Thursday, October 23, 2014

Princess Tiana Costume

It's the week BEFORE Halloween weekend and our costumes c'est finite!  That's just not normal.  I should be sewing and frantically hot gluing at the last minute.  I think this year it helped that the girls had a definite decision on what they wanted to dress as, rather than flip flop every other day to something new.  

This girl completely surprised me with her choice.  She picked Princess Tiana from Disney's The Princess and the Frog movie.  We've only watched pieces of the movie, so I had no idea she liked Princess Tiana.  My guess is that she likes the green dress and the fact that there are frogs involved - she LOVES frogs!  So of course I made her a felt frog bag for trick-or-treating.  BTW, if ever googling for "frog purse" for inspiration, beware.  Yeah, some folks actually make purses out of frogs (<shudder>).

Back to the dress!  I was planning on making this a strapless play dress with velcro back, but that seemed to be more complicated than going all out and making a nice dress with zip back.  So after going back and forth, I decided to modify the Caroline Party Dress pattern to make the costume.  I actually like that there are cap sleeves to the dress rather than it being exactly like Tiana's - more appropriate for a four year old.  

I made the bodice like the pattern instructions first, and then attached the petals to the bodice front.  There was a lot of guess work and manipulation of sewing the petals to get them to stand up and get the look I wanted.  The light green petals are topstitched to the bodice, however the top green petals are not topstitched completely on - instead I hand tacked them on from the back of the petals so that they stand away from the dress a little and add some dimension.

BTW - the light green fabric is a satin backed crepe - not horrible to sew with.  BUT the darker green is the crappy costume satiny stuff with gold glitter flecks.  It's a nightmare to work with.  There were sparkles stuck to my cutting board and it's nearly impossible to iron.  But it's what she wanted so I made it work :)  

The skirt was interesting to construct!!!  I just kinda went for it and started cutting and sewing.  I cut out three petals for the front and overlapped them to meet at one side.  The lining skirt is that lighter green popping through - I hemmed it to look like petals rather than attaching individual petals.  The back skirt was hemmed straight across.

Once the dress was finished I was feeling a little deflated.  It just looked like a fancy Tinkerbell dress - however, the accessories change that!  Tiana has a giant flower on one side of her dress and a flower crown.  The flower was made by sewing a bunch of petals and then hot gluing them to a center bead.  Then I cut petals from satin ribbon and hot glued them and trailing ribbon to the back.  Finally, I took a lighter to the edges of the green ribbon to give it a textured vine-like look.  The flower is a pin so I can wash the dress without ruining it.  

The headband was made similarly to the flower - a little bit of sewing and a whole lot of hot glue.  She demanded some light green gloves so I managed to make some passable ones by tracing her hand.  Not the best ever, but she loves em!

The last accessory that takes the dress to full on princess is the tulle underskirt...

The skirt is made with 3 yards of white shimmer and 3 yards of light green shimmer tulle.  I folded them both in half legnth-wise and overlapped them.  Then I sewed a casing for elastic at the fold and threaded it through.  I wish I had bought more tulle because it wasn't full enough!  However, it was too long, so I was able to make it more full by gathering the bottom into a pick-up style skirt.  Funny how things work out because I love it more this way.

Another happy customer with her new costume and bag!  She and her sis can't wait to trick-or-treat.  I'm just walking on air happy that they love something I made them.  The best feeling!  


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Night Fury Costume

Who else loves the How to Train Your Dragon movies?!?  My house is obsessed.  I had never thought to let the girls watch the movie because I thought it was a little intense for their age.  However after seeing lots of posters about the sequel movie, the girls begged to see the first one.  Then begged to see the sequel.  And then discovered that the library carried DVDs full of How to Train Your Dragon tv episodes (it's a Cartoon Network show) to fuel the fire.

I did not expect it to take such a hold on them, especially this girl.  She told me one day that Toothless is her best friend.  Like I said, obsessed.  So of course she asked me to make her a Toothless Costume (Night Fury Dragon) for Halloween.

The costume was actually a lot easier to construct than I expected.  I started out by tracing an existing hooded jacket and pants to come up with a hooded sweatsuit pattern.  I sewed the pants up like loose leggings and made the hooded top a pull over.  

