I managed it. I got the costume done October 30, thus meeting my self-imposed deadline of no Halloween sewing on the actual holiday. Not going to lie, I cut it close. I finished the skirt hem at 10:50 last night, but at least the stinking thing is done. Okay, not fair because my daughter is really excited about this, but OMG I hate costume sewing. I think it’s a combination of cruddy fabrics, the deadline problem, and lack of enthusiasm. If I don’t feel like sewing clothes for a few months, it’s really not a problem because I have enough items in my wardrobe to cover it. However, if I don’t get the Halloween costume done for trick or treating, my kid has nada, and I don’t do well on projects under those circumstances. Happily, I did outsource the boys’ outfits to various Megalomarts and don’t regret it one iota.
For this project I used Simplicity 1233, the licensed Disney version, as it was on sale when I bought patterns and fabric. I did look at McCalls 7000, their Winter Princess pattern, and it’s pretty much identical as far as the Elsa version is concerned, so if you really have a yen for Frozen costumes in your household, you’re covered. My daughter decided she wanted to be Elsa even though I think she likes Anna better, but whatever, this took less fabric, and Jo-Ann has for months had the helpful carousel of fabrics for Winter Princess-ing, but nothing suitable for Anna’s outfit. I used an ice blue satin for the skirt, scary sequined satin for the bodice and the weirdest netting ever for the yoke, cape, and sleeves. None of the chiffons were a great match at the store I was at and there is no way in hell you’ll ever catch me appliqueing snowflakes to anything. So I found this lightweight ice blue with silver threads in it fabric that on the bolt seemed suitable. It wasn’t until weeks later and I’m ready to cut out the cape that I figure out that the fabric is netting with metallic strands meandering throughout the netting to create the effect. Now, it’s perfect for the visual effect that I was aiming for, but not so much fun to sew.
I got stuck for quite some time on the sequin removal project, though once I figured out which thread to get with the seam ripper to pop the sequins off, it got faster. It also turns out that I could have just sewn right through the sequins, but with the cheap costume satin base, I wanted French seams everywhere I could. The cape is attached at the seam for the bodice and yoke, which meant that pretty early on, I was hemming the side hems for the cape, which miraculously behaved, but tripped me up later when it was time to do the sleeve hems. The neckline finish for this is bias tape and given that I’m REALLY bad with using bias tape, I figured why not.
The directions are clearly written for a fabric with some opacity, which I didn’t have, and I was going to be unhappy with the result. I know, I should just lower my standards, it’s just a costume after all, but if I’m going to be putting this much work into it, shouldn’t it at least look sort of right? Anyways, I had the crease of the tape sewn to the right side of the neckline at 3/8” and I didn’t want to rip it out. So I fiddled with my fingers until I made it look nice. I started with ¼” single fold tape and made it into double fold and then flipped everything to the inside, stitched along the edge of the bias tape. I love the delicate look of it all folded down to just a hair more than an eighth of an inch, though looking back, if I had gamed it out in the first place, I would have sewn it to where I could have folded the tape to the outside for a slightly neater appearance than I achieved with the netting over the bias tape.
I knew that I wanted to hem the sleeves before attaching them to the rest of the dress, but let me say that it was no fun at all. I initially tried a rolled hem, which was wavy and stretched out of shape and I was not happy with the result. I then decided to use the same bias tape to bind the edge, but again, it wanted to stretch out of shape, though my bias binder foot did a pretty good job considering the scale I was working in. So I decided to do the exact same bias tape turned to the inside finish as the neckline, which allowed me to control the crosswise stretch of the netting. I went straight to that solution with sleeve number two, which was never stretched out of shape, but the difference between the two sleeves is minimal.
Well, minimal except for the big scissor gash I sliced into the upper right sleeve. I was trimming the sleeve seam allowances when I wasn’t careful enough and yikes. I had enough fabric to cut another sleeve, but it was 8:30 and I wanted to be out from in front of the sewing machine by 9:00, so I got creative. Using a cut scrap I placed it behind the slice and then zigzagged down the cut netting. My first go didn’t catch both sides, so I stitched again, giving me a triangle that I’m hoping holds everything together. From the heights of French seams to the depths of this half-assed repair job, how quickly I fall when I’m ready to be done. I had my daughter try on the dress, and it’s a little bit long on her. I want her to be able to wear this outfit again next Halloween, so instead of chopping off the excess length and making the called for rolled hems, I just eyeballed the cape and machine stitched it at 2 inches. The skirt hem had too much fullness for that, so I turned it up the needed 2.625” and used a catch stitch around the entire hem to sort of ease in the fullness. I’m not a fan of my hand stitching, but I will accept that the more I’ve been using it, the better quality the stitching is. I choose not to press the hem as I’m going to need to let it out next year and warned my daughter not to put her foot through it. It’s not the best secured hem I’ve ever done, but it’s certainly close to good enough.
And now that this is off of my plate, time to return to sewing for me! I need snuggly winter clothes and have several cuts of wool jersey that need to get out of the stash and into my closet.
Bonus pic! Check out that lack of seam matching at the waist seams. I just wanted to be done and picking stitches out of the netting wasn’t going to happen so the zipper wasn’t going to be redone. I truly am capable of better work than this.