Costuming, Public Appearances, Sewing Projects

A Long Overdue Update

A lot has changed in my life since the last time I posted, and while I normally wouldn’t go this into detail about my personal life on a blog about sewing and costuming, I feel like I owe some sort of explanation for not having written anything in months.

Shortly after my last entry, my life was turned upside down. I had been working from home for a few months trying to make sewing and costuming my full time job, and had actually landed a pretty decent contract. All of my materials had arrived, and then suddenly I was getting a divorce and possibly moving from BC back home to Ontario with my family before I’d even cut anything out. Things were difficult for a while; I made it through the sewing contract and got everything turned in on time (just barely.. as in 7am the day they were due by 11am!), and I started a new full time job that same day.

At the risk of oversharing, I admit that the divorce itself was the biggest challenge I’ve ever had to face in my life. It was terrible timing (is there ever a right time for a divorce?), I didn’t know how I was going to start over or put myself back together. It took time, and a lot of learning about things that had happened during the marriage that I wasn’t aware of that helped me move forward, and I’m happy to say that I made it through okay.

With getting back into the regular workforce and putting my life back together I haven’t had as much time for sewing as I used to. I’ve made a few things here and there with fabric I had laying around the apartment – a Poison Ivy costume, a dress, and I’ve been gradually working on a leather jacket when I’ve had the time. Things seem to have settled into a routine now and I’m hoping I can get into more sewing projects before the year is out. Unfortunately the crappy Canadian dollar has put a limit on what I can do; usually I order my supplies online as it’s insanely cheaper, but with the poor exchange rate it’s not quite the same anymore.

With that said, my posts may be less frequent than they used to, but I will do my best to keep updating. My new job is wonderful but as it’s been quite a while since I worked full time hours away from home it feels like it’s taken over all of my free time. I’ve been trying to get back into doing birthday parties when I can; I really miss playing Elsa regularly but it’s a challenge to balance work and hobbies.

I do have some photos to share of the Poison Ivy costume as well as the dress to keep this blog going until I have something new. 🙂

Costuming, Disney Princess Series, Public Appearances, Sewing Projects

Queen Elsa v2.0

After nearly a year straight of wearing my Elsa costume on a regular basis for big public appearances and birthday parties, it’s time to retire my original costume and bring out a new one. I’ve enjoyed so many great experiences in my first design that it’s bittersweet retiring it, but after so many outdoor events its taken quite a beating and sadly.. it’s time. Frozen has had such a huge impact on my life this past year and it’s only fair that my favourite character get a new costume worthy of portraying her.

The upside of making Elsa for a second time is that I learned a lot from the first one, and there are way better fabric options available now. Sequins were a terrible choice as they cut into the organza cape and made the shirtsleeves pill, and the organza cape itself did not want to stay together anywhere there was a seam on the bias. With the popularity of Frozen there are new fabrics available that have been designed specifically for Elsa and Anna costumes, and I fully took advantage of that.

Supplies were ordered in late November, and even though a good chunk of them came from China they all arrived before Christmas! The early arrival was incredibly convenient as I actually ended up ridiculously sick over the holidays which led to loads of time sitting on my couch and therefore time for incredible amounts of detail. It’s entirely wearable at this point but I’m still wearing my old shirt; the new one is cut out but this time I’d like to rhinestone it before sewing it, and I just haven’t found the time yet this year to sit down and do that.

The skirt was first, and the same as my original with a slight change to the hem. My original had a pointed hem that flowed nicely with the cape, but made the skirt a lot more cumbersome when getting in and out of a vehicle. I’m usually driving to and from events/parties dressed as Elsa (unless lovely husband is available and willing to come with), so trying to fit the skirt and cape into the drivers seat was a challenge. The point also wasn’t accurate, which became more apparent when higher resolution reference material was available. This time I used fabric I purchased on Etsy, which was actually a bit more of a challenge than I expected. It wasn’t clear from the photos, but the silver threading in the fabric ran from selvage edge to selvage edge, meaning I had to cut my skirt pieces horizontally instead of the usual way. The back two panels are pieced together up at the waist; it was the only way to get the length I wanted and the seams are hidden by the corset. The skirt is fully lined with a periwinkle blue heritage cotton.