I added some horns and spikes to the hood by hand.  I really tried to avoid hand sewing, but it was necessary to get the horns to stand up.  The side flaps are Toothless' ears, which I tacked down to the sides to prevent flopping.  The coolest part of the hood is the eyes - they are painted to be glow in the dark!

The dragon wings, body, and tail are all attached together and go on like a backpack.  

The wings were made first using this tutorial as a base.  Mine are a little different than the template so that they looked more like the Night Fury's (Toothless).  I used fleece and it was great to sew with, though I did get nervous though the thick parts.  

I constructed the body/tail next before attaching it to the wings.  I had strict instructions on what to include - there needed to be parallel spikes down the body part, then spikes in different directions at the bottom, just like her toy.  I was also told to add the saddle for Hiccup to ride, but I nixed that request.  She's still thinking I might add it, but it's not going to happen.

The body/tail was cut out as a triangle on the fold.  You can see that the spikes are sewn sandwiched down the seam of it.  The spikes took the most time to make and attach, even though it was straight forward.  I was happy to be finished muscling everything through the sewing machine at the end!

The tail was the most fun to construct.  Just two layers of fleece sewn together and some boning detail.  I love the pop of red - the symbol was hot glued on.  

She's super excited to Trick or Treat now, especially since I made her a quick felt fish bag for collecting candy.  Since dragons LOVE fish!  She could tell you all about it for days.  Seriously, ask her about dragons and you'll hear more than you thought could be said in the span of 5 minutes about them.  Many people have made the mistake :)  

Look at that face.  I'm so happy she let me make her costume!  One costume down, one left to do for her sis - and it's not a dragon but I'm ready if she wants me to make a Stormfly!

Thursday, October 9, 2014


The girls are finally four - that magical age that I had in my head when they would be finished with the toddler tantrums, bedtime battles, and dinner refusing.  Yeah, still not past those trials...but we've moved on to add a lot of fun firsts that I foresee to keep on coming as they become "big kids".  Like playing with the tiny Lego sets, riding a bike (with training wheels), using a big kid scooter, doing the monkey bars, and actually drawing some things I can identify as more than just scribbles.

In the past, when moms with older twins would see me struggling in the stores with my two crazies, they'd always smile and say it "gets better" when they're about four.  Now I know they were just throwing out a random number for me to look forward to because things never magically change to be perfect.  It's just different.  Different struggles and different things that make your heart melt.  And it's finally going too fast for me!

For the girls fourth birthday, I went with a Frozen theme.  If I would've listened to them it would have been a Frozen How to Train Your Dragon Rainbow Unicorn Purple Yellow birthday party.  I did listen to a few of their requests and melded them together.

There was a giant castle bounce house like last year, complete with slide inside.  We had it for nearly a whole day, and they made sure all the adult relatives worked off their cake that day.

Speaking of cake...

I made a dutch apple cake this year (a request from one of them) with salted caramel butter cream frosting and marshmallow fondant snow.  The top layer was just a cake tinted purple (the request from the other one).  I've worked with packaged fondant before, but the marshmallow fondant is a little different.  I read a bunch of tutorials and tips online before making it and had no issues.  The snowflakes where made with a fondant shape making plunger - I'm not awesome enough to cut those buggers by hand!  The snow was finished off with pearl shimmer dust, my favorite to add a little something to fondant.  Oh, and the Frozen figures were from a set found on Amazon.

I didn't stop at cake.  Dessert is my favorite so it was my job, and I took it seriously.  

There were extra tie dyed purple/blue/white cupcakes, white chocolate snowflake pops, candy melt away mints, frozen jelly beans, blue sixlets, frozen hearts (err white chocolate strawberries), and Sven cookies (nutter butters dipped in chocolate with pretzel antlers and chocolate nose).  The cake and snowflake pops were inspired by this party.

See the How to Train Your Dragon cupcake rings?  They were a special request from some obsessed little ones!

The desserts were rounded out with some home made purple ice cream (blackberry) and yellow ice cream (banana chocolate chunk).  There was real food too, but I didn't get a photo.  It included some Jello blue "ice" blocks, snowflake fruit wands, snowman snack mix (crunchy Cheetos, pretzel sticks, chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows), and two kinds of chili (ha, get it - chilly/frozen).  I also made some melted Olaf yogurt cups.  Inspiration from these, and the kids loved them. 

