Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ahnalin As "Cinderella's Mother" for "Into The Woods"- McCall's 5499

Back in May, Ahnalin performed the role of 
"Cinderella"s Mother" 
in her school's production of 
"Into The Woods".

Since Cinderella's late mother is also the
"Fairy Godmother", her teacher
requested that her costume would be rather "ghostly".
Yet she wanted her appearance to reflect youth and beauty,
as Cinderella's mother was still young when she died.

Ahnalin chose McCall's 5499 for her costume.

As usual, I made a few changes.

I purchased all the fabrics from the red tag racks
at Joann Fabrics.
The shimmery ivory fabric was a very soft and flowy acetate
that I found for $1.50 per yard.
I don't usually love acetate satin but
the price was right for a school costume!
As the fabric was nearly transparent,
I lined the entire gown with the same fabric.

In addition, I found a very soft
cotton drapery organza for the sleeves and overdress.
The drapery organza was 120" wide so I only
purchased 1 yard.

The slit in the neckline was MUCH TOO LOW
so I added eyelets and laced the opening closed.
I love this look and it made the dress much more comfortable for my girl.

Because I lined the dress completely,
I used twice the amount of yardage required on the envelope.

As I had only one yard of the organza,
I had to cut the overdress much shorter than the main dress.

I cut the hem at an angle so that I could use
as much of the fabric as possible,
while adding to the "ghostly" appearance of the gown.

The overdress pattern calls for the bodice
area to be lined.
But I felt it the sheerness added to the ethereal look of the costume.
I shell hemmed the entire overdress,
including the neckline and arm openings.

Here she is with Cinderella during the show.

Ahnalin is very slim but growing taller.
I cut the Child's size 5-6 but lengthened
the satin gown to approximately a size 10.
She will be 10 years old next month.

Ahnalin was the youngest and smallest child in the whole show.
The cast ranged from 4th grade through 8th grade.
This was her first school musical and she loved every minute!

India even got in on the act.
She was the assistant director!

Happy Sewing.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

I Recovered My Adjustable Dress Form

I love all dress forms and mannequins.

I have been very blessed with some of my dress forms as 
gifts from sewists who no longer needed them.

That was the case with my beloved adjustable dress form.
A dear friend from Grass Valley handed her dress form to me
when she was no longer sewing as often as she liked. 
She knew I sewed nearly every day, between garments
for my daughters and myself, custom creations for clients,
and alterations, especially bridal gowns.
This year, I have been quite busy with making
aprons and pillows for custom orders,
as well as many, many alterations.
I have altered several bridal gowns this year,
but none needed to be worked on while on the dress form.
So, I had not noticed how sad my form had become.

Her cover was literally crumbling off her!

I am currently working on a Vera Wang bridal gown alteration
and I could not bear to put that gorgeous gown 
on my poor sad dress form. 

So, it was time to clean her up and recover her.

Now this was a daunting job, but last year I recovered my sofa,
so I knew I could do it!

I just pulled a little and all of the old fabric came off easily.

I started to take apart the pieces by unscrewing the adjustable wheels
that held together the pieces of the form. 
I am sure there is a name for them but I have no clue what they are called.

These are the adjustable wheels that held together the form body parts.
They were specific to the bust, waist and hip so I labeled them.

As I got the form pieces apart, I realized that the cover and old glue 
needed to be removed and the form parts needed a good washing.

This is the pole that held the form.

I gave them a good scrubbing with Dawn Dish soap 
because I am convinced that it holds the secret to all things.

I let the pieces dry.

I tried to use the old fabric as a pattern but it was pretty stretched out,
however I was able to use the width and length as a general idea.
I chose a cotton lycra fabric with a moderate stretch, 
so that it would conform to the shape of the body pieces.

I used Aleene's Tacky Spray.
It would probably work as well with a different glue
brushed on the inside edge of the body pieces.

I worked one part at a time, spraying each piece,
then carefully covering the part with the fabric.
I probably made my job harder by choosing a stripe,
but I really liked how fresh it looked.
Once I sprayed the glue onto the outside of the plastic,
I worked from the bottom up, smoothing the fabric onto the part,
and carefully adjusting the stripes.

Here are the hip pieces all ready to assemble.

 I reattached each adjustment wheel by screwing the tiny screws directly through
the fabric. I had to feel around for the little holes.
The fabric kind of puckered a little bit but it was so much nicer than before.
So I decided to just leave it.

As we attached each hip piece, there was a metal piece that had to be
screwed back to the pole. This was tricky with only my two hands.
So Ahnalin offered her hands to hold the pieces
while I screwed them in place.

Here is the lower half hip area of the dress form all attached,
and ready for the upper torso pieces to be attached.

I followed the same "spray and smooth" method on the upper torso pieces.
I took special care to stretch the fabric over the "Fronts"
as Millie calls them in "Thoroughly Modern Millie",
which was playing on the DVD player while I was working.
This is where the need for a moderate stretch in a fabric
really shows it's importance!

I should have shown this earlier, but this is how I fixed the 
inside of the body pieces.
I sprayed along the inside edge and pulled the fabric
snuggly from the edge.

And then I trimmed off the excess.
I probably should have trimmed it more
evenly but at this point, my hands were really sticky
from the spray adhesive.

This is how the inside of one of the upper torso
pieces looked after it was all glued and covered.
There was a little metal hook piece on the right and left
side of the bottom that slipped onto the waist of
each hip piece.

After the torso pieces dried,
I slipped each piece over the waist
of the hip pieces.

Then I reattached the adjustable wheel pieces for the upper torso pieces.

