remainders since the color is perfect!

Anyways, on to the skirt! I used my circle skirt pattern that I drafted up back in 2011. I used THIS tutorial to draft it. Since I had already made a skirt using this pattern I didn't bother with a mock up, but ended up adding 2 inches to the bottom of it.



Because of the width of the fabric I was able to cut the full skirt in just 2 pieces. Below is my pattern, the left side of the fabric is folded so that this piece forms half a circle. I cut two pieces like this for my skirt. I cut the second piece down the center to make it into 2 pieces for the zipper.

 Next I zig zagged all the edges of the skirt to prevent them from fraying. After that I stitched the skirt together with 1/2" seam allowance, leaving about 5 inches open in the center back where the zipper will go. Then I stay stitched around the waist to keep its shape.

Here's the un-hemmed skirt on my dress form with my petticoat. I ended up pulling the petticoat up higher and adding a 2nd petticoat to get a better silhouette.

Next up, the bodice. I cut all my pattern pieces out of my broadcloth as well as muslin to flatline the bodice, which gives it more support.


I zig zagged my flatlining onto my broadcloth to hold them together and to also keep the edges from fraying.

Then I marked and stitched my darts, and I sewed the front piece and the back bodice piece together at the side and shoulder seams.


Next I started the collar. I cut 4 pieces in the broadcloth and 2 pieces in muslin to use as an interfacing. I didn't bother to serge my collar pieces since no raw edges were going to be visible and neither of the fabrics frayed that bad.

I basted the muslin onto my bottom collar pieces...

Then with right sides together on the broadcloth pieces, I stitched the front and back layers together on each collar piece...

After that I clipped the corners and around the curves. You do this so that it will lay flat and not pucker. It basically helps the fabric be more flexible.

Then I turned them right side out and ironed them and set them aside for the time being.

This is what my sleep piece looked like. I didn't do any sort of flat lining on the sleeves, as I didn't feel like they require it. After zig zagging the edges, I basted around the top edge where I would gather them when I set the sleeves in the bodice.

Then I stitched the sleeve at the bottom seam before pinning the sleeve into the bodice.

At this point I gathered the top part of the sleeve and fit it into the arm hole, matching the bottom arm seam on the bodice to the sleeve.


 After the sleeve was stitched in, I hemmed it. A trick I started using is to draw with a fabric pen where you are folding the sleeve. It makes it easier to fold the fabric over where you want it opposed to ironing, especially when you are working with small sleeves.

I marked out 2 lines, 1/2" and 1" where I would fold the fabric.

 I pinned it, then stitch it, leaving an opening under the sleeve about an inch wide. This is where I put the elastic in.


To thread the elastic in I fold the elastic over at the end and put a small safety pin on the end. I usually don't cut the elastic until after it's threaded all the way through. It makes it easier to pull it through when you have more than you actually need.



After it's pulled all the way through I cut the elastic to where I want it, then stitch the two ends together. Then I folded the ends flat and stitch them down once more. This keeps it more secure and less likely to come undone, as well as makes it lay flatter.


Now I attached the skirt and the bodice, using a 1/2" seam allowance.

Here's the back, where I left the skirt open for my zipper.

 Next I stitched my zipper in. For this dress I used an invisible zipper.


Back to the collar... Here's my pieces after being ironed.

I decided to attached the collar with bias tape. I made the bias tape from my broadcloth so it would match, even though you shouldn't see it. This was my first time making bias tape, and it's actually quite fun! I'm looking forward to the next time I need to make some for a project. :)


The collar pinned onto the bodice...

With the collar pinned to the bodice, I took the bias tape and pinned it right side to right side of the collar and stitched it, stitching along the fold line of the tape (which I think was 1/2")

After that I understitched the bias tape to keep it flat on the inside. Then I laid it flat to the inside of the bodice, and whip stitched it down by hand.


After that I hemmed the skirt and TA-DA! One Alice in Wonderland dress done!