Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Halloween 2012: Homemade Vampire Princess Costume

I took some time away from the blog to get some real-world stuff done, most of it involved travelling to warmer climates. Haven't had time to sew much, but thought I'd jump back in where I left off-  Halloween!

My daughter wanted to be a "Vampire Princess" for Halloween which sounds ludicrous because it is, but she is 5 and I guess I should just be happy she wanted to be something only sort-of scary and that she didn't want to be a sexy kitty or something truly horrifying. 

A Homemade Vampire Princess Costume! 
This was her final fitting-- if you look close you'll see the trim isn't applied around the edge of the train yet and no black, bedazzled plastic crown.  The necklace was made with a black choker I had leftover from the '90s and a black brooch piece I picked up in Michael's tacky-jewelry making department.
I once again started with a commerical pattern and then totally ignored it.  The pattern in this case was Simplicity 2065, the "Tangled"-inspired Rapunzel costume.  I chose it because I thought it was more Medieval looking then the more poofy princessy dress patterns which kind of all look like overwrought 1950s ball gowns, really. 

 I got this on sale, so I don't feel quite so bad about barely using it.

For the bodice:  I immediately made some changes.  I omitted the ties and so adjusted the pattern pieces down an inch or so, making the center "stripe" a little thicker all the way down.  I also raised the neckline since all the Disney patterns seem to have a low neckline problem.  Plus, vampires don't wear a scoop-neck. I discovered over on PatternReview.com (beginner's tip:  pay the money and join, it is totally worth it!) that the neckline was also a bit wide so I narrowed that up too.  Instead of a zipper I put in Velcro.  My Aunt Gail helped me to figure out exactly how to place that-- I had it pinned in wrong for a couple of days and couldn't figure out how to fix it.  I also may or may not have lengthened the bodice-- I honestly can't remember, but it seems vaguely true.  I also omitted the stripes on the puff sleeves and instead of a sheer arm I went with a dark red shantung.  Insetting the puff sleeve was no problem at all.  Super easy.

Have I ever mentioned how difficult it is to tailor anything to a child?
 "Stop moving so I can poke you with pins!"

Please note these are the first full length sleeves I've made.  Yeah for me!  They turned out pretty well though I realize the straight arm proportions of a kid are much easier to fit than an adult. 

For the skirt portion:  The photo on the cover of the pattern is totally misleading.  Either that girl is wearing a crinoline or she has an enormous elephant ass.  Either way, if you follow the pattern your skirt will NOT be as full as the picture.  It's a simple drindle skirt (which I didn't even know what that was until I made this, but think Oktoberfest Barmaid instead of Cinderella) and is damn boring.   I didn't want poofy but I guess I didn't want flat either.  As soon as I cut it out and pieced it together I knew I was going to have to fancy-it-up somehow. 

The train (again without the trimmed edge). 
The curve was key; leaving it a rectangle would have looked stupid.

My solution was to convert the sheer overlay that split in the front into a full on Princess Diana-esque lace train.  Okay, maybe not that long, but chapel length at least.  This took math, figuring out where to place the lace, how many inches in to make it even at the sides and fashioning a curve (on my own) so it would puddle prettily on the floor.  I have no idea how I figured it all out, but I did.  I omitted the lace trim along the seam with the bodice since I was going to have to insert the lace train. It's a little hard to see in the photo but I flipped down the top of the lace so it had a nice ruffle along the inserted seam in the back.  I finished the train with matching trim and then sewed in a hook and eye to bustle it... which is something I always do backwards.  This costume was no exception. I then hand sewed it small plastic spiders scattered into the lace.  Bats would have been better, but they had spiders at the Dollar Tree so that's what we used.

The bustle hooked up. 
This was Halloween night, when it was POURING rain outside, so I was damn pleased with myself for thinking of the bustle.  Note the lace now has a totally trimmed edge.

Notes on the project:  The only real issue I had once the dress was made was the length.  It was about a half inch to an inch too long and she had some problems at school with it.  Because of the weather we trick or treated only a few houses in town so it wasn't a huge hindrance at night since she was lifting it to avoid puddles anyway.  She wore black wrist length gloves which completed the look.  Fake vampire teeth were rejected-  too much spit according to Abby.  I also hot glued the hell out of a otherwise blank black crown adding tons of rhinestones and spiders.

Cost:  I got all the fabric (black stretch velvet, dark red shantung and the matching red lace) on sale.  I had the Velcro, the thread, hook & eye, and reels of black lace trim in my stash at home.  Total cost including the dark princess tiara, gloves, spiders, rhinestones and face make-up was around $80-90.  I'd estimate this costume took me around 16 hours to complete.  If you know what you are doing and actually follow the pattern I'm sure this would take way less time.

Verdict: Success!  It was exactly what Abby wanted which was a vampire costume that was pretty and not too scary.

Abby (The Vampire Princess) and Henry (Alien in Flying Saucer) give the camera their best Halloween scare faces!

Upcoming Projects: Not Yet Blogged

a rundown of what I've been up to: DIY wedding dress, "Back to School Night" decor, Flower Arranging for the Incomptent, more jam labels, a dog bed solution, paper embroidery, flying pig needlework, attempting to scrapbook, make your own board game kit, Link from Zelda costume, organinzing for homework, and how to build an afterschooling program!

how to declutter after a death... and how not to do it

what do you do with all your fat clothes? Make doll clothes!