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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Trials and Tribulations of making a Princess Costume - McCalls 7000 - 3T

In the Summer, I was going to make a pretty dress for my 2T niece for her birthday, and so I went to Fabricland and saw a lineup of women at the cutting table all holding turquoise fabric.  "Weird," I thought, and then I asked one woman if there was a school play.  
The woman actually guffawed at me.
Apparently EVERYONE was sold out of Elsa costumes (whatever that meant). And now I know.
Check out just a few of the insane stats for Anna and Elsa's dresses:

I mentioned some of this in my entry - but I need to be completely frank - If I were a young mom of a Frozen-obsessed little girl, this pattern might break my heart.

As it is - I am a Grown-Up Parent of a few boys, and a [dare I say it? - Treasured] Auntie of a 3T princess who really likes Frozen - and this pattern tried my patience.
I expect to be using this pattern for a number of years as we work our way through the princesses and sizes, it's an excellent bodice, skirt, yoke combination - If I use a flesh-toned netting on the yoke I have a great strapless look appropriate for a Canadian child, and I only need to vary length and skirt fullness.  I am pleased to own this pattern.

BUT - this was meant to be a Frozen dress - and it's my first Disney Princess (ask me about superheroes, Thomas the Tank Engine, Cars, Star Wars and I got the average mom in hand, but Princesses?  I had to create a Pin Board to get the classics - Belle, Cinderella, Aurora - straight)

So, First:  This pattern package was a giant PIA - the package did not clearly breakdown the yardage needed of all the different colours,  I had to pull out the instructions for the layouts, and be able to recognize the pattern pieces on the layouts to figure out the contrast codes, so that I could use the package to buy the fabric.

Second, I trace my patterns:  There were 5 sheets of tissue in this package - and there were separate pieces for groups of sizes, separate applique patterns for groups of sizes, and three views.  If I were not an experienced sewist it might have overwhelmed me - and imagine - there are a subsection of sewists who face sewing costumes when they are needed (like when a certain princess's dress is sold out at a certain wonderland) - and this might be the only time they tackle apparel sewing until Prom time.
Cue the violins:  It took me 1.5 hours to trace the pieces for this dress.  I almost frankenpatterned this puppy to make it end.  I ask you - how many young moms wept over this pattern?

Third - and now I will stop counting.  I bought my fabric to match the pattern envelope, and to keep my spirits up I played the movie while I traced and cut.  then my subconscious started wailing like a banshee....  something is amiss....  let's review the imagery below:

Look at the sleeves... the shoulders....  are you with me?  There's something different... 
Holy C!  that's not white!  and, There's a shoulder strap on that dirndl!

TGI'm creative!  I grabbed the package, and the picture and found myself at the feet of the 3T princess
 - "is this the right dress you would like me to make?  just like this?  okay mom?" - 

If she were just a little older and more demanding I would have had to alter the pattern, and go buy more fabric - phew!  I will have to do this when I remake this for her in a year or two, but wow, imagine the hailstorm some moms endured when they produced this lovely dress for Hallow'een:

Okay - now:  The dress was a success, but I added some some gold at the bodice edges - just in case:  
Handy-Dandy - the top-stitching meant I didn't have to [shudder] slipstitch the lining into place. [gross - I was pretty sick of this dress by the time I had to slipstitch]

I finished the edges of the appliques with a zigzag stitch - I made a point of buying a resilient polyester suiting to make this dress (the same fabric used for Teflon and bulletproof tablecloths at conference centres) - the appliques are broadcloth - the zigzag should help them fare better in the washer).

If you are planning the dress - don't forget to adjust the applique at centre back - there's a zipper tab to deal with on the smallest size.

The zipper only goes to the top of the bodice (I assume because the zipper will be too visible on either the black or the white and impossible to coordinate) - plan for a good and easy clasp at the neck.

Just for good measure here is a shot of the full back of the dress.

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