Sunday, October 23, 2011

Costume Sewing and McCalls 5954

Thank you so much for all the lovely comments you all left me about the rabbit dress that I made my little friend. I’m very impressed with my NY stash additions as well. So much so that four pieces were washed and are in rotation for upcoming garments. One piece is done and I will blog about it soon so stay tuned. Tiny, in my last post you asked me if I made my labels. The answer to your question is no. I purchase my labels from Namemaker.

I’ve made my final decision on the lace for the skirt project. It will be in the works soon, but I have a few things I need to finish up first. A co-worker asked me to make her daughter’s costume for Halloween. The costume is Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. Picture is courtesy of

I used McCall 5954. I started on this project last weekend and worked on it this past week to deliver it this past Friday. 22 plus hours of work later and that's with a day job that's very demanding. I delivered a finished costume to a very happy mother. This project and I mean project took some planning and shopping for trim, because let me tell you, this project was not a walk in the park and there were a few scary moments. Below is a mini diary of my escapade. I hope you enjoy.

On Thursday (Oct 13th) the Mother tells me oh, my daughter is in a contest next weekend and we have stuff planned for her the following weekend. I think to myself (OH Sh.., she finally brought me the fabric last week and I haven't started this project yet. OMG!!!) Nothing like her telling me at the last minute that I didn't have another week to get this baby done. Hello!!! (Why did I take this project on? Project Runway here I come.)

Thursday night I started cutting fabric and did the markings.

Friday at lunch I started basting the bodice during lunch, so far every things looks pretty good. I also used Wonder Under for the first time. It's webbing that you attach to fabric if you want to make it an applique/iron-on. For those of you that don't know it, it's like stitch witchery or steam a seam, but it comes on a bolt like fabric. I’m not crazy about my client’s fabric choice, but hey, I didn’t buy the fabric. I feel that there should be some crushed velvet in here somewhere, it would make the costume look a little more richer and this kid would be a lot warmer. I’m trying to pace myself on this one because it’s so elaborate, but I also want to get it done. I want to work on my own stuff.

Tuesday ( Oct. 18) When I accepted this job, I knew that it would be time consuming and involved, but I didn’t realize how INVOLVED it would be. I sewed on Saturday morning for about 4 hours before I had to head over to my mother's and did some handwork over there in the middle of doing stuff for her. Sunday I did not sew anything. Took the day off to rest. I did go shopping at Joanns Saturday for a heart charm to make her choker. All I found were 2 fairly large red heart buttons. I think this will do with some Mod Podge and red glitter, the ideas are endless. Sunday I glittered the buttons. They look fantastic. My brain is flying all over the place. In the time it took me to make this costume, I could have made at least 3-4 new pieces of clothing for myself or a new blazer or coat, by now, and don’t let me get started about the sleeves and the painstaking slowness that I had to take to get them attached to the bodice. If you ever have to do sleeves for a 3 ½ year old, attach them flat. I followed the pattern directions and realized afterward that they don’t fit on the sleeve arm of my machine because they’re TOO SMALL/LITTLE. I can say that I was questioning my skills on getting this one done, and so far I haven’t had a problem. I guess I just needed to know that I could do it. Every time I look at this dress, I’m like Wow, I did that, and I’m loving the trim I picked out. It’s really made this costume. (Note to self, run over to Jomar and get some more of that trim, I need to incorporate it into a project for myself. I love it.)

Wednesday (Oct 19) Through trials and tribulations, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. All the hard stuff is done with not too much mishap. Last night I finished sewing the other sleeve on to the bodice and this one went on a bit quicker as I knew what I was doing. I also added the peplum. I have to say, this is some of my best work yet and I’m still amazed that I can do this. I’m still not use to sewing for others and it freaks me out a little bit. I’m always afraid that something will go wrong like getting grease stains on the white portion of the skirt while machine stitching on the hearts. Tide stick and baby wipes are a beautiful thing. I woke up this morning and the stains were gone. I almost had a heart attack just thinking that I might have to start part of this project over.