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Next came the corset which was the most involved piece of all this time. It’s the same overbust style I used for Snow White from Once Upon a Time with a few adjustments; I brought the neckline up a bit for some more coverage and trimmed the bottom edge for the refined point. This corset is four layers; the Etsy fabric and heavy twill flatlined together for the outer layer, and the periwinkle blue heritage cotton and heavy twill flatlined together for the inner layer. To keep the outer layer smooth all of the boning channels are on the lining layer; there’s flat steel in the center and at the lacing panel, and spring steel along each seam and in the middle of the panels. The grommets are hand painted, originally antique brass (as that’s all I have on hand that fits my press right now) but painted with a mix of Jacquard fabric paints to match the fabric. The edges were bound with the Etsy fabric after this picture was taken.

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Next came the part that nearly drove me insane, made my hands ache, but killed a lot of couch time while I was dreadfully sick. I took some 14 gauge vinyl and painted the back of the sheets with a mix of white, teal and blue fabric paints. It took a few layers until it was opaque enough, and once it was completely dry it was cut into rectangles. I did the majority of it a uniform shade but there is a section along the top of the corset that is a few shades lighter, I had some smaller sheets left that I added a bit more white into the paint to give it a bit of an ombre effect. After cutting each sheet into rectangles I then spent more hours than I am comfortable counting cutting each rectangle into a rounded rectangle.

IMG-20141221-WA0000 IMG-20141221-WA0003 IMG-20141224-WA0010 IMG-20141224-WA0002Of course, the tiny rectangle insanity couldn’t end there. Oh no. That was just nearly two days straight (and I do mean straight, from the time I woke up til the time I went to bed) of cutting. These little buggers still needed to be attached. Armed with a tube of E6000 glue, a lot of patience and the biggest bottle of Dayquil I could buy, I sat with the corset and my bowls of rounded rectangles and gradually glued each little rectangle down onto the fabric, one by one.

IMG-20141224-WA0015IMG-20141224-WA0017IMG_20141225_124405Once the rectangles were glued down I took a break, let it dry and then attacked it with rhinestones, beads and even more glue.

IMG_20141208_140754_nopm_IMG-20141226-WA0000 IMG-20141226-WA0002 There’s a modesty panel made just of fabric between the lacing panels; I’ve contemplated adding the vinyl rectangles to that as well but am concerned about the wear of the corset laces on it. I may experiment at a later date but for now, it’s just fabric.

I will admit that I bought the cape pre-made this time around. Making it last time was okay, but trying to find a fabric I liked this time that would also hold up to the methods available to me for putting the snowflake pattern on, well.. my choices were limited. I heavily contemplated chiffon this time over my previous organza, but as chiffon frays so easily I opted against it. I saw someone post a picture of a cape they’d ordered and fell in love , and after much digging I found a seller with it in stock. It was roughly the same price to buy the cape as it would have been to acquire fabric and supplies to make it, and saved me a load of time. As much as I pride myself in the things I make from scratch, the saved hours of labour and the screen accurate print were too hard to resist. Bought the cape, love the cape, greatly enjoy the cape. The below two photos are from prior to finishing the corset (and I realized after I hadn’t tucked the cape into the back of the corset) but it was Christmas Day, my best friend was here and she wanted to see it all together.

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With my old shirt, I wore this version out to its first event at the end of December. Ballet Victoria invited us to join them again this year for their production of The Gift, this time to greet children before the show and during intermission for their weekend performances. We met so many wonderful kids, and had a blast seeing my husband dressed up as Olaf. Anna had a hat and cape this time courtesy of Victoria Costumes, who were also kind enough to make it available to us when we walked in the Sidney Christmas Parade. I will get around to making them myself eventually, but other things keep getting in the way!

I’m so excited to have my new Elsa costume ready for the birthday parties I have lined up so far in 2015, and am scheduling as many appearances as I can.