Enough about food.  Besides eating and jumping in the bounce house, we had a Frozen piñata and played pin the nose on Olaf.

Olaf was made with a wall decal stuck onto some foam board.  

The piñata I did not DIY (obviously).  I had to drawn the line somewhere, though I really wanted to try to make one for the first time.  Next time!  The kids liked hitting it with a bat as much as expected, and the parents got to take home a ton of candy to hide.

The favors were these Olaf bags the girls helped me make that were filled with rock candy sticks, stickers or tattoos, a toy slinky, a princess candy necklace, and homemade glitter play dough (snow dough).  I meant to add some peppermint extract to the dough but completely forgot.

The girls had a great day with their friends! - jumping and eating all the snacks and candy they could get their hands on.  I tried to get some pics of the party dresses I had made them but they were a little exhausted by then.  The dresses were requested in each of their favorite colors, and they even picked out the fancy skirt fabric from JoAnn's.  I used the Caroline Party Dress pattern, my go to dress pattern for them lately.

Enjoy the final picture dump :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pretty in Peplum Top/Dress

It's been over a month since my last blog post.  I'm not sure where the time has gone!  I've been consumed with Etsy sewing, Frozen party planning, and squeezing in end of summer activities.  
During the past month I also had the pleasure of testing for Sew Much Ado again (see my bazillion Skipper tops), this time for the Pretty in Peplum Dress & Top.  The pattern was just released last week and I wanted to share my versions.  

I tested both the top and dress in the long sleeve version.  There are also short sleeve and 3/4 length options.  I think the top is the girls' favorite because it's purple (a preferred color around here).  I fancied the skirt portion up with a stretch lace overlay.  She told me she feels like a ballerina and wouldn't stop twirling while I attempted to take proper pics.  

My favorite on the other hand is the dress!  Love, love, love it!

A tube skirt is attached to the top to make the dress.  Just that little addition changes the look from cute and fun to adorable and dressy.  

I have a rough time getting these ones to model without making faces lately.  Especially this one - always the comedian.

FYI on the pattern itself - it's really quick to sew on a serger and all the pieces fit so nicely together that pinning before sewing was not really necessary, even when putting on the sleeves.  I also really loved the pattern instructions.  The diagrams are so nice that I could've sewn the pattern just by looking at them.  

I think this pattern will be perfect for a couple of super hero themed shirts the girls have requested (Batgirl and Wonder Woman).  I'll be sure to share those as soon as I can.  In the meantime, you can check out the adorable pattern and all of Abby's wonderful versions here.  The pink stripe and tribal print combo is amazing!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sunny Top in Arrows and Dots

I'm so thrilled to be a part of SewVery's Sunny Dress & Top Tour!  It's a wonderful pattern with different design options, so that you can make several pieces with the one pattern.  I love patterns with versatility.

During the tour week the pattern can be purchased for 20% off using code SUNNY20!

When the Sunny Dress first came out in sizes 5-7, I had planned to modify it for my size 3T girls.  Luckily Veronica decided to expand the sizes and I was able to test!  You can see my dress version here.

This is the Option B Top, my fav.  The top fits my girls just right and is something they can get on and off themselves when I keep the back tied.  

 The sleek A-line shape allows elements like fun fabric and the adorable back ties to shine.  
(all fabrics were from JoAnn Fabrics) 

Look at that neckline.  It sits perfectly where it should and doesn't shift when she's running and jumping around the playground.

I prefer the back ties styled straight down, but they're also long enough to style them crossed.  

The design of the pattern back inspired me to make some matching shorts with side bow pockets.  They're modified Elegance & Elephants Bubble Pocket shorts.  I almost changed the bows to the contrasting arrow fabric, but my little one saw it this way and told me - "don't touch my outfit mama".  Well okay then mini designer...

I plan to sew some more Sunny tops since it's so quick and cute (stay tuned), but in the meantime make sure to check out all the other versions of the pattern during the tour this week!

There is also a giveaway for 2 free patterns!
a Rafflecopter giveaway