Saturday, 31 October 2015

Happy Halloween

Sooo, Happy All Hallows Eve people.

I'm posting today instead of tomorrow, as today I have my niece's Halloween costume to show you.  But first, a question:

When did Halloween get so complicated?!

When I was but a nipper, the costume ideas were pretty simple and limited:
  • witch
  • vampire
  • ghost
  • mummy (if it was dry and you didn't mind being covered in loo roll).
These days - no!  This year, my eldest niece is being Maleficent (I can see how that one works and her costume is pretty ingenious and she's done it herself) and the youngest, Evie, wants to be a Monster High cheerleader!  And this is the costume she wanted me to make:

Now, I for one I have never heard of this monster high shizzle - I keep confusing it with High School Musical - now THAT would be a Halloween costume.  Anyway, I had to google it and spend what felt like hours with Evie going through the pictures until we found the one she wanted me to copy.  This is after she had asked me to make her costume of course - she'd spent ages telling me what she was doing for her costume - I never twigged that she wanted me to make it . . . bad auntie (but still fabulous).

I would just like to say that I may not have watched Monster High, but I did watch Disney's Descendants the other day, and I loved it!  Total Disney Geek up in here!

So, anyway, after that, I knew what was expected, and I had an idea of what I was going to do.  A google of children's dresses of the shape required all seemed to be jersey - not a problem I thought, and at least it would me comfy for her.  My sister, however, had other ideas  "I've bought you 5 metres of some black fabric for Evie's costume - it was only £1 a metre."  Immediate alarm bells,  

An inspect of the fabric confirmed that, as suspected, it was not jersey.  In fact, I'm not entirely sure what it is, but you can definitely guess that it was £1 a metre,  If has the weight of heavy suiting, but feels scratchy as hell.  It is also the most horrible fabric ever to cut - give me heavyweight denim any day rather than this, which has pretty much blunted my otherwise nice sharp scissors.  Best find somewhere to get them sharpened.  Dear sister, if you are reading this, never fabric shop without me please - I may not buy £1 a metre fabric, but there is a very good reason for this.  Apparently she wants to me to make her a dress from what is left . . . I don't think my scissors can cope.

So the appearance of this apparently bargainous fabric meant back to the drawing board.  As the fabric is a woven, a jersey pattern was never going to work.  Eventually, I found Simplicity 1382, which had the skirt I wanted and the front bodice was pretty perfect for what we were doing.  I had seen this pattern a while ago and was going to buy to make Evie a party dress for her upcoming birthday, but she's decided she wants an elephant costume instead!!!  Even better, this pattern came in girls plus sizes.  Now, Evie is by no means fat, but she towers over the rest of her class, who all seem tiny and frail in comparison.  She is nearly as tall as her sister, who is 10, but built like a whippet - all skinny and gangly.  You couldn't get two sisters less alike in this respect.  Evie is also, like me, largest at her waist.  If I had bought the standard pattern, I would have had to make her an age 12.  With the girls plus pattern, I am making an 8 1/2, with a grading to 10 1/2 at the waist - much better.

So I traced the pattern off the main pattern sheets, thinking that I can use the pattern as she grows for further dresses if I don't cut into it.  Evie had decided to go for view A, with the heart cut out in the back.  I thought she would go for the other for this costume, but I have no objections to the heart cut out.  The pattern calls for facings from the same fabric, but as I don't like it, I decided to do  the facings with some pink  cotton I had bought to do the 'Monster High' motif on the front, but then realised I didn't actually need.  Maybe it was fate . . .

I don't think I did a bad job in the end:

This was a project done little and often.  One night cutting main fabric, another cutting the facings and interfacing them.  Another yet 'decorating' the front bodice piece.  Never has so much thought gone into how to attach some ribbon or where an M and a H should go.  A lot of measuring was involved.  I eventually got the motif central and then realised that the ribbon totally wasn't.  Luckily, nothing had been sewn down, so it was quite simple to rearrange the ribbon, which was actually from my stash, and the perfect colour.  I only had enough to do the neckline though.

I would just quickly like to share with you my ingenious way (or I think so anyway) of tracing the motif to the bondawebbed fabric - simply blu-tack the fabric to the laptop screen and trace.  Well, it worked so it is a method I will be sticking with.  Also meant that it was really easy to re-size before tracing, rather than printing out a gazillion versions.  The screen acts as a little light box  too.

I made the motif from white fabric from my stash and then appliqued around the edge with hot pink to get the desired look.

Once this was done, I could start on the actual construction . . .

Actual construction was pretty simple and straightforward and would have been even easier had the fabric been garment, or even quilting, weight fabric.  I finally figured out what the fabric my sister bought was - I do believe it is upholstery fabric of the type used to upholster office chairs.  I also discovered that when pressed, even though I was sensible and used a pressing cloth, it gives off a distinct, strange, sherbert smell.  Surely this can't be a good thing?!?

not a perfect zip insertion, but close
enough and there was no way I was
unpicking and doing it a second time!
It probably took me a couple of hours to do the main construction, but I did it in little bits here and there.  I substituted the lapped zipper of the pattern for an invisible zipper, as I find these easier - I know, I know, strange, but I just cannot get my head around lapped zipper insertion.  I'm sure it will click one day, but for now invisible zippers all the way for me.  Then it was time for Evie to try on the dress.

I love the back of  this dress
I already knew that the skirt was waaaay too long.  If I held the waistband up to my waist, the he of the skirt reached my knees.  Now, I know I am far from tall, but that was ridiculous.  After trying on, which in my amazement fit perfectly (check me and my pattern grading out), we agreed that the skirt needed about 6 inches taking off it, which I did.  As the fabric was so bulky I decided to hem using the bias binding technique.  I used self-made bias, for which I used a scrap of hot pink habatoi from my stash.  I made just enough, which was tres lucky - that skirt hem is longer than it looks!

Once the skirt was hemmed, it was simply a matter of stitching two pieces of ribbon - one white, one hot pink, along the hem to complete the look.  Et voila!  One costume for the niece.

Evie was extremely excited about her costume, and other than the icky fabric, I quite enjoyed making it.  I have plans to make her another in a simple cotton, which should be a lot easier to work with.  Then my mind started running away with itself and planned a sequin/glitter and duchess satin version - we'll see about that one . . .

In the meantime . . .

Happy Trick Or Treatin'


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