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Miscellaneous, Sewing Projects

Once Upon a Time Costume Replicas

I’m afraid I’m long overdue in updating this blog; there’s been so many changes in my life lately and it’s been a challenge finding time to sit down and actually post! Back in August I resigned from my 9-5 office job with the intent of pursuing my costume design career while also offering princess parties and appearances.. and then along came Sephora. Many years ago I freelanced as a makeup artist (and continue to do so when possible) and had an opportunity to join as a seasonal cast member, so I figured why not? I had the intent of balancing both sewing and makeup, but as often happens with life plans reality came along and pretty much laughed in my face. I had no idea just how busy the holiday season can be for a store like that and now that I’ve experienced it I realize that trying to pull off both had landed me in the same boat as I was in while at the office; trying to balance a regular job, freelance job, and still having some semblance of a life.

With that said I’ve loved the ~3 months I’ve spent at Sephora; it was a great opportunity to work with some lovely people and learn new things. It’ll all be coming to an end shortly, and in preparation for that I’m in the process of getting back to all things costume related including party appearances as Elsa. I’ve re-opened the Etsy shop, updated social media accounts and am now working on the blog!

The project I’ve most been waiting to post about is my masquerade group from this year that I mentioned a few months ago. We ended up with 7 total characters from Once Upon a Time: Killian Jones/Captain Hook, Emma Swan, Snow White, Prince Charming, Queen Regina, Queen Cora and Belle. It took 7 weeks of insanity (while balancing Sephora and trying to sew!) with plenty of bedazzling assistance from J & D, but together we pulled it off. In the interest of not writing 7 individual posts I’m just going to include some photos and explain a bit about each costume; should anyone be intending on replicating these feel free to ask for further detail and I’d be happy to explain.

Killian Jones was my best fabric find; after some serious online research I tracked down one of the fabric sources that Once Upon a Time uses and managed to acquire the exact same fabric (even the exact same bolt it came from) that the show used for Killian’s jacket from S03E22, Snow Drifts/There’s No Place Like Home. It’s a gorgeous embossed silk and was surprisingly easy to work with, just a challenge to press and steam without wrecking the pattern! My lovely husband was pleased to wear this outfit. The jacket was lined with a soft taupe cotton and French microtwill black facing and accents, with black grosgrain ribbon and more buttons than I ever again want to buy from Fabricland. I also whipped up a bright white sateen cotton shirt and coordinating French microtwill black vest as well; because I am determined, the vest itself was made entirely the morning of the masquerade. I am so beyond proud of his ensemble, the jacket is a particular point of pride for me partly due to fabric source and partly due to how it looks on the husband!

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Since he’s in the above photo as well, we also had Prince Charming. I’m responsible for his shirt and tunic, the pants and boots were his own (and he insisted on cowboy boots to make it more ‘him’). His shirt was the same as Killian Jones’, but in a soft ivory cotton instead. The collar was a particular pain in the butt, as Charming’s is quite frayed. I sat with it for hours with a pin gradually unraveling the edges to keep it frayed without letting it fall apart. The tunic is a beautiful black faux leather with a natural grain, lined in red Kona cotton and trimmed with chocolate brown microsuede. The real tunic has perforated leather sleeves, which was a fabric I couldn’t find, so we went with a diamond quilted pattern instead.

DSC2689The boys’ costumes were actually the easiest ones to put together, the ladies are the ones with all the insane amounts of detail. Regina nearly killed me; K chose her dress from S03E02, Lost Girl, and of course it was plastered in rhinestones, hand painted lace and feathers. I found the original fabric for this one as well, but at $30/yard with a 10 yard minimum order it was just way too pricey, especially when we only needed 7 yards. Instead I opted for a satin charmeuse that came in a black/fuschia print, which was then dyed piece by piece with iDye Poly in Crimson. There’s roughly 600 black rooster feathers and 2000+ rhinestones on this one (all individually attached), but it was a labour of love even though it took the longest. It’s two separate pieces, a big skirt with pockets and then the bodice, worn over a bum roll and a triple hoopskirt.

