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?

Cupcake and Tea Party

January 10, 2013

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We had a small party for Martha’s 6th birthday this year, as she had a big party for her 5th, and with her birthday so close to Christmas I felt we had enough to do.
So with numbers limited to six of her closest school friends, we made a plan to amuse them in our house. So I came up with the idea of a cupcake/afternoon tea party. I made them a quick half apron each (out of a charity shop double duvet set) and they each had a little rolling pin (90p each from Wilkos) laid out on the dining table, so that we would all decorate a pre-made cupcake (or two) with pre-made buttercream, smarties, jelly tots and I showed them how to make simple roses with moulding icing. A liberal sprinkling of cake glitter and their cakes were done, one for the tea party and one to take home. I was surprised how much of the icing and sweets actually made if onto the cakes and were left over!
Then the girls played the required game of pass the parcel, while I cleaned up a bit and set the table for kid friendly afternoon tea. I made cheese staws and tomato pesto wheels, with half z pack off ready made puff pastry, and cheese, ham and tuna finger sandwiches, scones with homemade stawberry jam and clotted cream and arranged them all, along with the wonderful cupcakes on a cake stand.
I dipped into my collection of vintage (charity shop) tea sets for some floral patterned cups and saucers and cake plates and filled the teapots with pink milk and pink lemonade.
We put candles in Martha’s cupcake to sing ‘happy birthday’ to. A few more games of musical cushions and statues, and it was hometime.
In the party bags were the girls’ aprons and rolling pins and a couple of cookie cutters (big box from Wilkos) some sweets and their cupcake creation (cupcake boxes came from poundland!)
I think it was very successful, the girls all seemed to enjoy themselves, the whole think didn’t break the bank and they made some fabulous cakes!

Circus Party

January 9, 2012

Martha turned 5 inbetween christmas and new year, but we held her birthday party before christmas to maximise the chances of some of her friends being available to come to it. It was a circus theme and I organised all of it, and thoroughly enjoyed it, I think it was pretty sucessful, even though I did get a bit carried away with the theme.

I booked our local village hall and I made the invites above on photoshop with a little help with some lovely retro circus images from the graphics fairy and some free fonts from here; http://www.i-do-it-yourself.com/2009/01/fonts-circuscarnivalwild-west-type. I also attached a child’s ticket to each invite, as well as some info for parents.

I think all parties should be fancy dress, so asked my girls what they wanted to be for the circus party, Martha wanted to be a circus ballerina, and Alice decided she wanted to be a monkey – can’t argue with that. I made Martha’s costume with a leotard from ebay a tutu pattern from (my new favorite book) ‘Oliver + s – little things to sew’ by Liesl Gibson, and some sequin butterfly sew on embellishents (I picked these up in a recent trip to New York). Alice’s monkey costume I bought from ebay, it was alot cheaper than making one, and up until the last minute was doubtful she would actually wear it! I made myself a ringmaster’s tailcoat from a red velour blouse I found in the charity shop, cut the front short and added the off cut to the back for the tails and added covered shoulder pads as epaullettes with lots of fringing and the spare gold fabric I bought I covered the open front to make faux lapels. I was incredibly camp, just what you would expect at a kids circus! I did have a top hat too but mostly forgot to wear it!

The entertainments were circus sideshows, Hook a duck was assembled with some cheapo rubber ducks from ebay with modelling wire loops inserted in their heads and 3 bamboo sticks covered with red tape with cup hooks glued into one end. I marked a duck pond out onto the floor with coloured masking tape. Elephant Hoopla, was a large piece of cardboard with an elephant’s face painted on with a trunk made out of packaging tube, jointed at the end so there was a hook to it and hoops cut out of card too and painted. Coconut shy was 3 more cardboard packaing tubes painted with 3 coconuts balanced on the top (the easiest coconut shy in the world but at least the 4-5 year olds had a chance of winning), my mum and auntie manufactured some excellent stripey beanbags filled with dried pearl barley for the kids to knock the coconut off with. And pin the nose on the clown, another face painted onto cardboard with a few numbered red circles for noses with blutak on the back and my mum’s scarf as a blindfold. (On the day I had forgotten to pick up the handy sleep mask from the flight to NYC to use for this purpose!). My very talented middle sister provided face painting, and my little sister and her boyfriend were photographers. With a ‘pass the parcel’ game included in the fun and packets of haribo offered as prizes for the games we had enough to keep all 30 kids happy until the birthday tea.

We did hotdogs and popcorn and apple wedges (as a suggestion for toffee apples – without all the sugar), for the circus themed food, which went down really well with the kids. I pre-bagged the popcorn into individual bags before the party – also bought from ebay. These were in each table setting along with a drink and a helium balloon, I bought a kit with the gas tank and 50 balloons again from ebay, most of these sadly ended up in the rafters of the hall to high to retrieve!

The cake was a ‘big top’ made with 3 layers of cake mix cake 2 x chocolate and one vanilla made in a square tin, and stacked with chocolate buttercream in between each layer. I trimmed the sides of the squares to neaten up the shape and then used these offcuts to construct a pyramid shape for the top, sticking the bits together with buttercream and carving it to make the shape. I covered it in white fondant icing, there was two layers on the top to smooth out my slightly lumpy pyramid. I used coloured icing to make the stripes down the sides of the tent the bunting along the top edge and green for some grass at the bottom (to hide the messy bottom edge). I made some paper flags one with a happy birthday message written on it, by gluing triangle shapes to bamboo skewers, these went into each corner and the middle and provided stability for the cake too. I put a couple of circus animal toys through the dishwasher to sterilise them and when dry I dressed them up in icing circus outfits for the elephant got a fancy panel over its back and both him and the lion got party hats. I think these were the touch that made the cake look really circusy.

The children all went home with a party bag (a plain brown paper carrier bag with a name sticker made from an address label printed with the graphics from the invite), which included glow stick bracelets (poundland), a chinese purse for the girls (ebay) a couple of small circus animals (from a 2 collections of african animals from amazon), a small pot of candy floss (ebay) and of course a piece of cake.

It was loads of fun, lots of Martha’s friends came in excellent outfits too, special mention for the tattooed lady and strongman, the lovely trapeze  artist, some excellent and inventive clowns and all the princesses, batman, superman and mr bump!