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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Mrs Claus - A-Line from scratch, M7254 Jacket, and Cypress Cape (Sewaholic)

 Remember the Opportunity?  OMG  I had so much fun!
Nov 21 has come and gone, and I revived my dress-up last Friday for a photobooth The costume worked out really well (that's all explained below).  The wig was a beast (too tight for my head), but the whole rest of the Mrs Claus at the nighttime parade experience was great.

The costume is designed for wearing outside in wintry weather, so you really don't want to be lazing about the house in costume. As pick-up time approached - my lovely friend and family assisted with bobby pins, white hair spray, safety pins and a kilt pin - we moved so fast we didn't manage to get decent readying pictures before we flew off into the parade grounds.  Santa is a fantastic date, and surprising mountain of a man - I felt like a little pixie next to him!  The float is  gorgeous, and the sleigh is made of (presumably aircraft) metal.  I was picked up at 3pm and got home at 11 - and it was a hoot!

The wig tops off the costume, my hair (as much as I already have a haircut suitable for Mrs Claus) is just too mousy for that silver foxette.  It's a Marie Antoinette wig and I pinned up a few of the dangly locks, and added a holly sprig to my bun.

I rescued a pair of glasses from the Tickle Trunk and found my Santa pin from the hospital auxiliary.  My tall winter boots did nicely, too.  Under it all I wore some awesome Columbia Omni Heat base layer (long underwear of sorts) featuring a candy stripe (I was being funny) and my Omni Heat white gloves.

But what of the incredible costume project?

The Skirt
 I used my A-Line skirt block.  Because the fabric was an upholstery grade velveteen/chenille I added an inch to the side seams, and an inch and a half to the center back.  I put in a heavier zipper than one would normally use for a skirt, but it needed to carry the weight of the skirt.  I used my curved waistband and made that sucker extra wide.  I faced the waistband in a solid canvas.  I wasn't risking anything with a lost securement, and after debating all the possibilities I decided to use a kilt pin for the fastener.

The weight of the skirt was totally reasonable for a costume piece, and actually cut the windchill very well.  The fabric held up and there were no wrinkles.

I had contemplated adding a hem band in fur, but this was unnecessary and with the potential of snow would have only reduced the longevity of the skirt.  If I ever get wear at the hem, I will edge in fur.

The Cardigan-Jacket

The main warmth layer for my upper body - the Cardigan jacket was made out of a fabric labelled Reptile-Fur on the Halloween clearance table.  In the photo of the fabric you can see the embossed texture on the fur - it IS reminiscent of crocodile or alligator.

It was a beast to cut this fabric - SUCH a mess.  I have a central vac and I really made use of it when I was working on this project.  I still have white fibers showing up on everything I sew.

The pattern for the cardigan is M7254 View C

The fabric has some stretch, but I interfaced the collar as per the directions to maintain the height to the roll of the collar.  I bought some red toggles for the jacket from Prym  - but the toggle straps separated from the tab - I restitched one, but decided not to rely on them.  I backed it all up with a safety pin (horrors!)

The cardigan was easy to make, and I love the process - I have used the Julia Cardigan until this project - I think I will shift to this pattern for future easy pieces.

The fur collar worked quite well for the costume,

 The Cape
The Cypress Cape is a doozy to prepare, but a joy to sew.
 Sewaholic Cypres Cape in red PUL from SimplifiFabric
55 pages of PDF!  I was seriously stressed about cutting this fabric.  I was worried that the project would get lost in my sewing room.  I was worried that it was too big.  The PUL scared me a little as it was so much finer (only 3mil) than what I had worked with in the past.   I finally sucked it up and started piecing the pdf, and then sorting out my layout for my work table.My worktable and rotary cutting mat were smaller than several of the pieces, so I rehearsed the layout and plan in my upstairs hallway.  I considered tracing the pattern onto the fabric, but decided to use weights and paper to cut piece by piece on the board, shifting the sleeve (the biggest piece and only one that was larger than my cutting mat in both length and width).

Now to the cape itself. - This is a gorgeous pattern:  The drafting is spot-on, the sleeves are clever and the hood has a lovely functional shape (it give you a great scope of view) - another sewist commented that it could be snugger to the face (but I have a big head - it was perfect for me)  I didn't test pulling it over the wig....

Notches matched, seamlines matched, and it went together beautifully.  I fumbled at the instructions for the opening - I will revisit the directions and let you know if it was chicken or egg, but be warned to take that step carefully.

Here's the whole caboodle:
The formal Mrs Claus pose

The full profile costume

check out the white eyebrows, and the candy striped base layer
(ugh, and the tight wig)

Here I am rounding up the vagrant elves!

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