Saturday, May 2, 2020

Slytherin Gibson Girl Undergarments

There are certain tenets of historical costuming that everyone knows, like always put on your shoes before your corset, or don't choose polyester to make your ren faire outfit unless you want to pass out from heat exhaustion. Probably the most important one, though, is to always get your undergarments squared away, including the corset or stays, before making the pretty stuff that goes on top. Which is why, when I decided to make a Slytherin Gibson girl outfit, I started with the shirtwaist and then backtracked to the undergarments without ever having made or acquired an appropriate S-bend corset. And when I say undergarments, I really mean middle garments, because I made a corset cover, petticoat, and bum pad, not a chemise and drawers. Can it really even be called a corset cover if it's not covering a corset? Well, you know what they say: you gotta know what the rules are so you can break them, or some such nonsense.

Case in point: you're supposed to sketch your goal look before making the outfit so that you know what you're aiming for. I drew this after I made everything because I forgot that it was required for my assignment. 


In Canada College fashion department classes, besides the regular homework and the final outfit (of which the shirtwaist is the top half), we usually have to also turn in a lab garment. This is just another full outfit (covering an entire dress form, so a top and a skirt, or a dress) that demonstrates the skills we are learning, so we have to include the quarter- and full-scale patterns with the garments to show how we manipulated the basic sloper. At first, I had grand plans to make a tailored jacket to go on top, but that would 1) not be a complete outfit covering the dress form, and 2) take more time than I have to do it well. I think I'm going to save that for when I take Advanced Tailoring at some point in the future. In the interest of making a related but faster/easier lab garment, I decided to make a corset cover (basically, a sleeveless top that goes over the corset to disguise the hard lines of its edges) and a petticoat.

From here


I'm so glad that there are a lot of images floating around Pinterest that show pattern pieces or drafts for how to make a corset cover; that made it easy to manipulate the sloper to "match" the historical pieces. I also looked at a lot of extant corset covers (thank you to the Met for allowing me to just search "corset cover" and not the usual generic "undergarments" because that really made it a lot easier than having to sort through thousands of other kinds of undergarments) to get an idea for what kinds of variations were permissible. You know, so that I could then ignore them and do my usual "ehh, that's close enough" thing. I shifted the bust dart to the waist and then converted that dart to gathers, and converted the back darts to gathering at the neckline. The peplum was made by putting together the top sections of the skirt sloper to take out the darts, almost like making a skirt yoke, so as to keep it low profile when tucked into the petticoat.

Quarter-scale pattern work.
The finished corset cover. 

The back! Compare to this one from The Met, which is looser. 



The front closes with buttons, plus a hook and bar at the waist and a ribbon at the top. I decided to go Bernadette Banner and make hand-worked buttonholes...and let's just say that it's a good thing these will be under the shirtwaist. I still enjoyed the process more than making machine buttonholes, though, so it was still a net positive.



For the petticoat, I referenced the excellent material collected on Sew Historically and ended up doing what were basically curved trapezoids that gathered at the waist with a drawstring, with the ruffle being just a long rectangle gathered to the hem of the trapezoids. Ideally I would have had lace at the ruffle seam, and probably some tucks to help hold out the ruffle more, but in the interest of time, I left it plain.

I'm glad the historically accurate finish for the waist is so simple: slap on some bias tape to make a casing, and no need to even add a placket or closure to the opening.
I used the rolled-hem foot on my machine to finish all the yards of hem. 


Since I don't have an S-bend corset, nor do I plan on getting one just for this ridiculous little project, it was imperative that I have a bustle pad to help get closer to the right silhouette. I just sketched out a little curved semi-circle shape like the one in this historical patent, cut it out of muslin and then stuffed it with Costco bear innards (one of my students gave one to SHB#1 without my prior knowledge/consent, so I've been slowly deflating it every time I need stuffing) and sewed on a piece of twill tape for a waist tie. Once again, Bernadette Banner's video was very helpful, even if I mostly didn't do what she did.



