Sunday, 31 July 2016

Princess Rose

Sooo, after making the ultimate prom dress for the eldest nieceling, I didn't want the youngest nieceling (age 8) feeling left out, so I decided to make her a dress too.  My idea was simple - make her a little sun dress for her holidays, as they were going abroad for the first time ever.  I also decided to make a dress I knew which I thought would make it easier and quicker.  I also thought I would have loads of time to get it done, and I was being uber prepared.

I chose Simplicity 1382, which I have in my stash in the half sizes, which are perfect for Evie, as she is not the dainty little 8-year old that all her friends are - she is nearly as tall as me and built like me, bless her, not that that ever stops her doing anything - she is the most active child I know.  She never stops moving.  She should be a lat like her sister, but the curse of looking like me is that even though she dances pretty much everywhere and is on the trampoline at every opportunity, she has to wear age 12 clothes.  I think its because she appears to have an allergy to walking anywhere - I used to be the same though.

Anyway, in my uber preparedness, I traced out the correct size.  I have made this dress for her before for Halloween (see here) but she has grown since then.  I then went and bought the fabric, which I had seen in Boyes ages ago and knew would be perfect for the nieceling as she is a girly girl and anything pink is fine with her.  Personally, I avoid pink really, but she luuuuurves it.  I'd even bought some sparkly heart buttons to go with it.

Then, I got on with Georgia's prom dress, which thanks to the 30 metres of organza than needed hemming with horsehair braid took me about a week longer than I thought it would, vesting cutting into my sewing time for Evie's dress, but I was determined to get it done.  So, once I had finished and delivered Georgia's dress, I started on Evie's straight away.  I remembered from last time that I didn't really like the facings for the bodice.  They just didn't seem right.  So I decided to fully line the bodice.  And then, in my infinite wisdomosity,  I decided if I was lining one bit, I might as well line the whole thing and decided to line the skirt too - well, it would sit better wouldn't it.  And then, my wisdomosity (or lack thereof) took over and I decided to add some puff to the skirt and put in a layer of netting.  Of course, I decided to do all this with only two and a half evenings of sewing available to me, as they were going on holiday on the Saturday so  I had to deliver on the Friday.

Luckily, I remembered that I really enjoyed making this dress, so it was no big deal to me to have to sit and sew really.

Construction was pretty straight forward - princess seams to the front with a waistband.  The back looks complicated, but really isn't.  It is sewn the same as any dress I would make for myself with a lining or all in one facing and then given a good press. 

I had to scratch my head a little to figure out the best way to put in the zip (which I am happy to say went in almost perfectly first time), but I figured it out in the end - zip first, then add netting and lining . . . and simples.

Then I delivered to the nieceling.  She didn't seem too bothered about it at first, but she wanted to know why I had arrived without her uncle Philip (my husband), and then when he did arrive, she was only bothered about him.  People think that she is ours because she looks so much like me and barely leaves his side . . . . I have to assure the people that I am not responsible for her.  I also put it down to the fact that she was excited for her holidays, and hungry as takeaway was taking forever to arrive.

Anyway, when I got home, I got a text from the sister with some photos of her in it, and apparently Evie thinks that she is now a princess as there is only one of that dress in the whole wide world.  And she is right, she will always be a princess, just as I am a princess, or now that the nieces are here, Queen Auntie Holly Fabulous, The Most Awesome (I gave myself a small promotion).

So there you go . . . This is now known as the Princess Evie dress.  I wonder if she'll want some more in different colours.  Or, just different pinks.

Anyway, I can now, finally, get on with some sewing for me!  Starting with some alterations and repairs.

Happy Crafting!


Sunday, 24 July 2016

Disney Descendants Prom

Soooo, as promised, this is the second prom dress I made this year, and this one is for my niece, who is 11.  I know, right, what 11 year old has a prom?!?!  When I told people I was making a prom dress for my niece, they all assumed that she was 16 or older, which I am offended by - do I look old enough to have a 16 year old niece?!?!  They're not to know that it is totally possible because my sister is 7 years older than me.  I am offended!!!!

Anywho, when I found out the eldest nieceling was having a prom, I assumed her tom-boy self would insist on wearing a suit, but when we were watching Disney's Descendants (it's a Disney Channel movie and I highly recommend it) one day, she decided that she would quite like a dress like the one Evie (daughter of the evil Queen from Snow White) wears for the coronation ceremony, which looks like this:

I tried to convince the nieceling that she wanted the purple one, but she wanted to the blue one.
The other nieceling might want the purple one.

After I got over my shock, we decided that this would be an awesome prom dress, and she agreed, providing she could wear it with some Converse.  The fact that she wanted to wear a) a dress and b) something not black astounded me and her mother so much that we agreed straight away.

twinkly organza
So, the hunt for the pattern began, and I finally came across McCalls M7124, which was nearly perfect, so I ordered that and then waited.  There was no point starting too early as she is currently wont to go through growth spurts on a weekly basis.  I did order the fabric though, which was some twinkle organza and crepe back satin from White Tree Fabrics, together with some horsehair braid from Minerva - 30 metres of the stuff.