Photo courtesy of Morgan Turner PhotographyIn keeping with the evil queens we also had Cora, Regina’s mother. Our Cora was less of an exact replica and more of an ‘inspired by’ type of deal. It’s actually what prompted the whole group masquerade idea; husband’s and my original plan was Red Death Phantom of the Opera and Christine (her movie masquerade gown) but the fabric I ordered did not look anything like it had on the website. In the hopes of actually getting some use out of it I suggested J join us for the masquerade, which led to an interpretation of Cora’s wedding gown from S02E18, The Miller’s Daughter. This is a duochrome taffeta and tulle mix with beaded bridal lace and more rhinestones than I really want to count. Tulle is an awful skirt choice when done in single layer, by the way.. especially when you’ll be walking around outside, hence the uneven hem as this was towards the end of the night when it got caught on stuff. The top is a proper steel boned corset (also worn over a much heavier steel undergarment corset) and the skirt is a gathered poofy concoction worn over a triple hoopskirt, also with pockets. I really like ballgowns with pockets. Our Cora is also best friend J who is usually behind the scenes manning my Nikon to take photos of Elsa and Anna!

Photo courtesy of Morgan Turner PhotographyAnd now the non-evil ladies! Belle was the original OUAT take on Belle’s classic yellow gown, the one she was seen in through seasons 1-3. My version was done with yellow satin and dyed brown satin, as well as brown beaded and heavily rhinestoned lace. The top was a proper steel boned corset as well, with the pleated skirt and pockets. Worn over a single hoop skirt and a small bum roll. Unfortunately Belle’s gown best shows how much my garment steamer failed me the day of the masquerade; while I’d pressed my seams during construction I didn’t iron the entire thing in the process as I’d planned to put the men to work steaming while us ladies handled the makeup and hair. Sadly the Rowenta upright steamer I’d purchased just for this occasion decided to spit water instead, and of course I was informed of this when I was in the process of dressing everyone and it was too late to bust out the ironing board. Therefore, please pardon the creases in the fabric. 😦

Snow White is the purple gown she’s most often pictured in (the one worn to Cinderella’s ball) from S01E04, The Price of Gold. It’s a beautiful lilac shantung two piece (sensing a theme here?) with a proper steel boned corset as the bodice, covered in hand painted lace and plenty of rhinestones. The skirt was pleated and also had pockets, and was worn with a bum roll over a triple hoopskirt. She didn’t take a single photo, but I do have one of her with Charming!

DSC2678And last but not least, my own gown. This is Emma Swan’s fairytale princess dress from S03E21 & S03E22, Snow Drifts/There’s No Place Like Home. I hate to point this out, but in the rush to get everyone laced into their dresses and to the masquerade I forgot to throw my bum roll over my petticoat, so I won’t be posting photos of me standing. I do, however, have a lovely photo that one of the photographers suggested that is my favourite! My dress was 10 yards of satin, with a steel boned bodice worn over a fully steel boned undergarment corset, and a massive pleated skirt with pockets over a triple hoopskirt (and designed for the bum roll I forgot to put on!). The original dress from the show had  bit of embellishment along the neckline but that was it; as anyone reading this blog knows I’m a huge fan of all things sparkly so of course I had to add more. The lace around the neckline was rhinestoned, but the hem is where it really stood out. It’s 9.7 yards around, and had scalloped lace sewn on the whole way. I then hand beaded that lace with Swarovski bicone beads and seed beads, and attached quite a few clear Swarovski crystals along with an insane amount of red crystals.

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All 7 of these costumes were a TON of work, but they were an absolute pleasure to do and one hell of an experience. We had a lovely night at the masquerade, and we all looked amazing! Hopefully we’ll be able to visit the mainland in the spring to do a photoshoot in Steveston, where Once Upon a Time films their Storybrooke scenes.

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Costuming, Disney Princess Series

Disney Princess Series Part 9 – Princess Anna (Frozen)

As promised, I am posting about Anna from Frozen now that she’s finished! Thanks to J I’ve found the most amazing Anna I could possibly ask for in new friend D; not only is she just as nuts as I am but she makes an absolutely perfect Anna. We had our first costumed outing yesterday which led to quite the photoshoot afterwards, and for those of you who were looking for photos we took with you and/or your kids, they’re all going to be at the end of this post.