My hair has gotten ridiculously long (I haven't cut it since getting pregnant with SHB#2, which was three years ago, so it's down to the small of my back) so I figured I would give the Gibson girl hairstyle a try. I used the black pudding plushie I made nine years ago as a hair rat, then used oh, a hundred or so bobby pins to secure my hair over it. I think it worked fairly well for a spur of the moment hairstyle!

Of course, I realized *after* I did my hair that I was wearing a t-shirt and not a button-up shirt. Rather than take it off over my head to change, I had to awkwardly shimmy it off over my hips. Good thing it's just an old work shirt from Mr. Cation, so it doesn't matter that the neck hole got all stretched out! 

So here's what it all looked like together:

Oh hai, I'm the Chinese Camille Clifford knock-off. 

My hair was falling down in the back. Looks like a hundred bobby pins wasn't enough. 

Nice rounding out of the bum area provided by the little bustle pad!

And why are all these pictures so awkwardly cropped? Because the small human beings were entranced by Mommy's funny hair and clothes and were hovering around.



Summary

Pattern: Self-drafted, based on historical pattern pieces/drafting directions

Fabric: For the corset cover, I used a leftover piece of thrifted white cotton sateen sheet (the rest of the sheet went to a Princess Leia costume for a friend). I dyed it with coffee to get it match the lace. The petticoat is a (unfortunately) polyester microfiber sheet in a pale mint green that somebody gave me "because you like sewing with sheets, right?" I used it because it fits the Slytherin color scheme, and all my other sheets were too patterned or earmarked for other projects already.

Notions: Three very anachronistic clear buttons for the corset cover, and a hook for the waist closure. I ran out of bars so I made a thread bar for the first time! The lace for the top is from a vintage fair I went to eight years ago, so I'm glad I finally got a chance to use it. The bias tape for the petticoat drawstring casing is from my school librarian's neighbor's destash, and the drawstring itself is cut off of an old bathrobe.

Hours: A couple hours for drafting, a couple for cutting out, 1.5 hours for sewing the petticoat, and probably four for the corset cover. Total: let's just say 14.

How accurate is it? The corset cover should be made with thinner fabric and probably should have a drawstring at the waist, too. The petticoat should probably be made with stiffer fabric and have more lace, tucks, and ruffles.

Total cost: The fabrics were all stash, given to me, or leftover from other projects, so I'm going to say $5 when counting the little bit of lace, cotton sheet, and buttons. And once again, I didn't buy anything new!

Final thoughts: The corset cover is a little tight in the armscye and bust area, so I'm thinking of going in and adding a little triangular wedge at the side seam. Again, we're theoretically not designing garments for ourselves, but for a mannequin, so I'm not surprised, but I would like it to be a little more comfortable to wear. I think once I do that and get a blousier fit, I'll be pretty pleased with the overall "ooh, I'm in my historical undahwears!" look though!


Old-timey filter!




Friday, May 1, 2020

Flat Pattern Class



In this unprecedented time of #canceleverything, I am grateful for the things that have not been canceled. I've missed out on a historical dance, a historical tea, and a cookie exchange with historical costuming friends, as well as several birthday parties. My school's play, A Little Princess, for which I was doing historical costumes (sense a theme here?), was also canceled. What *is* still happening, though, is the Flat Pattern Class I'm taking at Canada College. Of course, it's been moved online, but I'm glad that I happened to be taking a class more suited to distance learning than say, tailoring or fashion illustration. Our professor is still showing how to do pattern manipulations on Zoom, and we are emailing pictures of our patterns and garments. Obviously, we don't all have mannequins on which to display or test our garments, but it's working fairly well, all things considered.





