Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Toddler Renaissance fest costume

I am in the throes of making a costume for my three-year old niece to wear to the Texas Renaissance Festival... or Halloween... or just for dress-up. As with most things I try, it's turned out to be a lot more complicated that I thought it would be.

I found the pattern I wanted to use, McCall's 5499, at Saver's for $0.99 and was all fired up about it until I was researching it online and someone pointed out that the pattern does NOT contain both adult and child sizes. It's one or the other. Mine happened to be the adult size. 

The red overdress would be darling on a toddler and be so easy to dress them in.

I checked Joanne's and they had the pattern in the child's size, but the smallest it came in was a size 3 with a 23-inch chest measurement, and my niece's chest is 20 inches. I really didn't want to pay $10 for it just to have to try and scale it down when I have no experience in that.

So I moved to plan B, Simplicity 2571, view E in the lower right. However, my sister had originally worried about the sleeves getting in my niece's way, and I worried about the dress being too hot since it will be made out of polyester brocade.

So I tried to alter the pattern to look like the red overdress. I left off the sleeves and cut the bodice to look similar to the sketch on the back of the McCall's pattern.

The first mockup looked adorable, but covered too much of the torso and I worried about it being too hot. If I was going to make it in a linen or cotton, I would have been okay with it, though.

After the second mockup, where I ended up nipping the sides in a little more towards the waist, I finally felt comfortable enough to cut the fabric, a gorgeous aqua blue Chinese brocade with pink flowers.

I don't mind sewing brocade, except that I have to zig-zag all the edges as soon as I cut out the pieces because it frays so bad. Then, since it's 100% polyester, I can't iron the seam flat, so I have to sew down each side of the seam to make it neater.

And I don't know if zig-zagging the edges stretched the fabric too much, but when I put the dress together, it was sagging a LOT on the sides. Maybe that's just because the skirt is kind of like a circle skirt, and it needed time to hang and settle. Whatever the reason, the center back measured 25" long, but the SIDES were 29" long. I wish I knew how to prevent that from happening. I don't think it happened on the mockups.

These pics are from the first day that I hung it, so don't look nearly as bad as they did last night when I finally pinned up the excess on the sides. 

When I pinned up the excess from the hem last night, I was relieved at how much better it looked. It seems to have more body, too. This dress is giving me anxiety. I guess I'll have to hand-sew the hem now that it's all uneven? I am too afraid to cut it.

The only thing I could find to hang it on so I could get an idea of the drape was this lamp gathering dust in the corner.

It still looks a tad uneven in the front, on the left side of the pic. But I can't deal with it anymore right now. I need a break, because otherwise I feel like the dress is holding me back, and I still need to make the chemise and the cape by Thursday night. I think I'll make the fab cape tonight, because that will be easy and encouraging. (please don't let those words come back to bite me)

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