I bought Anna fabric back in early May and didn’t know when I’d get around to it, but a friend of Devin’s asked if I could stop by his daughter’s birthday party and I just knew I had to have both Anna and Elsa there. I started the corset embroidery one Saturday morning and nearly drove myself crazy with it. The design had a lot of unexpected jump stitches in it that resulted in a few broken needles, so after the third try I finally knew where to run over and pause the machine to keep it from snapping more needles in half. The corset was sadly the easy part.

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The skirt was INSANELY tedious. The scalloped hem was done with a cardboard template after a bunch of math to figure out how to make it even. The seam joining the light blue to the royal blue is just inside the edge of the hem, and a 4mm wide satin stitch attaches it to the rest of the skirt. There’s something like 30 embroidery designs total on it, and it took at least 25 hours to do them all. I had the same problem with jump stitches and snapped needles (I think about 16 needles were sacrificed to the skirt), but finally managed to figure out where things were snapping and then broke up the design into blocks so I could manage it manually. The smaller designs were around 30-40 mins each, and they were the first ones I did.

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The bigger designs on the skirt each took about an hour, and were the bane of my existence. While they were running on the embroidery machine, I put together the shirt and bound the edges of the corset in gold satin bias tape. The shirt was drafted up from an old button down shirt that’s too small for me, so I had to size it up to fit better. I didn’t like how the shoulders sat afterwards so they were adjusted. While I’m aware Anna has a covered button placket, I sadly did not have the patience to make the shirt that way. I was running out of time with two projects due at the same time, so I made it like a normal placket and added decorative stitching.

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Finally the skirt embroidery was done late Saturday, and I sat on my couch for a couple of hours snipping all the stabilizer off the back of the fabric. Sunday I rushed to make a waistband and put a zipper into the skirt so it’d be ready for our birthday party visit!

I don’t have birthday party photos, but below is a Flickr slideshow of the entire photoshoot! People who are looking for photos we took with you, they will be in here. You can also view them directly on Flickr where they’re downloadable in high res. 🙂

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Costuming, Disney Princess Series

Disney Princess (Queen!!) Series Part 7 – Queen Elsa, Frozen

The night Frozen opened in theatres, I was anxiously waiting in line at the movie theatre with husband and popcorn in tow. I’d been waiting for the release since it was announced and though darling husband wasn’t too thrilled at the idea of going to an opening night of a new Disney Princess flick, he agreed to it when I said I didn’t care if he slept through it as long as I got to see it ASAP.

He didn’t sleep at all, and enjoyed it a LOT more than he expected to.

I’ve known since before the movie came out that I’d likely be making costumes from it, but I had no idea just how quickly I was going to fall in love with Frozen. There was no time to even get started until January; with Christmas coming and presents to be made as well as my New Year’s Eve dress, I accepted that I wouldn’t even be able to look for fabric til the new year. After scrounging my way through nearly every fabric store in both Victoria and Vancouver, I relented and ordered a massive quantity of sequined fabric online as well as a gorgeous lace front wig, and then (im)patiently waited for everything to arrive. I also gathered up a ridiculous quantity of sequins and rhinestones and started planning ways to make my Cinderella rhinestoned shoes convertible into Elsa’s snowflaked shoes. The shoes have actually be in progress since last summer and kept getting pushed aside as other Princesses went out to volunteer events.


This was just the gathering of supplies.

I started with the mesh undershirt and was fairly lazy about creating it. The fabric is a light stretch mesh picked up from a local fabric store. I patterned the shirt by using an old stretchy long sleeved shirt that I don’t wear anymore. It had regular sleeves instead of raglan, so I drew the seam lines on that I wanted and then cut the shirt apart to make the pattern. The whole thing was serged together and finished the night I started.

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Please pardon the bra cups.. the dress form is quite flat chested no matter how I adjust it so it requires some extra padding to be properly fitted.

