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Archive for the ‘simplicity pattern’ Category

For my own records, and also in case anyone is interested, I wanted to give an update on my #epicdressproject!

As I mentioned in my first post about this project, the goal is to make up to seven Disney-bounding outfits (mostly retro-inspired dresses) for our upcoming trip to Disney World.

From November through the very beginning of March, I was sewing up a storm and cutting into old sheets like it was my job… trying out a number of potential patterns and getting them fitted to myself.  This post will be about all the patterns I tried, and will end with my “final cut” of the patterns.

  • The very first dress I attempted to make was a surplice bodice + 3/4 circle skirt from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book.  Unfortunately, even though I muslined it from a sheet, my attempt to make a wearable practice version from a rayon-like fabric failed miserably.  First, I had a very bad experience inserting the lapped zipper (I suspect that I stretched the fabric as I was working with it…
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    And once I fixed the zipper (I spent at least a couple hours with that darn zipper), the dress fit terribly.  The bodice gapes and sags unflatteringly, and I just don’t have the skills that I need to adjust the pattern, especially in the time crunch I have for this project.

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    my “wearable muslin” attempt (fail). It may look ok here, but there are definitely problems with it. 

The first round of dress patterns I bought was from Simplicity.

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  • I love both views of Simplicity 8051; I graded the midriff pieces between two sizes and shortened them by 1″ for a better fit.

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    Simplicity 8051A muslins: before and after

  • I made a muslin of the bodice of Simplicity 8439 (view B), but I was unhappy with the way it was fitting in my shoulders, so I’ve decided to put that one off indefinitely.
  • The first muslin of Simplicity 8096 (view B) needed SO much work.  Husband is an absolute gem, and he patiently helped me pin and take tucks enough to see that it was worth putting in the work.  I ended up shortening the bodice pieces by TWO INCHES in order for the horizontal bodice seam to end up in the correct place.  Shortening the bodice also went a long way toward correcting some of the other issues, so I feel confident that this dress will work out in the final version.

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    Simplicity 8096B muslins: before and after

  • I decided that I didn’t like the silhouette of 8592 enough to attempt it, so I returned it unopened (I had other patterns that I liked more).

The next round of dress patterns was from Butterick:

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  • Currently, I’ve only tested Butterick 5209 (view B) from this set.  Again, I needed to grade the midriff pieces between two sizes and shorten them by 1″ for a good fit.

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    Butterick 5209 muslins: before and after

  • I’m keeping Butterick 6018 because it is a fantastic silhouette, and I’d like to make it, but at this point, I’m going to work on the outfits for which I’ve purchased fabric before starting to fit another pattern.
  • If I have time and/or need more dresses for my wardrobe, I’m keeping 6556 and 6094 (a new copy) to hand for now (I’ve made 6094 twice before: comic book and mint-chocolate style!), but it is likely that I will end up returning these unopened.

I’ve also successfully fitted two patterns from from Tilly and the Buttons: Love at First Stitch (<– Amazon affiliate link), the Delphine skirt (see my denim one HERE), and the Mimi blouse.  

Finally, I’m also going to be making the fantastic Abrazo tee from Blank Slate Patterns (<– affiliate link) to go with one of those skirts.  You can see my past Abrazo tees HERE and HERE

So after all that, here’s the summary of outfits I hope to make:

  • Simplicity 8051, view A
  • Simplicity 5209, view B
  • Simplicity 8096, view B
  • Blank Slate Patterns Abrazo tee + Tilly and the Buttons Delphine skirt
  • Tilly and the Buttons Mimi blouse + Delphine skirt
  • Simplicity 8051, view B

I already have much of the fabric that I’ll be using, so stay tuned for a post about that!

 

 

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I’ve made several sets of matching PJs for my son and Husband, but up until this point, V and I didn’t have any matching PJs!  Well, when I made my lavender pajama pants for VBS this year, I had excess fabric– enough to make a pair of pants with V!

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Of course, I used my tried-and-true favorite kids’ PJ pants pattern from Blank Slate Patterns, and V sat on my lap to help me sew as I put these together.  I’d found a perfectly coordinating lavender tank top on clearance for $1, and so her outfit was complete in less than an afternoon.

