Monday, May 21, 2012

Bibbidy Bobbidy Boo!

cinderella tutorial sewing costume princess

The princess pandemonium continues here at my house.  And, I gotta admit, I love it.  Princesses can be a very misunderstood group.  And, trust me, I know.  I have done much research on the impact of women in the media (a Master's thesis in fact, on the impact of these impressions on girls).  Most princesses are truly a sign of their time period.  The more modern princesses are much more multi-dimensional.  But I digress... I could write an entire essay on why I love princesses so much.

Well... just one more little tidbit that I can't resist.  My daughter and I love to talk about this particular aspect of Cinderella.  Granted, my daughter has no idea who Victor Frankl is.  But there is a lot about Cinderella that reminds me of Frankl.  "At least they can't order me to strop dreaming," she says as she sets the tone of the movie.

And so... at least no one can order me to stop dreaming of beautiful things to sew for my daughter :)
And this... is something I had been dreaming up for some time.

Just after prom season I happened to stop by my local discount fabric store and I was immediately drawn to this $1 a yard fabric that was the PERFECT Cinderella color.  I started picturing the dress in my head and debating back and forth over how to construct it.  P.S.  I HATE zippers!

I used no pattern and I didn't design it out on paper.  That would have been too logical for me (I am an Aries, totally).  I had it all in my head (if you know my head than you realize how scary that is).

Here is what I used:

Light blue polyester for the bodice and the bottom layer of the skirt

Light blue and white organza

Elastic thread

1/4" wide elastic

Polyester thread

Iron-on name labels that my mom used to put into my clothing when I went to summer-camp (because I didn't have fusible binding and I had an idea mid-way through that required something like that)

To get it all started I measured the bodice of some of my daughter's other dresses.  This costume was a surprise, so I was trying to avoid measuring her.  The bodice is a rectangle.  The width is about 8" wider that the bodices of her other dresses.  The height is 1" longer for seam allowances.  I made two rectangles that were the same size and sewed them together on three sides.  I left one of the short sides open.

Me and zippers are not good friends.  So, I decided to put some shirring in the back of the bodice so that we could get the dress on and off.  I measured eight inches from the side (the one that is sewn together) and marked it with a pin at the top and bottom.  Using a straight edge I drew  horizontal lines from the edge of the rectangle to the 8" marker.  They are approximately 1/2" apart from each other.

These lines are where I sewed the rows of shirring.  This is totally easy to do with elastic thread.  If you have not used elastic thread before, you should.  There are plenty of good tutorials out there on using elastic thread for shirring.  Basically all you do is use the elastic thread on your bobbin.  Wind it by hand without stretching it out.  Use it in your machine as you would regular bobbin thread.  Use regular thread on the top.  Guide the fabric through as you sew, pulling it slightly to keep it flat as it goes under your foot.  

Be cautious not to cut the thread too closely at the end of each row.  You can actually pick up your foot, move the needle to the next row and carefully sew in the other direction.  The shirred material will be about half the size as it was originally.  So, my shirred section is 4".  

This picture did not come out very well.  Oops.

Speaking of Oops... I did it again (oh, sorry that was very corny).  But, I did make a goof here.  Generally when shirring, I have not had to do any back stitching to hold the seam because I will be sewing the ends together.  But now I realized that I was only planning of sewing the open side together.  This meant that my shirring stitches might fall out on the other side.

So.... I improvised.  I had this idea that I could cover the ends of the seams on the inside of the dress with fusible bias tape.  At least I think that's what it's called.  I've never actually used it.  And, since I have never used it, I do not own it.

However..... I DO own a very, very long strip of fusible name-labels that my mom used to iron to the inside of my clothes when I was going to summer camp as a kid.  This is probably circa 1983.

That aughta do the trick!  And... so far it has held up great and kept the seams from coming out.  It's a good thing my mom saves everything ;)

To complete the bodice I sewed the two ends together to create what appears like a modified tube-top.  

The skirt portion is a layering of several pieces of fabric.  The blue polyester on bottom, then a layer of blue organza, a layer of white organza and another layer of blue organza.  I gathered each layer separately by hand stitching a  very loose stitch all the way across the top of each layer.  This could be done by machine, but I just decided to do it by hand.

I sewed the sides of each skirt layer together, making only one seam per layer.  Then I pinned each layer together to the bottom of the bodice.

You can see some of the gathering stitches in this photo.  I turned the bodice inside out so that the right side of the bodice was facing the outer-most layer of the skirt.  Slowly and carefully and slowly I sewed through all layers.  This part was tricky because all of these fabrics are slippery.

The peplums (those are the funky white things that are on the sides of Cinderella's dress) are made from the white organza.  I used two rectangular pieces and folded them length-wise.  I bunched the short ends up to the top to give them a circular shape.  Then I used a gathering stitch by hand to bunch it up some more.  I basically played around with them until I liked the shape.

I pinned the peplums directly to the sides of the bodice.  I pinned them upside-down so that the right sides of the peplums faced the rights side of the bodice.  I really am starting to like the word peplum :)

Once again, this was a slooooow seam to sew.  This fabric can slip very easily.  

And now I have something that looks like this.  At this point it's a strapless dress and all I need are the sleeves.  Technically Cinderella has little cap sleeves.  I tried to create a similar look without giving it that much structure.  So, I made two elasticized straps and then attached poufs to them.

I started the sleeves by making two straps. These are about twice as long as I want the straps to be.  Once I sewed the elastic inside they were about half as long. These are basically long tubes sewn together.  I did not sew the ends together.  
Then I turned them right-side out so that the seam was inside the tube.  I cut two strips of elastic.  In order to get the length of these I measured the straps of a dress that she already has.  I added 1" for seam allowance and 2" more just in case I want to make them longer later on.  Then I pulled the elastic through the tubes.  

On one end of the tube I folded the edges inwards.  The elastic inside comes all the way up to this fold.  I sewed this end down to anchor the elastic.

Keeping the elastic anchored with my needle, I stretched the elastic to the end of the tube.  In this picture I have the elastic stretched out more than I needed to just so it would show up in the picture.  While keeping the elastic stretched out I sewed a zig-zag stitch all the way to the other side of the tube, leaving a little bit of fabric free at the end so that I cut tuck the ends in and close the tubes.

To create the cap sleeve effect I used the same technique that I did for the peplums.  I just kinda gathered them until I was happy with their shape and pinned them to the straps.

Using the same technique as I did the first time I sewed the straps, I anchored one end with my needle, and stretched the elastic; but not as much as before.  

The side on top in this picture is the under-side of the strap.  After sewing of the organza, I flipped the pouf over.  Or, in other words, the blue strap you can see in this picture became folded under the white part.  

Here is a close up of the top of the sleeve after folding the blue strap under.

And last but certainly not least... I attached the straps to the dress and sewed them to the dress.  And there you have it!  One Cinderella gown waiting for a princess :)
cinderella princess costume tutorial sew

1 comment:

  1. She looks like she loved the outfit a real princess 💎💐
    Now I am going to use your method and some imagination and make a adult princess burlesque outfit.
    God give me strength


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