But back up a little: if you don't know what flat pattern manipulation is, it's where you take a basic sloper pattern (plain fitted bodice + sleeve + straight skirt with darts in "standard" places) and by shifting darts around, adding fullness, and contouring, can totally change the pattern pieces to make anything you want. I realized after the class started that I'd basically already been doing this to a lot of my TNT patterns in order to get the style lines I wanted for various costumes, but it was nice to learn it "officially" so that I could pick up on the little tidbits of information I missed as a self-taught sewist. Things like the industry standard for how far to back dart tips off from the apex (instead of my usual "ehh, that looks about right!"), or the proper way to add fullness (slashing and spreading at multiple points, then truing the stitch line, instead of my haphazard scooting the pattern piece over until it looked right...are you sensing a theme here, too?). I confess I do get a little impatient sometimes about the pace of the class, because I feel like all these manipulations are obvious, but then I have to remind myself to take a deep breath because not everyone taking the class has been doing this for years. Teachers really do make the worst students sometimes.



Anyway, so one of our assignments was to make a top with a sleeve of some kind and a collar that had a closure, and show the pattern manipulation work that went into it. I didn't want to make some variation of a cutesy Peter Pan collar on a button up shirt with puff sleeves, which which is what a lot of people went with. So I started brainstorming...and coming off of my mourning for the Victorian costumes that I made for A Little Princess that would never be worn, I decided that I was going to make a turn of the century, early 1900s-style blouse, with a high stand collar, bishop sleeves, and a full gathered front, pouter-pigeon look. And as I looked at the fabrics available to me in my stash (lots of gray, green, and black), I decided that I was going to go all in and make myself a historical Slytherin costume. The final garments for this class have to include a top and a skirt (or an entire dress...basically it has to cover a dress form so that it's dressed "decently"), and if I made a top for this assignment, then I could just make a skirt to complete the final outfit. Was I making a lot of extra work for myself, drafting such a complicated outfit? The answer is yes. Did I care? No. I'm using all my Canada College classes as an excuse to indulge in my love for historical fashion (see Exhibit A, Fashion Illustration classes, and Exhibit B, Tailoring Class).




Here's what my quarter scale work looked like. We're supposed to work out our designs in quarter scale first so that the professor can check our work, then we make the full-scale pattern and mock it up. I didn't bother with a mock-up and just went straight for fashion fabric, because 1) we're designing for a standard size 8 mannequin, which is basically my size so I have a fairly good idea how things should look/fit, and 2) my fashion fabric is thrifted sheets, so no big loss if it doesn't work out. I did dress it up more with some stash lace, which was so shifty that I had to hand baste it all in place before I could start sewing, so that was also obviously an excellent time-saving decision in this time of extra work due to home-schooling.

I'm pretty pleased with how centered I got the lace motifs!

I think the side profile has the right kind of poofy pigeon-breast look. 

Oops, Cecily's skirt, my stand-in until I make the real one, is slightly off-center. It's a thrift store find that used to be a too big, 90s-tastic, empire-waisted, tea-length, burnout-velvet dress, so I cut off the top portion and redid the top edge with a petersham ribbon facing to make it into a floor-length skirt.


The back closes with hooks and bars, as do the sleeve cuffs, mostly because I had lots of them leftover from our anniversary trip to the UK, where I found a vintage pack of a hundred at a charity shop. I've gotten a lot better/faster at sewing them on now, but I still don't like doing it and mine aren't particularly neat. But they're all hidden, and black on black is hard to see, so I think ultimately the pragmatic Slytherin thing to do is to get them done functionally and save all the agonizing over perfection for when Voldemort is actually watching the parts that are actually showing.

More Slytherin secrets: the inside seams aren't finished. 

I had to look up how to finish the sleeve placket because I haven't done one in oh, at least five years. 


Summary

Pattern: Self-drafted, but based on period illustrations/patterns like the one below.

Source: the Original Pre-1929 Historical Patterns tumblr is a treasure trove.


Fabric: Half of a full-size flat sheet in gray cotton sateen, thrifted and leftover from drama costume making, for the main blouse fabric. The yoke was overlaid in black lace from a 1/2-yard remnant that I bought from Joann's years ago. I don't know the fiber content anymore, but it's definitely synthetic. For the cuff and collar lace overlays, I used scraps from a remnant pack that I bought at the Dark Garden trunk sale years ago. The strip of black fabric for back closure was from another thrifted cotton sateen sheet scrap, and the bias tape binding at the hem is silk dupioni leftover from my Ursula bustier. I'm really pleased with how I've been able to use all leftover pieces of fabric from my stash for this!