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I thought it would be especially fun to have these matching PJs finished in time for our family vacation this year, but I realized that I didn’t have a great top to wear… until I remembered that I’d also found a $2-on-clearance 3XL men’s T-shirt in the exact same lavender, intending to turn it into a Blank Slate Texana Tank for next year’s VBS.  It was the day before we left, but this is another TNT pattern, so I was able to whip it up in about 2 hours from start to finish!

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My PJ pants are a modified version of Simplicity 1504, but I adjusted them slightly again for this version.  I’m still not completely happy with the pattern, so I’m still on the lookout for a better women’s pajama pants pattern.

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One last little detail– for VBS, we’re supposed to wear our team bandana every night so that we can be easily identified, so I’d used my lavender bandana as a faux piping/trim at the cuffs of my PJs. I managed to eke out enough from my bandana scraps to add the same trim to V’s!

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After I had so much fun with family Christmas pajamas last year, I decided to go for them again this year!  I decided to continue the “tradition” (if it’s only 2 years, is it a tradition yet??) of choosing a fabric that has images to relate to something our family has enjoyed in that year.  When I was browsing flannels, I found this great camel print, which of course made me think of the Slugs and Bugs’ Camel Song! Our whole family loves this song, and even though we’ve been listening to this album on repeat at Christmas for years now, the camel song makes me laugh every time.  So, I bought the camel flannel (which is also fun to say five times fast…).

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The pajama pants for Husband and I were made from Simplicity 1504 (lengthened for him, modified for me), and I brought out my beloved Blank Slate Patterns Snuggle PJs pattern for the kids’ pants and shirts.  I bought (at a very good price) 3 matching long-sleeved T-shirts from Old Navy, and after putting one aside intact for Husband to wear, I cut up the other two to make matching shirts for the kids.  I wanted to use a fourth to make a Texana Tank for myself, but I completely ran out of time!  Thankfully, I had a RTW royal blue t-shirt on hand that coordinated!

Merry Christmas from our family!

 

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The part of Wendy was played by our 6 (almost 7!)-year old daughter.   (Find the group photos HERE)

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For V’s costume, we referenced the Wendy from Disney’s animated movie.

The pattern that I used for this dress was Simplicity 1507, this time in the girls’ sizes.  This is a tried-and-true old friend of a pattern.  Remember the princess dresses in the past?  Sofia and Elena were both adapted from the little girl/toddler size range of this pattern, and my mom made V a couple dresses from this pattern, too!

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I widened the neckline to make it more of a boatneck look, and I also modified the skirt.  The pattern’s original skirt was a wide rectangle, gathered quite a bit at the waistline.  I decreased the width of the waist seam so that the gathering was more of a 1:1.5 ratio, and I swept out the hem so that it was fuller (the resulting piece looks more triangular).

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I used costume satin to sew the dress, and since it was so very shiny, I decided to use it wrong-side-out for the main dress.  I used the shiny side to bind the sleeves and to make the sash and hairbow.

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V was very excited to have her hair curled for this costume, and on Halloween morning, we even got up extra early before school so that I could curl it again for costume day at school.

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our sweet Wendy Darling

 

 

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So… funny story about the fabric for Husband’s Star Wars pajamas

Somehow I did some very poor addition and the first cut of fabric I purchased for his pajamas was only enough for either the shirt or the pants, but not both…and with a significant amount left over after making either one of those pieces.  There was enough left to make pajama pants for the kids, so I had the bright idea that they could have coordinating jammies with Daddy!  And then I sort of felt left out, so I purchased even more fabric so that I could also have coordinating pajamas!

The kids’ pajamas are made with the Blank Slate Snuggle PJs pattern.  I actually had a hard time finding just the right navy blue knit fabric for the tops… and in the end, I found just the right color in some men’s Hanes T-shirts!  I bought three 4XL shirts and cut them up for the new PJ shirts for the three of us.  I also added white piping at the cuffs of the pants so that they’d match Daddy’s pajamas!  The shirts are trimmed with white knit fabric to mimic the white piping.

