Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ella's Elsa Dress!!

A couple weekends ago my Mom kept the kids for me so I could get some Christmas sewing done. Ella has been asking me to make her an Elsa dress for a couple months now. I thought about buying her one since they were on sale at Fred Meyer's for only $16, but Ella hates tulle and how scratchy it is and all those store bought dresses are so itchy.

The first thing I did was check Pinterest for a tutorial since the pattern at Joann's was $18 all by itself. Plus patterns just freak me out. I don't know why. But the thought of having to spend money on the pattern and then buy all the material just seemed a bit much. I ended up decided to take what I had read from a few different patterns and put them together.

I picked up some super shiny satin for the skirt and then matching material for the top, but it had some bling. The cape was white see through material that had gems on it and was not scratchy at all. I also got matching thread and some snowflake embellishments.

The first thing I did was draw up my own pattern by using a shirt I had for Ella. Then I cut out the front part of the bodice and the back. A few weeks before it was time for me to start sewing this I was really freaking out about how I was actually going to construct the bodice and the straps. Elsa's dress is more of an off the shoulder number, but I didn't want it to be like that. I thought about making it strapless and using elastic to hold it up, but that seemed a bit funny too. Then we had Care & Share at MOPS and I found the most perfect white shirt that became the base for the whole bodice. 

It's hard to tell from the picture, but the neckline comes down just a bit and there are white flowers following the neckline. I thought those would be a perfect place to put the snowflake embellishments. I also loved the 3/4 length sleeves with the bell look. After cutting out the two bodice pieces I pinned the front piece to the shirt and then laid the back piece right side down onto the front piece and pinned them together. 

Here's what it looked like once it was all pinned. 

Then I just stitched the sides of the bodice pieces together. 

Once they were stitched together I was able to just flip the back piece over the top of the shirt and now the bodice is finished except for the sewing on the top of both pieces. 

I pinned the top portion of the back and contemplated sewing it down, but then I thought I might want to just sew it down with the cape all at once so I waited. 

Moving onto the skirt! I wanted it to be full so I doubled Ella's waist measurements when I was figuring how much fabric I needed. I pinned the fabric right sides facing then then sewed up the long edge. Now I am not fluent in sewing at all so I have no idea if I even did this right. Normally sewing up a seam like this is no big deal, but I had never sewn with this type of material before. I might have used the wrong foot or even the wrong tension setting, but it worked so I guess it was fine! 

This next part was way more difficult than I imagined. Normally sewing a waist isn't that hard at all, but that's because you can press the fabric so you can pin it down to thread the elastic through. Yeah this fabric would not press at all. 

Lots of patience and folding as I went and I finally had it pinned and ready to stitch. 

I stitched around the waist leaving room to feed the elastic through and then stitched that section closed. 

Onto the hem....again seriously more irritating since it couldn't be pressed. Who knows maybe I didn't even need to sew a hem. I'm not sure which materials fray and which don't. Still learning here! 

To make Ella's cape I needed to scrunch the cape material to a smaller size. I ended up having to call Kim to find out how to do this step. Thankfully it worked perfectly. I used the longest stitch possible and then when I was finished I just pulled the bobbin thread and it bunched it together. This was way easier than I was expecting. 

When it came to attaching the bodice and the skirt together I was really stumped. I finally decided to put the bodice portion inside of the inside out skirt and stitch around the waist of the skirt again attaching the bodice. Of course there were a few places that got missed and the bodice wasn't attached so I had to go back and fix those. I'm sure there was a way easier way to do it, but it worked!

Seriously by this time I was feeling pretty proud of myself! 

Next I attached the cape to the back of the bodice and then stitched it all to the shirt. I also stitched the front of the bodice to the shirt as well. 

When I was done I thought the front of the dress looked a little plain so I took some ribbon I had and attached three pieces to the front with a snowflake at the top of each ribbon. I also put three more snowflakes up around the neckline. 

The cape is so pretty. I did end up trimming it since it was way to long, but I made sure it was longer than the dress so it will flow behind her. This ended up taking 4.5 hours to make and it actually was really fun. It's fun learning new things and being challenged with my sewing skills! 

Ella keeps reminding me that I haven't made her Elsa dress yet and I keep saying that I have lots of projects to work on and I promise I will make it for her. I hope she loves it come Christmas morning!