Notions: Interfacing for the collar, cuffs, and back closure, pieced together from the leftover of my tailoring class coat, and souvenir hooks and bars

Hours: A couple hours each for drafting and cutting, another hour of hand-basting lace, maybe five hours for actual sewing, and then another hour of hook and bar sewing, so let's say 11 hours total.

How accurate is it? Like everything else I do, not really: a cotton shirtwaist would need to be in thinner material, and obviously synthetic laces are right out, but I tried to get the overall impression of the look right? I think the thickness of the sheet fabric prevents the gathers from falling as nicely as they should, but my pattern pieces are pretty good I think.

Total cost: It's made from so many little scrappy leftover bits, it's hard to say, but I would say definitely less than $10.

Final thoughts: It's hard not to focus in on the one mistake I know I made: I cut the center front piece wrong, so there's something wonky going on in the middle. Plus, the stiffness of the sheet fabric makes for an awkwardly puffy-looking blouse (as opposed to period-accurate puffiness), so I feel like I should go back and redo it. That would involve A LOT of seam ripping though, so I may wait until the full ensemble is done to see if it still bothers me enough to warrant fixing it. I am hoping that once I finish everything else (skirt, belt, and Eton jacket/bolero-y thing), the overall look will be good enough that I won't feel like I need to.

Fingers crossed!



Tuesday, April 28, 2020

I'm Part of the #ADCapeCult Now!


I've loved American Duchess for a long time, from their gorgeous historical shoes to the very helpful blog chronicling the making of various items of historical clothing, the accessibility of their Simplicity patterns and their informative Fashion History podcast. Somehow it escaped my notice that they had a Patreon page, but then all these costumers I admire and follow on IG were posting about making this 1912 wrap cape from a free pattern by AD. So now, a week of naptime/post-bedtime sewing later, I have a cape and am a patron of American Duchess!



I actually had this cape pinned ever since participating in the VPLL 1912 Project years ago, so of course I had to make it. It seemed like most IG-ers were either making neutral gray/black/brown versions, and a few people made capes in their Hogwarts house colors. I knew I wanted to go vivid, and I had a red brocade tablecloth that I got at a thrift store several years ago that I actually meant to make into a cape...but I'm so not a Gryffindor. In fact, when I took a Sorting Hat quiz that tells you what percentage of each house you are, I think I got something along the lines of 67% Slytherin and 33% Ravenclaw, and zero percent Hufflepuff and Gryffindor. In other words, if you want someone to learn a lot of information and then use it for their own ambitious ends, while not caring about other people or the right thing to do, then apparently I'm your person. *insert laugh-crying emoji here* I think I had a genuine existential dilemma for five minutes about making a red cape when I'm so not a Gryff, but in the end I decided I wanted a red cape too much, and  since I was lining it in black satin, I could just call it a Fire Nation cape. Not that entire fictional countries must match up to Hogwarts houses, but I really do think the Fire Nation (as evidenced by its royals) is the most Slytherin nation in ATLA. Nerdy crossover fanning aside, though, I'm so glad I went with the saturated dark red, both because that's one of my favorite colors to wear, and because if you're going to make an impractical historical cape, you might as well go the whole way and make it an impractical color too?



