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These were last year’s costumes. It was only while discussing them with a friend that I remembered I hadn’t posted about them. They are of course Matilda and Miss Honey from Roald Dahl’s brilliant book.

These were easy peasy to make and based on the Quentin Blake illustrations below.

The Matilda costume was created from 2 primark blue t shirts one long sleeved one (cheaper) sleeveless vest that were both in the same material. They were both adult ladies ones, the long sleeved was a size 6 and the other the largest I could find, size 20 I think. First I took the long sleeve tee in to fit my daughter a bit better I did this by increasing the seams on the shoulders and down the sides the sleeves were narrow enough. This brought the neckline up a bit and made it into more of a boat neck – the excess fabric simply tucks inside. The skirt was made from the other bigger t shirt. I cut the top part off just under the armpits to create large tube and attached this to the adapted long sleeve tee, with a half shearing elastic stitch that I’ve used for t shirt dresses before. (Hand wind your bobbin with a colour matched elastic, with normal cotton thread in the needle sew as usual to self gather and maintain t shirt stretch). The other bits of this outfit are white plimsoles from primark and a faux/clip in fringe bought from eBay. The book prop is a cereal box with a piece of pipe lagging stretched over one side and hot glued in place covered in paper and painted.

Miss Honey’s was even easier! Bought a long sleeve orange t shirt from eBay and made the skirt from a  large men’s grey t shirt from the charity shop. I cut the t-shirt from arm pit to arm pit, keeping the bottom hem and side seams, I turned over the top of this large tube of fabric and hemmed it, and ran a length of elastic through this. Miss honey scarf is a silver grey napkin from the charity shop, and her glasses are pound land reading glasses with the lenses popped out.

Hope your World Book day outfits are as simple as this to make?

miss-honey-credit-quentin-blake

 

Elsa from Frozen Costume

August 26, 2014

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For her birthday Alice was given tickets for ‘sing a long a frozen’, at the Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square and as the audience is encouraged to wear appropriate dress up, we had a sudden demand for a Frozen dress for her to wear. Her sister had her Anna Coronation Dress I made for her (posted previously).

I bought 2 ladies camisole vests size 8 in sky blue from Primark, to make the base of the dress. I cut across one from armpit to armpit and sewed this to the bottom of the other vest to make it dress length. These vests had adjustable bra type straps so I was able to reduce the length to fit Alice (and leave growing room). I bought a sparkly, sequinned net curtain from a bargain homeshop (can’t remember the name of it) for £6.99, this became the cape part of the dress. I used the whole width of the curtain and gathered it to fit the vest dress from front strap to front strap around the back and then sewed it on. I had the bits of light blue sparkly fabrics left over from a mermaid costume (I still haven’t posted about!). The sequinned one was part of a dress bought from eBay and the metallic fabric came from a top bought in a charity shop. I didn’t have enough of either to use just that so ‘patchworked’ the two fabrics onto the vest dress as appliqué. I tried sewing this on with my sewing machine, but it really didn’t like the sequins so after replacing the needle twice I resorted to hand sewing the pieces on and adding a few iridescent sequins that came in a mixed bag from Poundland.
I was undecided about the need for the sleeves, as we were going to the sing along in August, but at the last minute took a pair of white sparkly tights from H&M size 13-14, and cut one leg off and removed the toe part to create a long tube, then cut a long slash half way along so Alice could put her arms into the two sleeves and have a piece of the tights fabric across her shoulders and back, which I think was quite successful.
At the last minute I added two elastic loops to the corners of the cape, to go on her fingers so she was able to hold it up, so it wouldn’t snag on the escalators for the tube.
She looked amazing and was very pleased with her Elsa dress, and we got lots of lovely comments on both the girls dresses, both on our way there and at the event, which was lots of fun and a great 5 year olds birthday treat.

