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Archive for the ‘Project Princess Dress’ Category

So, it turns out, I wasn’t done with Project Princess Dress.  No, we aren’t going to Disney World any time soon that I know of, but V really, really, really wanted a Princess Elena dress for her birthday or Christmas.  She saw one of her friends receive one at a birthday party, and instantly from that point onward, Elena was her favorite princess.  “A princess-superhero, Mommy!”

http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Princess_Elena

Vivian’s birthday is a whole ‘nother story (to be blogged soon!), but as Christmas approached, I started looking at purchasing an Elena dress.  And I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I had to make it myself.  It couldn’t be that hard.  Ha!

I had only about a week to make the dress.  I’d already committed to making a quilt for my son for Christmas, and the PhD ornaments went later into December than I’d been expecting.  I worked on the dress in every spare moment that I could eke out of that last week before Christmas day.  But it was absolutely and completely worth it in the end.  The joy on my daughter’s face when she opened the box on Christmas morning was priceless.  (She even said, as she started unwrapping the gift, her last one of the morning, “I hope this is an Elena dress!”  Thank goodness it was!)

Elena dress: designed and sewn for Vivian for Christmas 2016

Elena dress: designed and sewn for Vivian for Christmas 2016

I began by using the bodice pattern pieces from Simplicity 1507 and grading them up to an approximate size 5 (My pattern is the set of smallest sizes) by mimicking the spacing between sizes shown on the printed pattern (does that make sense?).  Then I cut the neckline wider and slightly deeper in the front and back.

Elena dress: designed and sewn for Vivian for Christmas 2016

Elena dress: designed and sewn for Vivian for Christmas 2016

To shape the skirt, I started with the petal panels Husband and I drafted for the Sofia dress (modified for the increased bodice size) and basically created a full A-line underskirt by redrafting them and changing the angle.  Husband was moral support as I eyeballed the side slit featured on Elena’s overskirt.

I had the red fabric on hand, and I turned to my old-faithful collection of white sheets for the underskirt and bodice lining.  The ruffle was another story.  I spent quite a bit of time in the fabric store trying to find just the right material.  In the end, I layered a pale pink glitter organza over a bright coral crepe for just the right color– and the abstract glittered roses gave just the right swirly look.

Elena dress: designed and sewn for Vivian for Christmas 2016

But it was also a royal pain to gather!  I kept the layers together by doing a rolled hem on the outer edge and a narrow overlock on the inner, to-be-gathered edge.  Since I don’t have a ruffling foot, I gathered all of those ruffles by hand with a double basting stitch!  Thankfully my math worked out right and everything looks good in the end.  I tapered the ruffles at the top of the side slit so that they wouldn’t be too floofy.  Oh, and the glitter.  Good heavens.  It is not glued onto the fabric securely, so my craft room looked as though a glitter bomb had detonated!

Elena dress: designed and sewn for Vivian for Christmas 2016

Last (well, almost) came the belt.  Before I inserted the zipper,  I secured two layers of ribbon around the waistline.  The gold striped ribbon is actually lightly wired!  It came from a gift package we received this season–it was so perfect, I couldn’t not use it, so I machine-stitched it into place.  Along the center of the gold ribbon, I used fusable tape to adhere a narrow coral ribbon.  Finally, I hand-stitched a rhinestone buckle to the dress using clear thread (that was a bear!!).  Husband used wire clippers to remove the central bar, since it went lengthwise rather than along the short direction that I needed.

Vivian is Elena of Avalor!

Elena dress: designed and sewn for Vivian for Christmas 2016

It makes my heart happy to hear this girl go charging through the house to save the day!

 

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I wrote a post about V’s Sofia dress last Halloween, since this dress was the first in the princess dress project.  That post shows more of the details of the dress and its construction.  But for completeness, and to conclude the Project Princess Dress series, I’m going to write about Sofia again.

But first, I want to say how much I enjoyed Project Princess Dress.  It made me so excited for our trip.  I got to live vicariously through my daughter, and even better, I got to see how absolutely delighted she was to dress like a princess each day.  It was so gratifying that she wore her dresses all day each day, even when it was quite chilly (we had layers for underneath, a lovely cloak made by my mom, and a blanket for in the stroller!).  I just kept thinking that I was so, so glad that I had dedicated all the time to make these special dresses for her.  I don’t regret it one bit!  Our memories of this first Disney trip with our children are even more precious because of her delight in being and seeing the princesses.

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V wore the Sofia dress on the day that we went to Hollywood Studios.  We attended a character breakfast, the Disney Junior Play ‘n’ Dine, and were so happy to see Sofia there!  As soon as she spotted Sofia, V’s eyes were glued to her as she made her way from table to table.  Even though both my kids were intimidated by the larger-than-life, silent plush heads of the characters, V didn’t hesitate to hug Sofia!