The AD pattern is done on a tiny grid, like Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion books. When I was making JA patterns, I enlarged them by drawing on the back of wrapping paper that was printed with a 1-inch grid. I don't have any gridded paper anymore, so I scaled up the pattern by plotting it on medical paper (which is very thin and see-through) laid over my gridded self-healing cutting mat. It took a couple hours (with lots of interruption from kids, so YMMV), then another couple of hours to plan the layout on my tablecloth and cut the pieces. Somebody on IG pointed out that the shoulder seam notch on the cape piece didn't make sense grain-wise, and many people pointed out that the cape was two inches too short on the back piece when you walked the back-cape seam. Putting together these two pieces of information, I decided to rotate the cape piece back two inches: this makes the hem line up and also puts the grainline perpendicular to the floor when worn. Other than that, I didn't have any issues with making up the garment. The darts did take forever to mark and pin, and my polyester fabrics were tricky to press well without getting a weird shine (thank you, silk-organza press cloth and wooden half-dowel), especially on the collar. I also decided to make the cape theoretically reversible, so that meant changing up the collar fabrics and putting the contrast piece on both sides. Hemming the back piece at the end also took a couple of tries before I got the tablecloth and the satin lining to hang right together. To add some additional visual interest to the cape, I decided to add little chain tassels to the collar corners to mimic the buttons at the shoulders on the original cape. The cape is secured at the ends of the wrap pieces with hooks and eyes.

I seriously love this tablecloth. 

Annnnddd...flipped!

And worn flipped. 



The finished cape is just delightfully full and twirly and swooshy and good for dramatically storming about. If I were Snape (because a chemistry teacher is just a step away from potions professor, right?), I could flounce about most pleasingly! My only regret is not checking the shoulder fit before cutting and sewing: with my wide shoulders, the only way to get the shoulder seam to not sit obviously too far in toward my neck (and therefore make the cape hang funny) is to wear the wrap portion too loose. It's not the end of the world (that would be coronavirus), but I just wish I'd thought to check. It's been so long since I've sewn a new pattern that I forgot what issues I usually need to adjust for.


Why is red so hard to photograph in the only somewhat-still-lit corner of our backyard when we sneak out to quickly snap some photos while the kids have their half hour of screen time? Oh wait, I think I just answered my own question...


Summary:

Pattern: the American Duchess 1910s Wrap Cape pattern, free on their Patreon page

Fabric: a thrifted dark red poly-cotton brocade tablecloth, and black polyester satin from a friend's destash for the lining. I'm really pleased that I was able to make this suddenly-jumped-to-the-head-of-the-sewing-queue project entirely from stash materials.

Notions: three sets of hooks and eyes from a charity shop that I got on one of our anniversary trips to the UK, and two chain tassels that used to be earrings that I got at a clothing exchange.

Hours: Five for prepwork (scaling up the pattern, layout planning and cutting, pinning darts), then maybe another three for sewing and an additional hour for evening out the hem, sewing hooks and eyes, and adding tassels, for a total of nine hours.

How accurate is it? My fiber content is obviously anachronistic, but in terms of general look and "passing," I'd say pretty good!

Total cost: A whopping $5 for the tablecloth!

Final thoughts: How can you not love a cape? It's impractical, especially with young kids who see such a giant expanse of fabric as basically a giant napkin, and of course there's the fact that I made outerwear from non-breathable fabrics right as the weather is heating up, but I regret nothing. I'm so thankful that AD put out this pattern at this time, and I'm glad I can support their business even a little bit by being a patron.



Saturday, February 29, 2020

A Bed for Buddy Bear

SHB#2's favorite things right now are the colors pink and purple, flowers, butterflies, ladybugs, and taking care of her best friend, i.e. a stuffed bear almost as big as she is, named Buddy Bear. I'm not really sure how this happened, because I have most definitely not been pushing her toward (if anything, I've been pushing away from) stereotypically feminine colors or iconography or expectations for future childcare responsibilities. She does also enjoy large trucks and construction vehicles and Star Wars, but I'm trying to be a good feminist by not only not pushing her toward traditional feminism, but also not looking down on those interests if that's what she honestly enjoys. To that end, February's Kraft-tex project was for her.



When I got the February's Kraft-tex color of the month package, Orchid, SHB#2 immediately claimed it as her own: "Oh, eet's poh-poh! Eet's my favorite!" (i.e. it's purple: I love the way her toddler self pronounces things.) She's also been wanting a bed for Buddy Bear; ever since starting preschool she's been wanting to reenact her day with her bear: feeding it breakfast, doing circle time, teaching it songs, taking it to the potty, and putting it down for a nap. That last one is tricky since it's been established that the stuffed animal bed is a dog bed that's in SHB#1's room, but most of the time we need to leave the door to his room closed lest she destroy his Lego builds, so she could really use her own stuffed animal bed. I figured the size of a Kraft-tex sheet (18.5" x 28.5") was about the right size for a very shallow tray that would look more or less like the dog bed, since in SHB#2's mind, that is what stuffed animal beds look like.