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For my pajamas, I modified the pajama pants pattern from Simplicity 1504, and I made myself a Blank Slate Texana Tank with a placket made of the same Star Wars fabric.  It should have buttons, and it *will* have buttons in the near future, but I didn’ t have matching buttons on hand!  I finished these three sets of pajamas on December 23, and I didn’t want to make a trip to the store to get more in time!

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And so in the end, our whole family has coordinating pajamas!  I am pretty excited about this, and there’s a very high chance that we will have more matching jammies in the future!

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Last year, I promised to make my beloved Husband some pajamas for Christmas… except I didn’t get to them until this year!  Right before Thanksgiving, I completed this set for him.

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I used Simplicity 1504 (shirt, pants) and lengthened the pants by several inches.  In future incarnations, I’ll also lengthen the sleeves for him.  In the end, I was impressed with how nice the pajamas look, but I will say that the pattern itself is terribly written.  There were a number of missing markings on the pieces, and the directions themselves were only so-so.

There is piping on the shirt and on the pant cuffs, and I’m pretty proud of how it came out– this is only the second time I’ve used piping, and the first on a garment!

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I love this Star Wars fabric, and I wanted to do do as much pattern-matching as I could.  The ships are level across the pant legs, and I was happy that I could highlight an X-Wing on the shirt pocket…

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…and a happy coincidence resulted in the ships lining up all the way down the back of the shirt and pants!

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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!”

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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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Last but not least, possibly my very favorite of our costumes this year– Husband as Flynn Rider.

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The main part of this costume is the vest Flynn wears, of course.  I started with Simplicity 4059, view B and made some pretty significant modifications.

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I found a woman who made a Flynn Rider costume beginning with the same pattern and blogged about it in 2011, and her documentation of the modifications she made to the vest pattern (she also started with Simplicity 4059) were extremely helpful, as were her detailed notes on the vest Flynn wears in the movies.

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We chose a faux suede in a slate blue that I found on clearance+sale at JoAnn.  I bought two yards and spent about $9 on it!  I consider that a good deal.  We pored over screenshots of Flynn’s vest and analyzed and studied it some more.  I added some width and length to the pattern so that the front would overlap and the torso would be long enough for my tall Husband.  I also “drafted” faux yoke pieces for the front and back and we marked out what seemed to be miles of topstitching lines.  To give the vest the loft in its quilting, I padded the main torso section with a layer of flannel (an old sheet!)  and the yoke sections with an additional double layer of flannel before doing the quilting. Husband drafted the collar (my brain was fried)

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We collaborated to figure out how to recreate the hook closures.  Husband bought a short length of brass chain at Home Depot and took apart the links– half of them were twisted to form hooks, and we left the other half of the links “whole.”  We devised fabric mounts (for lack of a better word) that involved tiny buttonholes and fabric loops…I was glad to finish that portion of the vest!

 

Husband wore khaki pants and a white button-up shirt he already owned, but we wanted him to have the rakish adventuring boots that Flynn has–without having to buy much.  Husband had the brilliant idea to turn an old pair of brown pants into a spat-like device that covered boots he already owned to give them to floppy fold-over top (they are also lined with pieces of yet another old sheet!).  We used a swatch of pleather to make Flynn’s spats.  I sewed elastic to the corners to make loops, and we added large brads from my scrapbook stash to look like the studs on Flynn’s.  I didn’t have brass brads, so we used a yellow permanent marker to color some silver ones.  I was amazed what a difference they made!

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To top it all off, Husband grew a beard and shaved it to a goatee for Halloween weekend.  Look at that smolder!

 

 

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Our almost-two-and-a-half-year-old son played the part of Pascal in our family costume this year!

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We started with the basic jumpsuit in Simplicity 1765 in the smallest size published, but it was still over 10″ too long for our boy, since the pattern is really a “child” sized pattern, not a “toddler” sized pattern.  We shortened the pattern and also took out quite a bit of bulk on the side seams.  Since we were making a chameleon outfit and not a dinosaur, we lengthened the tail and changed its shape a bit.  When the suit was assembled, Husband added some strong twisted wire into the stuffing of the tail, and we used that to curl it up.