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It’s been a while, but am returning to posting with this costume made for my now 7 year old (how has that happened?). Her best friend is having a Frozen themed party next week and it seems this current Disney Frozen kiddy craze means there are no costumes to buy anywhere! And as the best friends have been Anna and Elsa every playtime since Christmas I felt I should get the sewing machine out!
I am in the middle of a house overhaul and in a recent cull of my collection of vintage fabrics found this 60s Regency Stripe fabric in dark olive green and cream, perfect for Anna’s skirt as worn to her sister Elsa’s coronation in the film. Before I found this I did have a plan to use a solid green dress lining I have and sew a contrast colour satin ribbon in stripes which I still think would work pretty well.
To make the skirt I sewed box pleats in 6″ lengths at the waist of the skirt, hiding the cream stripes inside, my fabric was only about 36″ wide so I used double width and sewed two seams to join the front to the back. I sewed a generous hem in the top and elasticated the waist gathering the pleated fabric to the size of Martha’s waist. Then cut and hemmed the bottom.
The corset top of Anna’s dress is a black spaghetti strap ladies vest from H&M in XS (£3.99). I had to shorten the straps by about 6″ unpicking them from the back cutting them shorter and reattaching. I then cut the hem of the vest into a point at the front and straight at the back a little lower than Martha’s waist so it would hide the waistband of the skirt. Then I edged the top and bottom with gold ribbon, I didn’t bother to hem the vest.
For the little capped sleeves I cut two squashed semi circles out of doubled over emerald green satin fabric. (The fold is the straight edge) and sewed them together right sides in leaving a gap in the middle of the curved edge to pull them right sides out. Then I attached the gold braid with bobbles on around the curved edge with a zigzag stitch also sealing up the gap. These were attached by hand sewing the end points to the vest top where the straps are joined to the body of the vest.
I know Anna’s sleeves in the film are edged with green lace, but I didn’t have any, however I found the gold bobble trim in another box of collected vintage sewing stuff and they reminded me of the bobble trim on Anna’s travelling cloak! (Yes I have done my homework!) I also had a plan to embellish the front of the corset with blue and pink fabric paint, but Martha is happy with it as it is and I am slightly afraid of spoiling what I think is a pretty decent job!
If necessity means that any readers out there are driven to trying out this make for their own Frozen costume, I would recommend looking for a similar curtain/upholstery fabric on eBay or Etsy, useful search terms would be regency/brocade/jacquard stripe. Or try the ribbon stripe effect. Please let me know how your projects turn out?

I have no idea when ‘World Book Day’ is as every school seems to be doing something different every day all through March! But Martha’s School had a dressing up day on Friday. I was reluctant to let her dress up as a disney princess for this one, as they are from films, not books. We settled on the classic ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’  by Judith Kerr, whose beautiful illustrations bring the (slightly surreal) story to life. For Sophie’s costume we needed a blue long sleeve tshirt, a Purple A-line pinafore dress, a big Blue Bow for her hair, paintent black shoes and those pink, blue and white harlequin tights. We had the long sleeve blue tshirt, and paintent black school shoes and I made the purple dress out of a pair of purple ladies vests (size 12) from tesco (£2 each in the clothes sale!), – I detached and sewed the two back panels together, as the front panels had a very low neckline for a 5 year old. She had a pair of white tights and a trip to the local haberdashery supplied the big blue ribbon for her hair and a blue and pink pots of dylon fabric paint. I made two forms for the tights by cutting two pieces of card into long ‘leg’ shapes, about 10cms by 60cms with rounded ends at the ‘feet’, I divided the forms up into squares and drew these on with marker pen. Then stretched the tights over them and spent some time painting in each of the squares with the blue and pink fabric paint. I was trying to be a bit thrifty with the paint and so painted them with as little colour as possible, the bonus of this was that they looked more like the rough colouring in Judith’s original illustrations.

Then as luck would have it the local oxfam had a soft tiger toy in their sale bin for 50p! He even growl’s when you squeeze his tummy. He is obviously much smaller than the huge, greedy tiger from the story but a good prop nevertheless!

 

Maxi Dress

August 26, 2010

I made this a few weeks ago, when we had that pocket of hot ‘summer’ weather, I thinks its manufacture can be blamed on the dreadful turn the weather has made. I have only worn it a couple of times (mostly with a cardi),  – still there is always next year.

It is of course a complete cheat – a long skirt attached to a vest top. I had been on the look out for a nice maxi this summer, but at 6ft tall was struggling to find one that was a proper maxi on me! Also I wanted an empire line, to cover my post babies tummy. So I came up with this, went shopping for supplies and got the sewing machine out.The skirt is made from a light cotton sheeting (almost muslin) in 3 shades of blue/turquoise to go with the top I already had (from Uniqlo £3 in some sale or other). I bought 1/2 a meter of the turquoise (top colour) and a meter each of the two blues, cotton and shirring elastic I think the lot was less than £9.

Starting from the bottom up, the skirt is made by cutting the desired length (see picture) and stitching together the required width. The skirt graduates in widths to form a soft ‘Ra Ra’ effect. Then hem the bottom and gather the top (a straight stitch all the way round then pull on the bobbin thread to gather the fabric up), to the width of the next skirt panel. Sew the next panel together to form a tube and stitch the bottom panel to its ‘hem’ and repeat the gathering stitching process for the next skirt panel. At the top of the skirt I used a shirr stitch to ‘gather’ the skirt up. This is where you fill the bobbin with shirring elastic (hand wind this) and sew a straight stitch all the way round and magically, it makes it elastic. Then I attached the skirt to the vest, again with a shirr stitch. This was to maintain the stretch in the vest top so that I would be able to put the finished dress on comfortably and so that it would nip in a bit under the boobs to give the whole thing some shape. The final picture above is me pining the skirt to the vest – what you can see is the bottom half of the vest and the wrong side of the top of the skirt – if that makes sense.

I think it worked pretty well, I will post a picture of me in it when the weather allows it to come back out of my wardrobe (and I have lost a few more pounds!).

If you want to make one too, let me know if you need any more info, and how you got on.