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It was difficult to get a full-length photo of the V and Sofia together in the restaurant to show off their dresses, but I was really pleased to see how similar they were. I might be biased, but I think I liked V’s better! 🙂

 

See all of the Project Princess Dress posts by clicking HERE.

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I would be remiss in the Project Princess Dress series if I didn’t make specific mention of the princess cloak that my mom made for V.  As we planned our trip, we knew that the weather would be variable and possibly chilly in FL at this time of year (January).  I know that when I used to dress up to go out trick-or-treating, nothing spoiled a costume more than to have to put on a “regular” coat over it because it was cold.  I had the idea to make a cloak for V, but I just didn’t have the time.  My mom is awesome, and when I mentioned the idea to her, she took it and ran with it!  She created this beautiful cloak for Vivian that was just perfect, based on a tutorial HERE.

It is made of a soft and drapey navy knit fabric with a shiny herringbone braid trim.  The button to close it is a giant crystal rhinestone (isn’t it awesome?!).

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We were very, very glad that Vivian had her cloak! It was really cold today.

Vivian was "super" excited about her new princess cloak, which she thought was another superhero cape.

Vivian was “super” excited about her new handmade princess cloak that she received from my mother for Christmas, which at first she thought was another superhero cape!

 

It turned out that it was even colder than we’d expected (or packed for!) while we were in FL.  The cloak was perfect.  V wore it every day (with layers under her dress as well, sometimes!), and it complimented every one of the princess dresses.

 

See all of the Project Princess Dress posts by clicking HERE.

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I’m pretty sure that the Rapunzel dress is my favorite.  🙂

After the craziness of the PhD ornaments in November and December, and the frenzied sewing to get Cinderella and Belle finished for Christmas, I was pretty worn out.  But I kept thinking about the Rapunzel dress, and the inspiration for altering the dress pattern I’d been using (see below for details) just popped into my head.  Once I had it in my head, I couldn’t do anything else until I’d sewn it.  It took me about of week of “free” time to finish.

We gave this dress to Vivian as a surprise on the morning of the second day we spent in Magic Kingdom.  She had worn all three of her other dresses already, and it was fun to see her reaction to a dress that she didn’t know that I’d made for her!  It was especially fun because when we had been packing for the trip, she had told me that she wanted to bring her dress-up Rapunzel dress so that she could be Rapunzel at Disney World.  I told her that we weren’t going to bring it, and she was disappointed.  But I said, “You’ll see…there might be some more magic…”  Little did she know at that time that there was a finished Rapunzel dress just waiting in the other room to be packed!

The first thing that we did when we got to the Magic Kingdom that day was to go and see Rapunzel.

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About the construction of the dress:

Rapunzel is a modified view A of Simplicity 2463.  I have to say, I am quite proud of my modifications.  First, I made the center bodice front narrower (the lacing effect would have looked odd with it as wide as the original pattern). I added interfacing and stitched the ribbon “lacing” into place before assembling the bodice.  I changed the upper bodice front: Instead of it being one piece (see the Cinderella dress for reference), I made it two pieces so that it comes down from the shoulders and meets the edges of the new center bodice front.  This meant that the binding changed a bit (but it was actually easier to attach than on the Cinderella dress!).

The skirt is two layers.  The under-layer has a contrast front panel and the rest of the panels are dark purple (glitter) satin.  I made an over-layer that came around the front to meet the side seams of the center bodice panel.  Using my embroidery machine, I machine-embroidered a design down the front of the skirt panels, ending with a corner design at the hem.  (I would have liked to embroider the entire hem, but it took a long time to embroider, and it was pretty stressful to get it just right!)

I interfaced the flat sleeve pieces and topstitched rows of pink ribbon to create the stripes, then proceeded with the sleeve construction.  Similarly to how I finished the Cinderella sleeve hems, I pleated the hem of these sleeves (rather than gather).

 

See all of the Project Princess Dress posts by clicking HERE.

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V dressed as Cinderella on the day we went to Epcot.  Cinderella is her favorite of the princesses, and we were going to be attending the Akershus Royal Banquet (princess dinner) that evening.  We ended up seeing Aurora and Jasmine in the World Showcase, too, even before we got to the dinner!

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(more about my outfit HERE)

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About the construction of the dress:

This dress is view A of Simplicity 2463.  I made the sleeves from a contrasting organza sprinkled with sparkly stars, and used the same organza to make the peplum.  It took some research to figure out how to make that peplum (and I’m still not sure I could repeat it!), but they turned out okay!

The pattern calls for a gathered, elasticized sleeve hem, which I did at first, but V really didn’t like it, and I don’t blame her.  The organza was stiff and scratchy, so they were uncomfortable.  Instead, I removed the elastic and took a tuck in the hem, and I LOVE the result.  They look more like Cinderella’s sleeves and are much more elegant and properly finished-looking.

