Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tinkerbell and the Great Not Really A Fairy Dress: Halloween Part 2

I love Disney.  Although I was frightened at the prospect of having a daughter I have had thoughts of Disney costumes for little girls dancing in my head since we found out.  She was born in October and was very small so last year she just wore a Carter's ballerina themed outfit while I wore her in the Bjorn as my son Trick or Treated.  (I was recovering from surgery so I feel I may get a pass on that Halloween.)  This year my daughter was going to be a year old so I was excited to work on my first little girl costume.  I decided to go with Tinkerbell.  I had picked up two patterns:

Because why make one Fairy pattern when you can make two and confuse moms

I asked my friends and the consensus was the fancier Simplicity 1792.  I was game.  It looked a little harder, but I was totally up for it.  I look at that picture and I think "Tinkerbell".  She's a little fancier than the Ms Bell in cartoons, but Tink nonetheless.

At the fabric store I was concerned about making it too dark.  In my rush I went, in my opinion, too far the other way.  I think the green is called Celery.  I wanted to go with a subtle pink too.  On the bolt and in a pile with all the other fabrics they both looked more vibrant.  Instead once the dress was finished the celery looked very pale and the pink almost white.  I bought the Organza in colors that looked almost identical to the Satin.

Since Tinkerbell is the main Fairy I made the mistake of not really paying much attention to what View it was on the pattern.  You would figure Tink would be View A.  It even says A by her little foot on the envelope.  You, and I, would be wrong.  I completely constructed the top bodice using the instructions for View A which is the Blue (Silvermist-ish) dress.  This only became apparent when I went to put on the numerous tiny flower petals I had cut out and realized that I had completed and lined the top of the bodice.  I could have fixed this, but it looks complete and finished the way I sewed it so I let it be.  I was on a time crunch at this point so I was just happy it looked completed and a little relieved I didn't have to mess with all the petals.  I did, however, attach the petals at the bottom of the bodice.

At this point I was a little impressed with myself.  That looks pretty good.

Next is the skirt.  The underskirt is more Satin and the overskirt is Tulle.  So much Tulle.  Over six yards of Tulle for such a tiny little dress.  Needless to say, there was a lot of gathering involved.  I still managed to pull this off quite nicely.

Lastly, was the zipper.  Up to this point the dress, in my opinion, looked pretty amazing.  The problem came at the zipper (which is kind of a theme with me at this point).  The bottom of the zipper ends in the skirt.  The issue I had was trying to make it look neat while not completely ripping and destroying the Tulle in the back.  I don't have a picture of the finished zipper area in the back, but although it was a challenge it doesn't look too bad.   When we put the dress on her we only zipped it down to the waist.

The last part of this dress is the wings.  I thought they were going to be harder than they were.  The insides are made of a stiff netting and the outsides are the green organza.  The directions have you use pipe cleaners in a pattern on the outside of the wings secured with nylon thread.  I attempted this, but I couldn't get the pipe cleaners in the right pattern.  Ultimately I just went without and let them be a little floppy.  They fasten to the back of the dress with Velcro.

The sizes for this pattern start at 1/2 and then go to size 1.  My daughter is small.  She's started to become average height, but she's tiny otherwise.  I was paranoid that 1/2 was going to be way too small.  I should have done a quick muslin.  Instead I just made the size 1. Bear looks like she's being eaten by fabric.  I added a plain white onesie underneath for modesty.

Doesn't she just look thrilled with it?
Something I hadn't thought of was that the volume of this dress was quite impressive. (All that Tulle.)  So much so that we had problems buckling her into her umbrella stroller.  So my poor husband (seen here wearing his Jedi costume from a few years ago) had to carry her all around the Magic Kingdom.

Here's another thing I didn't think of and it became a missed opportunity.  The dress is so long on her it looks less like a Fairy costume and more like a ballgown.  Once we started wandering around the Magic Kingdom it became obvious her dress didn't look like all the other Tinkerbells.  It did, however, look like another Disney character's outfit....

Princess Tiana

If that had occurred to me before our vacation I so completely could have accessorized her better!  I could have added a flower and maybe made her a tiny crown at the very least.  Heck, if it had occurred to me before that night I could have bought her a Prince Naveen frog.  I can't believe I didn't see it before!