Anyway, when measuring the nieceling, she confirmed that she did not want a full-length dress, but a knee-length version.  Not a problem my mouth said . . . . aaarrrrgggghhhh mayday! mayday! my brain said.  How was I going to shorten the flounces?  I had no idea.  I spent two weeks thinking about this, getting out the pattern pieces, folding  them, unfolding them, googling for help (none forthcoming).  I needed to chop about 19 inches off the things.

I eventually had a eureka moment, but I didn't write it down, so I couldn't now tell you exactly how I did it, but I shortened at the lengthen/shorten line as much as I could and then took some more off from somewhere else.

I could get on with the cutting out then.  This took me nearly a full day.  I kept getting bored and going to do something else.  I had  to cut out 6 flounces on the fold and then another 12 individual ones.

Once all the cutting out was done, construction was actually fairly straightforward, if very time consuming.  I've added it up, and sewing together the flounces and then hemming the things with horsehair braid took me over 16 hours in total - that is over two whole work days!!  The dress section was really simple - a princess seamed bodice (which I make all the time for myself) and a panelled skirt, although you have to baste the flounces to the skirt before sewing the panels together, and the instructions how to do this are confusing and the line drawings misleading, but I figured out I'd done it wring straight away, so I only did one wrong.

I decided to add the yoke from View A as I didn't want to have Georgia worrying about pulling her dress up all night, and I used french seams in the end on the shoulders.  I used some satin bias binding from my stash on the neckline, but only had enough for that, so the arms are turned under and sewn.

It took me a day to sew up the rest after I had done the flounces and I was tres happy with it.  It is very heavy though . . .

I walked into Ilkers and bought a very sparkly box to deliver it to the nieceling, and she seemed to like it.  Here she is in it with her Converse, which I can confirm are sparkly:

The nieceling says she is never getting rid of it and will save it for her nieces. . . .

So, once I had finished this, I started on a quick sun dress for the other nieceling for her holidays, which I will share with you soon.

In the meantime . . . 

Happy Crafting!




Sunday, 10 July 2016

Lady In Red

Soooo, sorry for my absence recently, but this is the reason why, or one of them, anyway:

This is the prom dress I have made for my friend, Katie, who had her sixth form prom to attend on 1st July.

She asked me to make this back in January/February when we were rehearsing for Panto (she played principal girl) but the only specifications were red and lace.  Katie is not a frou frou girl so I envisaged a slinky Jessica Rabbit-style number and initial signs were promising for this.  However, when it came to sitting down and deciding on the dress, Katie went for an entirely different dress.   I would have loved to have made that Jessica Rabbit number though.

The final decision was a fit and flare style dress with an open back.

No, I didn't make the boyfriend to go with the dress.
I'm not that good . . . . yet!

We spent some time going through my patterns and magazines (of which I have a lot) to find a pattern and in the end adapted New Look 6143 from my stash (which I believe had now been reissued as 6392 now and I now teach as a Haberdasherholic class). 

I kept the front as per the pattern pieces but hacked the back.  I've hacked the back previously for my favourite flamingo dress, but this was another level of hacking.

To hack the back, I basically left nothing there.  I cut the back as per my flamingo hack and then drew a diagonal from the centre back top and bottom to the seam line at the sides.  This gave me my basic pattern pieces.  I added a bit of overlap at the centre back as I wasn't entirely sure what I was doing with them, then it was time to cut, cut sew.

The front bodice and skirt were lined with red satin, so those pattern pieces needed to be cut out, then everything needed to be cut out in red lace, which I ordered from White Tree Fabrics.  There was no scalloped edge on the lace I chose so I could just cut away without having to think about that and then think what to do with the hem next time.

I've made this dress a few times now, so sewing up the bodice front and skirt was fairly straight forward.  I underlined the bodice front pieces with the satin and treated them as one piece, I then decided to fully line it too.  I treated the skirt lace and satin pieces separately, then joined them for pleating at the top and sewing to the bodice.  I also added a single layer of red tulle to the skirt to make it stand out a little and a little swooshy . . . I love a good swooshy skirt . . . I also like the word swooshy . .  .

Not too much to say about this process really.

I chose to go with a button and loop fastening at the back in the end, as well as a short invisible zip in the skirt portion.  I'd just been teaching some of my sewing students how to do a thread loop so I must have been feeling inspired.  The buttons are some cute hearts I found on eBay.

So, when Katie can  to trying the dress on, we were struggling a bit with the bottom of the back portion.  She has a bit of a sway back and I just couldn't figure out how to do that alteration on a dress with an open back like this, so we decided to do away with the bottom bit of the back altogether.

To finish, I spent hours searching for some red lace trim - do you know how difficult it is to find the correct shade of red?!!!  I couldn't find any lace at all.  In the end, I found some ribbon with a scalloped edge in Samuel Taylors in Leeds, but they only had 2.5m.   I was at desperation point by now so took it and hoped for the best.  Luckily, I had just enough to do the hem, phew, but not enough to do the lace edges, so they were turned under and sewn down.

And that is it.  

and the open back . . .

I think Katie liked her dress - it did stress me loads - but sewing for other people always does and I should learn this and either say no or charge a fortune for stress money - I do neither.

Now, I'm on with another prom dress - a Disney Descendants inspired number for the eldest niece.  I'll share that with you once I've finished it and got some pics.  I hope that it is going to be (in the words of the niece) Epic!!!

Happy Crafting!

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