My first major dilemma was deciding just how to put the corset together. The choices were either a boned bodice with minimal seams, as sequins and seams are a royal pain, or to go with my faithful favourite corset pattern and hope the seams didn’t hate me too much. As luck would have it the favourite corset worked out quite well with the seams, and everything laid flat when it was pressed. I was so excited after putting the sequined fabric together that I started sewing on the larger rectangular rhinestones before moving onto the lining. Below is a collection of pictures from assembling the corset.

Of course Elsa isn’t complete without sparkle, so I then spent something like 20 hours attaching rhinestones all over the corset.

I set the rhinestoning aside for a while and then whipped the skirt up quickly. It’s an outer layer of sequined satin fabric with an inner layer of a slightly darker blue. This was originally a simple a-line skirt that I extended along the sides and back to create the train. It came together fairly quickly and easily, so I ended up not taking any photos of it. The corset lining went in quickly and was comprised of cotton twill and spiral steel boning with straight steel bones along the lacing at the back. I decided to relax on the couch for a bit as well and hand-sewed some sequin trim and Swarovski crystal beads across the neckline of the mesh shirt. I was pretty giddy once that was all together, and even though I still had the cape to work on I threw it all on the dress form to get an idea of what it’d look like when completely finished.

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Then the cape began. Before I even started drafting the pattern for it I was nervous that I hadn’t ordered enough fabric and would have to buy all new stuff to make it the appropriate length. I am incredibly stubborn, however, and persisted with drafting up the pattern (basically some really weird measurements and just drawing it out on butcher paper) in the hopes that it would work out. I had to lay the pieces out a bit stranger than I normally would,but fortunately it all fit. I cut out all of the cape panels and then started drawing the glitter design onto the paper.

The glitter I painted on was a mix of Martha Stewart glitter acrylic paint and her fabric medium, which worked out surprisingly better than I expected. The first panel I painted I just laid the fabric over the butcher paper where I’d drawn the design, and then I began to severely regret that decision. Awesome husband is awesome, as he voluntarily went out to the store at 10:30pm to get me wax paper to lay over the butcher paper so I could paint without my fabric getting brown paper all stuck over the back.

It took a very late Thursday and Friday night as well as an entire Saturday, but I managed to get the entire design painted on as well as a bunch of little snowflakes. Once each panel had dried I serged them together and then did a rolled hem around the entire edge.

The cape has velcro along the top to attach to the corset, and is the last thing that I put on with this costume.

Overall it took about 50 hours of work spread over about 10 days. I’m still not done, but it’s publicly presentable. The Sunday I finished, I wore it to see the sing along version in theatres with friend J, which was awesome. It was her first time seeing me in costume in person, and experiencing the craziness that comes with it. We waltzed into that theatre like we owned the place, and pretty much got swarmed by kids. It was amazing.

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I’ll be wearing this to Fan Expo Vancouver in April, and by then will hopefully have finished my fine-tuning. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there’ll still be snow on the North Shore mountains then, so we can drive up for a photoshoot! I still have loads of rhinestones to attach to the shirt and cape but most of them are still in the mail on the way here. I also want to finish the snowflake parts of the shoes and re-style the wig. Somehow I have to make time for that, though, as crazy husband decided on our other costumes for Fan Expo and they’re pretty time consuming.. but more on that in another post!

Costuming, Disney Princess Series

Eric & Ariel go to the Masquerade Ball

As I mentioned in my last post, the husband and I were planning to attend the annual masquerade ball for Halloween. I changed up his Prince Charming jacket and threw together a pair of matching pants super quickly, and we were ready to go! I got some photos back from two of the photographers there that night and thought I would share.

As always the ball itself was lovely. Brief performances from the Pacific Ballet and the Canadian College of Performing Arts, excellent live music, hors d’ouevres and an all around great time.

We’re already planning and hunting supplies for next year.. Devin’s wanted Gerard Butler’s Red Death costume from Phantom of the Opera for ages and I can hardly turn down Christine’s pink ball gown, so Phantom movie costumes it is!

Costuming, Disney Princess Series

Disney Princess Series Part 6 – Ariel, The Little Mermaid (version 1)

So, I lied when I said no new princesses for a while. In my defense it was an accidental lie, life happened and plans had to change, so I had to go with the flow!

