Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Halloween 2011: Homemade Snow White costume, in progress!

**update to this costume here**

Abby wants to be Snow White for Halloween this year.  In the past she's been a Sweet Pea, a Bee and last year she was Little Red Riding Hood.  She's 4, it's not a long list. 

This is a much bigger project then I anticipated.  I'm using pattern Simplicity 2817, purchased for a whole $1 during Joann's pattern sale last month.  The idea of paying $18 for a pattern now seems ridiculous. It was one of many I bought that day.  I was very pleased with myself.

Both these dresses are pictured with full crinolines which are not mentioned once in the directions or pattern.

I looked through the reviews on and was convinced that I could complete this costume on my own.  Of course, I've already made a ton of changes so I'm not sure why I bothered looking it up.  Even without my changes, I'm getting the feeling I was wrong in my assessment that this would be easy for the following reasons:

1)  I've never used a commercial pattern before.  All the patterns I've used to date have been from books or the Internet or I've made them myself.  A commercial tissue pattern is a WHOLE other beast.  It's unwieldy and fragile, it has complicated encoded directions, I have to use transfer paper and a pattern wheel.  You have to line up notches and dots... dots I forgot to transfer. There are no step by step pictures, just confusing line drawings.  It's kind of a nightmare.

There are TWO of these evil things and two pages of double sided directions.
 2)  I've never made sleeves before.  You'll note in all my previous clothing projects I've managed to avoid sleeves.  Snow White, however, is not Snow White without her trademark (ridiculously complicated) puff sleeves.  The sleeves I decided to make using the directions from Craftiness is Not Optional instead of the applique directions in the pattern.  I'm not sure if this has made things easier or harder for me since I've never done applique work either, but I like the look of the insets so much better then teardrop shapes being sewn on top. That just seems... lame. The insets are far more "authentic" if such a thing can be said about an animated princess.  I also made the sleeves with the navy velvet instead of the standard light blue satin because I've always thought that was just weird looking.  Sorry, Disney.  Mine are especially puffy per Abby's request.

If you are making this yourself you'll want to make the arm bands longer then the pattern piece actually is, especially if you are doing insets instead of the applique, also I'd make the band a bit wider so that you can hem it.  Since the pattern doesn't call for you to finish the edge at all (!?!#!) I sewed on the cording rather then re-cut, re-fuse and re-sew.  I just skipped the elastic entirely.  On the bodice instead of inserting piping into the front seam I sewed the pretty cording down the front.  Just gives it a bit more detail.  Remember to apply it before you sew the lining to the velvet entirely.
3)  I'm not using cotton, but velvet and satin. And tulle. And cording.  All of which I've never used before.  The costume satin is awful quality too.  Fraying all over the place!  I feel like I have to self seam it before using it.   Plus, it and the velvet are both slippery for lack of a better word and don't stay pinned like I need.  I've had to pull out at least four seams and I'm not even half done with the costume!  The cording has begun fraying too and I have no idea how to fix that. 

The inside is Fray City.  I lined the bodice with bleached muslin that I added interfacing to for structure, but if I were to do it again I'd probably use a navy cotton or face the inside with velvet (assuming I could teach myself that technique).
 I'm not giving up yet, but I'm far from satisfied.  The bodice seems to be a little large even with the darts (another first), but I keep thinking she'll need to wear a turtleneck if it is too cold so I don't want to make it any smaller.  I'll be lining the skirt which it is not called for and putting gold colored tulle between the lining and the skirt (which is more a gold satin then a primary yellow) to give it fullness, otherwise it will just lie flat which is not what Abby will want, but I'm not sure how that will effect the gathering or how it will fit on to the bodice.  Guess we'll find out.

I have a lot more work to do to finish this. Not looking forward to the cape.  See!  This is why I start so early!

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