With a little pillow because I had some scrap muslin and batting. 


Since I still haven't taken my machine in for servicing (hello, #onepersoncostumeshop season), I knew I wouldn't be able to do anything that involves joining two layers of Kraft-tex together without getting unsightly gaping or weird stitch tension issues, and ideally I wanted to be able to flatten the bed and potentially harvest the Kraftex after she gets over this stage of play, so I thought for a long time about how to make a tray that fit those parameters. I ended up lining the Kraft-tex with a piece of flannel (pink, with ponies and butterflies and flowers, per her choice from my stash) and then doing some experimental folding to get it vaguely tray-like. Once I figured out how I wanted to fold the corners, I creased all my fold lines with a hera marker, then used those lines as guides for stitching. I also made two channels along the long edges so that I could insert large cable ties (leftover from corset-making) to help keep it from being quite so floppy. Then it was a simple matter of using my awl to punch holes in the ends and then threading some ribbon through to tie it all together. I was originally going to insert grommets for sturdier and more photogenic ribbon holes, but TBH my customer did not care and has already claimed the bed for use, so maybe I'll go back and insert them later. But probably not.

So much pink and purple. I just folded over the edges of the flannel and zigzagged all the way around the edges. It's not the prettiest but it's functional and I think actual bias binding would have been too thick for all the folding. 


Here's a diagram showing how I did my folds and stitches and holes. The corner squares are 4" x 4", and all the lines inside the rectangle represent stitch lines where I sewed the flannel and Kraftex layers together. In addition to stitching, the dashed lines represent valley folds and the dotted lines represent mountain folds; the dash-dot lines that were NOT folded are my additional lines of stitching for the cable tie channels. Lastly, the circles mark where I put my ribbon holes. I punched these with my awl through all three layers at once when the entire thing was folded up (with WonderClips to hold the edges in place) so that I could be sure they would line up with each other properly. The final tray is just the right size for Buddy Bear, but still leaves a large flat portion of Kraft-tex in the middle that can be reclaimed and reused when SHB#2 no longer needs it as a bed. The ribbons also make it so the bed can be "taken apart" and flattened should it need to be stored away.
I feel like the SAT Math test, having to post a disclaimer that this diagram is not to scale. 

Perfect size for Buddy Bear (who, in case you want to know, is from Target's Cat and Jack kids' bedroom line).

All tucked in!

Of course, most people don't need very shallow tray beds to fit this very specific bear, but you could use this same principle to make a different sized tray depending on your needs, and maybe you'll actually take the time to put in nice grommets!



[Note: C&T Publishing provided the Kraft-tex for this project.]

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

A Brandy Cinderella Dress for a Small Human Being

Cinderella was my first favorite princess. My dad likes to remind me that when I was in preschool, he read the Disney Cinderella book to me every night at my request until he had memorized it. Cinderella was the reason why my parents started calling me Cindy (because my name is not actually Cation), and I watched the movie so many times that I have to think it must have had some effect on my eventually learning to sew, because I'm pretty sure it has the longest sewing sequence in a kids' movie. My parents were too frugal to ever buy dedicated costumes or dress-up clothes, but no doubt I would've worn a fancy Cinderella dress to rags (in a bizarre reversal of the movie's progression) had I owned one. I don't love Cinderella now (I much prefer my princesses to have more agency and badassery, like Mulan), but I will always have a soft spot in my heart for her. So when SHB#2's best friend, K, who loves Cinderella and dressing up, turned three last month, I knew I wanted to help make her princess dreams come true.