Before I get into the princess stuff I have to do a little shameless plug.. I’ve entered my Belle gown in Ballet Victoria’s costume contest. If you can spare thirty seconds to vote it’s super easy, especially if you have a Facebook account. Click here to vote for me in Ballet Victoria’s costume contest, I’d really appreciate the vote! 🙂

After a few different sets of Halloween plans fell through, the husband and I decided to attend the annual Masquerade Ball that’s held at the Fairmont Empress every year. We attended back in 2011, and really enjoyed the evening. It had been one of our earlier plans for this year, but due to a lack of time to make costumes the husband deemed appropriate, we scrapped it in favour of other options that obviously didn’t work out. Together we sat down and took stock of all the Disney couples we have. His Prince Adam outfit is only about a third done, and I’m really wanting to start from scratch with better velvet for the jacket, so that meant no Belle and Adam. His Prince Charming outfit is perfectly fine, but my Cinderella shoes are in the middle of an upgrade; I started gluing on rhinestones ages ago so they weren’t plain silver glitter, and one shoe hasn’t even been touched. Rapunzel and Flynn aren’t really masquerade ball appropriate as they aren’t overly formal, and my Sleeping Beauty wig was ripped apart to make Rapunzel so that option is out as well.

I remembered nearly at the last minute that I’d started Ariel’s pink dinner gown months ago, but then left it half-finished in a bin to work on other, more recognizable gowns. We looked at quite a few options for Prince Eric, both parks character costumes and his outfits in the film. Husband preferred the outfit he wore at his almost-wedding and then real wedding, and it was formal enough for a masquerade.. and the extra time-saving bonus, his white Prince Charming jacket is close enough that we can get away with using it for a night! I’d already purchased fabric to make casual Eric stuff, so it’s simply a matter of whipping up a quick pair of blue pants and making a detachable blue collar and cuffs to tack onto his jacket. Ariel was another story; back in May, I’d finished the outside of the dress but wasn’t 100% happy with the pink overskirt, so I chopped a bunch of it off and regretted it. Pretty sure that’s why it ended up in a bin. I’d actually added a fancy metallic decorative stitch all along the pink hem, and convinced the awesome husband to sit there with a stitch ripper and take it all out as I decided I didn’t like it anymore.

I'm sure you can see why I hid it in a bin under my bed.

Between working on commissions (and at the sake of completely giving up having a social life for the last few weeks/next month to get them all done) I put the finishing touches on Ariel to make it masquerade appropriate. I’d kept the fabric I chopped off, so I re-attached it with ivory braided trim to disguise the seam. Adding trim pretty much finished the skirt, so from there it needed a hemming and that was it! It’s not my ideal solution, I wish I hadn’t chopped it off months ago, but I can’t get this fabric in Canada to start the skirt over so I have to make due with what I have. The corset needed to be lined, and fortunately I’d thought to cut everything out before stashing it all away months ago, so it was a simple matter of quickly whipping it all together and machine stitching the trim onto the outside.

Fabric added back to skirt and loads of trim!

The sleeves were the most tedious part and even they they weren’t so bad. Since Ariel’s outfits were a mix of things that the previous princesses had worn, I used my Snow White sleeves as inspiration for hers. I did my first draft of the sleeve with a minimal number of pink straps over the ivory/organza, and while it was pretty it just didn’t feel right. I felt like there was too much of the ivory puff sleeve visible, so I added more straps.

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I was much happier with the extra straps added, so it all got sewn together with a long pointed sleeve added to the bottom. The ivory ribbon on each strap is top stitched with a soft gold metallic thread. The same gold thread was used to add a decorative satin stitch along the wrist and upper part of the long sleeve.

20131014_105744Technically the dress is complete, but when I have more time post-commissions I’ll be adding a lot of hand beading and embroidery. Since Ariel doesn’t really get merchandised in this dress I want to enjoy the creative license I can take with it, and make it a bit more my own.  Here’s a front and back shot of it on the dress form, followed by some glamour shots wearing it around a nearby park!

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