This is how the inside of the dress form looked.
I normally want the insides of the things I create 
to be just as lovely and perfect as the outside.
But to be honest, I was just ready to get this done,
so I could get back to the bridal gown alterations!
Not a great excuse, but it is the truth.

At the very top of the adjustable dress form, 
there is a little knob that screws into the neck plate.
This knob is then turned to adjust the back waist length
of the torso. 
But it also acts as a pincushion.
To cover it, I cut a small circle of the fabric
and stuffed the edges into the rim using a butter knife.

The neck piece attached to the upper torso 
pieces with four tiny clips, which were slid 
into grooves at the top of the pole.
One of the four clips must have been lost
in one of our many moves,
so one of the torso pieces didn't fit snugly onto the neck.
I will need to find a fix for that. 
But for now, I tied a piece of fold-over-elastic
around the neck to hold it in place.

By this point, my hands were a sticky gooey mess!
That Tacky Spray is sticky stuff that does not
want to just wash off!
The answer for me was coconut oil!

I put about a teaspoon into my palm and rubbed it all over my hands.
The oil was very effective in breaking down the glue so it 
washed off my hands, without having to use something toxic.

At this point, I was ready to show off my lovely "new" dress form!
However, the wind was blowing so strong that she blew right over!

Yes! The wind was blowing 21 MPH!

So Ahnalin helped me out again by holding her up!

All in all, I am pretty pleased with how the dress form turned out.

Now, back to my alterations!

Happy Sewing!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spring School Picture Day Outfit For Ahnalin

Today was Spring Picture Day at Ahnalin's school. Spring Picture Day must be pure profit for the school. See, in the Fall, the school sends home an order form listing the package prices and boring solid color backgrounds. But in the Spring, all that gets sent home in advance is a flyer with several gorgeous backdrops and no prices. They are sneaky that way. They take beautiful photos of your child and then send the entire packet home with them, including book marks, key chains and stickers. You can choose which photos (or key chains, book marks or stickers) you want to pay for and then you send the rest back. Yeah right. They see me coming EVERY TIME! We buy them ALL every Spring. 

These photos are NOT her Spring school pictures. 
I took these photos this morning before we walked to school, with my broken iphone.

So Ahnalin went shopping in my fabric stash a week or so ago. She NEEDED new shorts and matching sundress. 

And of course the sundress had to have pockets.

Now this morning,  she told me that she changed her mind and wanted front patch pockets instead of the side seam pockets. Too late kid.

The left short leg is all caught up in the hem for this picture and of course I didn't see it until after she had left for school.

And of course it had to twirl.

A little "Classic Ahnalin", of course.

A little ruching in the skirt above the contrast band.

And then she decided she needed to re-do her hair.....

because she is hilarious.

And then she remembered that today was P.E. so she traded her sandals for her dirty Cindy Lou Who Converse sneakers. 
She reminded me that the photographers don't take pictures of their shoes for school pictures. 

The fabrics were all from my stash. 
The patterns were from my head.
And I am still sticking to my personal fabric fast!
I haven't posted since November so I have lots to post soon. 

Happy sewing!

Friday, November 15, 2013

New Throw Pillows To Match My Tuffet- A Tutorial

So after I recovered my tuffet,
I decided that the throw pillows on the sofa
and chairs were looking old and dull.

I measured my pillows and cut the pieces I needed,
allowing an extra inch all the way around,
for a 1/2" seam allowance.

These pillows were about 17" square.
So I cut two pieces of 18"x18" for each pillow.

I pulled out some of the leftover piping
I had from when I made my new sofa slipcover.
You can read all about my sofa slipcover and how I made the piping

I pinned it along the outside edge of one
side of the pillow fabric.

I snipped into the seam allowance of the piping
so it would curve around the pillow corner.

I cut the piping a bit long where it meets up.

I cut off the excess piping cord to reduce bulk.

Folding the edge of one side of the piping under,
I wrap it around the other side.

Then I just pin it and sew it down.

I am using my piping foot on my Janome
machine but I usually use my zipper foot
on my Bernina for large piping.

This is what it looks like with the piping all pinned in place.

Next, I pulled out a long zipper
from my stash so I could make the new
pillow cover removeable.

Using my zipper foot,
I sew the zipper onto the piping,
wrong side up. 
If I sew it right side up, I will not
be able to open up the zipper when it is on the pillow.

Next, I lay the back piece of the pillow
on to of the front piece, 
right sides together,
matching up the sides,
and pin the seam allowances to the other side of the zipper.

I sew the zipper in place.

After the zipper is sew in place,
I can lay open it up and see that it is ready
to sew the rest of the pillow sides together.

This is how it looks from the back side.
Make sure that you have unzipped the zipper several
inches so you can get into the pillow cover
after the sides are all sewn.

Match up your sides and pin all the way around.

Using your zipper or piping foot,
sew as close to your piping edge as you can.
You can follow the line of stitching you used
when you sewed the piping on, 
or move your needle position 1 or 2 clicks
further away from your foot.

Go slow and careful around the corners.
You can see that I am sewing over the extra length
of the zipper end. 

When you finish sewing, 
you can trim the corners or not.

I usually do not for piped corners
as the extra fabric kind of fills out
the corner nicely.

The zipper is snug against the piping and makes it very easy
to remove the pillow cover for washing,
or just when you decide you need a change.

This was actually an old zipper that I reused.

All finished and pretty.

Because of the placement of the print on the fabric,
and because I didn't want to waste any
of my beloved fabric,
I was not able to center the floral motif on each pillow.

But I love them anyway.

I am glad I finally cut into this fabric.

And pillows are a great way to add 
color using just a little bit of a favorite fabric.

Happy Sewing!