Here's the catch: K loves the 1997 Brandy version of Cinderella, and not the classic animated Disney one. There are tons of tutorials and patterns out there on teh interwebs for the classic Disney dress, but not much for Brandy's ball gown. Thankfully, at last year's D23 Heroes and Villains costume exhibit, the Brandy gown was on display so there were plenty of good reference pictures available even though the film came out awhile ago. I picked up a couple of different light blue sparkly fabrics from Joann's remnants selection (I make exceptions to my no new fabric buying rule for gifts, but even then I try to shop the remnants for small pieces that other people may not want) and started plotting about how to make this dress happen for a very small human being.


I love that  on the left you can see an Asian guy dressed as Paolo Montalban's prince taking a picture of the dress on display...I mean, how often does one get a canonically Asian, non-animatedprince?  


Having taken the evening gown construction class, I now know that a waist stay and boned bodice are essential for having a strapless dress stay up, but obvious I wasn't going to be putting such structure into a child's dress. Also, the fabric I found for the bodice was stretchy, because I wanted this to be a comfy, easy(ish) to put on fun costume. I decided that clear swimsuit elastic was the way to go, in the form of straps to hold up the top while the little droopy sleeve swags just hung decoratively. I knew that K and SHB#2 were more or less the same size, so I used one of her tops to draw up a vaguely raglan-sleeve-type pattern, where the sleeve had enough room to fall off the shoulder to look like Brandy's dress. I sewed some pintucks on the front and back to visually mimic the Vs made by the rhinestones on Brandy's dress, and added some pearls and silver beads from my stash to give the suggestion of a jeweled dress without covering the entire thing. Since the velvet is sparkly, I think the overall effect is sufficiently fancy. After semi-blinging out the top, I cut and attached a circular ruffle that was longer in the back to match the peplum on Brandy's dress.

Sorry, these are really not the best pictures because 1) glittery/sparkly throws off my phone camera, 2) our house does not get great light, and 3) SHB#2 was grabbing me while I was trying to quickly snap some pictures before wrapping it up to leave for the birthday party.

Tiny silver and pearl beads at the bodice neckline! Also, the tiara was one I bought for a costume party in high school, wore once, and forgot about until my mom was cleaning and found it and gave it back to me. I figured it should go to a little girl who could actually appreciate it. 
Back!


Brandy's skirt has layers and layers of fluffy tulle, but I couldn't find a good color match at Joann's. I did find half a yard of this nylon net with embroidered glittery flowers, though, which I deemed to be good enough. I layered it over some white dotted net (leftover from this top) and periwinkle blue knit fabric (leftover from making Mulan costumes) to get the blue-ish layered look, which worked pretty well, I think! The three layers were gathered into a white 2"-wide soft elastic waistband, then I hemmed the knit, innermost layer with some horsehair braid to help it stand out and away from tiny feet. The dotted net layer I left unhemmed, and the outermost embroidered flower layer has a whopping five inch hem. Since I didn't want a line of stitching going around the skirt, I just hand-tacked the flowers together where they overlapped. The nylon net is sheer enough (and there enough going on in the underlayers) that the overall effect is a mostly invisible hem, with the added bonus of the wide hem helping the overskirt to poof out more. With such a generous hem and the elastic waistband, there's plenty of room for growth (at least in the skirt, if not the top) for years to come.

Sparkles and glitter abound!


You can see the three layers of fabric here. 
Here's a close-up of how I folded over the outer layer. The flowers lined up very nicely, and the stiffness of the embroidered flowers at the bottom also help to keep it from collapsing in on itself. 


I think the finished outfit was received pretty well, considering K put it on right away and has been wearing it regularly ever since. I know the Selfish Seamstress (oh how I miss her presence in the sewing blogiverse!) says that sewing for kids is not to be done, but alas, motherhood has changed me and I am less selfish about sewing for others now. That said, I'm still only going to sew fun things, like costumes!

Blurry again, because have you ever tried to get a photo of a three year old in the evening, indoors?


The only problem is that throughout this process, I kept trying it all on SHB#2, such that by the end she thought it was for her. She was a little disappointed that it went to her bestie, so I think this means I need to make a floofy princess dress for her now...