Thursday, October 30, 2014

Superhero Peplums

Finally the girls are properly outfitted!  Ha.  They've been asking for super hero shirts ever since they started picking up books about them at the library (maybe six months ago?).  They love reading about these guys.  Their favorites are Iron Man, Batman, and Wonder Woman.  

They each picked a shirt for me to make.  I used the Pretty In Peplum pattern and shopped in the Men's section of Walmart for knit fabric.  It was the only place I saw the colors I wanted at the right price.  Did you know you can get two 4T sleeves out of one Men's 4XXL sleeve?!?  

To make the super hero symbols, I did a google image shirt and printed some out to make appliques.  The Wonder Woman shirt is actually made from some iron-on gold glitter sheets that are in the tee embellishment section of JoAnn Fabrics.  It looks awesome, but doesn't stay well on knit (though it does on woven).  I won't be using it again, I just had this already from a past project. 

The waist is some gold bias tape sewn on with a long straight stitch.  Adding the tape takes some stretch out of the waist, but the shirt still goes on and off fine.  The stars were painted on with fabric paint by hand.  

Batman and Superman were made slightly different.  For the two shirts I cut a strip of yellow knit and  layered it on top of the bodice pieces using a long straight stitch to get the belt look.  I did this before I sewed the pattern pieces together btw.  The appliques were made by applying Heat and Bond to scraps of knit.  Then for Batman I cut out the black pieces to iron onto the yellow, and for Superman I cut out the red to layer onto the yellow.  I should've cut out the yellow to layer onto black for Batman, but oh well.  

Batman also has a sewn in cape - which is just a rectangle of fabric that is gathered a bit on each side, then sewn into the shoulder seams.  I left the edges of it raw (also did with all the skirt bottoms) since the knit won't fray.

Superman (or girl) is for a friend.  The girls read several books from the library that had the trio training and working together fighting crime.  

The top also has a cape like Batman, though the cape is attached with snaps at the shoulders instead of sewn in.

 Her best "I'm going to stop you bad guy" face.

I tried to get a picture of these two super heroes together, but all I got was a blur!  Can you tell they're excited to go save someone?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How to Train Your Dragon Shirts (and KCW wrap up)

The last week has been immensely productive (sewing wise at least)!  I thought I'd only manage to get Halloween costumes finished, but just kept going at it and managed to get most of my Kids Clothes Week list finished.  The things on my list were items my girls have been requesting for some time. 

They were:
  • Batman shirt
  • Wonder Woman shirt
  • Leggings
  • Dragon shirts
  • Dragon pants
  • Dragon pjs
  • Dragon jacket
  • anything dragon! ;)
They are a little dragon obsessed, can you tell?  I'm still working on the dragon jacket, but I managed to get the rest finished, along with two Elsa dresses for some friends.  It helps that most of the items were sewn with knit or fleece and I was able to use the serger.  I also used some of the same patterns over and over.  The Elsa and superhero outfits were made using the Pretty in Peplum pattern (love it!).  If I ever get some decent pics I hope to blog about my modifications.  Here's some pics from my instagram feed of some KCW duds.

But back to the dragon shirts!  

I love playing around with bleach and freezer paper stencils to make graphic tees.  So far I've only used it to write with here and here, but with these tees I used a spray bottle.  

To make the look, I first cut out a freezer paper stencil using this image.  Once the dragon was cut out, I ironed it on the shirt well, shiny side down.

Then prepped the shirt by putting some more freezer paper inside of it (to prevent bleach bleeding to the back).  The bleach was delicately sprayed on - only took 3 sprays to get the starry look.  After 10 minutes I rinsed the bleach out and then hung it dry.  That's it!!!  If the bleach looks like it's taking too well to your fabric and spreading out, just rinse it out earlier than 10 minutes.  

This other dragon shirt did not turn out like expected.  The stencil was not ironed on well enough and the bleach ran under it, creating a different image of Toothless (the Night Fury dragon) than I wanted.  It's kinda like an inkblot test or magic eye picture to me - I see either the image I was going for or the image that turned out depending on how long I stare :)

The shirts pair so well with the tribal leggings I made with the Go To Leggings pattern!  Fabric is from Girl Charlee and it's wonderfully soft and perfectly stretchy.

I used the leggings pattern to make the dragon pants in fleece.  I just added an extra inch of wiggle room to the pattern legs.  Next time I'll add an inch to the back rise too.

The fleece was used again to make some sorely needed Pjs.  I tried out the Classic Footed Pjs pattern and it worked out great!  It was way more straight forward to make these than I expected.  I went with the half zip version since I couldn't find a zipper longer than 22" locally.

I used gold puff paint to make the bottoms non-slip with a dragon fire symbol.  

With all their clothing wishes getting fulfilled lately, they're starting to think that mama can make them anything.  And they also expect it immediately...and to their exact specifications.  I was just reminded again that I haven't finished a dragon jacket as promised.  The list is starting to grow again!  ;)

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 :)