I really liked this pattern.  I don't think I would do it for a Fairy again, but as I was making it I was thinking about what a great Cinderella dress it would make.  I think I will make the wings again at some point.  It also made me more confident about making something more formal.  I think if I continue to make things like this I can definitely make formal dresses for her to wear for occasions when she gets older.   (If she lets me.)  I was really in love with this dress.  If it had fit properly and I hadn't had issues with the zipper I would say it was one of the more perfect things I've made.  Even without the petals at the neckline.  I may make her something simpler next year though and work back up to this again.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Mario Madness: Halloween Part 1

Blogging Halloween 2013 in January 2014.  Better than never, right?

I truly love making costumes.  I've heard the argument that it isn't worthwhile to make a costume that will be worn one night and then tossed aside forever.  I'm sure one year I will probably feel this way. (I know some kids like to play dress up so those costumes aren't discarded.  My Allie-gator has never rolled that way.  Maybe my Little Bear will when she's older.)  However, this was not the year.  The last couple of years our Halloween festivities have included being at Walt Disney World so I have made costumes for the whole family while we visit Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.  That alone would make it worth the time and effort.  Add to that the fact that I actively seek out costume wearing opportunities for my kids.  Library story times, community Halloween trails, anything where it looks like they can wear their costumes I make an effort to take them to enjoy.

My son is now seven.  This means he now has not only an opinion about Halloween costumes, but that he has more of an interest in having a "cool" costume to show his friends.  He requested a Skylander costume.  I had an idea for Tree Rex costume I was all set to start on.
Pic from wired.  This is the same look Bear gives when she misses her nap.

However, he finally, out of nowhere, decided he wanted to be Race Car driver.  No idea where that came from, but I was going with it.  On a Saturday we visited Joann Fabrics to pick out the fabric.  I was debating satins (manly satins) when Al saw the display of Halloween Patterns.  What should his wandering eyes see, but.....MARIO!

McCalls M6814 View A

Al loves video games.  Almost all video games.  I'm quite the fan myself.  I was immediately on board with this idea.  When I was a kid we had a Nintendo and one year my oldest and middle brothers went as Mario and Luigi and I was Princess Peach.  This was something easily made with the very cheap and plentiful broadcloth in easy to find blue and red.  Plus, the pattern looked simple.  (When you see the costume for my daughter in part 2 you may understand why that was important this year.)

I didn't take my usual dozen pictures of the costume from every angle.  I really had to look to find one.  We scored some fake facial hair at Target dollar area so we added a mustache and eyebrows.  My son has a thing about paint anywhere on him (no face paint, no temporary tattoos, etc.) so the fake hair worked for us because he could take it off easily.  Here's the best picture I could find:

Not pictured:  Pirates that had raided our hotel room and left that mess.
The outfit has the zipper in the front in the center of the jumpsuit.  I found, even with my zipper foot, this was hard for me.  Unlike a shirt of a skirt there isn't an opening on both sides.  The zipper also goes from the blue to the red so I had to either switch the threads while I was sewing or stick with one of them for the whole process.  I went with the red because it would look better on the top half.  I felt awkward about it though.  Even from a distance you can see the red thread on the blue.  The bib instructions were a little confusing for me.  I liked watching the hat come together.  On the pattern it just has a circle (trademarks, man) so I had to free hand the M. 

Here's a big ol' mistake I made.  When hemming the pant legs I wanted to put it on my son to get the right length.  I was working hard into the night.  My son was already dressed for bed (some of you can see where this is going).  I measured without making him wear full pants or, more importantly, shoes.  Once we got to WDW and he put on his costume it became apparent that it had been hemmed WAY too short.  Luckily, I had packed him some black boots that went passed his ankles so it was passable.  There were like at least three other Marios at WDW that night (and they all greeted one another every time they passed one another with "Hey, Mario!") and, in my very biased opinion, I think his costume looked just as good as their store bought ones....from afar.

When we came back to TX it was reasonably chilly for Halloween so he wore jeans instead of the shorts he wore on vacation.  I buy him boot cut jeans so he had about an inch or two of jeans passed where his jumpsuit pants ended.  He still didn't care.  He just liked showing his friends his costume and shouting "It's a me, Mario!  I'm here for some candy!".

I still really liked this pattern.  My kid was really happy with it (which is most important).  If I was going to make it again I think I would try to alter it so that the pants and top of the jumpsuit snap or Velcro together so if he had to go to the bathroom he wouldn't have to take the whole thing off.  I might skip the zipper and go with Velcro there as well.  The Buzz Lightyear costume from a couple of years ago used Velcro for the jumpsuit and I liked how that came together.  Just for my personal preference I might put elastic in the cuffs of the sleeves.  My favorite part of this outfit was the hat.  Which I wore on my own head whenever he wasn't looking.