 

See all of the Project Princess Dress posts by clicking HERE.

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Way, way back when we first found out that we were going to Disney World with Husband’s family and had booked our tickets, I decided that V should have some princess dresses.  In fact, I wanted to make a different princess dress for her to wear each day of our trip!  (Yes, I was living vicariously through her.  I love the princesses, too!)

We do have lots of princess dresses in our house– a generous neighbor family gave us their daughters’ dress-up clothes, and V loves them.  However, I wanted something sturdier and more functional–an actual dress, not a play-dress-up-dress– so that there would be a chance of V wearing the dress for the whole day.

I wanted it to be a surprise for V, too.  At first, the plan was for V to know nothing about the dresses before we actually went on our trip, but as I considered how much time and effort would go into the dresses, Husband and I decided to spread out their “reveal.”  There were five days of visiting the parks on our itinerary, and I realized that I would have to make one dress per month to meet my goal!  We made a list of V’s favorite princesses: Cinderella, Rapunzel, Belle, Sofia… and based on the complexity of the dress decided to make Sofia’s first.  In order to get even more “bang” out of the project, we ended up using Sofia as the basis of our family Halloween costume!  Because I ended up making myself a gown and my son a suit jacket for Halloween, I ended up with just four princess dresses for V, but I still think I did a pretty good job of meeting my goal!  We tried to plan it so that V would match a princess we were planning to see on each of the days.  V received Belle and Cinderella (post coming on Friday!) dresses for Christmas gifts.

Vivian in her Belle dress, plus cloak sewn by Grameen

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The shoulder drape is a bit askew here– but I thought the photo was just so cute!!

V wore the Belle dress on our very first day in Disney World– we went to the Magic Kingdom.  We had a FastPass+ for “Enchanted Tales with Belle,” and it was completely magical.  As we entered the park, music from Beauty and the Beast was playing! At the attraction, Vivian had a wonderful interaction with the actress playing Belle.

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About the construction of the dress:

After Sofia, I realized that I needed a “real” dress pattern, not a costume pattern, to work with.  I found Simplicity 2463, which had a really versatile set of variation options, and a V-shaped waistline that is common to many of the princesses’ dresses.

Belle is pretty much a straight-up sew of view E of the pattern, but I changed the shoulder drape.  I cut matching yellow organza on the bias and made it into a tube.  I gathered it at the middle front and stitched it in place, adding three large pearl beads.  I finished the ends of the tube, gathered them and stitched them on either side of the zipper in the back.

When V opened the dress on Christmas morning, she was so excited about it that she had to put it on right away– and she ended up wearing it for the entire day!  I was so happy that she was so comfortable in it.  She had no problem wearing it for the whole afternoon we were in the Magic Kingdom on our first day in FL!

See all of the Project Princess Dress posts by clicking HERE.

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Our family costume this year was inspired by the fact that we are going to Disney World in January.  V LOVES the princesses, and I have this grand plan to live vicariously through V and dress her in a different princess dress each day that we are there (we already knew I was crazy, so let’s just leave it at that!). As I discussed with Husband how much work this would be, we developed the plan to overlap Halloween with the first princess dress.   I am glad that I started so early, because this dress took almost all of my free time in September, plus more time in October to finish the details.  It turns out that there are a LOT of details on Sofia’s dress!

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I began with Butterick 6113.  Let me tell you, it is a terrible pattern.  I immediately started modifying it.  In the end, I had essentially re-engineered the entire dress, with help from Husband.  I replaced the bodice entirely with the bodice from Simplicity 1507, and the petal-shaped overskirt and peplum were shaped by Husband (I got so frustrated, I had to call for reinforcements!   He’s pretty awesome, even though he won’t touch the sewing machine himself).

The outer dress is made from violet polyester glitter satin (JoAnn’s Casa Collection), and I used white cotton (upcycled from a bed sheet) for the lining and underskirt.  There are yards of white pom-pom trim stitched onto the skirt edges, and I sewed a darker violet grosgrain ribbon parallel to the hem of the underskirt.  Husband painstakingly traced the shapes for Sofia’s distinctive petals-in-circle emblem, cutting them out of white cotton and fusing them with double-sided fuseable webbing onto each petal of the overskirt.

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I used a satin-stitch to “embroider” the loop design on the bodice:

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Of course, Sofia needs her Amulet of Avalor.  Husband took a lot of time to choose just the right cubic zirconia pendant and amethyst beads at the craft store, and he added pearl beads that we had at home to string the necklace.

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At the very last minute (literally an hour before we went to the pumpkin patch, while V was napping), I whipped up a crinoline to go under her princess skirt to give it more fullness…but I might write more about that in a later post.

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