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I changed the feet on the pattern to be more like Pascal’s three toes, and instead of making mittens, which B would have hated for restricting his ability for holding onto things, I modified the feet to make something that is effectively a wristband with three big puffy toes that come out over the hands.  The wristbands are held together with Velcro.

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We hand-stitched the head and eye ridges onto the hood and added fabric eyeballs.  To make the eyes, I cut two large circles out of white cotton (old sheet, of course!) and ran a long stitch around the perimeter.  I added some polyfill inside and cinched the stitches.  On the first one, I used a marking pen to determine the placement of the iris and pupil, removed the stuffing and flattened it again. Based on this marking, I used freezer paper templates to paint the iris/pupil onto the flat fabric circles, then cinched them up again with stuffing inside.  At the very end, I added a little catchlight (the white dot) in each eye, and it absolutely amazed me how much of a difference it made– the eyes suddenly looked friendly, rather than staring.

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The hood (as well as the hand-toe wristbands) is lined with some fabric from an old dress shirt of Husband’s.  When I realize that there was a likelihood of the lining being visible, I knew I needed to use green fabric– and the only reasonable green I had in my stash was this shirt.  Before I cut anything, though, I made sure that I could also transform the shirt into an apron!  The hood lining was cut from the upper sleeves– it is amazing how much fabric goes into a sleeve!

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Stay tuned for Flynn Rider!

 

 

 

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When we first started discussing the idea of having our family do a Tangled costume this year, it was obvious that V would be Rapunzel, but we debated who would play what other characters.  I absolutely nixed the idea of being Mother Gothel, and after briefly considering Husband and I dressing as Pub Thugs, we eventually settled on my dressing as Maximus, the royal guard horse.

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Instead of taking the costume too literally, we decided to stylize things a bit.  A full horse suit would have been an overwhelming amount of work, and I was already overwhelmed by the amount of sewing for this year’s costumes as it was!  First, we chose a medieval-style dress pattern and added a brown belt to call Maximus’ harness to mind, then topped things off with a stylized horse mask.

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The dress is Simplicity 1773, view A, and I wanted a full lining, rather than just facings, since I was sewing it with plain white cotton– an old sheet, to be precise!  To create the lining, I made a second dress, but without sleeves, and attached it at the neckline (as the facings would have been attached).  I sewed the lining to the armholes with a machine stitch, and hand-stitched the zipper opening to the zipper tape in the back.  The lining has a simple overlocked hem, and I did a single turn hem on the outer dress.  I had the sheet and thread on hand, and the zipper and elastic were among sewing notions that I’ve been handed-down from people recently (thank you, thank you, thank you!), and so the only thing I had to purchase for this dress was the buttons.  I didn’t want to spend much–there are nine on each cuff!!!– so I got super cheapo buttons at Walmart: a pack of 20 for $0.88.

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Husband was in charge of the accessories, and honestly, I don’t know which one is the better show-stopper!

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My horse-head is made from white posterboard (another thing we purchased for my costume).  Husband found an amazing horse mask when he was searching for ideas, and we thought it was beautiful (and prohibitively expensive for our costume purposes!).  As he looked at the pictures, he said to me, “I think I can recreate that!”  And he did.  (His spatial reasoning skills continue to amaze me).

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To create the leather medallion that Maximus wears on the front of his harness, Husband turned to an excellent tutorial on the Epbot blog for making craft foam look like leather.* He used scraps of foam I had leftover from another project and traced Rapunzel’s kingdom’s sun emblem onto the medallion using a template and added the horse’s name, since he spotted it in a closeup in the movie.  The only other thing we purchased for this costume was the gold wax to add the gilding effect.  Of all the characters in our costume, I think I probably needed the most explanation, so it was nice to have such a stylish “nametag.”  It slides onto the belt (from my closet) with a foam loop he adhered to the reverse of the medallion.  After I fasten the buckle, the medallion slides over and covers it.

Stay tuned for Pascal and Flynn Rider!

 

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