Thursday (Oct 20) Last night I sewed the back of the skirt on, attached the skirt to the bodice. That was not easy. With all the gathers in that skirt it was crazy trying to attach the skirt to the bodice and peplum Stitching it was not too hard. When I went to serge everything to make it look clean, that was another story. I thought at one point I broke my serger. The dag on fabric was just too thick and bulky. Bias tape is a beautiful thing. It hides things that you just don't want seen and can clean up a garment like nobody's business. I called my knitting students last night because I am going to need tonight to finish up this baby. This morning before I left the house I cut out the striped fabric for the choker a striped piece for the back of the collar, ironed on a piece of interfacing and sewed both pieces before walking out the door. When I talked to the mother earlier in the week, I told her I didn't need the striped fabric. She looked at me and asked, is there anyway you can fit it in anywhere on the costume. I don't want the fabric to go to waste. (Is she freaking crazy? I've been working on this costume till 12:30 every night this week. I'm holding my eyes open with toothpicks here. Oh, and did I tell you, Mr. D. hit a pot hole in the wildlife refuge near our house while riding his bike Tuesday night and flew over the handle bars? I had to clean him up when he made it home.)

Thursday night I installed the zipper to the dress. Did all the hemming and attached snaps to the collar and dress. I was going to add striped fabric to the hem of the dress per her agreement, but now looking at it, it would ruin the dress and since I'm the designer here, it's my show and I don't want this dress to look tacky. Also made ring to match choker. Every queen must have her accessories.

Friday, delivery of dress on schedule, my mini project runway is over and I'm exhausted, but I do have one happy customer/parent.

By the way, major shout outs and thank yous go to my girls Sheila and Cennetta for keeping me on track and sane this past week.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

My September Recap

I apologize for my absence but as they say, I took a blog vacation. I didn’t mean for it to be so long, but time got away from me. I have been a little busy though. I even met up with a few of you for the shopping day in New York. Here’s the loot to prove it.

This is what I got from Metro Textiles.

From the top row, the corduroy is from Mood, the two knits in the top row are from Spandex House. The bottom two fabrics are from Elliot Berman.

Sorry I didn’t take any group pictures, but my main reason for going was to buy lace for my skirt project that I talked about in my last post. Let’s just say trying to find 6-7 inch black woven lace is not one easy task. I was a little discouraged as I wanted to start on my skirt right away and then realized it had to go on the back burner. Anyway, I was able to find two different designs at Pacific Trim, and one oddly enough on Etsy.

It’s recycled but I don’t care. I think it very pretty. Here are my choices. The 2 on the top on Pacific Trim and the one on the bottom is the reclaim lace.

Let me know which one you like the best. Here is the picture of the skirt again.

To take my mind off of the skirt I decided to design a dress for my four year old girlfriend who lives across the street from me. She told me she wanted purple and I said okay. She even came over and helped me mark up her dress. Of course I marked it first and she went over the lines I had already made. I had the idea of making a romper so I purchased Simplicity 5489 which is a basic romper pattern that I picked up at Joanns. The corduroy fabric is from Joanns as well.

I decided that I wanted to place a bunny rabbit on it. That’s when the wheels started turning. Instead of placing a patchwork type shape of a rabbit on the dress, I decided to make it a pocket.

I found a picture/outline of a rabbit online, blew it up, traced it on to tracing paper and then outlined it making it bigger because it wasn’t big enough to use as a pocket. I cut 2 pieces of fabric, interfacing one of the sides to make it sturdy. After attaching the rabbit pocket on to the dress, I thought it looked a little plain so I added a ruffle to the top of the romper.

Since my little buddy is still getting use to buttons, I tried to make it easier on her since she is dressing herself and gave her snaps to close the romper.

Now to complete this outfit, what rabbit would not like something to snack on between feedings. Let’s just say the dress was a hit and my dear little friend ran off to go and play with her dress.

In knitting news, I did finish my sweater and got a chance to wear it before the cold wave set in.

It was a hit and I got a few offers but I stayed strong.

This baby is for me, and I love the yarn I used.

Up next, some more knitting for others and a new dress, McCalls 6118 to dance my butt off in.


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